Homeschool Summary Aug ’15

August was a strange month.  We had zhuyin class and playdates for 3 weeks, and 1 week of vacation for Thumper with the kids been gone on weekends.  At the same time I had to prepare work samples for my charter school and there’s nothing like doing these samples to make you feel like you’re behind.

I have not managed to make too many indents in my presentation schedule.  I’m trying to remind myself that we actually haven’t had time to homeschool daily.  And this first week of September is still the same with appointments as well.  Plus next week my siblings are coming to visit us.

There’s always something going on. I’m burning out again from lack of prep time and all days with the kids.  (Baba has been sick.)   September may be a month where we stay home a bit more.  (Says the person who’s already scheduled playdates half of the month!)

I wanted to note that with Astroboy’s zhuyin class this summer, he’s been really loving coloring books. We don’t actually have them, so we’re working with metal insets to help improve his pincer grip, which you need for writing.  But I did learn that he does much better coloring than drawing pictures when I make booklets.  I’m so happy he’s finally ready to draw and use the pencil.  He resisted a lot last year because he sees his sister drawing and then he feels like he can’t do it and always asks me or her to draw.  There are definitely benefits to having outside classes when you homeschool.

The good thing is, since I had to do samples, I know exactly what the kids did this month:

Thumper
  • Language Artsintroduction to capitalizationPrimary phonics reviews set 1, read through set 2 and almost done with set 3.  Being read to Wind in the Willow.  Some handwriting practice.
  • Math – Reviewed subtraction up to 18.  Started multiplication of 6 and 7.  Multiples.
  • Science – introduction to 4 types of energy, focused on electrical energy.  Keeping a moon log
  • Social studies – Map of USA.
  • Enrichment – Clay class.
  • PE – continuing with swimming team.  also joining a dance class.
  • Chinese – Just reading books for now.
Astroboy
  • Language Arts – introduction to phonics c, a, t., Metal insets
  • Math – introduction to subtraction memorization, skip counting
  • Science – introduction to 4 types of energy, focused on electrical energy.  Keeping a moon log.
  • Social studies – map of North America
  • Enrichment – clay class.
  • PE – swimming classes.
  • Chinese – Sagebooks reviewed Book 1 & 2
  • Practical Life – Lots of paper airplanes

Sadly, I feel like after the great works in July, August was a slow month.  And no pics to boot.  We did have a lot of really great playdates though.  I’ve already kind of documented some of the things we did.

Our second project!

Introduction to Energy.

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Skip Counting

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First clay class

My homeschooler friend is an artist.  She used to teach clay to primary children.  We got together a group to learn about building with clay after seeing how much it costs to take a class ($20!).  A bag of 5 pound clay is only $14.  With glazes it came out to $50.  The firing of 10-20 pieces was only $6.  So it makes sense to do this at home.  At the same time, I really want to tie art to something more functional.  This is probably why I chose clay (yes, I’m not really a Fine Arts person).

The kids learned red how to make things using the coil method, slab, and pinch.  Hopefully when we have time in the afternoon, we will paint these and refire.  I already have the next project in mind, pencil holders!  Ideally the kids will be inspired to make their own things that are related to what they’re studying.  I know my take on art tends to be non-museum related.  I don’t like admiring items in museums as they have no context.  (And I get bored.  There, I said it.)   It’s my one weak point that we will not be working on this year.

On the other hand, I’m hoping I can eventually poke my friends brain on how to teach coloring.  We did go to a demo art class 2 weeks ago and they really emphasized that.  They try to use just primary colors + black and white so that kids learn how to mix color.  Astroboy tried to do it with crayons just two days later.  The lady teacher basically said, sensitivity to color is something we need to cultivate, hopefully before 6, otherwise you lose it.

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Moon log

We’re also doing a unit on moon, as part of our study on Time.  We’re listening to songs about time right now and the kids are observing the moon.  I’m hoping they can do it for about 2 months.  For Thumper, her observation log notes the direction of the moon.  Because I wanted her to see how its position changes around the same time at night.  And we get some mapping skills in.

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Here are the kids’ work on map, one finished, one undone.  It’s all in English because I had to get something out for my charter school.  We’d have to come back and add Chinese labels in later.

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Astroboy got this fold one plane a day calendar as his birthday present and he’s been folding more than 1 a day.  Thankfully we have Jan-Aug to work through.   Origami is something I’ve been wanting to do for the whole last year.  But it meant that I had to buy the paper (done), and download or buy a book on paper folding that is easy for him and then make them into little booklets (not done).  And I know it wouldn’t have held his interest as much as these airplanes.  I learned a really important lesson here:  sometimes the best solution may be store bought; whatever holds the child’s interest is most important.  If I really want something covered in the classroom, I have to remind myself to stop and look around rather than thinking I have to prep everything because nothing meets my standards.

When I was good about prepping, I did some work on art sorting cards on transportation and music notations.  I also found these great youtube videos on teaching music.  I don’t know when I’ll get to it though.

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