Friday, December 19, 2014

Learning on Vacation for The Kid

The vast majority of our vacation looked like this:

Playing in the sand and the shallow waves. And, of course, I forgot the camera when we went to El Rey, a smaller Aztec ruin site, the one part that looked like more traditional learning.

But some things that The Kid did get to experience: hearing lots of Spanish, eating new foods, watching the tides change, building with sand, and airports.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Forming New Habits

Why is this so hard?

I wrote last post about trying to form writing habits for the month of November. Didn't go so well for me. The Kid and I decided that in November, we were also going to try to form the habit of doing yoga every day. It would be a great habit to form, fun for both of us, but it hardly ever happened. We got the great Kids Yoga Deck, chose a handful of poses when we remembered, but did yoga maybe ten days last month. We're still working on this, though!

For December, she decided to try to form the habit of clearing off her art space when she was done working on something. I suspected this would not go well. She loves creating, and often the first step in a new creation is pushing aside the old creating materials, which is sometimes enough to put her off altogether, so it would be a great habit. Not happening so far, though.

I decided this month to work on Spanish every day using DuoLingo. It's amazing the excuses I've come up with to delay - mostly being sick and/or tired. Then a trip to Mexico, where I did at least work on my Spanish. I really need to get on this. We're planning a trip to a language school in Guatemala this spring and I want to make as much progress as I can through the free resource before paying for a tutor!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Writing Goals Update

At the beginning of November, I posted that The Kid was doing the Young Writer's Program for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This required that she write (well, dictate) her story nearly every day to reach her goal of 1500 words by the end of the month. It took until the last day, but she did it! Yay Kid!

Winner Facebook Profile

I also posted that I was going to try to blog every day. Obviously, that didn't come even close to happening. Probably just as well, as I'm still pretty sure I don't have 30 days of new stuff to say.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do It Yourself

The Kid has been asking to "make things". Now, she makes a LOT of things. She has a craft desk and a lot of supplies and she is making stuff all the time. This time around, she meant something where she would have a finished product good for something other than her pretend play. A while ago, I had stumbled on Red Tool Box kits, but dismissed them as being too old for her. A closer look, though, showed they they have a Juniors line that has a recommended starting age of 4.

I showed her the possible projects and she was most excited about their candy maze. We ordered, it arrived, and she made. The instructions are very clear and she was able to follow them largely on her own, with some help from me to make sure things were more or less square. The junior kits require only wood glue and a hammer. This was The Kid's first time using a hammer, and I did provide a final whack on most of the little tacks to get them flush, but she did pretty well!

This conveniently came just before Halloween, so she soon had Halloween candy to put inside!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

RightStart Math Manipulatives

I remember being so excited when the big box came from RightStart, but then came the challenge of organizing all of it. I thought I had it all down and then I switched from Version 1's Level A to Version 2's Level B and acquired a whole new crop of stuff. Ack!

This shelf contains all of RightStart's manipulatives and the books for level B. It is about 13" deep and 24" long. I have two pieces of "equipment" holding everything - nine 4.5 cup Snapwares (you can find these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and use coupons) and one fairly unique bookend.

This section has the books, fraction chart, geometry panels (which we haven't used yet - those may need to be stored differently later), abacus, and a couple odds and ends a little too big for the Snapwares. I know it looks a bit messy, but it stays put!

The Snapware section is all the small manipulatives, with labels so I can quickly grab what I want. The Snapwares aren't quite as deep as the shelf, so the math balance tucks in neatly behind them.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Science With Many Resources

My young scientist can't get enough science. While we only officially have "science class" once weekly, there is science woven into all of her days. Our list of science resources for this year include Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, Lego Education kits, Snap Circuits, The Private Eye curriculum, Magic School bus tv episodes and books, and Science in a Nutshell kits. While the Scientist has free access to many of these things and explores with them outside of science class, I have come up with a rough order of when I use what. So here is the full plan for our kindergarten year of science class:

1                                             BFSU A/B- 1: Organizing Things Into Categories
2                                             BFSU A-2: Solids, Liquids, and Gases
3                                             Magic School Bus Makes a Stink
4                                             Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids 1/2
5                                             Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids 3/4
6                                             Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids 5/6
7                                             Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids 7/8
8                                             Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids 9/10
9                                             BFSU A-3: Air is a Substance
10                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases 1/2
11                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases 3/4
12                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases 5/6
13                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases 7/8
14                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases 9/10
15                                         Lego Simple Structures 1
16                                         The Private Eye
17                                         BFSU D-1: Gravity I: The Earth’s Gravity. Horizontal and Vertical
18                                         Magic School Bus Gains Weight
19                                         BFSU C-1: Concepts of Energy I: Making Things Go
20                                         Magic School Bus episode: Getting Energized
21                                         Lego Simple Structures 2
22                                         The Private Eye
23                                         Snap Circuits
24                                         BFSU B-2: Distinguishing Living, Natural Non-Living, and Human-Made Things
25                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Is It Alive? 1/2
26                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Is It Alive? 3/4
27                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Is It Alive? 5/6
28                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Is It Alive? 7/8
29                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Is It Alive? 9/10
30                                         Lego Simple Structures 3
31                                         The Private Eye
32                                         Snap Circuits
33                                         BFSU A-4: Matter I: Its Particulate Nature
34                                         Lego Simple Structures 4
35                                         The Private Eye
36                                         Snap Circuits
37                                         BFSU A-5: Distinguishing Materials
38                                         Lego Simple Structures 5
39                                         The Private Eye
40                                         Snap Circuits
41                                         BFSU C-2: Sound, Vibrations, and Energy
42                                         Magic School Bus in the Haunted House
43                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Sound Vibrations 1/2
44                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Sound Vibrations 3/4
45                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Sound Vibrations 5/6
46                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Sound Vibrations 7/8
47                                         Science in a Nutshell kit: Sound Vibrations 9/10
48                                         Lego Simple Structures 6
49                                         The Private Eye
50                                         Snap Circuits

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kindergarten Curriculum and Resources - Halfway point!

I posted six months ago with what we were intending to use for this kindergarten year. As always with an ever-changing child, there have been modifications. Here is the updated and annotated list of what we are using.

Reading (3x weekly)
Read alouds from a mom-made reading list at her ability level

Math (3x weekly)
RightStart B
Time-Life I Love Math series
MathStart level 2 and 3 books by Stuart J. Murphy
Added Dreambox 
Math games as talked about in this post

Spelling (1x weekly)
All About Spelling 2 and 3, with adaptations for handwriting - she got bored with spelling after book 2, so we have discontinued spelling lessons for now

Science (1x weekly, but she'll request more and do these much more than "planned")
Lego Education Early Simple Machines
The Private Eye
The Happy Scientist videos
Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding
Caterpillar-to-Butterfly kit - this has been rescheduled to next year to line up with BFSU
Child-friendly Microscope
Various Thames and Kosmos sets 
Memberships to local children's museum and the zoo
Added Snap Circuits
Added Science in a Nutshell kits
Added Lego Education Basic Structures
Added Dino 101 course on Coursera (which lined up beautifully with our pre-history)

Spanish (1x weekly) - this subject has been by far the hardest to find a good fit!
Salsa Spanish

Risas y Sonrisas
Song School Spanish

Handwriting (1x weekly)
StartWrite software
Adding New American Cursive

History (1x weekly)
Mom-made Prehistory year (Big Bang to early man)

Art (every other two out of three weeks)
Usborne Big Drawing Book
Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas
Artistic Pursuits preschool level

Music (every other third week)
The Story of the Orchestra

She has just decided that she wants to stop taking violin at the end of this month. She continues to enjoy gymnastics and swim, and has added dance.