Monday, September 29, 2014

"Let's Start at the Very Beginning..."

"A very good place to start..." hum..hum...hum!

Good Morning!!  I'm now humming the tune to Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music!  But that's exactly what comes to mind when I consider what we're working on this week!  In my reading of on of my favorite books on homeschooling, The Well-Trained Mind, the concept of starting lessons at the beginning of history is introduced. This makes perfect sense to me in terms of how I want to teach my children about the evolution of our planet, our world and our people.  I feel that it's very logical to start at the beginning as so many things hinge on what came before.
This week's theme is The Big Bang Theory. I introduced what I call "Topic Discussion" today where we sit and discuss what the theme is, how we're going to approach it and what I expect them to know by the end of this week.  After topic discussion we had a lesson on how to take notes.  I remember not really learning how to take notes until later in high school and into my first years of college.  I wish I had learned sooner how to really listen and be able to hone in on the really important pieces of what my teachers were saying and in turn be able to write down the most important thoughts so that I could learn and absorb more.  I remember taking a class my senior year of high school on how to study and take notes....kind of too little too late for my high school years but it definitely helped as I transitioned to college.  I learned a trick to help guide my note taking ability and make more sense of what I was writing.  I take a regular, college ruled piece of 8.5 x 11" lined paper.  I fold over about a quarter of the sheet, column-wise, thus making a large margin.  I unfold it and use this space to write any thoughts or questions I may have in regards to the topic of discussion.  That way I can come back and ask my questions AND write the answer all in the same area where the notes are taken so that I am sure to understand the concepts in full.  This also helped tremendously when it came to studying for a quiz or test.

I explained this concept to the children today, I demonstrated it and then we used it in practice as we discussed The Big Bang Theory.  I guided them through the concepts that they will need to know for our upcoming quiz and later, a test!  Yes, a test!  I will be quizzing them on the planets along with some of the facts about the Universe.
her favorite yoga pose!  lizard on a rock!
Before all of this we did our standard start to the day, my sunrise walk, yoga, pledge and calendar review.  After our BB discussion we moved forward to our journaling.  I asked the children to illustrate something related to the Big Bang.  They thought and worked hard on their creations.  We then moved onto spelling, grammar and handwriting.  This was followed by math (double digit addition and subtraction for T and 5 digit addition and subtraction for K along with multiplication), geography (today we worked on Arizona) and music (we studied Vivaldi today and listened closely to the Four Seasons).  We went to a friends house for a mid-day playdate - mostly for the baby as K & T jumped on their trampoline!  (so fun!)
Our Phoenix bird ;) Helped them remember that the capitol of Arizona is Phoenix!
he LOVES our Land Cruiser!
D.E.A.R. time in the fort!

When we got home the kids were excited as I saved our science for last!  It was an easy project today - making galaxy dough!  This is nothing more than homemade play dough colored black with food coloring but this time I had the children make the entire recipe.  I usually make the dough and have them color it but this time they found the right measuring devices and ingredients.  I explained to them how to combine the wet and dry ingredients separately and then to incorporate them together in the pan.  They were not keen on how much stirring it takes to get the dough to form but they persevered and loved the results!  I had bright purple, chunky glitter for them to incorporate into it along with moon and star gems, nubby beads to represent planets and black stones for comets or meteors.  
Just awesome
our daily board!
The kids loved it and played with it for quite a while after as that was the end of our day.

As I cleaned up and played with the baby the kids went off into their newly built fort for some play time.  Kendall and I had Mother/Daughter book club at a local library.  It was our month to host.  We chose the book Mandy by Julie Andrews.  It's a beautiful book and I introduced it to Kendall last summer and she fell in love with it.  Kendall wrote discussion questions and lead the discussion with the other girls in the group.  We then served a snack and lead a planned craft - garden terrarium necklaces.  The kids had a great time and loved the craft.
Until tomorrow friends!