We started off with the book Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. This is an interesting fictional story based on real people. The Inuit people who live near Ungava Bay in northern Canada collect mussels in an unusual way. The ice freezes over in the winter but the tide still comes and goes. When the tide is out they cut a hole in the ice and go down, walk on the ocean floor and collect mussels. The story is based on a girl, Ava, who goes under the ice and collects the mussels by herself for the first time. We started off the week doing the usual stuff, finding Canada and Ungava Bay on our map and putting the story disk on it. We learned a bit about the Inuit culture and ocean life all week by reading books from the library. We also learned new vocabulary words, discussed ordinal numbers, explored the detail in the pictures of the book, discussed warm and cool colors, and more. One afternoon I set up a pretend setting so Zoey could go under the ice and get mussels.
|Here she is dressed warmly with her sled and tools.|
|Zoey collects the mussels (shells) and puts them in her mussel pan (cake pan).|
Our next book was Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley. This story took us to Venice, Italy. The story is about a tom cat who is adopted by two kittens. It is a very cute story with lots of action too. The canal streets really caught Zoey's attention. We looked at many pictures in books of Venice and Zoey really liked the book, Olivia goes to Venice this week. I think we read it more often than we did the book of the week. Some of the things we learned about and discussed this week were: the shape of Italy, gondola boats, Marco Polo, architecture, creating the illusion of speed in drawings, peripheral vision, types and breeds of cats, and fatherhood.
After Papa Piccolo we moved on to Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Sheffrin-Falk. For this story we visited Russia. Here is Amazon's description of the book, A "heavy-footed brown bear whose heart is soft as butter," Boris is unhappily employed at the animal hospital. When he sees an ornate poster announcing that his friend Max, "the celebrated dancing bear," is about to tour St.Petersburg, his discontent overwhelms him and he can't control his tears, even as he bravely struggles to congratulate Boris. But Boris, too, is soft-hearted, and he sets about teaching Max to dance. Scheffrin-Falk's first picture book gracefully confronts jealousy, self-doubt (Max "felt a little foolish. Dancing lessons at his age!"), the value of persistence and the power of friendship. Garrison's etchings, framed like snapshots and hand-colored to highlight certain objects (a sash, a jacket, a flower) against sepia-like backgrounds, infuse the volume with the feel of an antique scrapbook. This old-world flavor further enhances the nostalgic imperial Russian setting, replete with samovars, graduated Russian peasant dolls (here shaped like bears) and distant spires.
Zoey didn't seem to care too much for this book but she did like the activities we did. We acted out different dramatic words. Can you believe Zoey liked that? We discussed occupations, etchings, boiling and freezing point and characterization. To help learn time I drew a large clock outside and had Zoey show me where the short hand would point if it was a certain time. She did this for me but she really just wanted to play baseball. Later when it rained she told me happily that my drawing was going to be washed away. She sure does make it clear when she doesn't like something. At least I got a picture of it.
|Mean mommy tries to make learning fun.|
Our last book of the year was Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha. Here is a review of the book:
On his way to help grandmother and relatives at a seaside hot dog stand, seven-year-old Mark stops on the beach to pick up a small jellylike substance that he places in a bag of seawater. A moonlight ride with Gram on a fishing boat takes them out on the ocean where thousands of moonjellies shimmer, and the boy slips his treasure back among them. Based on a childhood experience in New England, Shasha's narrative is full of small details that illuminate the story but don't impede it. His rich pastels combined with the text create a strong sense of place and time--the warmth of family relationships, the quiet companionship of the boy and his grandmother, the cheerful hard work and hustle-bustle of the concession stand, and the magic of the glowing sea. His use of light, shadows, and darkness in the luminous full-color double-page spreads invite readers right into the story. Unfortunately, neither the text nor the jacket notes identify exactly what a moonjelly is. Despite this omission, it's a strong debut. --Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI
Sorry I am trying to get this done fast so it is easier to cut and paste than to come up with my own reviews. Things discussed and learned this week were: New England, responsibility, contrast in artwork, italics, pastels (art), money, moon jellyfish and more. This was our second to last week of school and our enthusiasm was getting low so we just kept everything brief and moved on. There are many fun things we can do if we do this book again in a few years.
Our very last week was review and surprise trip on the very last day of school, June 10. Both Mat and I took the girls to the new children's museum, Discovery Place Kids. It is for kids ages 2 to 7 and set up like different occupations and areas of play. I have tons of pictures of it that I will load to Shutterfly and share as soon as I can. Until then here are some pictures of our last day of gymnastics. We really miss this and can't wait for it to start again.
We had a great year for our first year of homeschool. Other than all the adventures we had with books Zoey learned her letters, letter sound and is starting to read. She finally got 13, 14, 15. The other numbers 1 to 20 were no problem. She can spell some words and is enjoying her new handwriting program. She likes to add small numbers and asks to play the adding game when we are riding in the car. We also have started listening to different stories while riding in the car. Charlotte's Web, Peter Pan, and Little House series. Mid-summer update on Little House series. Zoey begs for it every time we get in the car and can't wait for the next one once we complete one. Next we will be listening to The Long Winter so we are almost done. I have focused on Zoey mostly because she is the one "in school" but Sierra is right there with us learning so much. The other day I asked her where China was and she found it right away. She also loves to count things and now is drawing people, trees, and flowers.
If all goes as planned we will start our new school year on August 8. It is so hot out right now it is better to get started and take breaks when the weather is nice in October and April. Thanks for reading all year. Maybe our first week update will come sooner rather than later. Hmmmmmm, maybe not?