Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Homeschooling Highlights: February

February has come and gone.  These months are flying by.  Here is a little peek into what we did this month.

I love having other people teach my kids things at times.  They hear me all day every day.  Others have different ways of explaining and relating, different energy and different experiences to share.  Our dear family friend, Hannah, came over this past month and spent two hours with Sam and Sadie talking about showing emotions through watercolor.  The kids loved it and I loved watching them soak in a new experience.  Hannah wrote down their descriptions of the emotions they were trying to paint.  I will be saving this artwork for a very long time.

I haven't written a lot about what Sadie (just turned four) has been doing in school.  We are still working on recognizing the letters of the alphabet and learning their sounds.  I didn't do any official preschool with Sam.  We just talked about numbers, letters and letter sounds.  Sadie wants to "do school" since Sam is, so I've found something she loves doing-  Rod and Staff's preschool books.  They cover numbers, some letter sounds, counting, colors, shapes as well as cut and paste activities.  Here are a few samples for you.

Earlier this month, we read the book, Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas.  Learning more about George Washington tied in well with the history we've been studying this year and helped us celebrate (we didn't really celebrate, maybe I should say 'acknowledge') his birthday this month.  This book speaks very little about his presidency and his role as general.  Instead, it focuses on his civilian life as a farmer and inventor at Mount Vernon, his home.  I learned so much I didn't know about our first president through this book.  And, I guess you could say we thought it was pretty cool to learn how much he loved gardening, too:-).

For their birthdays, my parents took Sam and Sadie (and Jamey, Miriam and I) to the Crayola Factory and National Canal Museum in Easton, PA.  The two are located in the same building and are both included in the ticket price.  We got to watch how crayons (and markers) are made and the kids maneuvered their own boats through locks down an indoor canal.  Both places were very hands on.  It was a very fun day.

 Sadie holding a freshly made crayon.  It was still damp.  They use a cornstarch and water paste to glue the labels on.  Before machines started putting the labels on, local farm families did this step by hand, in their homes during the winters.  I love learning stuff.


During a week off due to snow and illness, we read. A very fun and interesting read was Gary Paulsen's Wood Song (Paulsen wrote Hatchet which I wrote about last month). This book of his isn't fiction. Instead it tells of his relationship with his sled dogs and the many things they have taught him. He started running dogs in order to check the traps he had set, but over time stopped trapping because he could no longer trap and kill animals. The dogs had had this effect on him. The book is full of wonderful short stories about these dogs and other animals he has come in contact with; a close call with a bear they had gotten too familiar with, a banty hen who guarded their yard like a hawk and stories of how he saw compassion, humor and intelligence in his dogs, to mention only a few. The end of the book is an account of his first Iditarod race.

Jamey and I read the book first. It does not take two of us to approve a book for Sam. We had both enjoyed Hatchet so much, that we wanted to read this one for pleasure. There were a couple sections we decided we didn't want Sam to read, I marked the many sections that I deemed appropriate and used it as a read-aloud. Sam begged at the end of each section. He wanted more, more, more.

Continuing on the Iditarod theme, Sam and Sadie chose their mushers.  Sam will be following Lance Mackey and Sadie chose Dee Dee Jonrowe.  The race starts this Saturday.  As fun as it will be to follow the race, I'm sure glad I'm not running a dog sled team across Alaska in a few days.  Good for them.

This month went by so fast, I'm not even sure how to rate it.  Since I can't remember anything horrid happening, I'm going to rate it 4 out of 5 pencils.

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  1. The museum looks like it was lots of fun! Love the bins full of one color of pretty. That's interesting about the famers applying the labels...and sad, too. I'm sure they relied on that income during the winter...and to be replaced by a machine, yet again, was probably really hard for them.

  2. Wow! My kids would love your school - the crayola factory!! How fun is that?

    Love the watercolors. That was my favorite part that you mentioned. I love seeing the colors all in different ways - like a snowflake.Each one is different. Years ago I took some watercolors like this that my kids did and framed it for my Dad for Christmas - he collects antique and modern water colors (has a small gallary). He loved them and keeps them close to his desk.

  3. I found your blog through Clover Lane, I'm glad I did! My goal for 2010 is to focus on becoming a more "intentional" person and parent, your blog in the short time I've been reading it has been inspiring to me. Love reading about your schooling adventures for February, we're big fans of Rod and Staff as well.

  4. Would love to head to the crayola!
    I've loved Gary Paulson's books for years...he does have a few for adults too. Fascinating guy!

  5. It looks like you guys had a blast! I love school field trips:)

  6. Cool beans on the crayon tour... that sounds like fun... Was it super smelly in there? I wished I loved closer... I'd be happy to come over once a week and teach some sort of art lesson... I think you should do a weekend field trip to Mt. Vernon... now that would be awesome!

  7. Mavis, We're actually planning on visiting Mt. Vernon this summer. I can't wait to see the gardens!

  8. I just ordered three of the Rod and Staff preschool books. I hope they make Sweetsie happy so she will stop bothering me...


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