Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our First Week-The Story About Ping and the 3 R’s

We just finished up our first week of kindergarten! It was wonderful, better than I could have ever imagined! Abby said it was awesome! Lyla and Macy did a great job being my helpers, haha. Lyla thinks she is a kindergartner too and sat with us during “school” and did any work I put in front of her with 100% effort. She is precious. Macy mainly ate cheerios and jabbered.

Abeka K5 Phonics went really well. I think I am going to like it. Abby learned the vowels I, U, and E this week. It uses a multisensory approach: play doh, flashcards, dry erase board, real objects, songs, and even some action games. I thought it would be too much work to get all those things together every day but it really isn’t. I did have to order some flashcards that I tried to get away with not buying. I could have really used them this week. Hopefully they will be in soon and then it will be even better for us.

We love our math program! I am using Little Hearts for His Glory teacher’s manual math suggestions and Singapore Earlybird workbook. Every day has been some fun, hands on activity to reinforce the workbook pages. This week we worked on writing 1-5 and of course counting to 5. I can’t believe how good she is able to write those numbers!

Abby really doesn’t like handwriting. She says it is boring. I am trying to liven to up for her but haven’t figured out how yet. Luckily it takes less than five minutes.

We are listening to The Jesus Storybook Bible on CD every night before bed. We love this! I could listen to it for hours. It is very well written and I love how it is true to the front cover “every story whispers His name.”

Five in a Row-The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
I can’t even explain how much I love Five in a Row. I was only going to use it as an extra activity when I felt like it but this will probably be the heart of our home school this year. Most of the activities are straight from the manual. The other ideas are from Delightful Learning, FIAR forum archives, and Homeschool Share. I will list our activities day by day:

Monday was history/geography/social studies. We read the story and placed our story disk (small, round picture of Ping) on the Yangtze River in China (we have a huge wall map). We talked about how long the Yangtze River is and how there a lot of people in China. We looked at the pictures in the book of the clothing and hairstyles worn by the Chinese people in the book. We talked about living on a boat in the river and what that would be like. Later on we read a book about inventions and other things that originated in China. Some of the things were kites, rice, goldfish, kung fu, etc. That led us to youtube to watch some videos of the Dragon Dance on Chinese New Year, kids doing kung fu, and Chinese acrobats. We did a little kung fu and learned how to say hello and goodbye in Chinese. It was a very fun day!

Tuesday was language arts. We read the book again and talked about what a classic is and what fiction is. We compared the year the story was written to when her grandmas were born.

Art day! We talked about what the artist used to draw the pictures and how he made the sunset and how to draw movement in the water. We read the book again and looked carefully at all the pictures. She noticed things that she hadn’t the other two days (which is why you read the book over and over). She asked why the water of the Yangtze river is yellow and some other good questions that I can’t remember now! After we read the book we got out our colored pencils and she drew a wonderful picture using some of the techniques we had talked about. Her sunset was beautiful. She drew a boat with wise eyes just like in the book. And the water was yellow! Then we used an idea from Delightful Learning, found here, and drew a duck out of the Draw Write Now book. She did ok with it but then drew her own duck and it was much better than her first try. Maybe she doesn’t need guide books for her art! Abby absolutely loved art day. She wanted to draw with colored pencils all week!

Applied math: We did a worksheet from Homeschool Share where you color all of Ping’s family. She liked it and did a good job counting to 42! Later that day we read a few books about China and one about ducks that I got at the library.

Science! We read a few books about ducks, and I focused on how they float and how they stay dry to go along with our science experiments. I got these ideas from Delightful Learning. First we blew up a balloon and saw how easily it floated in a pan of water and how you couldn’t make it sink. Then we took an empty balloon and compared how it was easy to sink (although it does float). We read about why things float from Usborne’s First Encyclopedia of Science. They were distracted by their balloons  The next experiment was about how ducks stay dry (it’s called preening). I cut 2 ducks out of brown lunch sacks. One duck we painted with canola oil (lots and lots of oil) and the other we left alone (after much convincing that we HAD to leave it plain). Then we poured water on them to see the difference. It worked good except my sacks must have had a coating because I had to rub in the water on the plain duck to get it to soak it up. The girls didn’t care-they loved it! Then we packed a lunch, picked up daddy from work, and went to the duck pond. We fed the ducks some bread and watched them swim around and quack. We even saw one preening itself. Quite entertaining. Then Lyla had to go potty RIGHT THEN so we had to leave (this happens everywhere we go).

That night we cooked a Chinese dinner from the Five in a Row cookbook: egg rolls, fried rice, and egg drop soup. The girls helped when they wanted (mainly eating while I prepped veggies). We read in a book that in China they put all the food in the middle of the table and serve it like that. So we did too. The food was really good and the girls had a blast.

The week was wonderful but there are a few things I may have to tweak. Lyla wanted her own work to do so I may buy her a few workbooks (maybe Abeka or Rod & Staff). I also realized we didn’t do many fine motor activities so I may need to come up with some cutting tasks for Abby. I am also trying to brainstorm more activities for Abby because school doesn’t take very long and she wanted to watch too much tv. Her and Lyla play in their bedroom for long periods of time but when you are stuck inside all day (when will 100+ heat index days end?), you get bored with your toys fast. She doesn’t take a nap any more (but does rest for one hour) so she has a lot of time to fill. When the weather improves, we will spend all the extra time outside but for now I need to come up with something to keep her busy.

Next week we will be “rowing” Lentil. I love this story and can’t wait!

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