Monday, August 18, 2014

Still here

So you are thinking I fell of the face of the earth, or just quit blogging. No neither of those I just have either been busy or just not inspired. However, before our first day of school is here and I start sharing things about our new school year I thought maybe I should sum up the end of last school year.

It really is hard to believe Sierra completed kindergarten and Zoey 2nd grade. Last year really did go quickly now that I am here looking back on it. The girls both learned so much last year and we managed to have fun too. Sierra completed Before Five in a Row and began Five in a Row volume 1. The first book she choose was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. She loves this book. She had such a good time with it she wants to do it again for the first book of the new school year. I would rather move on to other things. Anyways, one of the things we learned about with Mike Mulligan was personification. This was fun because I made big eyes and put tape on the back and let them personify things around the house.
 She personified the plant,

her jewelery box,

 and my laundry basket.
Zoey got in on the action and personified her light switch. Pretty funny I thought.

Other lessons we learned with this book included the history of the steam shovel (very brief), new vocabulary words, being flexible with changing times, drawing basic trees, and showing motion in a drawing. We used the sandbox to try out some road engineering and also took some time to look at all the road construction going on all around us. I also got out the geo boards so we could explore geometry and both of the girls loved using them. Looking back I can see why Sierra had so much fun. 

Road Construction

At the same time Zoey started Five in a Row volume 4 with the book Albert by Donna Jo Napoli.
This is a heartwarming book about a man who is a bit afraid to leave his apartment but he sticks his hand out his window everyday to see if the weather is just right. One day when he does this a cardinal starts building a nest on his hand.  We love how this story turned out. Check it out from your local library to find out for yourself. You won't be disappointed. The illustrations are beautiful too. Since this is a volume 4 book there are many more activities to do. We took a long time to explore this book. We learned about city living and apartments. Zoey made and painted her own apartment building from a cardboard box. We discussed compassion, discovering the truth, and subtle symbolism. We had fun imagining where the plane in the book was going and what was in the packages the people on the street exchanged. We also explored comics. This had led us on what is called a rabbit trail, further learning about a subject a child is very interested in. Zoey had made some of her own comics a few months before this just for fun. Now she started drawing comics again as we did a little research about comics. We extended it even further this summer. We started a unit study called Crazy Cartoons. It is Download N Go. We have used some of these in the past. We have not finished yet but so far Zoey is loving it. She loves to draw, tell jokes and write. Perfect way to combine these three things. More on this in a later post. 

Other subjects we explored with this book were the mathematical aspects of baseball, observing birds, cardinal research, joints in the human body, and so much more. We spent weeks on this book. Another  thing the manual suggested was learning about pantomime. I explained what it was and we tried pantomiming ourselves. It was pretty funny. Then we looked up videos on YouTube of Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin. They begged for more Charlie Chaplin. Weeks later they asked to watch more. They really thought Chaplin was so funny. I agree.The crazy thing is even with all the time we spent with Albert we still didn't do everything I had planned. Maybe next spring we will explore this book again. Zoey liked the book so much I bought her a used copy on Amazon this summer. I am going to surprise her with it on the first day of school. Using the library book was fine but now she has a copy of her own. (Note to self, need to get Mike Mulligan for Sierra)

While Zoey finished up Albert, Sierra started a new book Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley. This is a story about a tom cat that adopts two orphaned kittens. It takes place in the city of Venice, Italy. We learned all about Venice and gondolas and streets of water. We did so many wonderful activities with this book too but I will just share pictures of one fun thing I took pictures of. The girls got to try out painting one way Michelangelo painted. 

Sierra was so peaceful when she was painting. Zoey didn't like having to wait her turn. 

While all this was going on we continued on with our regular math, spelling, phonics, handwriting, grammar ancient history, and art class. They also had so much fun with Muddy Boots and other science classes at the two local nature centers and finished another year with PE class at the recreation center. No wonder I haven't blogged! We have been seriously busy. Here are a few pictures of the last day of school. I put together buckets filled with fun little surprises like bubbles, stickers, colored pencils, and more. They loved it. (Thanks to Grandma and Poppy too) 
Last day of school.

Oh and I can't forget the zoo, organic dairy farm and strawberry picking!

Sierra riding horses at the zoo.

Zoey feeding lorikeets.

Lorikeet and Zoey hanging out.

Sierra not so sure about feeding the lorikeets.

Riding horses at the dairy farm.

Feeding hay to baby animals.
Zoey riding horse at farm.
I didn't take any pictures of the cows. LOL!

Strawberry picking!

Well I think this is enough for now.

No wait just a few more pictures...
PE class

Last day awards.

Library book club group picture.

Zoey doing her Laura Ingalls Wilder presentation.

OK, now I think I am done. I know that was long but I suppose that is what happens when I don't blog for so long. 

Coming soon.......
Crazy Comics and Summer Download n Go
Chicken Mummy!
Back to School (in September)