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Fun Friday!

A recent addition to our math lessons (pun intended!) is Fun Friday.  On Fridays we will take a break from our usual lessons and do some of the more fun type of math activities. Today my oldest did an addition colour by number page while her little sister matched the Math U See blocks to a page and coloured them. I recently discovered that we had shelved the Test & Activity Book from our Alpha curriculum without so much as looking inside it. Now that we have moved on to Beta, I think we can use it as a sort of fun review of what we have already learned. We are also going to add in UNO, dice games, math Bingo, and anything else I can think of.

Fun Fridays-Math U See-Learning Mama

Fun Friday www.learningmama.com
I think she got tired or bored of colouring long before completing this sheet!

We finished off our morning by getting caught up on the History Chapter we didn’t complete LAST week. We didn’t even do a chapter this week. We finished up our chapter on the rise of Islam with the Five Pillars of Islam and then worked on the “supplemental” lapbook. We are a few chapters behind with that one and my daughter did the page for Constantinople today while I read Otto of the Silver Hand. Maybe we will continue to work on History this afternoon? It’s a favorite around here and always considered fun!

HIstory with Usborne Internet Links learningmama.com
Checking out the Usborne internet links from the pages on Islam

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Do you have any favorite fun math activities that you would like to share with us?

 

It’s All Fun and Games…

Along with my “second grader” I am also “schooling” an active 4 year old.  If we were public schooling, she would have started JK this fall which is now full day, every day school. But that’s not how we roll around here 😉

At the beginning of September, this fun loving, free spirited gal could only identify a handful of letters of the alphabet. In contrast, her big sis at this age new all of her letters and “what they say”.  I wasn’t exactly worried, but I did feel a little uncertain. I felt a little guilt that this sweet gal of mine doesn’t get near the amount of attention and one on one time that big sister did. She didn’t get half the read aloud time. To my dismay, she often gets just one little story from Mama a day. Big sister has loved books from birth and we read HOURS a day. So I was wondering if this slower start to reading and less voracious appetite for books was due to my neglect or if it is just a difference in development or preference.

I am so pleased however, and encouraged, that within the span of 3 short months my little gal has almost perfected letter recognition and sounds!  Did we start a phonics program? Buy some boxed curriculum? Nope!  All that has changed in our day to day around here is once a week she helps me give baby sister a bath while big sister is at  piano lessons. And while baby splashes to her heart’s content, she plays with the foam alphabet letters putting them into alphabetical order and telling me what sounds they make. She also watches Leap Frog Letter Factory while I put baby sister to bed. Ahem. Carry on.

So what do we do for preschool around here?

Not much.  When Big Sister was preschool age we were reading A LOT. I used booklists from Ambleside online, Sonlight and Five in a Row/Before Five in a Row. We spent hours a day reading. Once she had her letter sounds all figured out, we started in with Bob Books, but that’s as intense as it got. My current preschooler is not getting all that attention from Mommy due to my needing to work with her older sister and take care of her ever wakeful baby sister. Although she would love nothing more than to play all day (which would be OK with me) she doesn’t like being alone so she joins her big sister at the table for all of her school time. We call this “Table Time”. Here she works on worksheets, makes puzzles, colours, plays with play-dough, or uses some of the lovely learning kits/busy bags I have put together using the help of Pinterest.

Don’t you just love Pinterest?!

 

preschool learningHere are the links to the preschool/kinder booklists we have used. I continue to use the Classical Education Loop’s list of 1000 Good Books for my second grader as well as the books listed in the Ambleside online curriculum:

 Five in a Row

Before Five in a Row

Sonlight PreK 

Sonlight Kindergarten: 

Classical Education Support Loop’s List of Good Books:  

Ambleside Online Year 0

 

Also invaluable resources for helping you find good quality literature for your children are the following books:

Honey for a Child’s Heart By Gladys Hunt.

The Read Aloud Handbook   By Jim Trelease

What to Read When By Pam Allyn

“Mom, can we do History?”

We’ve just begun the second volume of Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World. My original plan was to complete one volume each year. We would begin in first grade and make our way through history from the ancients all the way to our current times in a four year cycle as out lined in The Well Trained Mind (I love that book!). SOTW however, is 42 chapters long, and with a move, a pregnancy and a new baby all during the “school year” we didn’t complete it until just before Christmas. And we school year round.  So while we will be studying history in chronological order, I doubt we will cover it in 4 years. At this rate, it will be more like 6 years! History is the most favoured subject around here though, so we don’t want to miss a thing.

Story of the World is really a great curriculum – it can be as simple or in depth as you want it to be depending on the age, maturity or interest of your students. For a very simple, story based approach, the text could be read chapter by chapter.  We typically read one chapter a week and complete the review questions section by section. Then my daughter narrates each section to me as I write it down, and then she illustrates it. The activity book also presents so many options to take your learning to deeper levels. To continue with a simply book/literature based approach, the activity guide provides extensive book lists for further historical or literature reading.  To incorporate geography, use the maps and mapwork provided. There are also numerous colouring pages to give little hands something to do while you read the chapters or the supplemental reading listed. For fun, and to help the children “experience” history, there are also numerous activity suggestions some of which require special supplies (such as building clay tablets, making your own papyrus or mummifying a chicken) or everyday things you already have (building a pyramid out of legos). There are even recipes and costume suggestions so your family can experience an African/Indian/Monk’s feast.  I must confess I haven’t done any of the more exciting suggestions due to my own laziness.

This year I purchased the recommended colouring book A Coloring Book of the Middle Ages which I think will be well received by my girls. I also bought The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History  (internet linked) which I wish I had last year when we were doing the ancients.  We’ve already used some of the links and my oldest has really enjoyed the online history crossword puzzles listed there.

A final addition to our SOTW history studies this year is the lapbook I found online. Lapbooks for all four volumes are available from the blog Carrot Top x 3  It doesn’t require very much work on the part of my second grader, but it will give her something to cut, colour and glue while I’m doing read alouds.

We are really looking forward to learning all about the middle ages this year using the above mentioned resources, and I’ll be sure to post updates and pictures of our learning as we go along!

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Story of the World – Volume 2: The Middle Ages 

 

Favorite Curriculum 2016
 

Back in the Groove!

I love our boring ordinary life!  We took two full weeks off for the holidays this year and I’m glad to say that our first week back to the “same old, same old” has gone well. Baby Girl took decent naps, we got a lot of our table work completed and we even had some fun!  Our usual Friday morning homeschool group was cancelled due to a large snowfall in the weather forecast but we enjoyed the day anyways. Playing in the snow, enjoying “lemon ice”, tea time and a science experiment seemed to have more than made up for the initial disappointment.

Exploring water currents as the hot water rises above the cold.
Exploring water currents as the hot water rises above the cold.

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