Homeschool Summary – May 2015

Fitzgerald Marine reserve

Fitzgerald Marine reserve

As usual, I never got to posting about April.  Oh well, it’ll be posted one day.

I feel like I’ve fallen off the homeschooling wagon after the weeks of terrible flu in April followed by throwing my back out.  Don’t be fooled by the posts.  We probably do 1-2 hours of homeschooling at most a day.  It is not my idea of homeschooling.  At the same time, many of our day to day activities makes me wonder if this is what education really ought to be about.  We read a lot more, listened to a lot of audio, watched a bit more Chinese youtube, cooked a lot more, and gardened lots.  It seems like we do learn just doing practical life things.  However, I then change my mind again when I ask Thumper something I’ve taught her a few weeks ago and she doesn’t remember because we didn’t “work” on it.  Apparently just talking about it and having her seemingly understand when we discuss isn’t enough.

Anyways, we have done the following this month:

Chinese:  Took a break.  She learned 20 new words I dreamed up and started going through the 生字簿 that’s available online.  Astroboy hasn’t done anything either.  But as I mentioned, we listened to A LOT of audio, specifically the Children Can Listen Chinese History.  Plus the one night we drove down to San Jose, we listened to a lot of Chiao Hu for Astroboy.  I have noticed that Astroboy is turning another corner finally regarding his Chinese.  He is using more vocabulary words, things I didn’t know he could say.  He can pronounce things better in general.  I’m thinking developmentally maybe he is now ready for more written Chinese.  I don’t think he was before.  He really needed more listening input.


Learning to tell time

Math: Decanomials, Squares and Square Root, Flat Bead Frame.

Thumper finished her subtraction exercises and I gave her a break because I think she’s tired from all the boring worksheets.  She has moved on to the Flat Bead Frame after finally finishing the large bead frame without making mistakes for several equations.  The flat bead frame is like that last step before doing multiplication abstractly.  She’s having issues with the process right now so we either need to go back or figure something else out.  I have to say, even I find the equations boring when the numbers get big.  Especially when it’s not a number you made up.

Astroboy is still counting away.  He loves big numbers.  One day in the car, he added 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, 5+5, 6+6, 7+7, 8+8, 9+9, 10+10, 20+20, 30+30, …100+100……ALLLLLLL the way to 5,000,000+5,000,000=10,000,000, which is 一千萬 in Chinese.  This was done while we were driving down to the Chinese Library.  Apparently his sister taught him the answers to this type of addition from 1-10 and he wanted to see how far it goes.  See, an example where I feel a lot of our learning happen organically, and often orally rather than looking at paper.   He also likes to say, 九千萬零九千次 when he talks about how many times something will happen or how many seconds or minutes something will take.  Once in awhile, he will pop out 億 (100,000,000).

Oh!  And we spent about 2 days doing a clock work that never got finished.  Astroboy learned to tell o’clock, half, quarter, and quarter till in Chinese.  We started making a booklet but he lost interest after 2 pages.  Our classroom is full of such half done projects.  I don’t know what to do about that.


Examining Poppy seed pods

Science:  We’re doing a lot of gardening as I mentioned.  We talked about the parts of the root one day but I’m not even sure how to call them myself so i need to do some research before I can do follow up lessons with them.  We also did some geography on the continents of the world () and Australia (Thumper) and the animals of Australia.  Plus the planets of the Solar System.  One day we went all around our swim center to find all the poppy seed pods and open them up.  Astroboy had a great time.


Practical Life. something cooked up by Thumper with a bit of my help

Practical Life:  Lastly, practical life is where we made the most progress this month.  Thumper is in a period of wanting to cook.  She pretty much cooks her own breakfast herself daily.  She refuses my offer to cook for her.  Usually her breakfast is a cup of hot chocolate and cream of wheat.  One day, this happened when I slept in with Astroboy till 11am (long story).  Often she wants to cook her own lunch or dinner as well.  We have gnocchi from Trader Joes that she cooks.  She has learned how to cook bagels, sphaghetti, pizza, and various other things but she’s not quite there at doing it all herself.  What she has cooked other than her breakfast is her own scrambled eggs.  It happened a few times I didn’t even know that she cooked herself some food till I noticed the dirty pan.  And most happily, I can say, she now helps me cook dinner whenever I ask, with enthusiasm.  She’s willing to cut up vegetables and really wants to stand in front of the stove and stir fry.

Best of all, she has progressed to making me coffee while I sleep!  I swear I didn’t ask her too.  Other than putting the idea in her head by mentioning that a boy who is home schools does it for his mom every day.

Here are more pics of science stuff we did:


Map of the World


Solar system


Parts of the train


Animals of Australia


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