Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back on Track

Now that I'm back from my trip, we are fully back on track with school.  We've finished our Canada/Olympics study, with the exception of filling in the medals charts.

We are back into Sonlight Core 4 and are on, ummm.... Week 13.  Well, that's the first week that we have entirely completed.  We are jumping around a bit and going at our own pace in the read-alouds, so we're ahead in Caddie Woodlawn.  Pepper needs to read about Thomas Edison.  We listened to Old Yeller twice already, the last time being about 2 years ago and the girls don't want to hear it again, so we'll skip that.  It's not a book I can read aloud (it's actually scheduled as a reader, for them to read to themselves) so we've always listened to it on CD.  I hate sobbing while I'm reading aloud.

Daisy has read all the Core 4 readers months and months ago in her quest for "something to read, Mom!"  Pepper, a more reluctant reader, is going to be plowing through a pile of them in the next week or so.

It's not that she CAN'T read them.  She's an excellent reader.  She just CHOOSES the more fluffy stuff.  Pony Pals (gag) for instance, are her latest passion and she can read two a day.  I gave her the stack she needs to read Monday and she's already blown through The Toothpaste Millionaire (took less than a day) and We'll Race You, Henry Ford.

So in her pile, still to be read, are George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller and Shoes For Everyone.

Pepper just walked into the room where Daisy is busily (and happily) making electrical circuits for science and muttered under her breath, "I hate science experiments."  This on the heels of Banana Boy, who stomped through the room shouting, "I NEVER get to do anything FUN!  I NEVER get to do experiments!!!"

I offered Pepper the chance to trade with BB (even though TOPS Electricity is really too hard for him) and she jumped at it.  His response to her: "SURE!  But then you have to finish my puzzles." (Lauri crepe rubber preschool puzzles). 

However, once Pepper discovered that today's experiment involved burning up tiny pieces of steel wool, she was all over it.  Now she is determinedly completing her work sheet.  Daisy, who has finished the sheet, is burning up more wires.

Olympic/Canada Projects

Pepper made a TV to display what she learned about Canada and the Winter Olympics. We used a kleenex box (well, ok, Target brand facial tissue, if you want to avoid trademark infringement) and I made "screens" on half-sheets of paper. She drew or wrote her information in each screen and then we taped them all end-to-end and rolled them up on dowels. You turn the dowels to advance the screens. It turned out very cute!
Pepper proudly shows off her TV
The Canadian flag

Ancient Greek Government (the line of guys in the bottom left corner are standing in line to vote in their democracy!)
Ever wanted to see inside a TV?
The ends of the screen-strip are taped to the dowels.  We poked a small hole, just big enough for the dowels in the top of the box.  The bottom end of each dowel sits inside a large paper clip taped to the inside bottom of the box.  This keeps the dowels straight and in place and keeps the screen roll near the front of the box.

Here is Banana Boy's not-quite-finished lapbook:
"Canada and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games"
Canada/British Columbia section

Olympic section (a little sparse)
Individual sports.  BB wrote a little about each sport inside the little books.

Daisy made a similar lapbook, but of course put much more time and effort into it.
Ancient Olympics section.  Booklets are a combination of the two lapbook kits mentioned here.

Modern Olympics section.  It includes a calendar of the dates of the 2010 Olympics, a map of the torch relay, a tri-fold brochure of British Columbia, a booklet about the torch, the Canadian flag, a chart showing distances from our area to former Olympic host cities, a booklet about the opening ceremonies, an Olympic acrostic poem, a medal count, map of participating countries and a report on an outstanding Canadian.  Inside shots of some of the booklets are below.

Medal-winning countries in selected events

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympics and Canada

Part of Sonlight Core 4 includes a study of Canada.  I think it is scheduled near the end of the year, but when I began to plan for studying the Olympics, I had an aha! moment and pulled out the Canada book to tie in.

So we've been making lapbooks.  We've learned about Canada using Sonlight's book A Unit About Canada.
This has been a very nice study.  We were fairly choosey about which pages we did.  I copied off many of the pages with fill-in-the-blank answers and after we'd read about the topic, I had either Daisy or Pepper do the writing while everyone chimed in with the answers.  I didn't feel it was necessary, nor productive, to have each one complete their own sheet.  Between the reading, the discussion and the worksheet, I think they all got a good grounding in the topics.  I also had whomever hadn't filled out the sheet check it over for accuracy.

This book was also nice in that I was able to find activities within suitable for Daisy, Pepper AND Banana Boy.  He enjoyed the maps.  We also did some extensions with him about tides when we read about the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy.  He chose to read about Michael J. Fox when they each chose an "Outstanding Canadian" to report on.  Why would he know MJF?  Mr. GT and the kids are movie addicts on the weekends when I am at work, and they've seen all the Back to the Future movies!

After a general overview of Canada, we focused in on British Columbia because that's where the 2010 Winter Olympics are, in Vancouver.  There's a page in the book with 6 different province-study topics and each of them took two.  We checked out a bunch of books from the library on BC and the kids set to work investigating.  Daisy and Pepper were able to find answers to their questions and record notes pretty well on their own.  BB and I worked together to explore natural resources, crops and manufacturing and food, sports and attractions.  He made a little book about logging with coloring pages I found on the internet and colored a picture of salmon for his lapbook.  I think I'll have him do a hockey page, too.

Finally, for the Olympics study, I bought two lapbooks from CurrClick.  CurrClick is a wonderful place to buy e-books and instant download lapbooking sets.  They have a nice selection of freebies and often have sales, plus they carry products from many different companies.  If you get on their weekly newsletter mailing list, you get a new freebie each week and it's a good way to sample each company's product.  I've definitely found I don't like all lapbooking kits. Some companies are much more to my taste than others.

We used A Journey Through Learning's 2010 Winter Olympics lapbook and Live N Learn's Winter Olympics lapbook.  AJTL's lapbook was a nice fit for Banana Boy, with much simpler, broader activities.  LnL's kit contained very specific and deep projects exploring the olympics and was a good match for Daisy's skills.  Pepper worked a bit from both and I selected just the projects and booklets we needed and tossed the rest.

If you are considering purchasing either, the Live N Learn kit is not year-specific and could be used as-is over again for another Winter Olympics.  The Journey Through Learning set is specific to the 2010 Olympics, but only in a few places (mascots, themes, map of the torch trek).  Much of it could be used again another time and it's on sale right now for only $3.75!  It would be a great value to purchase now and use again next time.  You could adapt the year-specific activities to the new olympics fairly easily with a little internet research.

A few other online things I collected from

An Olympic acrostic and a Distance to Travel worksheet

I'll post pictures of the lapbooks when we have them finished--hopefully that will be by tomorrow, since Grandma and Grandpa are coming!

I Was Going to Make Them Come Down and Do School

after lunch.  Daisy has some things in her Olympic folder to work on.  I was going to read Caddie Woodlawn to them.

But when I went up find them, they were in the attic and Daisy was reading The Boxcar Children to Pepper and Banana Boy.

ah, homeschooling.....  :D