Wednesday, September 24, 2014

apple books and activities and week 4 recap

In public school, kindergarten and often first grade classes, too, spend at least a week (sometimes an entire month) on an apple theme. I could not let Bubby miss out on this American rite of passage, so we spent a little more than a week reading apple books and doing apple inspired things.

Books We Read:
Johnny Appleseed
Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree
Apples (by Farmer)
Ten Apples up on Top
Apple Cider Making
How Do Apples Grow
Apple Pie Tree
Apples - (by Gibbons)
Apples To Oregon

Things  We Did:
Each day we read a couple of different apple themed books, usually a fiction  and a non-fiction one. We started the week with Johnny Appleseed, and therefore I had the boys create self-portraits of  themselves as Bubby and Bugaboo Appleseed. We also mapped out Johnny's route on Bubby's US map. (Later in the week we mapped out the route from Iowa to Oregon to go along with Apples to Oregon, and we briefly compared the trips.)
Bubby decided to give himself a beard

Making apple prints with paint on paper was a big hit for both boys. It worked on some different fine motor skills for Bug, too, so win-win.

One day when Bug was at preschool, Bubby and I painted the four different seasons of an apple tree. Even when I painted the example to follow, he chose to do his own thing with it, so I just let him. (This is much harder for me to do than it sounds.) Both boys created a simple and fun Ten Apples Up pictures, much like our Caps for Sale pictures from last year. Bubby insisted on doing a pattern with the colors.

We made another KWL chart for this topic. Bubby cut out, glued, and labeled the parts of an apple. The labeling counted as handwriting that day as he traced the words I had written for him.  We also spent some time searching around the house for things that are bigger than apples and smaller than apples.  It was interesting what Bubby chose to put on the lists.

I intended to make applesauce in the crockpot for the first time, but instead opted for my favorite apple dessert - apple crisp.  You can't go wrong with something that has a brown sugar topping!

In other learning, in phonics we worked on final blends. Phonics has started to be a bit more challenging for Bubby, but he can do it, and the challenge is good for him.  In Math, I introduced him to the unit bars our curriculum uses, so it was an easier week in that subject.  Handwriting focused on O, Q, and G. The O and Q felt awkward to write on the Handwriting Without Tears slate, in my opinion.  We continued series two in Spanish, but he's not enjoying it as much as I had hoped, so we are going to back off a little bit while I figure out what to do with that.  Bubby continued piano practicing and lessons and soccer started.

Favorite Things:
Both boys had a lot of fun this week with the activities. Bubby said his favorite thing was the apple printing. Anything with paint is always a big hit with him. I Just really enjoyed looking for various books and activities, planning our week, and implementing it all.  I really do love curriculum and instruction.

What I Learned:
Hands-on is always best. It's more work, but why use a worksheet when even a five year old can cut out and create their own apple to label and create their own four seasons to paint? I rarely use a worksheet (other than our consumable papers for math), but I can do better with more hands-on/cross-curricular activities. If I can aim for one of these types of weeks each month, I think I will have more enthusiasm in this house towards learning.

Make Way for Ducklings (Five in a Row) and Week Three Recap

I'm very behind on blogging about homeschooling. We went to Illinois for almost a week in the middle of the month when my great-grandmother died. September started up some extra activities for us. And life just gets filled with many other ordinary and wonderful things, but I want to still try to keep a record online on what we have done.  Here is a look a week three.

The story we rowed was Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.  There is a reason this is a classic. The ducks are lovable, the storyline sweet, and it lends itself to many extension activities.  We didn't even get around to some that I had lined up - there's always next time.

What We Did:
We started the week off by going to a park where we are actually allowed to feed the ducks. (our favorite park has signs prohibiting that.)  The ducks and geese were out in full force and the way they circled around us was a bit overwhelming.  I think we all freaked out a bit at their demands at one point, which accounts for me not getting a sweet and picturesque shot of the boys feeding Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.

We read a few nonfiction books about ducks and ducklings. The book Just Ducks was probably our favorite go-along this week. Bubby and I made another KWL chart for the duck topic. We did an experiment with water and oil to discover why ducks don't get wet, and we informally compared mama and daddy ducks - their looks, their roles, etc.

Last year we read The Story of Ping for Five in a Row, so we reread it this week and compared and contrasted the stories just through conversation about both books.  There were some great vocabulary words and just some old-fashioned things to discuss in Make Way for Ducklings.

Uncle Chow and Auntie Missa happened to visit Boston this summer, so Bubby and I looked at the many pictures of famous places Auntie Missa had posted online.  There was also a really neat google tour specifically for Make Way for Ducklings, so we used that as well.  We located Massachusetts on the map (and China when we reread Ping) and colored and labeled a MA map and surrounding states. Bubby tracing the state names doubled for handwriting practice that day.

In other areas of academics, we covered the "ch" sound in phonics. In math we learned about place value to the 100s. This is just an introduction with MathUSee, but by the end of the week I think Bubby was feeling better about some of the concepts of place value. I know we will hit this more next year in math.  We also did a fun duck-based math sheet with manipulatives that worked on some pre-multiplication concepts. In handwriting we introduced U and C, and in Spanish we began our second series.  Bubby started piano lessons this week, so that was exciting to begin that journey.

Favorite Things:
Bubby's favorite thing this week had nothing to do with our duck theme.  I let him really help me make peach muffins one afternoon. He helped measure and pour in, but he really liked when I let him (with supervision) cut slices of peaches into the little pieces we needed. He ran to his room to get his chef hat. It was quite precious, and the muffins were delicious.

What I Learned:
I realized how fast time flies. From starting piano to helping more in the kitchen, Bubby is growing up so fast! This was a fun week of learning with both boys.