Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kindergarten Love

     The books have been bought. The plans have been made. The girl is excited. I can't wait. =D  

     This is a gnitty-gritty plans post. The earlier K post was just a curriculum list.

  • Bible: She'll listen to me read a chapter from the Catherine Vos children's Bible daily, and discuss it. We'll start with the life of Jesus, and see how far we get into the New Testament. There is no seatwork planned at this point, but I may get the student book for Telling God's Story volume 1, just for the coloring pages and activities she adores. (10 minutes daily)
  • Phonics and Penmanship: She'll work through her pile of phonogram cards daily, and practice writing a few in her best handwriting. When the phonogram cards
    are mastered, I expect no longer than two months into the school year, she'll begin working down the Ayres spelling list in kindergarten size bites. (10-15 minutes daily)
  • Literature: Every day we'll read the book, and/or do an activity from the guide. The activities include coloring pages, crafts, hands on projects, copywork, mazes, matching, and other random puzzle type activities. At first each book will last approximately a week. If she gets to volume two the books are slightly longer, and there are more activities in the guide. (20 minutes daily)
  • Read aloud time: I did decide to add a small read aloud block just for her. She already listens to the middle crew's read aloud stack, but once a day she and I will snuggle on the couch with a book just for her. Thus far the titles I've set aside just for her are Charlotte's Web, The World of Pooh, Mother Goose Rhymes, A Child's Garden of Verse, Six by Suess, A Hatful of Suess, and I'll add to it as we go. (20 minutes)
  • Math: She'll plug along at her own pace. I don't push her to finish lessons. When she's done, she's done. (20 minutes)
  • Extra Units: One at a time. She'll finish all of one unit before she goes to the next one.
    • The Goops: A very silly way to learn manners. We'll read the entry from a full color book, discuss it, and role play the right and wrong way. I found the coordinating pages from the free vintage text (search Google Books) and blew them up to full size; Faith can use them as coloring sheets. (15 minutes daily, lasts about a month)
    • Legends and Leagues: This has a picture book to read, and a book of crafts and activities. (15 minutes daily, lasts about a month)
    • Green Thumbs: Gardening projects such as making your own tools, planting, learning how plants grow, and more. None of the days will look alike. We'll read the guide book, and see how carried away we get with the rest of it. (10-? minutes daily, lasts about two months)
    • The rest will be firmly decided on when we get closer. She's young, and I want to capitalize on strong interests. I have some nature study, cooking, handicrafts, and scouting activities on a back burner. 

     The literature activities and extra units will be the only parts new to Faith. She is already doing the phonics/penmanship and math listed, listening to read alouds, and reading something to mom fairly regularly, at her own choosing. When it's the middle crew's math time she simply gets her math book out, even though it's never required of her. If I don't get around to her phonics lesson she'll remind me that we haven't done the pink cards.

       The actual seatwork amount is kept low for every subject but penmanship and math, and my time estimates are generous.  I don't doubt for a minute that she'll rise to the extra challenge, and frankly I expect her to push for more. She's a driven kid, who won't stand for people assuming she can't do something. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Weekly update for the mom

    It's that time of year. The kids haven't done enough schooling to be worth making a post; they're busy using up the rest of their summer. There are still school books falling all over my desk though. I've been working on the gnitty gritty lesson plans for our '13-'14 year.

    Kindergarten: Easy peasy. Nearly all of these materials are the sort you just open and do what's next. I've been more carefully reading the First Favorites guide today. I can't wait to do it with her. There's no way I'm going to force this binding open to copy this stuff though; I'll have OfficeMax cut the binding off so it can be 3-hole punched and put it in a binder. I'm still three literature books short of having the whole collection. I'll swear Harry the Dirty Dog and a Frog and Toad treasury have been on our shelves for umpteen years, but they are nowhere to be found. Pshaw.

    Third grade: Grammar, spelling, Latin, and math are "just do what's next" books and don't need plans. Classical Writing needs a little thought put into it. Mostly I need to look closely at the various skill levels and decide where to place her. Thankfully there's a chart in the back for doing just this.
     I think she's changing gears for science. She discovered the big notebooking journals for the elementary Apologia books and they were right up her alley. But she still really likes the idea of a nature based year. I need to spend some time looking over resources and making a firm plan here.

     Fifth grade: Grammar, spelling, math, Latin, and writing are "just do what's next" books. I've spent enough time with his architecture science materials to make a loose framework for the year. Now I need to get that spelled out in actual lesson plans.

     Middle Crew joint studies:
-History: Done. I spent way too long fiddling around in Google Drive and made the exact planning sheet I wanted for Veritas Press history. Then I put those sheets to work right away, balancing the projects, reading and read alouds, so each history week takes approximately the same amount of time. I'm aiming for thirty minutes a day, five days a week.
-Narnia based literature: 3/4 done. I need to write more notes in the Further Up and Further In guide, and realistically look at how much time each day is going to take. I'm aiming at 45 minutes daily for this one, including reading the chapter.

     Eighth grade: Grammar, vocab, writing, Latin, and math are the "just do what's next" books. History took some tweaking, and I still need to finish plugging one spine book change throughout the guide. Science... well. She will do Honor's architecture with him, as an elective. I don't feel confident enough to bulk that up to an eighth grade worthy science credit. The plan was for her to do a full biology course with her older brother too. But.... this is her last year of being footloose and fancy free. I'm feeling pulled to do one more fun, non-textbook science year with her. Another half hour loaded with 8th grade level physics reading, projects and such, combined with the architecture, could work. That would set me back in planning, but we've done even more last minute changes in the past. Decisions, decisions. ****Edited to add: About two hours after Joy and I discussed this, she came to me and firmly said, "Astronomy. Let's do astronomy." Back to the drawing board!

    Ninth grade. Yeepers. This one needs work. Composition starts out with a just do what's next book. Vocab, math, and science are just do what's next. History just needs me to sit down with a planning sheet and map out a plan for reading the main text and the extra books. Literature.... that one isn't even off the ground yet.

    I've put a big dent in it, but there's still more work to be done. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Projects and a birthday

    I sewed four gored sequin skirts and five sock hop skirts over the course of the summer tour. Thankfully the gored skirts were nearly all just taking a little width out and/or just replacing the elastic. The sock hop skirts are super easy to cut out, and I only appliqued three of them.

This one is Joy's. We still need to add some bling
to the corners.

      The sequin fabric was actually pretty easy to sew with, but whoever made the last round of skirts used that hem glue stuff. Which gummed up my needle and was generally a pain.

    This week I worked on a baby gift. The baby will be the fourth in his or her family. I know the baby stuff was getting pretty worn looking by my fourth baby, but it was still in good enough condition I didn't want to buy more.

    This one is just a panel with big, fluffy batting inside it. Every square has some fiddly topstitching in it. Valor *still* plays on the big, fluffy quilt someone made for him when he was brand new. Big, fluffy quilts are awesome. 

    The second one is simple patchwork, and an appropriate weight for a desert baby. I just top quilted this one with "stitch in the ditch," and it actually took less time to finish than the fluffy panel.
    In other news we finally had Joy's birthday party. She wanted water at the local park. We did water balloons and water guns. Girls do water wars much differently than boys. 

Summer Tour Week 2: Five shows, Cow Appreciation Day, Haboob

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Architecture is beginning to take shape

    When Honor first said architecture I scratched my head for days. I collected some materials. When the first packages arrived Joy's response was, "Uh! He gets to do architecture and I don't?!" Oh dear. I read through the books, viewed some movies, put them all on a shelf, and let the idea just simmer for awhile. Like two months. Recently I've been digging them back out, looking at specifics, and a skeleton plan began to form.

Current plan: subject to change when the pencil hits the paper
  • Start with some physics. Load, force, shapes, and how they're integrated (toothpick trusses, etc.)
  • Add some materials to that list, and do some foundations projects
  • Pyramids: these will be covered in ancient history for both of them, but we'll draw out more details on how they were built, why they're so strong, and such
  • Tunnels: how they work, how they're built, famous examples around the world, read about them, write about them, draw them, build one in a packing box full of dirt, no non-freeway types around here for fieldtrips unfortunately
  • Bridges: same basic coverage as tunnels, building several different types, visiting some local bridges
  • Dams: same basic coverage, learning more about the Hoover and Roosevelt specifically, since we can visit those
  • Skyscrapers: same basic coverage, build a newspaper one, fieldtrip
  • Domes: ditto, but probably without newspaper
  • Unbuilding, or how and why buildings come back down, intentionally and accidentally
  • Local architecture, old and modern, tons of great fieldtrip possibilities here
  • Famous architects, past and modern, fieldtrip to a local perhaps-not-so-famous one
  • perspective drawing, leading into beginning drafting
  • play around with drawing blueprints

  • Building Big book by David Macaulay, the DVDs that go with it (Tunnels, Bridges, Dams, Skyscrapers, Domes), and the educator guide that goes with them (fabulous hands on project ideas)
  • Building Small VHS (also Macaulay)
  • Kaleidoscope Kids Bridges
  • Kaleidoscope Kids Skyscrapers
  • The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper
  • Unbuilding by David Macaulay
  • Underground by David Macaulay
  • Pyramid by David Macaulay (possibly DVD too)
  • Why Buildings Fall Down: Why Structures Fail
  • Why Buildings Stand Up: The Strength of Architecture (these two may end up being more for Joy)
  • random children's books like DK and Kingfisher on skyscrapers, famous buildings, etc.
  • The Art of Construction by Salvadori
  • Grand Constructions by Ceserani
  • Understanding the Worlds Greatest Structures lecture series from (for Joy)
  • DVDs like NOVA: Super Bridge, National Geographic: Mega Structures, or whatever happens to be free on Amazon Prime at the time
  • Hoover Dam 
  • Images of America: Roosevelt Dam
  • City by Design: Phoenix
  • Phoenix Then and Now
  • Complete-A-Sketch series from Insight Technical Education
  • Practical Drafting: Applied Engineering Graphics Workbook
  • Basic Beginner's Drafting Engineer's Kit (rulers, compasses, protractors, etc)
    (I left specifically medieval structures like castles and cathedrals off the list. For now. I'll be more intentional on adding it to their middle age history when it comes around in 2014.)

    Now to flesh out actual lessons and see if that's enough for a whole school year. This will be Honor's fifth grade science, and an eighth grade elective for Joy. I'll stuff as many hands on projects in there as time allows, and we'll try to line up the fieldtrips with scouting and dance events that already haul us all over this valley and beyond.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Tour week one

    Our week was all dance. Every family member but the baby and I are members of a dance group that focuses on WWII and doo-wop era dance. We do a patriotic show that's similar to the old style hangar dances, starting with WWII era songs and dances, and working our way up to the 50s. A few times throughout the show the kids go out into the seating area and dance with the audience. The grand finale has some serious swing dance aerials, which are promptly followed by military songs complete with flags. They perform all over, and I do mean all over, our area at senior communities, snowbird parks, nursing homes, Alzheimer units, VFWs, American Legions, churches, and more. 

     This week we had a show every day, and two on Friday. The kids had so much fun. Many memories were made, both from the audience and the camaraderie among the dancers.

All set up for the first show of the summer tour

Grace, dancing with a gentleman that just
couldn't stop smiling the whole time

Valor, hiding from a safe distance, lest one of
the girls try to get him to dance.
This Air Force veteran specifically requested a photo op
with Honor. He said Honor's uniform was the exact same
style he wore years ago.

I was sewing or mending something for the
dancers every day it seemed. This is the
newest sock hop skirt. My little girls made
me feel plenty guilty about making something
so cute for someone else.

Andrew Sisters! (Joy on the left)
Justice is the white sailor on the left, Honor in blue
Dancing with the audience
at the VA hospital

Hiding from a safe distance, again
Last show of the week going up

      That one show in the middle of the week was different. We were at a senior community, where most of the people were in wheelchairs or pushing walkers. (That part we're used to.) Today's show wasn't just entertainment for these seniors. The kids brought them such JOY. They'd clap and cheer when a pair of kids danced down their row. Their faces looked like children who'd just opened the Christmas present they "always wanted."

      Joy gently took the hands of one particular gentleman and danced while he sat there. She shared her name and asked his. He was smiling ear to ear with tears running down his face and couldn't answer. His wife answered for him, wearing the same smile. When the song changed he did manage to thank her for the dance. I can't tell who made the biggest impression on whom!

Faith and Valor being super cute before a show

     The songs we sing in that show have become stuck deep in us. We sing them sporadically as we go about our lives, and as many an audience member has pointed out, that history is being passed on, and it won't be forgotten. As we watched the Independence Day fireworks as a family this week a huge, gorgeous red and green one went up right in the middle. Faith immediately started singing, "I'll be hooome for Chriiistmas. Youuuuu can couuunt on me," without missing a beat. Everyone else joined in. We were sitting there watching fireworks and singing a Christmas song. When that song was over they started The White Cliffs of Dover. None of us really much cared what others thought. We were too busy enjoying ourselves.