Saturday, February 21, 2009

Week Four

Unit Study: The Earth

Discovery Museum, Sacramento

Today, Aidyn, his dad, and I went to the Discovery Museum in Sacramento. All in all, the experience was enlightening and entertaining, but we were expecting more exhibits dealing directly with space and space voyage and were disappointed to find a minimal collection. On the other hand, my husband and I had a great conversation with a volunteer who showed us telescopic pictures of our galaxy and demonstrated the power of UV rays and such. So it wasn't a total lost cause.

Afterwards, we had a ball at Fairy Tale Land just for amusement.

Week Three

Off due to Mama sickness. :)

Week Two Synopsis

Aidyn and I really learned so much this week. Aside from the academics, I learned about different ways that I could teach Aidyn effectively, according to his style. Although he's familiar with the sun, Aidyn soaked in some more information about the sun. Now he knows that it is right in the middle of our solar system and that it is filled with gases.

In week two, I learned what fun it is to direct Aidyn towards a subject but then give him the reins and lead me around. I also discovered that while he enjoys the subject-themes, he's not crazy about focusing on only one letter, number, or color. So we may drop that for now in favor of unit studies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Week Two, Day Two

Introduce vocabulary word: heat
Do circle work pages; go on a circle tour
Watch "Solar System: The Sun"

This morning while I was boiling some eggs, I introduced Aidyn to the word heat by carefully showing him how the eggs were being cooked. He could feel the warmth on his little hand, and he observed the flames with intrigue. After he seemed to get a good hold on the word "heat," he said to me, "it's heat like in the sunshine." Later he repeated the same thing to his grandmother. I'm proud that he caught on so quickly to a new word.

Afterwards, we played with an airplane while the solar system video was on in the background. So we played to the songs "Age of Aquarius" and "Ain't No Sunshine," but didn't actually sit down and watch it. Later, Aidyn initiated a reading of his Brain Quest cards and talked about and looked at pictures of car trips, the supermarket, the zoo and its animals, the farm and its animals, and the aquarium and its animals. I was amazed at how many objects, animals, colors, and position words he could use. The cards had two very similar looking pictures of a horse and a donkey and another of a hippo and a rhino, and he was able to discern which was which.

Then he initiated an arts and crafts session by declaring, "I want to make hearts!" So I sat him at the kitchen table and supplied him with his construction paper, cut-out hearts, glue, markers and crayons, and child-safety scissors. He had a ball for a solid 45 minutes just making whatever his heart desired.

Today was mostly played out on his lead. And I enjoyed that. I am now thinking about removing daily agendas, and instead just see how the day pans out.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Week Two, Day One

-Watch "Mr. Sun" music video
-Talk about the sun being in the middle of the solar system

Today Aidyn and I watched the "Mr. Sun" music video and I sang it to him a few times. Not an instant hit, but it'll grow on us.

Also, we read I Love You Sun, I Love You Moon by Karen Pandell and Tomie dePaola, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Suess, The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, The Aliens are Coming by Colin McNaughton, and Childcraft: A Look into Space. In A Look into Space, we read about solar eclipses and how different cultures examine this sky spectacle. Additionally, we read about sunspots, sun flares, and solar wind. Aidyn and I observed a picture of the solar system and we talked about the sun being right in the middle acting like a traffic cop towards the planets.

For fun, Aidyn had some "sun yogurt." I scooped him a bowlful of vanilla yogurt and added yellow food coloring. The imperfect coloring mixed in the yogurt created a perfect "sun effect" complete with sunspots and gaseous swirls!

Through reading and talking, Aidyn added some new words to his vocabulary:
sun spot
sun flare
solar eclipse
black hole
Copernicus (although he doesn't know who that is yet)

After reading a section on the constellations, Aidyn is dying to try out a homemade constellation creator that is detailed in our book. That may be a new project this week or next.

Week Two

Weekly Theme: The sun
Vocabulary word: heat
Shape: circle
Letter: B
Number: 2
Song/Nursery Rhyme: "Mr. Sun"
Text: I Love You Sun, I Love You Moon by Karen Pandell and Tomie dePaola
Goal Destination: Sun Appreciation Nature Walk

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Week One Synopsis

Although this was the first week that had a designated theme and goals attached to it, the execution was relaxed and whimsical. Aidyn had no idea that we had certain goals; he just happened to color planets, read books on outer space, and watch space-related science shows for children. My goal as a parent and teacher was simply to make these new concepts part of his vocabulary. In time, when we revisit these subjects or happen by them, he will have had an introductory familiarity with them.

I must admit that the week was fun, and I learned a few things myself. I learned when and how Aidyn is hungry for more knowledge, and I learned when to just back off.

What We've Come Away With:
-We hung decals of the eight planets on our kitchen window and visit them regularly. The names of the planet are all part of Aidyn's vocabulary now although he cannot always name the exact planet we're pointing to.
-"Solar system" is also now part of his vocabulary.
-He is much more aware of the letter A. Previously, he understood that it was a letter, but now he scouts "A" out everywhere we go. Watching Miss A has become something that pleases him.
-He is also much more cognizant of the color black. At bedtime, he squinted his eyes shut, opened them, and informed me with glee, "I see black! My eyes are closed and I see black!"
-After making our Mars cake, he shows more curiousity and ability towards helping his Mama make and bake something. He enjoys being part of the creation process.
- He has a general understanding that Earth is his planet (and he says so with pride!) and that there is more out there than our little world.

Our Mishaps:
Due to adverse weather, we had to cancel our trip to the planetarium for the planet show. We have backups ready for later in the month, but, at the very least, we have come away with a new possible resource for educational learning.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Week One, Day Three

- Review Planets

- Read "Here Come the Aliens" by Colin McNaughton
- Introduce letter A and number 1

Today was a very productive yet free-flowing day. Aidyn gave a hearty request to read The Aliens are Coming by Colin McNaughton. He loves the storyline and the ominous line: "The aliens are co-ming!"

We also watched a 1970's clip from The Letter People about Miss A, who has a terrible habit of sneezing, "a-choo!" whenever she's happy (

To work on our counting, we watched the pinball song from Sesame Street (

We also read from our text of the month: Childcraft: A Look into Space. We looked at one page each from "The Counting Book" and "The Alphabet Book" (for number one and letter A).

Later, we had an interactive viewing of The Magic School Bus: Space Adventures and discussed the planets and their unique characteristics, asteroids, comets, the sun, and the moon.

We casually conducted a mini "black tour" by looking around the room and pointing out all the black objects until we could not find anymore. Later Aidyn colored some pictures of funny looking aliens.

In the evening, we had a little math/baking course and made a Mars cake together. We even frosted it red together and wrote "Mars" on it in red frosting.

Week One, Day Two

- Introduce letter A and number one
- Talk about the color black; Do work page on black
- Go on a black tour

Because of time constraints, we only managed to focus on the color black yesterday. We talked about the color and pointed it out on nearby objects. Aidyn and I did a work page on the color black together. We circled black capes and colored a tire, a cat, and a seal black.

Week One, Day One

02 Feb 2009 Agenda

-Talk about planets; name them.
- Color pictures of planets.
- Watch "Interplanet Janet."

Today Aidyn and I watched "Interplanet Janet" on YouTube ( Now the song seems stuck in my head! Near the end of the video, I edited the song by explaining to Aidyn that Pluto is now a dwarf planet. He laughed and said that the seven dwarfs live there.

We also watched a clip of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" called "Our Place in the Universe" (

Later, Aidyn colored a picture of the solar systems and a picture of the planets. We also took in a funny rhyming book called "The Aliens are Coming" by Colin McNaughton.

Week One

Weekly theme: The Planets
Vocabulary: solar system
Color: Black
Letter: A
Number: 1
Song: "Interplanet Janet"
Goal destination: Downing Planetarium

Above is our weekly themes. Each day we have different activities planned. Time allowing, I will post a journal for each day's activities to keep track of our progress and share my tactics.
February Monthly Theme:
The Universe
Goal Destination:
The Discovery Museum in Sacramento, Ca

In setting up our homeschool-preschool curriculum, I decided to go for an eclectic destination-geared style of teaching. The apex of our activities will lead us to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco which house several educational and prevailing exhibits. Monthly, we will study a broad topic that alludes to one of their showcases. On a weekly basis, we will focus on a more specific theme complete with vocabulary words, geographical/historical emphases, texts, letters, numbers, and special songs/nursery rhymes.