Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nature Study, Outdoor Hour Challenge #5 . . .

Keeping A List:

Since deciding on mammals for our focus, it has been a little difficult to decide where to start. Everyone has different mammals that they would like to learn more about. Since there are so many choices, C8 suggested that we write the names on separate pieces of paper and then draw from them. So, I listed the names of each mammal found in the Handbook of Nature Study and added a few more from our area on pieces of paper, cut them into strips and put them in an envelope. Each week, the kids draw 2 or 3 names and those are the mammals we will learn about.

The first chosen were the raccoon and house mouse. It was interesting and yucky to read about mice. We all agreed that there is a small need for them to be here, but don't like them anyway. We were all very interested in what we learned about the raccoon and when we are out on our nature walks, we will pay special attention around muddy or wet areas to look for tracks.

Both C8 & C9 drew pictures of the mouse and raccoon

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creativity . . .

A couple of weeks ago, the kids learned about poetry in their "Take Five". They learned some of the different methods of poetry, from Haiku to Limerick. They were challenged to write some poetry of their own, following some of the method guidelines. I thought I would share some of their original works.

From C9:

There once was a limerick queen,
Who tried to paint a perfect scene,
And then that night,
It came to her sight,
A thought of a scene that was keen.

From C8:

I love to see the flowers bloom,
And their lovely scent fills the room.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catching Up . . .

We have really enjoyed school the last few weeks. We, as some of you, have been fighting illness and once one child is better, another starts. It has been nice for the kids to work on their binders or reading when they feel good and be able to rest when they need to. Here is a quick update:

Opening: we have been a little lazy with our calendar, so need to get back into that grove. We have perfected the Books in the Book of Mormon song and took some time to review the songs the kids will sing in their Sacrament presentation.

Spelling: C9 just completed lesson 43 and C8 just completed lesson 6 in Word Lessons.

Reading: Both C9 and C8 have read through their readers to lessons 13. They are almost finished reading Charlotte's Web. They haven't seemed as excited to read them as I would have hoped, so I asked them why. They both said that since they have seen the movie, it is not as interesting, they know what is going to happen. Hmmm . . . interesting. C4 has been working on recognizing letters by sound and seems to be picking up on them quickly.

Copy Work: The kids spent the time copying and memorizing their parts for their Sacrament Presentation in church.

Family Read: We spent some time reading poems by Edgar R. Quest. They are so fun and the kids love trying to figure out what it is he is trying to portray.

Math: We have had a lot of fun with games and worksheets helping the kids with their math. They love to find out when everyday things involve math and solve them. Next, onto new methods.

History: We have continued reading in our American History Stories and learning about early explorers. We have just finished John Cabbot and son and are now into Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. The kids find it fascinating that the world was so unknown for such a long time.

Great biographies from the library.

Another fun thing about having everyone home, is we get to come up with some pretty fun things for lunches. I decided to introduce the kids to pigs in a blanket. They LOVED helping make these and eating them. There have already been requests made for them again. They love helping out in the kitchen and I love teaching them to cook and bake.

The finished product, Yum!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nature Study, Outdoor Hour Challenge #4 . . .

It is Coming into Focus:

We had a very interesting week and learned a lot. We took a road trip, as a family, and followed closely the Lewis and Clark Expedition trail. What a great and hard adventure that would have been. Along the way, I would tell the kids facts or quotes about the journey that happened at the location we were at. It got us all excited to learn more when we get to our state history.

Snow dusted trees at the top of a summit

We had the opportunity to see a lot of beautiful country and spend some time admiring the nature around us. The area we were in was covered in tall mountains and lush vegetation, including evergreens. The tops of the mountains were dusted in snow and we could see signs of Winter coming to the area. Also on our trip, we were able to see an abundance of wildlife from birds to mammals. This being the case, we decided to make our focus for the next few months on mammals.

While on our trip, we saw many mammals. Antelope, deer, moose, coyotes, just to name a few. We also spent time in a visitor center and learned about some other mammals that they had stuffed examples or pelts for those particular mammals. Some of those included, elk, mink, badger, bear, bobcat, beaver, and more. They had some information sheets there to take that had brief descriptions and pictures of various mammals.

Info sheets on mammals free at a Visitor Center

** I found a great Nature Study Schedule here. Thanks Barb-Harmny! **

School at Home?

I haven't been posting as regularly because I think things have been going smoothly and we really have just been doing the same things as usual, with one exception. For the first few weeks, we tried to approach our "schooling" at home as just that, school. We have a room set aside for school with bookcases full of books, school supplies, maps, reference books, etc. We would begin our day with the regular things that you would find going on in a public school like the pledge, calendar, weather, etc. We also added singing, prayer, and then moved onto our subjects. Everything ran smoothly and went as planned except when we had something like library, field trip, or other things that just seemed to throw us off.

So I decided to take the approach of home educating instead. We still get all of the things done that we did before, but it is in a much more relaxed way. C9 and C8 can now get there binder work and reading done wherever they like whether that is downstairs in the "school" room or upstairs at the dining table or on the couch. They say they like it better this way because they don't feel as much pressure that it is a "school" thing, just that they are learning. They also said they don't get as distracted this way. I also think, that it feels more like a way of life and that is exactly how I think it should be. We'll see how this goes, but so far so good! How do some of you go about your "school" at home?