Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This term we are studying Van Gogh. Why did we choose him you may ask? Well, last year Walmart had a bunch of prints for $1 each. They are a print about the size of a 5 x 7, but look more like an 8 x 10 with the border, that are on a piece of cardboard. I've left them in their sealed plastic for protection and ease of use. I think I have about 7 different Van Gogh pieces and a few from several other artists. I'll work my way through the artists whose works I have before moving onto others.
Sunflowers is the first print we studied. I had them study it one week by looking at it and telling me what they saw. Colors, what kind of flower, etc. All during that week it was hanging on the front of the fridge. Then the following week, we did our own Sunflowers using watercolor crayons. I really enjoyed the way these turned out. You use the crayons to draw and color first, then take the wet paintbrush and go over it afterward. It wasn't runny but blended nicely. In order from left to right the artist are Pooh, Tigger and MasterpieceMom. I think we did pretty good for a first go around. Pooh very nicely arranged his flowers, Tigger added a dramatic splash of color (very Van Goghy) and Mom did surprisingly well with the flowers on the right side of the pot. (I wasn't happy with the left side. LOL)
Van Gogh painted something like 16 different portraits of sunflowers. I have no idea which one this is.
Since then we've also done chalk pastels of Van Gogh's Roses but I don't know that they'll show up very well as the colors are so light and I've covered them in saran wrap to avoid having chalk dust everywhere. I wasn't so thrilled with that idea. LOL If I manage to get some decent photos, I'll post them separately.
(This is Tigger's rendition of the neighbor's apple tree.)
(From Pooh's sketchbook.)
(Pooh's Apple Bark rubbing.)
The National Wildlife Foundation is hosting the first ever 'Make Tracks' A family Trail Weekend. The purpose is to get you and your kids outside rediscovering nature. I think these initiatives are great. I love the Great Backyard Birdcount in February. I would like to start collecting these different nature programs for everyone to keep track of. If you know of other ones (no matter what time of year), please let me know and I'll compile a post and hopefully get them on my side bar too.
We should be able to participate in Make Tracks. Actually for the next two weekends we will be at state parks barring bad weather. We will be heading to Pilot Mountain State Park this weekend for a homeschool hike. Our homeschool group has an Athletic group where the kids sign up to participate in different activities (hikes, bike rides, field day, etc) and they will receive a badge for each thing they accomplish. Cool, huh!?! The following Saturday, we have a family day and I believe we will be heading to Stone Mountain State Park. It should be beautiful because the colors have started to change.
My next job is to get our Tree Study underway. I think we'll be starting it today and expanding on it tomorrow after Pooh's Art class.
I better hop to it! ;D
Friday, September 19, 2008
Pooh is currently tying his model boats into a red bandanna and attaching them to his walking stick. I asked him if he needed any help in tying it on but he told me to 'leave him alone'.
He's leaving home. Anybody want to write him a goodbye note? :D
P.S. Anybody that in the southeast, watch the skies around 8pm to see the International Space Station. It's only going to last about 5 minutes. Those of you in other parts, sorry I don't know your schedule or if you'll be able to see it.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I love how mushrooms come in so many colors. There are wonderful bits of color in their shady world! Here are a couple more pictures of ones we saw:
This last picture is how you can take a mushroom and create a 'spore print'. You cut the stem off and lay the top, gill side down, on a piece of paper. Cover it with a jar or bowl and let sit for 24 hours. Ours is sitting under a bowl on the kitchen table right now. I'll let you know how it turns out.
We also collected some more tree seeds for Tigger. Has anyone done or seen a neat way of organizing tree seeds? I don't want to put them in their nature notebooks because some we have collected are quite large and fat. I'd like them to be on cards and labeled. Maybe just put them in a shoebox? Let me know if you've discovered any cool ways that aren't too complicated. *I* peter out when things get complicated.
Another cool thing we discovered yesterday was a snake skin. Tigger saw it under a little wooden bridge. (Yes, that meant he was hanging over the side upside down. LOL) He asked what 'that skin' was. I thought he meant the liner of the stream. He insisted I get down and hang over the bridge myself. So, like the good mother I am, I did it. I was just glad there was no one else around to see my rear in the air. When I saw what he was talking about, we fished it out with a stick. It had been caught on a rock in the water. We talked about how the snake grows and sheds it's old skin because he has a new one. I have no idea what kind of snake it was, maybe one day I'll figure it out.
After we did our exploring, we took snacks, drinks, blankets and our nature bag (filled with our sketchbooks, color pencils and HNS) and hit a nice resting spot. I read from the HNS about fungi and we all did a little sketch of the mushrooms we saw. Pooh did two of the brown mushrooms with all three of us in the picture. Tigger did an amazing job (the best he's done of a nature study) with his orangy-yellow mushrooms. Oh and that was his new color discovery of the day-orangy-yellow. ;D I did my sad job of the different colors I saw and then I did an adequate job of copying the diagram with labeling from HNS.
Oh and I almost forgot. The kids had passed me by, but I made an interesting little find. Chipmunks must have some type of mating call in the fall. I heard this repetitive noise in the brush. I thought it was a new bird I hadn't seen or maybe a strange sounding frog. (shows how much I know. LOL) But, no, it was a little chipmunk sitting on a dead tree trunk, using it's whole little body to make a fast, repetitive, throaty call. I can only assume he was calling his lady friend. Another thing to investigate. :)
It was a lovely afternoon. Perfect temps, nature and my kids. What more could you ask for?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thursday was me and two other moms listening to drama auditions and deciding on who gets what parts in the three different plays we're putting on this year. They will all be performed at our End Of The Year meeting-otherwise known as the EOYM. lol There are 3 so that we can separate all the kids according to age. These are the plays we'll be performing. Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate ---Tigger will be performing as Captain Soggy. And I believe that Pooh will fill in for a missing role as Grunt. The second play is From the Elephant Pit --Pooh will be performing as the Snake. Then the final play for all the older than 13 kids is Ever After. The boys are excited every year at what we do in our drama club. Pooh especially, loves being on stage. Usually by the end of the year, he has everyone's lines memorized. LOL The upside of autism. ;P
I also had a meeting with my Field Trip Committee where we discussed how we're going to use the money we raised with our fundraiser. What a privilege to be able to provide the kid's entrance fees to between 4-5 field trips! We're planning more fundraising events too!
Friday we were able to visit Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC. This is definitely worth a drive. They had special homeschooling days this month where the entrance was only $8 each--quite a bargain compared to their regular prices. There will be another homeschooling event in February of 2009 for anyone in driving distance. The boys love to dress up in all types of period clothing which is what they got to do in the Children's Museum. Pooh was very impressed to find out that George Washington spent two nights at the Salem Tavern. :) We were at Old Salem all day and still didn't see everything, so there is plenty to do next time we want to go.
Saturday, my Latin King, wanted to go to a Spanish festival in the area, so we did that as well. It was soooo hot, though, that we didn't stay for too long. We did get to see some dancing in the style of the Aztecs and another style from a region of Mexico that produced the Mexican Hat Dance.
Saturday night we camped out in our front yard. The King and I slept on long long chairs by a little fire pit we have while the boys slept in their 'clubhouse'. It was fine except for the neighbor's rooster waking us up at 5am in the morning.
So by Sunday afternoon, I crashed while the King took the boys fishing. Even yesterday, I was exhausted although I did manage quite a new feat for me. I spent the afternoon pureeing fresh pumpkin from the garden and making two pumpkin pies. Oh My! they are good!!! This is the recipe I used. Instead of soy milk, I used a can of coconut milk. Pumpkin pie is very hard not to eat. It just sits there, tasty and yet not too sweet, waiting for you to eat it. Mmmmmmmmm.
Excuse me, there's something in the kitchen that needs taken care of. ;D
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
First I'll copy and paste a couple of things from some of my former posts
regarding Pooh's narrations. Then, I'll provide more info at the
For those new to this blog, please keep in mind that Pooh has autism and some of what we do won't be 'strict' CM.
"I'm learning that the key with Pooh is to make sure and do shorter readings. Even the OIS chapter is too long right now for him to listen and narrate. So I take it in paragraphs. Same thing with 50 Famous Stories. I believe that Narration has to be our focus for Year 1. He's going to need to practice and we'll try to use different types of narration in the process. Oral, drawings and even figurines to act it out."
"I'm adjusting expectations that I had as regards some of our readings and narration. I've learned that Pooh needs me to stop every couple of paragraphs for a narration so that he can stay focused. If I try to do a whole chapter or too large of a section, his mind wanders to other things and then we both get frustrated that 'he's not listening'. I also see where sometimes the language used in the reading confuses him or just causes a general misunderstanding of the storyline. It takes us discussing it together to make sure he can follow along. For instance, from Our Island Story, we read A Laconic Answer. He was able to narrate the end of the story in regards to the one guy (can't remember his name LOL) wanting to make war with the Lacons (or Spartans) but didn't get all the part where it explains what the Lacons were known for and why the end had 'a laconic answer'. Which to me is the whole point of reading this story. So we had to discuss it. Basically, I have to narrate. I have found myself asking questions about the readings, which I'm trying to limit or eliminate. I even found myself interrupting to correct something. Horrors!!!! I stopped myself and said, "whoops I'm interrupting" and put my hand over my mouth. Pooh thought this was funny and smiled as he finished his narration."
As you can see from the above clips, the history narration of AO requires extra work on our part. I think we did well choosing Year 1. It's just about right for him. He loves the history stories, even though he doesn't necessarily follow them as well as he could. These are some common mistakes he makes:
- Forgetting names. He doesn't seem able to remember them. He will even ask the same person's name several times throughout his narration. I frequently hear "What was the leader of the Romans name again?" I'm need to work on writing out the names for him ahead of time so that he can get into the habit of looking at them for reference during narration.
- Leaping ahead. Pooh really loves the stories. He is always excited to listen to them. I think he has a great imagination in that he is really thinking about the stories, but in the sense of how he would like them to end. Yesterday we read about How Caligula conquered Britain from OIS. At the point where Caligula rows out into the English Channel and then comes back to make his speech, I stopped for narration. Pooh's narration had him on a ship back to Italy. Then at the end of the story, he told me he preferred the story of Julius Caesar because he took ships instead of walking all the way. LOL Have I mentioned before how much Pooh loves ships!?!
- Getting mixed up. He can tend to get mixed up as to who is doing what. He knows what events are taking place but will sometimes not know which side is doing a particular thing. Today, from 50 Famous Stories, we read about Horatius at the Bridge. I stopped for narration after Horatius sent his friends across the bridge and the bridge fell. Pooh narrated that all the Etruscans crossed the bridge and died. That's the combination of his getting a little mixed up and leaping ahead in his mind to imagine what is going to happen.
Sometimes these mistakes he makes cause me to have to correct something so as not to have a complete misunderstanding of what's going on. I will also ask questions, though I do try to make declarative statements instead. How he answers the questions will many times reassure me that he's getting it, that he understood the main point of the event/motive, etc. One thing in particular I do is listen to his narration and just wait. (the RDI 45 second rule) This allows him to continue thinking about the reading and often he'll tell me more details, things I was waiting to see if he got. This would be especially helpful for any students with processing issues.
Despite these errors, I believe that overall he does pretty well. Many times he is spot on with his narrations and will even connect it with other things he's learning. Yesterday we started Aesop's fable of The Shepard Boy and the Wolf. I made the comment "I wonder what this story is going to be about." He replied, "Maybe it's like The Boy Who Cried Wolf." And he also did really well with noticing that the whole problem was that the boy was a liar. He also connected with some of our bible reading by saying that it was showing compassion--something he had seen defined on TV.
Some other info is that we do narrate from each of the reading selections and as mentioned before that may mean after each paragraph or several paragraphs depending on what I'm seeing. We did Shakespeare for the first time this week and it was a little rough. I let him draw a picture but even from that I could tell he just hadn't gotten the whole story line. Today we actually went over the book I am using for Tigger that has more pictures in it and I think that may have helped. So I will be looking into some other books recommended by some to help younger kids understand Shakespeare. Drawing has been a good way for him to narrate in the past and I will continue to use it on occasion. You can see examples of his narration of Wind in the Willows in February '08 posts.
All in all I have been extremely impressed with the value of AO's book selections and narration. I see connections being made, I see wonderment in learning and I KNOW that this method is much less stressful that other things we have used in the past. Children who struggle due to whatever kind of disability will benefit from CM's gentle learning style--narration being a major part of that.
Another tip for those working with more than one child. My boys were fighting over narrations--who went first, "he took my answer", etc. This was happening even though, Tigger, age 5, is not expected to narrate. He just wants to be part of everything and is constantly listening in. What I've worked out, that has helped tremendously, is for them to have their 'own' books. Pooh narrates as usual from his Year 1 books. Now Tigger has his own schedule of books that I read to him. These books come from the Year 0 list provided by AO. Neither one is allowed to narrate on the others books. It's worked like a charm. Now they can even take turns without fighting when we have our bible reading. They've automatically starting taking turns on who goes first without me even prompting for it. LOL I think each of them having their own thing that belongs to them, takes away the competition and allows the other stuff we do all together to run more smoothly.
As I'm typing this, my boys are in their bedroom and Pooh is regaling Tigger with narrations of the OIS stories about Julius Caesar and 'the other Romans' and their different approaches to invading Britain. How cool is that?!? History bedtime stories from one brother to the other. Pooh is even making up his own dialogue of what the soldiers were saying to each other and to Julius. Homeschooling is amazing!
I wonder if they know I'm typing about them. ;D
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
We decided to go out to watch them when Pooh said, "let's give them an apple." Gramma and Granpa have taught them to feed apples to deer in a certain place in the mountains. So I tried tossing a piece of apple at them and of course, scared them away.
Thus we ended up tromping through our neighbor's wooded backyard looking for these deer. We found old junk tossed aside, a ravine, a bullet casing, rabbit poop and saw and heard the neighbors behind our neighbor, but never saw the deer again. We decided to leave the pieces of apple for them just in case. ;D
I'm a little amazed at seeing these full grown deer in our neighborhood. I can't imagine what they were after here. In fact, they should be down on their uh, knees? thanking God the neighbor didn't eat them. I know he hunts and even has a place in the woods for target practice.
Flee dear deer! Flee!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sorry this may be a pain to come and view it 5 thousand ways before i settle.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
This "cricket" we found is actually the Red-Legged Grasshopper found in the Handbook of Nature Study. Another new thing we learned was that grasshoppers lay their eggs in the ground.
We also found a spring green colored little grasshopper with no other markings. I'm thinking maybe it was a young one that just hadn't gotten it's full colors yet, because I can't find a picture online to identify it.
We'll see what Nature brings us this week!
1. He wants to be doing schoolwork and has asked since he was three.
2. It fits in with what Pooh is doing during the day.
3. I need the structure to ensure I'm providing him what he needs.
4. Nothing he is doing is strenuous and we are following the CM method of short lessons.
5. He was trying to take over during Pooh's readings, so I figured I better ensure he has his own.
I set Tigger up with his own school bin and binder system with weekly planner. It's set up just like Pooh's schedule to mark things off as we finish them. In it he has his own little things he likes to do on his own. He has gone thru one of those animal sticker books where you put the stickers on and read a little about each one. He just finished his 1-25 Dot to Dot book (and is anxiously awaiting another one.) Each day he will do one page of Math-U-See Primer (if he's having trouble focusing, we just close it up and finish that page the next day.) As soon as I get it ordered, he will have the beginning HWT printing book and possibly the Get Set for the Code series.
For Phonics we've been doing a letter a day. I have some letter cards from LetterLand that we go over. They're really cute. They use mnemonics such as Red Robot the theif for R that are supposed to help. (They then go on to include stories about the letter characters like Arthur 'Ar' the apple stealer who works for Red Robot.) I didn't buy the whole kit though, just the cards. Then I have two ABC type books that you find pictures on the page starting with the letter. One is an ABC I Spy book that i used with Pooh. Then he has a coloring book that is a letter per page and you find anywhere from 11-28 items on the page starting with that letter. We just finished Letter Q, so that gives you idea of how far we've come.
We are using several books to rotate reading from each day. They are:
Winnie the Pooh
Shakespeare (a kids book i picked up at B&N.)
The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel from Thorton Burgess
I borrowed Jump-the stories of Brer Rabbit from the library. I also have two of the Among the ________ People books that we'll go through.
Other than that, he joins in for bible time, composer, artist, nature study, etc. He kept asking me this week to have a painting session to do Van Gogh's Roses because we weren't able to get to it on Tuesday. LOL This Tuesday that's what we'll be doing for sure!!
So that's it! It's a pretty lite schedule for him but satisfies his need to be doing things. Hope this info helps some others looking for a CM Year K.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
This schedule is in my school binder. (Not quite how i view it but this is the way I can copy and paste it. It fits on one page so I have 36 pages for the 36 weeks.) I check things off as we go along. We are currently on Week 6 of AO Year 1. I don't really worry about what day of the week we start a new week. I just move along as the schedule allows.
Phonics: - Explode the Code
Math: -Math U See
Poetry: - A Child Garden of Verses (poem each day)
-Treasury (poem each day)
An Island Story: ch 1 The Stories of Albion and Brutus
Aesop: - The Wolf and the Kid (pg. 7)
-Tortoise and the Ducks (pg. 8)
Parables From Nature: A Lesson of Faith
Just So Stories: Whale
Baldwin's 50 Famous Tales: The Sword of Damocles (Greek)
Paddle to the Sea: ch. 1
Once A Week:
Year 1 has 36 weeks. I plan on finishing Term 1 by the end of October, Term 2 by the end of February and Term 3 by the end of May. That gives me wiggle room for vacations, field trip days, etc.
Each of the boys has their own school bin that has their everyday things in it---Math book, dot-to-dot books (their choice), E.T.C. for Pooh and other little things like these. They also have their own binders. The binders have a pencil holder in the front followed by a weekly plan page (I'll try to put that page in here as well.) Then there is a section for Narrations (this will be for the days I want him to do a picture narration.) and a section for Copywork. This is part of another "Habit" I'm working on with the boys. After their morning routines and morning chores, they should go to their binders, look what is for that day in their planner and start on the things they can do themselves. I'm hoping that by starting this habit early in their lives, it will help to give them a better sense of self-discipline and order and save me a big headache in the future.
I can't figure out how to paste my Excel page in here, but this is the idea....In a landscape view I have the title "Weekly Assignments". Under that is the place for the week date and the child's name. Under that are blocks under each weekday that allow me to write in what that child will do each day of that week. I usually plan for the following week on either Friday or Sunday evening. The boys cross out stuff as we do it and I think that's part of the appeal-they can see what they've accomplished.
We did Cornelia's Jewels yesterday from 50 Famous Stories and the boys loved it when I called them my jewels. LOL I can see how Pooh is really developing a relationship with the stories. He even remembered the basic story line of the first chapter of Parable of Nature after not having read it for weeks! (I had introduced it earlier to see how he would respond.)
We're usually done by 1pm. That's including the fact that somedays we get started late, the kids snack, have lunch and includes the 'extras' such as composer study. It takes 2-2 1/2 hours to get through the complete process. The one thing I haven't added in yet is Instrument. We have a keyboard for Pooh to practice with piano, but I feel a bit inadequate teaching something I don't know much about. I think that's why it hasn't been a priority yet. We'll get there though.
Well, that's our basic day. Today Pooh will be going to Art class and we have a few errands to run so we'll be doing our school work in the late afternoon. Yeah for flexibility!!!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Tigger: "Because his hair got in the way."
That's your funny for the day! LOL My King informed me that Tigger gave him this interesting tidbit of information after discussing yesterday's composer. We listened to Beethoven Lives Upstairs. I have no idea why he thought this but it was too funny to forget. Now it's a memory I can cherish through the wonders of blogging. ;D