Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer School Week 2

Week 2 Field Notes

A fun idea I'd seen many times on-line before is to use popsicle sticks with the names of all the subjects on them and to let the kids draw one to decide which subject to do.  I forgot to mention we did this after having a trying first day last week.  The rest of the week went much better and they were bringing me the cup of sticks to draw one even when it wasn't school time.

Bird Call:  Chickadee - Played sounds 1-2 times daily for entire week. The bird calls have become Ezra's obsession.  He likes to sit on the website and say, "Mommy, name that bird!" like a game show host.  Since we just started doing this, I'm not very good at it, but we're motivated to get better.  We sit outside and listen to all the calls and it's driving us crazy to not know the names of the birds making the calls.

Classical MusicBach, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and The Well Tempered Clavier.  Played each once a day throughout week, reminding the kids of who the composer is and the name of the song.  Also added No. 3 of the Brandenburg Concertos, we should have done that one instead of No. 5 last week.

Picture Study: Rembrandt, "The Night Watch"

Animal:  Rhinoceros.  We read books on rhinos from the library and this from Nat'l Geographic:

Just have to add that, in retrospect, this topic is the least relevant in that they already know what most animals are when they see one.  If anything, this gives us an excuse to dive in and investigate a fun topic, animals of their choice!  It should make our next trip to the zoo that much more meaningful, I hope.

InsectCockroaches.   Read a book from the library on this disgusting bug.

Flower: Crocus and Tulip.  Coloring pages to choose from here and here.  We had sickness this week, hence the extra videos scattered about.  Of all of them though, this one was fabulous!  The section on tulips can be found between 31:00 and 55:00 in this two hour special.  Now, everywhere we go, the kids see tulips and point them out.

Tree: Maple Tree.  Sat under our maple tree and used a better guide to figure out it was a Norway Maple, which looks a lot like a Sugar Maple.  It was a little disappointing when we realized it wasn't a Sugar, but that's ok, now no one is asking to tap the tree.

Fungi: Mushroom Anatomy.  We took a step back this week and went over mushroom parts before we memorized any more mushroom names.  I can't say enough about the wonderful book I found at our library on mushrooms, Katya's Book of Mushrooms!!!  Talk about a living book!  The Russian author, Katya Arnold, puts into pictures and words her passion for mushroom hunting and eating, evidently a Russian family tradition and children are taught when they are young how to hunt for them.  We used her diagrams as our basis for mushroom anatomy.  Then, wait for it...we DRESSED UP like mushrooms (OK, maybe just the cap and gills) and labeled ourselves!  We even threw glitter around to show what spores do.  Too fun!

To cap it off (like my pun?), I just happened upon THIS mushroom farm an hour away!!  We'll be planning a field trip there for sure.  I'd like to get a growing kit too, since I have no idea how to find our own mushrooms.  We may have to ask some of our mushroom hunting friends from church how to get started.  This is quickly becoming MY favorite subject we're studying, and to think, I almost left it off!

Ezra said he's a Fly Agaric mushroom- cute, but poisonous

Rocks: Pumice.  Ordered set of igneous rocks this week, in the meantime used a real life pumice stone from my bathroom and showed them how to use it on their feet. Put it in water to see if it would float.   Here's an Igneous Rock video for kids.  Here's one on Pumice.

Constellation: Orion.  Here's a Dot to Dot of Orion.  Also, I meant to share last time, this is the site I'm basing the choice of constellations on.  Read the history of Orion the Warrior from our constellation book from the library.  We won't be able to see Orion until Winter time.

DinosaurStegosaurus.  Here they are on Dinosaur Train!  Also, we read a library book on them.

American Sign Language: Taught them D,E, and F (Reviewed every few days).  They are eager beavers and have tricked me into going ahead a bit.  We are up to K now and Ezra signs his name by himself proudly.

Sea LifeSalmon.  We found great videos on National Geographic, PBS, found a salmon to color and read a little from our library book on fishes*.  Once a month during our Summer School, I've scheduled for us to cover edible sea life that we'll actually try that week.  We happened to have a side of salmon in the freezer, so we ate it last night.  Turns out Phoebe LOVES salmon!  All the kids do actually.  I recommend my mom's sauce to go on top: 1 part mustard (the more gritty the better) and 1 part plum sauce (mango chutney works great too).  Ben likes to add a splash of soy sauce as well.  Ezra made a salmon sandwich with this sauce and dandelion leaves (he's our gourmet chef).

*Did you know that if you're talking about two salmon you say,  "There's two fish"? But, if you're talking about a salmon and a snapper you'd say, "There's two fishes."  Mommy learned something this week.

BiographyGandhi.  We found a book at the library and several videos for kids on-line, like this one. or this one!

Fiction Summer Must ReadsMr. Popper's Penguins - about to finish it, it'll be done before the weekend's over.  They love it!

The honest truth is we only did three days of school this week and I feel like we whizzed through each subject briefly one time.  The consolation is that it seems all of our topics, almost, are practical enough we encounter them somewhere throughout the week outside of school, so it gets reinforced that way.

It won't be until the very end of May before I post more Summer School field notes as we're going to Tennessee to see family for a few weeks.  Have a great May!!