Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Week Nine, Day Two

Today Aidyn decided he wanted to do some crafts. So I gave him some pre-cut heart shapes, crayons, alphabet stickers, and scribble paper, and he made a wonderful letter collage. During the activity, we talked about the different letters.

Additionally, we read one of my favorite books as a child, Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, then Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Eileen Christelow, and finally Monkey Mo Goes to Sea by Diane Goode.

Afterwards, we went on a Letter Hunt/Bike Ride to the library playground. On the way, I asked Aidyn to look for letters and point them out. We found letters everywhere! When we would get close enough, I would name them out and he would repeat. He spent over an hour playing on the playground with a similar-aged boy named Jake who had brought along some toy dinosaurs. Aidyn and Jake played with sticks, scampered all around the play area, and even pretended they were monkeys, per Aidyn's suggestion.

When we got home, Aidyn went down for a nap while watching Meet the Letters.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week Nine, Day One

After going grocery shopping, I made Aidyn some "monkey sticks." Actually, it's a skewer lined with fruit (we did red grapes, kiwi, raspberries, and blueberries) and talked about how monkeys love fruit. His aunt and uncle came over, and we all had a short discussion about monkeys.

Later, we interactively watched Sesame Street: Learning the Letters and talked and sang through the program. I asked him to identify some letters today and he was able to remember A, B, C, G, and I.

Going down for his nap, he watched Meet the Letters and I could hear him repeating each letter presented. It's such a soothing sound.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week Nine

Weekly Theme: Monkeys
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Practiced skill: Letter recognition, phonics
Book on tape: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

April Monthly Theme

This month we are taking a break from my planned curriculum. Instead we will be trying out delight-led learning. During a random trip to Daffodil Hill, Aidyn scaled a tree and claimed he was a monkey. Since then he has been sharing, "I love monkeys!" and how he wants to eat and sleep in a tree like a monkey. So we will be having a monkey theme.

When Aidyn's interest piques towards something else, I will follow that curiosity. That is our plan for the month of April.

Week Eight Synopsis

Week eight ended our monthly unit of the ocean. The whole family participated in this one and we really had a ball. Aidyn learned about sharks, whales, octupi, seahorses, otters, seashells, and other ocean life. We spent half of the weekend at Morro Bay where we beachcombed for shells, fed sea lions at an aquarium, and enjoyed the beach boardwalk town. We had a blast with this theme and I am looking forward to revisiting it later.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Week Eight, Day Three

Although my son is feeling a bit under the weather, he still played today in his "house." He invited me in for tea and banana cookies and then we had a nap (with half of my body sticking out of the box-- er, I mean house).

When he was napping with his dad, I dashed over to the library to pick up new books for him. I grabbed Spot Goes to the Beach by Eric Hill and Eyewitness Books: Seashore both for our upcoming beachcombing expedition. Additionally, I picked up a video on letter introductory called Meet the Letters.

When I returned home, I planned out a large portion of his learning roster for the kindergarten year and wrote my goals and aspirations for his world education.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Week Eight, Day One

As usual, we have strayed from our unti study and had a relaxed learning day. In the morning, Aidyn further developed his "house" that he's made from the big box his bike seat came in. With permission and careful supervision, he poked holes throughout the box for "windows" and even brought out his "tools" and made necessary repairs. It was adorable.

He also pretended to be a dalmation puppy for the bulk of the day. Wagging his tail and barking, Aidyn wore dalmation ears and a tail and insisted he was a pooch. Later, during nap time, he watched a video of the book The Poky Little Puppy and another of P.D. Eastman's books, Are You My Mother? and Go, Dog, Go.

Week Eight

Theme: Seashores
Vocabulary: seashells (again)
Music: Brahms
Destinations: Morro Bay for beachcoming, Morro Bay Aquarium, and Charles Paddock Zoo.

This week ends our ocean month, and we will cap it off with a weekend in Morro Bay. While there, we plan to beachcomb for shells and to observe seashore life, sleep to the sounds of crashing waves, smell the distinct seaside salty air, and to explore nearby animal exhibits. This was surely an exciting month of fun and adventure, and I cannot wait for what next month has to bring.

Week Seven Synopsis

This week we were all over the board and did not particularly stick to our unit study. On Wednesday, we released our butterflies at Daffodil Hill. Throughout the week, we read two beautiful books called A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry and Whales Passing by Eve Banting.

On Thursday, we went to preschool storytime and heard many cute stories about worms and even got to look at some live specimens! On Friday, we spent some time at the park working on baseball skills and then played on the playground.

Fun and educational week even if we strayed from the plan!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

World Exploration Day

Today we ventured to Daffodil Hill in Volcano, Ca. Aidyn, his grandma, and I traversed the red-dirt pathways that led up and through this gorgeous daffodil-filled hill. We selected this location as the prime spot to release our butterflies that we watched develop from little caterpillars. Additionally, Aidyn observed the chickens, rabbits, pigeons, and peacocks that lived among the flowers and bales of hay. Aidyn sat on the "arm" of a tree and did not want to get down for the life of him. Later, he revealed his desire to become a monkey and live in the trees. We'll see about that one...

Overall, it was a quiet, fulfilling learning experience that will quite possibly become a yearly tradition.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Week Seven

Theme: Random ocean-related subjects (boats, seahorses, dolphins, otters, seashells, etc)
Music: The Beatles for Children

This is a very relaxed week ahead of us. I have a very general theme in mind since we have already covered the major ocean themes that Aidyn was interested in. So we're randomly reading ocean-related books with various subjects but all living books.

I also want to prepare Aidyn for a possible beachcombing trip to Morro Bay that we may undertake.

Week Six Synopsis

Although this week centered around "the many varieties of fish," we deviated from the program a few times, and we quite enjoyed it.

Aidyn still plays on www.mothergoose.com and his favorites are the Tap and Type games. I have seen his letter recognition improving since he has begun using it. We also read several books this week that involved fish and aquarium visits. I think he's just about ready for the Aquarium of the Bay!

In the middle of the week, we took a random trip to Columbia where we toured a small "gold country" town, dressed in cowboy costumes, and fed Barred Rocks chickens. We had a blast and I loved this type of learning adventure.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nature Exploration 12 March 2009

Today Aidyn and I spent some time exploring our backyard. Without plan in mind, we each walked around and examined our surroundings. We picked different kinds of leaves, flowers, rocks, and pine cones, placing them in a jar for later investigation. Armed with his magnifying glass, Aidyn scrutinized various plants (weeds!) sprouting everywhere. We listened to the birds talking in our giant pine tree and spied the neighbor dog through a knothole in our fence.

We came inside and rubbed the leaves onto paper with crayons and I took little notes about our time outside. I intend to place them all in a binder/nature journal so we can look back on them later.

Aidyn has also been practicing his letter recognition by playing at www.mothergoose.com's Tap and Type program. Yesterday while sitting at a bench carved to no end (by teens and kids no doubt), he identified the letters B, Y, and S to my great surprise. I was completely unaware that he knew them.

World Exploration Day

Yesterday, Aidyn, his grandma, and I went on an outing to gold country. We drove through the scenic landscapes and talked about the trees, hills, cows, and mountains. As we neared our destination, Columbia, we were met by relics of the past. We strolled through the town, noting the brick buildings (built so, back in the 1800's, to avoid the devastation of fire), plank sidewalks, and nostalgic feel. Aidyn was more interested in feeding a coop full of Barred Rocks chickens and walking through a large rock garden. At these moments, we slowed down and took it all in.

Later Aidyn and I had our pictures taken as western folks. He dressed up in a cowboy outfit complete with bandana and rawhide hat and I was dressed as a cowgirl.

I like to think that Aidyn came away from Columbia with something-- though he's not old enough to quite vocalize what. But I imagine he was intrigued by the new surroundings, artifacts, and animals. This will definitely be a return visit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Week Six, Day Two

I'm still not used to this time switch and feel that much of the day escapes us, as it seemed to today. Despite that, Aidyn and I read some books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (for our caterpillar study), My Visit to the Aquarium by Aliki (in preparation for an upcoming aquarium trip), and we flipped through Childcraft: Story of the Sea and read short poems and looked at the illustrations.

After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we checked on our nesting chrysalises still snug in their habitat. Aidyn also narrated the story back to me.

Later today, my husband plans on taking him either walking to the park or for an outdoor exploration in our back or front yard.

Tomorrow, we are going on a field trip to Columbia for a change of scenery and theme.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Week Six, Day One

This past Saturday, Aidyn, his dad, and I went to the local Petsmart to look at the fish and other pet stuff. We're thinking about getting an aquarium sometime in the future.

Today Aidyn and his grandmother watched Go, Diego, Go!: Underwater Mysteries which Aidyn loved. Later, Aidyn and I went out for a "backyard nature exploration" armed with a jar, a net, tweezers, and a magnifying glass. We picked leaves, flowers, and bark. Touching all the plants, we talked about their colors, sizes, and smells. To our delight, we spotted a shy little ladybug crawling on a leaf and invited it onto our hands. We watched the ladybug until he or she decided to fly off. We concluded that it must have gone home to be with its family. When we came back into the house, we unloaded our findings and proceeded to "rub" their images onto paper with crayons. This had to be our favorite part of the day.

Later, Aidyn winded down with a children's video called All About Fish, to which he afterward said, "that was a good one!"

Very productive, mindful day. : )

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Week Six

Weekly Theme: The many varieties of fish
Vocabulary word: gills
Shape: oval
Review concept: empty vs. full
Exploration place: fish stores/ small aquariums

Week Five Synopsis

This was a refreshing week of learning a brand new subject area. Aidyn and I both learned some neat things about sharks, and read some great books. I'm actually going to reference those Eyewitness Books for most of our subjects as they are appropriate reads for both Aidyn and myself.

This week, we also took in National Geographic's Really Wild Animals: Deep Sea Dive and re-watched Finding Nemo. Today we're expecting a Go, Diego, Go! video about an underwater adventure.

Aidyn added some new words/phrases to his vocabulary, such as:
caudal fin
pelvic fin
anal fin
dorsal fin

Definitely an exciting topic, it's sure to make our field trip that much more rewarding!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Week Five, Day Four

After playing with his cousin, Susie for a couple hours, Aidyn and I cuddled in his bed and read Too Many Leprechauns by Stephen Krensky in honor of the approaching Irish holiday. Also, we read the Eyewitness Book: Sharks again and talked about all the pictures. Today, we mainly focused on the types of fins that sharks have on their bodies.

In the evening, we played more www.mothergoose.com games, especially the "Hey Diddle Diddle" which Aidyn absolutely loves. We also played a letter game where you push random keys and pictures pop up. If they're letters, the pictures corresponds to the letter. Aidyn searched the keyboard, said "I" and did, indeed, push the letter I, so I'm pleased with his letter recognition. To date, he's recognized A, O, X, Z on random occasions and now I.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Week Five, Day Three

It amazes me how some days are particularly productive, as is today. This morning, Aidyn and I played online games together at www.mothergoose.com. Many were centered around common nursery rhymes like "Hey Diddle Diddle." Others were about matching letters to their assigned spaces. So we had a blast playing that together and Aidyn practiced his typing skills and letter recognition.

Later we took in a few shark/ocean books such as Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies, Come to the Ocean's Edge by Laurence Pringle, and the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Book, Sharks. The first book was adorable and humorous, the second was beautiful yet a bit too advanced for Aidyn though he enjoyed the pictures, and the third was great for pointing and aweing at the pictures and illustrations.

Afterwards, Aidyn colored some ocean themed coloring pages while listening to Raffi's "Baby Beluga." We plan on walking to the local PetSmart to watch the fish, but we'll see how the day pans out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Week Five, Day Two

Last night, Aidyn and his dad kicked off shark week by reading Childcraft: Story of the Sea (our monthly text). In the morning, Aidyn and I watched the "Under the Sea" and "The Beautiful Briny Sea" videos while I pointed out different sea creatures. Later, we scoured the library for ocean/shark books and found a few that we're looking forward to reading. We also picked up a shark video that Aidyn is now watching. On top of that, I found a Baby Beluga cd that I will play for Aidyn this week while he does his crafts.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Week Five

Weekly Theme: Sharks
Vocabulary word: fin
Color: White
Music: "Under the Sea"
March Monthly Theme:
The Ocean

Over the next four weeks, we will submerge ourselves into the subject of the ocean. Each week we will focus on a new sub-theme such as sharks, fish, the coral reef, and dolphins. We will be taking small, quick trips to the local aquariums and we hope to go to the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco and possibly take a boat ride on the bay (per Aidyn's suggestion). This should be a fun month of ocean exploration!

Month One Synopsis

This first month has been a learning experience for the entire family on several different levels. While Aidyn learned some new concepts and vocabulary, my husband and I refreshed on our own education. Additionally, I discovered ways that my son learns material. This kind of practice and attention will pay off when we make the decision whether or not to homeschool. Our family capped off our monthly subject by trekking to the Discovery Museum in Sacramento. So far, I have enjoyed our curriculum of identifying, reading, coloring, watching documentaries, and physically visiting our subject. We had a bunch of fun with space and the planets, and I am definitely looking forward to our next adventure!