Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kid in the Kitchen

What better week for a post on cooking and baking?

This past month, The Kid has been helping out more and more in the kitchen. She's five, and like most kids she loves to help in the kitchen. I realized recently that she could probably do a lot more than she has been if I slowed it down a bit. She now is my assistant during preparations for most lunches. Starting last week, we now swap roles for one lunch a week and Sunday brunch - she is the cook, with an adult assistant.

What do your kids start out learning to cook? I'd love to find more stuff she could actually be independent on!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Project Time

We've always had a pile of projects we meant to do and somehow didn't get around to. So we have a new "class" called Project Time! 30 minutes every school day dedicated to whatever project we're currently working on. So far, we've used this time for her history fair project and NaNoWriMo. We'll break from NaNoWriMo next week to use the time to put the wrappings on her chicken mummy.

Finally, projects that get done!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Read Aloud: The Secret Garden

The Husband and I take turns reading aloud to The Kid for about a half hour before bed most nights. Our most recent book was The Secret Garden, which is one of my all-time childhood favorites. I love the friendships between the kids, reading through the changes that occur for Mary and Colin, and the great relationship that the kids have with some of the adults. This one is a long book, and it tells its story slowly and gently, so it's definitely for patient listeners. But it can also be helped along by Inga Moore's illustrations in the fantastic version we found!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

BFSU: Energy Unit

Resources: Magic School Bus episodes (these were definitely more in the "fun" than "educational" category)

Lesson 1: BFSU C-3: Concepts of Energy II: Kinetic and Potential Energy
Lesson 2: Magic School Bus Gets Charged
Lesson 3: BFSU C-4: Concepts of Energy III: Distinguishing Between Matter and Energy, part 1
Lesson 4: BFSU C-4: Concepts of Energy III: Distinguishing Between Matter and Energy, part2
Lesson 5: Magic School Bus in the Arctic

This post is part of my series on using BFSU as a science unit study.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015: Getting Started

The Kid loved doing National Novel Writing Month's Young Writers Program last year and has been very excited to get started again this year! Of course, being five years old, the 30,000 word count that is set as the default goal is a bit much. Last year, she set her goal at 1500 and just made it. This year, she has set herself a goal of 2500 words.

This year, she wanted to do part of the workbook that the YWP has to help young writers map out their characters and stories. So we spent a few days at the end of October, with me scribing in the workbook as she created a main character, supporting character, and villain. She made up a brief outline of her book's plot and I asked her questions to prompt her. That is all the planning she did - and it's far more planning than she's ever done before.

Her goal is for her to write (or dictate) about 20 minutes per school day throughout November. She wants to try her hand at typing it, so we may be trading off some. We have always done her previous stories with her dictating and me scribing, guided by BraveWriter's Jot It Down program, and I'm expecting I'll be doing the majority of the typing this month.

Wish her luck!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Homeschooling Confessions

Someone in a homeschooling forum recently described me as having "her daughter in about twelve things a day and STILL finds time to cover everything academic, all while being perky and well-rested to boot."

I cracked up. I am generally pretty confident in my homeschooling and parenting. Maybe I'm just in denial. But perky? Most definitely not!

So, some of my homeschooling/parenting confessions:
  • I hate long, involved projects. We're making a chicken mummy right now. Why? What the flip are we going to get out of this? Will she even remember it in a few years? Plus, The Kid wants to make canopic jars for the innards. Seriously? Do you actually think we're keeping mummified chicken innards long term?
  • When the woman who is wonderfully heading up an American Girl book club asked parents if they would like to help, I said no. I'm sending my kid to the book club specifically so someone else can plan projects and I don't have to. I did offer to help furnish any supplies needed.
  • I'm intentionally holding my daughter back in gymnastics. The level she is in meets during the daytime, when the center is nearly empty. All the later levels only meet during the evening, when the center is crowded, noisy, and has extremely limited seating and parking. She can stay with the daytime preschoolers, thank you very much.
  • We barely "do" academics. Seriously, it looks like a ton of stuff when I post about it, but it's somewhere around 90 minutes a day. Plus random educational things to watch on tv and lots of books.
  • My child is a great reader. Okay, that doesn't sound like a confession. But you know those history lists I put together that have a bunch of books listed? And you're maybe thinking that I read them all aloud to her? Or we read them together? Nope. She takes a stack to her reading space and reads them. We read maybe 10% of them together.
  • We never did get signed up for Girl Scouts. There were a ton of roadblocks in the way. They didn't make it easy. They're all based around the schools so that girls are with their classmates. The school near us mixes all the girls ages 5-12 together and is poorly organized. The school where most her friends ended up going would be a pain to get her to. And there is no way I'm starting my own troop. No Way.
  • We're one and done. The Kid will forever remain THE Kid. There will be no Next Kid. There will be no Third Kid. Yeah, we still do a bunch of activities, but I have ONE KID. If we didn't do a bunch of activities, she would want me to be her playmate and that just isn't happening. Five year old's games aren't really that interesting to me. So we go to gymnastics and book club and dance and soccer and music and park day and this and that and the other thing. Then someone else can keep The Kid occupied for a while. Bonus points if it's a drop-off activity and I can go run errands in peace!
There. That's what I can think of off the top of my head, which means there's at least five times this amount that I'm not listing :)

How about you? Any homeschool confessions?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fairy Tale Project: The Ugly Duckling

September's BraveWriter-inspired fairy tale project was The Ugly Duckling.

We read:
  • The Ugly Duckling adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  • The Ugly Duckling retold and illustrated by Roberta Angaramo
  • The Ugly Duckling retold by Lilian Moore and illustrated by Daniel San Souci
  • Presenting Tanya the Ugly Duckling by Patricia Lee Gauch and illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa
  • Ugly by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Lita Judge
The Jerry Pinkney version had my favorite illustrations, though it was also the most simplified version of the story we read. Napoli's Ugly was a random find at the library, but we ended up really enjoying it. It is an expanded version of the original story with much more detail given, especially as regards how the duckling spent his winter.

Though The Kid enjoyed the Ugly Duckling stories, she struggled with recalling as much information as she wanted when it came time to narrate. She was obviously frustrated with herself for not being able to tell the story. Though I wouldn't normally go this route with a young child, I decided to show her how to take quick notes on a book to help her keep the story in her mind. We grabbed the simplest version we had of the story (Pinkey's version), reread it, and made a quick note on a piece of paper every couple of pages or so about what was important to the story. The Kid then used these notes as brief prompts to herself when she was dictating the story to me.

We'll be taking a break from our fairy tale project for a couple of months. October is busy with an upcoming history fair and The Kid will be participating in NaNoWriMo in November!