Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A is for Ants

Today was the last day to study A, tomorrow we begin working on B. So after homeschooling this morning, we decided to go find some ants to observe. I asked C a lot of questions to encourage scientific thinking. (Science is Simple is a great book to help with this!) I asked things like: Where did she think they were going? What did she think they were doing? How were they working together? etc. She concluded that they were getting food. I asked her to look at them with her magnifying glass and draw what she saw. She counted their body parts, and noticed their color on her own. Later, while looking at an anthill on the sidewalk, she got to watch an ant carrying something bigger than its head. She was very amused with that.

What she saw:

This is what she drew (although smaller, the scanner didn't keep the original size.)
C really enjoyed this science activity today, and I enjoyed guiding her through it. I'm really enjoying the Letter of the Day Prep Curriculum, because it's really not too demanding. We finish up in literally an hour, and we can move on to more relaxed "unschooling" that we both enjoy. I think this is how we're going to end up homeschooling throughout the girls' education. Spending some time doing structured learning, but then spending the rest (or majority) of the time learning by doing and living. I think it's a good balance for us.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hey Diddle Diddle Painting

In A Letter A Day Preparatory Curriculum, week one's nursery rhyme is Hey Diddle Diddle. We practiced it starting Friday of week one, and will continue to sing it throughout week two.

Today, Monday of week 2, (after reviewing what a painting was,) I had C study a painting of the nursery rhyme at Ruth Sanderson's Golden Wood Studio (scroll down to almost the bottom of the page.) I had C tell me what colors and objects she saw. I asked her if she liked the painting, and why. (She said, "I like the animals.") I asked her what time it was, and how did she know. (She said, "Nighttime, because of the dark blue sky, and the cow is jumping over the moon.) Finally, I asked her if she would like to be a painter and paint her nursery rhyme. She said yes (of course, painting!? C is always interested in painting.)

Here is what she created:

The dark blue is the night sky.
The brown lines under that are the cow's legs, but its body faded (she had too much water in her paint.) Beneath that, is a barely there yellow moon.
The purple is the laughing dog.
The brown area to the left of that is the cat playing the fiddle (painted while the paper was turned sideways.)
Then at the bottom is the dish and the spoon. The dish's face was the only thing I helped her with since she was getting frustrated that she had no white paint. So, I showed her how to color with a white crayon and paint over it with the water color to create a white area. She thought that was pretty nifty.

She loved this activity. I really think having her look at and talk about an actual painting really made it even more interesting for her. She was so proud of her painting, and I adore it. We will definitely be doing this type of thing more often.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

New Curriculum

I've decided to start a curriculum with C, not because I think she has to learn "x,y, and z" before she's N years old, but because I think she needs to learn structure and she also needs to accept the fact that I am the teacher. Sometimes, she doesn't get to pick what we're doing at this moment. She also needs to know to follow directions, etc. So, after some online searching I found this site:

Brightly Beaming Resources

We pretty much did the same sort of routine in the last year ( a letter a week, and learning about a certain topic that she got to pick out) but this one has added activities, nursery rhymes, etc. While C knows a lot of the preparatory curriculum, we're still going ahead and completing it so that she gets into a good school/learning routine. We're only doing "school" for about an hour or two in the morning (depending on what projects she's doing,) then the rest of the day is spent learning through play, activities, and living.

The first week's lesson plan went really well. It covers cows, the letter A, number 1, and Hey Diddle Diddle nursery rhyme. C really enjoyed the projects, books, and videos that I added in. I'll try to post about what she's working on soon.