Thursday, August 21, 2008

nature study

For part of our science next year (which is only a week and half away... yikes!), we will be doing nature study.

I found this book....
Handbook of Nature Study
while looking through the Ambleside Online book lists. However, I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to use the book until I found this blog... Handbook of Nature Study. My plan is to participate in the challenges that are listed there. I love the thought of getting us outside more. Not that we're not outside a lot... but outside, taking the time to observe the nature that is around us... even in the city. It's amazing how much can be found in such an urban environment. Right now, on one our potted plants on our back deck, we are watching caterpillars grow! We found the eggs on a leaf one day, watched them hatch and are now watching the caterpillars grow larger by the minute (or so it seems). The kids love checking on them multiple times a day (plus doing a head count to make sure we're not missing anyone!).

If I was questioning that a nature study would be something the kids would enjoy, I got my answer this weekend. We were at Crystal Mountain and while there, we went geocaching. The kids found such greater treasures than the caches as we trekked down trails and up the ski hills. They asked me to photograph some of their favorite finds.

The bark on this tree...
a bee on a thistle...
a monarch caterpillar...
and a frog in the creek...
Next week I'm going to the art supply store to buy sketch books for all of us to use as nature journals.

I really can't wait!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

art 08/09

Okay... as you can probably tell by my previous posts, my "style" is changing a bit this year. I'm letting go of my previous "school at home" homeschooling method and going for a more "joy of learning" philosophy. Don't get me wrong, you can still love learning in a "school at home" scenario, but I'm finding the we, as a family, are really enjoying a more relaxed framework when it comes to school.

I used to think that I needed to schedule in artist studies. I went crazy trying to find the right curriculum and such. I never really found one that was right and I would beat myself up about it. But then I began to realize just how much my children had absorbed from our frequent trips to the Art Institute. They had developed relationships with the various pieces of art, and through these relationships, they had begun to seek out more information about the artist, the history of the piece, the style, etc. They had done all of this because they loved the piece and it brought them joy. It was so amazing to finally step back and realize what had happened. I'm pretty sure most of the curricula I was considering wouldn't have brought them the same delight as our trips to the Art Institute did.

So, instead of lesson plans and such for art appreciation, I bought these instead...
Can You Find It?
Alex LOVES I Spy books so I thought this could be fun for him.

The following books look like a lot of fun..... mysteries, spot the differences and great pieces of art! I think we'll really enjoy these...
Art Fraud Detective
The Great Art Scandal

In addition to these, we may continue with the art classes the kids are currently in. If not, we'll continue working our way through our Atelier Art program. We'll also continue visiting the Art Institute as well. I have some special art appreciation things lined up for Clara that I will post later in a separate post. Clara has her own special little plan for next year that I'm very excited about!

More later!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

math for 08/09

Okay.... I'm a bit behind with posting my plans for next school year (which shockingly enough, starts in a month!). So, here's the plan for math...

Clara will be starting a formal math program again. I will use Math-U-See for both kids. Clara will be starting Alpha...
and Alex will be continuing on with Gamma (he's about halfway through it)....
For mental math, we will be using....
Ray's New Primary Arithmetic

For additional challenge problems, we will be using....
Primary Challenge Math

Whew... looks like lots of math, huh? Well, it doesn't stop there. I've become math obsessed ever since joining the Living Math yahoo group. I joined it after I purchased Julie's Primary, Cycle 1, Unit 1 lesson plan to go along with Story of the World Vol. 1 which we will be using for history.

I've been picking up a few books for this along the way. I just got this book...
Mathematicians are People, Too
It looks really interesting. It's on my bedside table to start reading... but I haven't started quite yet.

I also purchased...
The History of Counting

In addition to these, I have begun a quest to track down the now out of print books from the Young Math series (thanks Tracy... lol). I received a few from used book sellers lately.

Roman Numerals
Mathematical Games for One or Two
Graph Games

So far I have read them all except the Mathematical Games book. The explanations in them are wonderful. I can't wait until the other ones I've ordered arrive.

One last thing (okay.... there will never be a "last thing" with my seemingly unending quest to acquire math materials, but we'll go with it for the purpose of this post)... for my construction loving son, I got this...
K'nex Education: Elementary Math and Geometry Kit

I know, I know... like I said earlier... lots of math... but the plan is to incorporate it more into our daily life instead of always being a stand alone subject.

I promise not to wait another month before posting again! :-)

*** Edited to Add Another Book I Forgot ***

The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat
Seems like a very cool math story book... the kids are pretty excited about it. They're very intrigued by the "mathematical cat".

Okay... I think that's it! :-)