Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Progress Report (Installment #2)

Bible: We've been reading aloud from the DK Children's Illustrated Bible. I love this version. Levi begs for story after story, and I appreciate the informative side notes, photographs, maps, and artwork. It is simple enough for Levi to follow but not childish. We will have read through to the end by November so that we can return to and focus on the Christmas story during December. Levi has memorized the Lord's Prayer, a table blessing, and is currently working on a longer prayer-poem as well as the 10 Commandments. We also have quite a few of the verses memorized from our Bible verse CD, Sing the Word! From A to Z and hope to have all 26 memorized by the end of the year. (Luke enjoys singing along with us.) We've enjoyed 5 Minute Devotions for Kids (another book Luke joins us for). The boys also attend Sunday school.

Literature: I think the highlight of our literature studies so far has been reading the retelling of 3 of Shakespeare's plays and then seeing the live performances. We have also read Pippi Longstocking, The Cricket in Times Square, Ben and Me, The Saturdays, The Wind in the Willows, The Twenty-One Balloons, and are currently working on Little House in the Big Woods. Levi listens extensively to books, stories, and poetry on CD. We read picture books together, and are working our way through The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury.

History: We spent the month of February reading books about presidents. Levi memorized the Preamble to the Constitution (with hand motions). We have learned a number of patriotic songs such as America and the Star Spangled Banner. Levi knows the Pledge of Allegiance and the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. We read several books about Benjamin Franklin including the chapter book Ben and Me. We are reading A Pioneer Sampler (highly recommended) and completing most of the activities. Reading that and other pioneer books has helped The Little House in the Big Woods come alive for us. We even read Laura Ingalls Wilder story, Pioneer Girl. Levi also attended a Civil War Re-enactment with his dad.

Geography: We have been working on U.S. Geography. Levi can identify many of our states and the countries to the south and north of us. He often puts together a wooden puzzle of all the states (most pieces are the shape of the individual states--only a few of the smallest states are grouped), and I think this has really helped with his familiarity. (For example. Grin.) When I post the entries for 'Around the World' we read information about the location online, print one or two pictures, paste them to a large index card, enter a few facts on the back, and review them weekly. We will be working on map skills this fall, but I have already introduced continents, the equator, and he is very aware of the directions of a compass. We often look at our maps or globe and locate places that come up in books or conversation.

Science: We haven't accomplished much in the way of formal science studies, but Levi has watched 30 or more Magic School Bus episodes (usually more than once). He must be learning something because he corrected me when I stumbled over the word 'proboscis' a few months ago. Grin. Science has traditionally been my least favorite subject, so I am thrilled that Russ happens to have a biology degree in addition to his teaching degree. He patiently answers each and every question Levi poses. We will be adding in more formal science study in the fall, but until then we will garden together, enjoy spending time outside this summer, star gaze, and read and discover together. Levi also watches Dragonfly TV and finds it fascinating even though some of it goes over his head. He has been seen carrying The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature under his arm while grocery shopping, playing outside, or riding in the car. I highly recommend this book! Very engaging for the elementary crowd and surprisingly informative, it begins with an almanac covering holidays, seasons, weather, and more. The second section introduces many facts about animals, plants, and the earth. It finishes up with machines, matter, energy, projects, and experiments. Impressive for a fun picture book! Levi also enjoys receiving and reading Your Big Backyard magazine.

Spanish: We have been slowly progressing through La Clase Divertida, Level 1. I love being able to just 'push play' for the lessons on DVD, and it is very handy to have the CD, which we often listen to in the car. Levi knows the alphabet (and a fun alphabet chant with Spanish words corresponding to each letter), the vowels and their sounds, colors, numbers, body parts, days of the week, how to ask a few questions (name, age, favorite color, etc...), animals, the location of Mexico, and a few miscellaneous Spanish words. Many of the lessons included some Mexican history. We have completed a few activities and crafts such as frying plantains, making Mexican flag cookies, 'weaving' an 'Ojo de Dios,' and 'bark painting.' We are on lesson #9 of 15, although Levi has listened to the complete CD many times. He has also picked up a few Spanish words from watching Go! Diego, Go! with his little brother. I recently purchased a new Spanish kit with three CDs that Levi has been enjoying. (There are three workbooks with 16 activities each, so I think that we will work on those when we are done with La Clase Divertida.)

Art: Art is another subject that we haven't formally touched on. We have many picture books around our house containing fine art. Levi and I often talk about art that I post for Fine Art Friday. Probably his most consistent exposure would be when watching Little Einsteins. This is another show of which he has probably watched 30 or more episodes, each featuring a different work of art. When I was sorting through old photographs the other day, he saw a picture we took of Mona Lisa and said incredulously, "Mom, you've been to the Louvre?!"

Music: We deliberately listen to a wide variety of music. Levi has jazz, rock-n-roll, patriotic, Bible songs, old-time classic songs (such as A Bicycle Built for Two), opera, and classical CDs. He also enjoys listening to the Classical Kids CD series which incorporate a dramatized story with music by individual composers. The stories are fictional but give historical details of the composer and his life. Again, I have to praise Little Einsteins for the amount of musical detail in each episode. Composers, classical music melodies, and music theory abound. Levi often uses the words allegro or adagio when describing his running speed, and the words pianissimo or forte when describing his volume level. We will be attending as many of the free concerts in the local park as possible this summer.

Physical Activity: Since moving out to the country, the boys have enjoyed extensive outside time. They love bike riding, swinging, running, and playing. We try to attend family swim night at the pool as often as possible. At this point in Levi's life, I spend much more time telling him to be still than I do telling him to go play (grin), but we will probably be signing him up for Tae Kwon Do in the fall and increasing our swimming times.

Social Studies/Current Events: We receive a subscription to God's World News and read through the issues when the arrive. We discuss current events when they come up. Levi knows the name of our current president. We have recently enjoyed making our way through the book Things People Do. There are so many details in this book, we often just read a page or two at one sitting. Humorous, but informative, it's one of my favorites.

Other: Levi has memorized the days of the week and is working on the months as we progress through the year. When a new month begins, we create our magnetic calendar discussing seasons, holidays, and activities. We are also learning a poem about the months of the year and add the new lines at the beginning of each month. He has learned our phone number, the street we live on, his parents full names, and his birthday and year. We have memorized selected poems.

Extra Activities: We've attended a few offerings from The Children's Performing Arts series with the local parks and rec. We visited the lambing barns.

Fun Stuff: Lots of cooking together, playing at the coast, father/son camping trip, playdates and birthday parties, projects with Dad, holidays, movies, Saturday farmer's market... We are looking forward to night glow at the Art and Air Festival when a whole field of hot air balloons light up as it gets dark.

Whew! It is incredible for me to look at this list and think of all we have done in such a short time without a strict routine or schedule. I'll have to pull up this post when I'm feeling frustrated about things that are left undone!

I'll post our plans for July-December sometime this next month.

Again, if you're looking for more posts about our homeschool adventure, click here.

Progress Report (Installment #1)

Also, I'll be taking a few days off from posting. Happy Summer, everyone!


carole said...

Wow! That is a lot, when you list it all consecutively like that. And yet much of it was probably just "normal life" daily events. Thanks for sharing.

I'm excited to see that you like the Sing the Word CD's! The Harrow family attends our church. They have 6 CD's total - just FYI (or maybe you already know that...). I love them. I can't wait to get the most recent one. We have used a song or two from it during corporate worship at church.

Heidi said...

Isn't it crazy? Yes, a good deal of that is just part of life for us. (And would be whether we homeschooled or not, except that we wouldn't have nearly the amount of time or flexibility, I think.)

We do love the Sing the Word CD. I think it is so well done and all of us enjoy listening to it. What an easy way to memorize! I just purchased A New Commandment (haven't had time to listen to it yet) but didn't know they had 6 CDs. I can't believe they go to your church. What a small world! :)

Jennefer said...

Looks wonderful! It sounds like you guys had an amazing year.

Check out my blog or Trivium Academy's when you get a chance. I am tagging you to make a family brochure! I would love to see yours.

Heidi said...

Hi, Jennefer! I saw your family brochure and enjoyed it. I'll work on one and post it this week. :)