Our summer is off to a great start!! Technically, we’re not out for the summer; we school all year through, but summertime still deserves its own special attention and curriculum, I think. Recently, I decided that our school year basically has 3 semesters: Winter (Jan. – May), Summer (June – August), and Fall (Sept. – December).
In Winter, we do literature units, unit studies, lots of lapbooks and notebooking in addition to the basics (reading, writing and arithmetic… and history and science). In Summer, we have lots of activities – tennis camp, hiking every week, plus other activities, so we kind of unschool with some desk work as well – but far less than ‘normal’. The Fall semester is hour hardcore, sit-at-your-desk, this grade’s curriculum time. This sort of schedule keeps things lively. We don’t get bored and there’s always something new right around the corner.
Last week, I sat down with a few of my friends who will be hanging out with us a lot this summer, and we planned the calendar. In our area, there is a LOT for kids to do, especially in the 8-12 age range. In addition to that stuff, our homeschool group also keeps the calendar running through the summer, so we have that stuff on the books as well. If you read last summer, then you may remember my niece, Appleberry, and our friends Red Butler and Huckleberry Pie, with stepmom Bridey. They’re back this summer, and our long lost friends, PBJMom and kids (JellyBean, Bella, AngelBoy and PuddleJumper) are back, and new/old friends SmurfMom and her son RedRanger are joining us as well. I figured I would introduce them now, to save time later.
I also made their Summer Passports for 2013 this week. Last year’s Passport was really fun, and is fun to have now as a reminder of all the cool stuff we did, so I wanted one for this year as well. At one point, I will post the blanks for this year’s (which has a different cover), but the old one is generic, so you can either use it, or make a new cover with MSWord.
So let’s re-cap Summer, Week 1: June 3-7, 2013!
Monday was Bad Wolf Day! Unless you’re a Whovian, that won’t make sense. If you are, then I bring you this:
In less exciting news, I also had a dentist’s appointment. The kids brought schoolwork to do with them. They used an isolite while they were doing my teeth and LBB came in and thought it would be a neat topic for his research project this week, and PeaGreen decided to research teeth and cavities and dental work. So great for them, not so much for me. I have severe anxiety and was far from ‘okay’ even though each and every one of the thousand times I was asked if I was, I said yes. Let’s skip to Tuesday, shall we?
Tuesday was supposed to be our homeschool group’s regular field trip day, but due to the location’s schedule, we had to do it on Wednesday, so we basically just did school. Not very exciting, I realize, but stick around; it gets better.
Wednesday, the field trip ended up getting cancelled, so we did schoolwork in the morning, then had lunch and friends over for swimming! This was the first time since the boys got to see Red Butler and Huckleberry Pie since they got back to Texas over the weekend. They’d been asking when they’d get to see their friends, so I am glad the field trip got the axe.
Thursday, we had another field trip scheduled with our homeschool group, to the Clifton Steamboat Museum, which is in the back of a huge event center complex. Outside the museum is the 1938 tugboat, “Hercules,” standing at 36 feet high, 22 feet wide and 92 feet long.
The engine of the Hercules is inside the museum. It was constructed for a locomotive, and then put into the tugboat. It’s really huge!
The theme of the museum is Heroes of the Past, and they have tons of models, artwork and artifacts from the Civil War and WWII. There are portraits of boat captains, army generals and other ‘brass’, models of the warships (armoured in massive cotton bales since the South lacked metal, they used what they had), and other replicas. It was weird to see southern paddle boats kitted out for war!
Upstaris, they have model planes from WWII and other nifty old-timey stuff, like boy scout parephenalia and the processes of making bronzed states and figurines.
Friday was yet another field trip… we decided last year that during the summer months, we should do a weekly hike out to Village Creek State Park for some hiking and swimming. It’s a little over 2 miles out to the swimming hole and back, so we get a little exercise and some fun in the sun. We all (thankfully) remembered to bring sunscreen, so no sunburns for this crew!!
We also got signed up for the Summer Reading Club, which is always fun. This is the third (or fourth) year we’ve done it, and they just have so many activities for the kids to do! They’ve changed their program up a bit, which I think is easier now, so we’re looking forward to getting started next week.
The weekend consisted of karate for Loverly Husband and a bunch of loafing around for me and the kids, then spending the afternoon with my amazing BFF who just found out that the implantation for her first surrogate pregnancy took. So we celebrated with work, lol. And ice cream. Sunday, Loverly Husband took the kids to see their great grandmother and to make Monsters University clackers at the Lowe’s Build and Grow kids’ clinic while I cleaned house in preparation for the weekly hooping class that some friends and I started. We all are too embarrassed to go to a formal class, so we’re going to try it with ‘just friends’ who won’t point and laugh. Well, they will, but it’ll be WITH you,, not AT you. Okay, well it will be AT you, but nicely… not secretly being bitchy behind your back. In any case, we ended up cancelling because we’re all poor and didn’t have the money to make them this week… trying again next week!
This week was kinda light, but the local ISD isn’t out yet, so most of the community stuff starts next week (like Tennis Camp!!). We weren’t as busy as we will be next week.
Last week, we celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday by making a new lapbook. I’d been seeing Dr. Seuss lesson plans popping up on Pinterest, so I already knew that I wanted to have a day filled with Dr. Seuss’ silly style goodness. I had all these great plans… but we had some car issues and ended up back and forth at the dealership and then a rental – so our fun was cut short.
But we still managed to have a pretty fun day! We started off with the Sneetches – book and video. Someone posted the movie a while back on YouTube, so we took a few minutes to read and watch, then compare.
The Sneetches video (full):
After that, I pulled a bunch of lapbook-esque resources from the web and we read The ABC Book, The Foot Book, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket and other Dr. Seuss favorites, then did an activity for each of the books. Here’s a list of the things I included in this lapbook:
- Notebooking Page: Theodor Geisel “Dr. Seuss“
- You are a Star (page 5 from the Sneetches download at Homeschool Share)
- How Many Feet, Whose Feet Are These?, Opposite Cards (Pages 2-6 of the Foot Book download from Homeschool Share)
- My Tongue Twister, Sock cards (pages 2-4 Fox in Socks download from Homeschool Share)
- pages 4 & 7-11 (One Fish, Two Fish download from Homeschool Share)
- pages 7-9 Cat in the Hat download from Homeschool Share
- pages 2 & 3 from Dr. Seuss’ ABC Book download from Homeschool Share
- http://www.passportacademy.com/‘s Wocket in my Pocket pop-up
Additional Dr. Seuss Resources that I’ll be looking at to add to our lapbook for next year:
I’d also planned on having green eggs and ham for lunch, making Cat in the Hat cupcakes and other fun little things… maybe next year!
How did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday?
In celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, we’ve been working on expanding last year’s lapbook into this year’s notebooking. I came across a nifty ‘how to make notebooking pages‘ from Squidoo via Jimmie’s Collage (which has tons of really great notebooking info, and Jimmie also does The Notebooking Fairy blog) and whipped up a few for the kids to use instead of the dreaded handwriting workbook.
I’ve been meaning to get the kids into something other than a workbook for handwriting for a while now, and I think notebooking will fit the bill nicely. We’re taking it slow and easy – just working on forming letters and small passages – but I think that they need the practice and that writing real words instead of just practicing letters will help their writing become more fluid. I already notice that their cursive writing is significantly neater than their print, so we’re going to be stepping up the cursive writing portion quite a bit this year.
I know, I know – the debate about cursive is endless, but that’s a topic for another post! Moving on…
As our first real foray into honest-to-goodness ‘notebooking’, the boys have actually gotten off to a pretty good start. We’re going to be working on the Dr. King theme all this week; there’s a lot of information to cover and just one day won’t be enough time (and too much writing in one sitting makes fo grouchy boys). I am using much of the info from the unit study I posted yesterday from The Homeschool Mom’s site, the kids are researching online, and they’re using the information we compiled in our MLK lapbook to complete their notebooking pages. We’ve been doing weekly research projects for the past few months, so this is a step in a useful direction – not only locating the information, but presenting it in a more polished form – still fairly simple, but more story-structured (with complete sentences and everything!).
We’re off to a pretty good start with our weekly field trips – it was wet and rainy so the rest of our group (who were all coming from 20+ minutes away) opted to stay out of the weather, but we had an… educational experience with just our own company. It’s not really a ‘fun’ park; there’s no play gym or anything like that – it’s just more or less a lovely rest area with concrete walls along one side that have information on Dr. King’s life and work, and quotes from various letters, speeches and papers. It’s a somber experience, reading about what he accomplished and endured, and how he was persecuted for standing up for something we pretty much take for granted in such a ‘big’ way. The concrete plaques that are engraved are as tall as I am and there are 12 of them.
It was interesting listening to the kids talk about Dr. King’s words. They’ve never experienced anything like the kind of atmosphere that Dr. King lived in; I don’t know if they really understand (for that matter, I don’t know that *I* really understand) what it must have been like for the average person (white or black) to live in such a climate. For what it’s worth, I am thankful that the kids don’t live in that type of limited environment, and for Dr. King’s efforts towards both a non-violent approach and the end of racial segregation.
Some pictures from our trip today:
We’ll be wrapping our week up with completing our notebooking pages on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, and continuing to adjust to our suddenly very busy schedule now that we’ve added the Couch to 5K program and karate. We had a nice long break and are finally getting back into the groove… at least until our first break, which is still a couple of weeks off.
What about you – any new and interesting MLK links for this year?