Friday, April 26, 2013

Summer School, Week 1

Week 1 Field Notes

Bird Call: The Red Cardinal - Played sounds 1-2 times daily for entire week. Read two books on them as well.  Made a bird bath in the back yard for them after reading that they like those.  Learned what they like to eat and that they do not migrate!  Had fun observing them at our bird feeders picking out the black sunflower seeds.

Classical Music: Bach, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Brandenburg Concerto No. 5" Played each once a day throughout week, can find them for free on Spotify or just Google searching, reminding the kids of who the composer is and the name of the song. This is a great rendition of the latter and one of Jesu.

Picture Study: Rembrandt, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" We sat and really pored over this picture three times this week.  I asked questions about their observations.   We read the Scripture passage it was based on a few times.  We were surprised when we observed a familiar face in the painting besides Jesus!
Animal: Elephant.We read several books on elephants from library.  Watched YouTube videos of elephants playing.  One book we read from the library was about elephants painting so after reading it, we painted with paintbrushes in our mouths like trunks.  We painted with our hands afterwards to compare the experiences and thanked God for our hands!

Insect: Pill Bug or Roly Poly as we like to call them.  We read a library book on them and played with them outside.  We found some baby ones too!

Flower: Daffodil.  Brought some in from the garden, colored this picture of a daffodil.  We learned that they're inedible, even for deer and will kill any other flower/plant that they are put in a vase with!

Tree: Cherry Tree.  Looked through tree book from library to ID cherry trees.  Talked about bark, leaves and fruit/flowers to stress how we identify trees.  I think I need a better field guide.  Will try other library or order one soon.  Did find this video on identifying cherry trees and think we'll have to watch all four parts at some point.

Fungi: Fly Agaric.  What beautiful pictures come up when you Google this!  We read about them in a library book and drew and colored our own pictures of them.  I remind the kids everyday of the name of this fungi as they're still learning to read.

Rocks: Intro to Igneous Rocks.  With help from a Rock Field Guide from the library we were able to find several Igneous rocks in the gravel in our backyard and reviewed what igneous rocks are.  Mostly played with the rocks and separated them according to clearly sparkly ones (Igneous) and clearly sandstone (Sedimentary) rocks.  We did math with the rocks too.  :-) For the record, we learned this past year how the different types of rocks are formed at our CC Memory Fun time that I do with some of the moms.  Otherwise, I'd have spent today teaching them about how igneous rocks form.

Constellation: The Big and Little Dipper.  Here's a Dot to Dot of the Big Dipper.  We got ladles out and talked about how they looked the same.  Read a kid's library book on constellations so they knew what they were!

Dinosaur: Pterodon.  Read a library book on this and watched a video on about the Triassic Period.  Planning to watch some Dinosaur Train on-line still.

American Sign Language: Taught them A, B, and C (Reviewed every few days)

Sea Life: Crabs.  We read a library book on crustaceans, looked at the different colors of crabs in Google images (there's even purple crabs!!  We couldn't find a color they didn't come in!!) then colored our own crabs thanks to these printables.

Biography: Dr. Seuss, we read the book on his life and read extra Dr. Seuss books this week.

Fiction Summer Must Reads: Mr. Popper's Penguins (we'll read this until we're done - may need more than one week).

Note: I'm collecting pictures from the internet of the front of the books we read, and pasting them in files titled by subject so I have a record of what we've read.

We spent four half days this week covering this material.  We'll spend Monday reviewing and Tuesday we'll dive into week 2 which I got the library books for yesterday.  I envision us becoming more concise in our materials and activities as the Summer progresses.  We were just excited to get started and were a little overly ambitious this first week.  OK, maybe that was just me.

Summer School Intro.

After participating in Classical Conversations (CC) this past year, I had an idea.  First you should know that in CC, we present new info. to the kids each week and review it regularly.  There's three cycles (or three years) worth of info, then we do it all again and it should lodge itself nicely into their long term memories.  In CC, we do very traditional (or at least Classical) academic subjects such as English, Math, Latin, Geography, History, and Science.  Since completing the 24 week CC year, we have 18 weeks before returning to CC in the Fall.

I have always loved the nature based approach of Charlotte Mason (CM) and just for fun thought I could combine the two approaches.  This Summer, instead of just doing reading, writing and arithmetic like normal (we always do year round school), I thought we could do a hybrid of CC and CM where we memorize bird calls, classical music, names of insects, dinosaurs, and so on!  I have always wanted to know the names of trees and flowers when I see them, so I threw that in there too along with lots of other things.  I might have been a bit ambitious.

So, taking all the natural and artistic material that I desired for my kids to learn I made a table of three year's worth of material that we can repeat, just like we do CC material and get into our long term memories.   What I have to make clear for anyone not familiar with the classical theory of education is that for children under 10 years old, they are known to memorize well, but not to reason well yet.  So, tons of topics doesn't mean we exhaust all of them knowing them inside and out.  It means I briefly introduce each and make some sort of fun connection between the two things that I want them to connect, like a bird and it's sound or a piece of artwork and it's name and artist, a rock and it's name and type, etc.  We then just review those things for one week.  Once a week we'll review material from past weeks.  Next year will be all new material, and the next, then we come back to what we did this year in three years.  This is not time to understand the ins and outs of how a rock is made, though there are fun experiments for that.  Going into depth is just bonus if we get to it.  

So, I decided to wait to post the first week's material until after we did it.  I confess, I have never had this many library books out before and am praying we don't lose any, but I think between the library and the Internet, we're going to have almost all of what we need.  I am considering purchasing a set of igneous rocks from Amazon so we can see more than what's in our gravel.  Next year I'll need a set of sedimentary rocks and metamorphic for the third year.  Ooh, I also need a big binder for each child for each year to save all our work.  

I'll be labeling all related posts as "Summer School Cycle A" so I can find what we did again in three years to do it again!  We'll surely be able to go into more depth and do more complicated activities then when they're three years older.  Some subjects we are deciding the week before based on availability of library books.  But here's the basic list of subjects we'll be covering:

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Classical Music or Jazz
Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn
Mozart, Beethoven

Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Debussy, Strauss
Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Copland, Gershwin, Stravinsky
Artist Study
Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt
Degas, Gauguin, Cezanne, Seurat
Matisse, Kandinsky, Picasso, Warhol
Trees of Ohio

Foreign Trees
Other well known trees
Flowerbed flowers
 Wild Flowers
 Tropical and Carnivorous Flowers
Mushrooms of Ohio
Other important Fungi
Kids pick 12
Kids pick 12
Kids pick 12
Well known dinosaurs we find books on

Chosen based on available books at library

10 Major Constellations
6 Sky Wonders like Meteor Showers
8 Planets plus Pluto
Bird Sounds
12 Birds of Ohio

12 Tropical Birds
12 Birds of North America
Sea Life
Types you eat
Beautiful sea life
Sign Language
Alphabet in ASL
Basic Conversation in ASL
Basic conversation in ASL
Different every year for all 6 years
Alternating each week between modern and historic people

Fiction Must Reads
See on-line lists of must reads for kids

We're doing this for ourselves and don't expect anyone else to join us.  Posting this is just an extra measure of accountability, but also a great way to find all our work again, by week, in three years when we'll want it again.  

Also, for the record, I have only 12 of the 18 weeks scheduled so we have six weeks off whenever we wish.  In British school we only ever had six weeks off in the summer and that's our norm.  I have had a lot of fun putting all this together and am constantly deliberating with myself about whether to add or take away subjects.  There's so many things in the world to learn!!!  Everyone just has to pick what they most want to learn and go with that.  This is what we picked!  We'll also be doing reading, writing (which I found we practice plenty in our other subjects) and arithmetic, CC review and working on learning some Spanish this Summer.  The neat thing is we can do most of our learning outside in the sun like we did today.  Thank you, God, for the sunshine!!!