May 10, 2012

Just the Basics

Our school year is winding down. We have a few more things to wrap up in Egypt and in Astronomy and our artist study of Renoir is about half-way done. We finished all our other subjects including our phonics rule book and the second Elson reader, and now I have fun plans for the summer! We usually do school all year round unless we travel and it is just not the past that has been so, but this year even though we are traveling I have put together a "Just the Basics" homeschool for the road. It includes the three Charlotte Mason musts: Reading living books, narrating and copywork. We added some math. And simply for fun we are doing some nature study about bugs and birds and some art with Artistic Pursuits.

This is the 3R's bundle. In these two homemade books we get done math and reading, narration, and copywork. The boys keep the two books in their folders with a writing pen and we are set to go. A day of lessons looks like this:
  • The boys read the story to me and then tell back the story they read. (narrate).
  • Then they copy a sentence from the story. (see picture below)
  • Then we do two pages from Everyday Number Stories.
  • Then one day we do an art lesson, and then the next day nature study.
  • I still read aloud to them at night, this summer we are reading through The Moral Compass compiled by William J. Bennett and other books like Children of the Summer and nature stories by Arthur Scott Bailey
The fun part about being on the road is that other people get to help out with the schooling.

Grandma is helping Zak with his reading lesson.

Using Peter and Polly in Spring (Peter and Polly in Summer follows spring and will soon be available at Currclick) the boys practice reading aloud, and then they narrate the story back to me. Both Everyday Number Stories and Peter and Polly in Spring are bound with a Pro-Click Binder. If we stay on schedule we may get to read both Peter and Polly in Spring and Peter and Polly in Summer before next year.

After the boys read and narrate they then copy a sentence from the story on this pre-made copywork page which is included in the Peter and Polly e-book along with ideas for nature study and a coloring page. We decided to just use the copywork pages.

Each day we also do two pages from Everyday Number Stories. If you like Emma Serl's Primary Language Lessons you may want to try this math book as Emma Serl wrote Everyday Number Stories too! 
I simply love this book. It is the perfect bridge for us to recall the addition and subtraction work we did this last year and to then introduce simple multiplication and division. Along the way we get exposure to fractions, measurement, days of the week, money and time.
Everyday Number Stories introduces each new concept first with a story about Frank and Kate using the math concept in real life. In the story above Kate is buying ribbon and she is inroducung the concept of 3 feet = 1 yard. Then on the opposite page the problems focus on doing sums with the info from the story. each time doing number problems are within a span, like number under 12 or under 24 etc.  it increases as the book continues until all numbers up to 144 are worked.
I also love that it is FREE!! Find it here.

For fun we are reading living books about bugs and birds and getting out in nature to observe them.
Above are the following tools the boys have in their back packs for our nature study this summer.
  • Spiral bound notebook and a pen.
  • small water color book for small paintings and a small paper pad for drawings.
  •  a guide for bugs and a guide for birds. Pocket sized so they fit in their hands.
  • Binoculars
  • butterfly garden
  • a bug jar with a magnifying top
  • a butterfly net
  • sharp eyes
We just finsihed reading Children of the Summer which is a delightful story about Jean Henri Fabri. The story is told from the point of view of his son Paul as he watched his father play "tricks" on different insects to see what they would do when Paul was a little boy. The illustrations are also fabulous!

Also for fun we are going to do many of the art lessons in Artistic Pursuits Grade K-3 Book Three and Child-sized Masterpieces Modern School for steps 6 and 7. So we get to explore painting, sculpture, junk fabrication, computer art and pastels. It will be a wonderful way to review the impressionists/post-impressionists we studied last year and bridge over to the post-impressionists/modern artists we plan to look at next year. After we do the 3R's we will alternate between doing nature study or an art lesson. Until then we are finishing up the subjects from last yet still undone. I love how home schooling can be so flexible!
I am so looking forward to this new fun schedule. Now if the weather would only get warmer.

When we are not doing this new schedule we have been doing this...

Climbing on the rock wall at the local Aquatic Center and...

Taking swimming lessons. This is Zak coming up for air and a big smile!