Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nature Study at the Beach

We discovered that a net at the beach brings up all sorts of captivating critters.
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Mole crab.
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Tiny fish.
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Coquinas.
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Tiny fish eating coquina.
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When the tide went out, we found the sand crawling with hermit crabs.
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Larkin collected several in a bucket.
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He loves hermit crabs.
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He talked to them and told them how well he would care for them and that they would be buddies. But since they couldn't last long in a bucket, he had to be satisfied with a few days of playing with them and drawing them.
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Miah drew a fantastical beach scene. Her imagination always takes over when she draws in her nature journal.
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More ocean treasures.


Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice. . . Let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands. Isaiah 42:10-12

Carefree on the Coast


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Looking back. Looking Ahead.

Looking Back: Some of what we did over the past year.

A few pages from the kids' United States Notebooks. The top three are from Larkin's. The others are from Miah's.



Other samples of Miah's first grade work. Mostly artwork and a little math and copywork.


Some of Larkin's "preschool" work. It seems kind of ridiculous to call him a preschooler. He was working right alongside Miah in most of what we were doing. He has started reading and always has math on the brain. The first picture on the slideshow is of the first time Larkin wrote his name all by himself, which was July 2008. The second picture is a self-portrait with a soldier helmet.



We discovered lapbooks. Miah made this Thanksgiving one, but Larkin was really not into it. He just made one page, which you can see in the above slideshow.
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I asked Larkin if he wanted to do a lapbook on crustaceans, which he was really interested in at the time. He was excited about this one and worked hard on it. It was laid out like a regular book, though, instead of using a file folder. The crab matching game was a huge hit with him. He learned the names of the 14 different crabs remarkably fast.
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Larkin also made a lapbook about mollusks, and Miah did one on horses.
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In January, we did a unit on the human body. The kids made this drawing by themselves.
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We began our timeline with Creation and made it to about 400 BC. I really enjoyed this, because I learned a lot. (The kids liked it too.)
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Looking Ahead: A vague plan for the coming year.

First off, summer break. I have an impossible list of things to accomplish in the next few weeks, but maybe it will at least give me some guidance so I don't sit around blogging the whole time.
I hope to:
finish cutting out all the felt figures for Bible lessons.
prepare some Montessori activities.
read.
sew a couple skirts and aprons. (This will be a big challenge since I don't sew.)
organize the cupboards, drawers and closets.
make some continent boxes.
organize my heaping piles of recipes.
learn how to cook. (Yeah, right. I wish.)
potty train Zahana. (LONG overdue.)
And I'd like to read to and play lots of games with the kids. And spend as much time as possible in the woods, the mountains, the creek.

As for books and learning, we're looking forward to beginning Apologia's Young Explorer Series. We'll be using the astronomy book this year. Let me tell you how long I've been "looking forward" to this. When Miah was preschool age, we were not planning on homeschooling, but I put her in the local homeschool co-op's preschool classes as a cheap alternative to regular preschool. At registration, we were given a little bag of catalogs and coupons, among them one for Apologia science. Looking through the catalog, I got so excited and thought, "Oh my goodness! I have to homeschool so I can use this stuff!" (I like science.) Actually, I'm not really into astronomy, but future books include botany and zoology. And it's all based on a Charlotte Mason style of learning, including narration, keeping a notebook, and super-cool experiments! (Woo-hoo!) (It helps for the teacher to be excited, right?)
We'll continue with our timeline, Singapore math, Rosetta Stone Spanish, and phonics, copywork and reading.
I hope to do a better job with our Bible lessons by making them more visual/tactile. I'd also like to finish the book Leading Little Ones to God with Miah and Larkin.
Nature study and art will always be present, and I'll probably work in a special time for each of these too.

BUT, in the morning, we're going to the beach.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Peter Rabbit Returns

Today was Miah's (official) last day of 1st grade. She finished her math book yesterday. So today, she read to me and made her Alaska notebook page, the last for her United States Notebook. Then we finished the day off with some practical life/science (otherwise known as gardening.)
This morning, I woke to find that Peter Rabbit had returned. The new little fence didn't stop him. He dug under it and even bent the wires out of the way.
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He ate the okra, the peas. . .
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. . . and the sunflowers.
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You know what's really interesting about this? Our yard is fenced. Our garden is fenced. The rabbit has to work hard to get to our garden. The neighbor's garden sits unfenced in an unfenced yard uneaten! Oh well. We put some brick around the outside. I hope it helps.
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Good news is that, apparently, the rabbit doesn't have a taste for bell peppers.
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Or tomatoes. It's so exciting to see food growing!
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Miah also worked hard filling buckets with compost to put in our deck boxes.
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Larkin planted some runner beans to climb up the deck posts. (Larkin insists on wearing a jacket in this warm weather so he doesn't get scratched when he's playing in the bushes.)
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Thyme and oregano were planted on the deck.
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It was a perfect last day of "school". Of course, the learning won't end just because we've checked off our 180 days required by the government. It will just continue in a more relaxed way. The necessary bookwork and hard work will take a back burner to the kind of learning that inspires and brings joy, the kind that spreads a smile on the face of a little girl with her hands in the dirt.

"But the children ask for bread and we give them a stone; we give information about objects and events which mind does not attempt to digest but casts out bodily (upon an examination paper?). But let information hang upon a principle, be inspired by an idea, and it is taken with avidity and used in making whatsoever in the spiritual nature stands for tissue in the physical. 'Education,' said Lord Haldane, some time ago, 'is a matter of the spirit' . . . " -Charlotte Mason