Homeschooling, fall 2015, age 6.5

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Reading

Lily reads a ton on her own, and we read together too. She loves listening to audiobooks, reading picture books and chapter books, and reading stories together. I don’t do anything formal here as I want her to just continue to love reading for research and pleasure. Some of her favorite chapter book series are Daisy Dawson, Rainbow Fairies, Amelia Bedelia, Critter Club, and Pet Hotel.

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(Note for my own records: http://a2zhomeschooling.com/main_articles/reading_level_assessment/ – As of August 2015 she can read through about the 4th grade reading levels.)

Writing

She has learned the value in writing and I continue to encourage practice in her Handwriting Without Tears book, with the promise that once she completes “Printing Power” she can move onto “Kick Start Cursive” since she claims she really wants to learn to read and write cursive. She needs to get a bit better at her printing though first 🙂

I have all the best intentions of bringing more Brave Writer habits consistently into our routines like Tuesday Tea Time and narration. Hopefully I can get better at following through with these.

We will be participating in a very local co-op writing class…literally meets a mile from our new home and only costs $5 for the entire year. How can we say no to trying that? The class should be working through creative and structured writing, and hopefully it will act as a good introduction to writing ideas for her. If not…it was only $5 🙂

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Math

We picked up Life of Fred: Apples through an interlibrary loan, and she was hooked instantly. A few years ago I had skimmed through Life of Fred at a friend’s and deemed it too wordy, and oh-my-goodness how could any learning happen with that much talky talk. But she LOVES it. We’re in the middle of Apples right now, and I’ve bought Butterflies, Cats, and Dogs. She’s pretty much on target for her age for math skills, so I anticipate these four books lasting through the “school year” and we can add on from the Life of Fred series as needed if it continues to work for her.

Science

Science continues to just happen in daily life (for example, raising monarch caterpillars into butterflies!). This fall monthly nature classes will resume with our homeschool group, too. Mystery Science offered a free year of elementary science lessons…we’ll see if I pick it up and use it. She still LOVES the videos on KidsHealth.org, and Magic School Bus science kits, snap circuits, etc. Science has a way of just working its way into our daily life and I am happy to leave it at that for now.

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Art

We will also be trying out an art class through the very local co-op, this one costing a whopping $10 for the year 🙂 She also, of course, has unlimited access to our plethora of supplies at home. Right now she seems to really enjoy a variety of how-to-draw books for animals, and coloring pages, and she makes things for her toys quite often too (signs for their houses, food for them to eat, etc.).

History

Lily has discovered Story of the World audiobooks and she is hooked. I have volume 1 loaded onto her little old iPod currently, and we have volumes 2 and 3 checked out via interlibrary loan to load on in the coming months. The interesting facts she can retell that she has learned is endlessly entertaining! Just yesterday I got to hear all about monotheism versus polytheism, and she loves talking about Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar and the months of July and August. The local history center also has programs throughout the year for homeschoolers that cover topics like Rosie the Riveter and Henry Matisse. It’s also only a mile away, so we will be taking advantage of that as well! Untitled

Music

She has continued to love her violin lessons and can now play through Twinkle Twinkle, Lightly Row, Song of the Wind, Go Tell Aunt Rody, O Come Little Children, and May Song. She’s just begun working on dynamics now which is super fun to witness. Every day she practices multiple times because she wants to, I have never had to nag or tell her to practice.

Lily will also be continuing ballet lessons this year in a 5-6 year old class through the local park district. We did a trial at a private school, but it was very formal and all about technique with no fun bits mixed in, so I’m happy to have found a local class that will still incorporate games and play along with learning the positions, etc.

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Physical Education

Ballet also crosses over into a physical activity, which is great. She also takes weekly swim lessons at a private swim school and her abilities in the water have grown tremendously. She started about a year ago and can now swim independently in water over her head!

Miscellaneous

We will be trying out a new local 4-H club as well as a new local Daisy Girl Scout troop that is forming at the nearest grade school. It turns out that 4-H also meets just a mile from home and 3 out of 4 of her Daisy troop members live on our street. I love when close-to-home things like that pop up!

With this being a more “official” school year (1ST GRADE OMG), I’m trying to get into the routine of touching on a bit of book work (math, handwriting) on a more regular basis–aiming for a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. This still allows time for Monday swim and violin and Girl Scouts, Tuesday co-op and 4-H, Wednesday history center, Thursday park days, and Friday nature classes and ballet lessons (lessons, co-op, and park are weekly; Girl Scouts, 4-H, history center, and nature classes are monthly). I think we’ll be able to squeeze in Tuesday Tea Time, and plenty of freedom to play/read/visit with friends and family and all that other good stuff that comes as perks of homeschooling. Here’s to another year!

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Try Something New Every Month: Adventures with a mitre saw! 

Since moving into the new house I’ve been tackling all these great little projects that I can now do with the freedom of owning a single family home. So of course I put up a bird feeder! But silly me didn’t think that there are approximately 3891243712839 types of bird feeders, and just one wasn’t going to be enough. So I set out to build a platform feeder with our shiny new mitre saw!

I certainly love power tools, and I’m so happy to be collecting, quite literally, the right tools for the jobs. When I needed angled cuts before I used to hit the belt sander until I got what I needed, hahaha.

So for this bird feeder I just cut four 14″ lengths with 45-degree angles on both ends.

And these handy dandy right-angle clamps were awesome to work with when screwing it all together.

I drilled pilot holes, but the wood still split a little. Because pine. But it was still structurally sound and the birds wouldn’t mind it cosmetically, so I kept going with it as-is.

After it was all together I took some screen and cut it to size.

And then I stapled it all around, pulling opposite sides tight and then working my way around.

Home Depot sells chain by the foot, so I bought four 1-foot cuts and attached them to these screw eyelets and popped ’em in each corner.

And then an S-hook holds it all together!

 

The Wildbird Shack is a new bird feed store one town over that has all high quality bird food (no hulls, all nuts and seeds that are good for the wild birds). The staff has been super helpful in assisting me with picking out what kind of feeders I want and what blends of food to use.

 

And so far, so good! I’ve witnessed a cardinal come by twice so far, and I’m hoping some species other than sparrows decide to come around, too. Though I sure can appreciate the sparrows, they are so funny to watch as they hunt flying bugs.


My sewing machine is in that window under the awning. I love sitting at my desk!

 

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