Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review, Part Two

A couple days ago, Aidyn and I reviewed "Ocean month." We revisited oceanic animals and spent time coloring seahorses, whales, seashells, and random fish. Conversating about our trip to Morro Bay, we remembered the waves, the sand, and Aidyn's experience feeding sea lions. I have fond memories of ocean month, but I know it will be a subject to soon be repeated! During our unit last March, we covered not only ocean-related subjects but we happened to take interesting side trips to Columbia and Volcano, Ca.

In that month, Aidyn learned:
-that so many different kinds of animals live in the ocean
-about sharks, their basic anatomy, and species varieties
-about octopi, sea lions, sea otters, seahorses, and different types of fish
-about the beach environment, the movement of the waves, the weather, the feel of the sand
-about seaweed, seashells, beach rocks, and how to beachcomb
-about the development of butterflies
-a bit about gold-mining towns

That month, to me, seemed ideal in the amount of creative play we engaged in, conversations we had, the wonderful books we read, and the places we explored. Although Morro Bay was a bit distant, we discovered local getaways as well. I think that the changing of scenes encouraged Aidyn to think beyond his present location. There is so much out in the world to touch, discover, and learn about! When we begin our more formalized homeschooling program, I hope to continue to adopt that philosophy in everyday life: thus my tendency to label it "worldschooling."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review, Part One

Yesterday Aidyn and I reviewed "universe month" by reading some space books including The Aliens Are Coming and Amazing Space. Aidyn pointed out planets, stars, the sun, the moon, and some of the planets. Later he watched The Magic School Bus: Space Adventures, one of his favorite MSB shows. Because of our universe unit study, Aidyn was introduced to space and life outside our home planet. He became familiarized with terms and images related to the universe and learned many things for the first time. This was also the month where we focused on the letter A and the color black, specifically.

From this particular unit study, Aidyn learned:
-the names of the eight planets and their individual characteristics
-the occupation of astronauts
-that the sun is a large gas-ball that heats our planet
-that our moon "revolves" around the earth and "changes" shapes
-how to identify certain planets
-that Pluto used to be called a planet but has recently been demoted to dwarf planet status
-how to identify stars
-how to imagine what may be going on in space and on other planets
-how to identify the letter A and that 'Aidyn' starts with an A.
-how to further identify the color black
-space-related words and ideas (i.e. gravity, asteroid, meteor)

When I first began this unit study homeschooling program, I intended to weave letters, numbers, and other such items in our themes, but found them too structured for Aidyn's readiness level. There were times where we tested out handwriting, but he wasn't ready for it. So I aimed to get away from rote learning for the time being. I discovered that I did not want him to memorize facts either, but instead I wanted him to be inspired to think. Thus, our focus became the themed unit studies and the goal was to ignite a level of interest and excitement with the subject so that when we return to it, it's with fond memories. Through our fun books, videos, baking of the Mars cake, trip to Discovery Museum, and night sky viewings, I believe we accomplished that. Next year I may try formalized subjects, but I am in no hurry. Instead of handwriting, he has instead spent lots of time coloring, smooshing and molding Play-Doh, handling utensils, and picking and plucking rocks and sticks outside as a fun way of developing his finger-hand coordination. Overall, this month proved to teach us so much in terms of the study and Aidyn's learning needs and style. The subject of the universe will definitely be revisited sometime in the future.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sports and Games Month

Following our review of the year, we will be doing a "Sports and Games" unit study inspired by Aidyn's recent love for baseball. He regularly watches Giants' games with his grandma, cheers, hollers, and roots for the black and orange team. Thus, now is a great time to learn a little more about all sorts of sports, especially baseball.

My goal is to further familiarize Aidyn (and myself!) with various sports and games, learn certain sports jargon, and get out and play some games. We have an upcoming Ports' game next month that will wrap up our studies. Aidyn has never been to an actual baseball game before, so this will be fun.

We plan on watching some kid-friendly baseball movies such as The Sandlot and My Dog Skip among others. Also we would like to get Aidyn a tee ball set so he could practice playing. In addition, we anticipate visiting some sports' equipment stores and see what else catches our eyes.

Africa Month Synopsis

Africa month proved to be a laid back, enjoyable time with mostly review work, but it also included new crafty experiences. Aidyn re-watched many of his favorite movies set in Africa like The Lion King and Tarzan. We read many sweet stories about zebras, lions, and other African animals. We dipped our toes in Swahili culture, and one day, we aim to return to it. Aidyn also constructed a trio of African animals out of reused materials and paint. Spinning the globe, Aidyn has become more familiar with identifying the continent of Africa. Our days were filled with beautiful African music and Kermits "African Alphabet" is now one of favorite videos. Due to time constraints this month, we weren't able to do all that I hoped to do, but we did fulfill the goal of becoming positively familiar with the subject. What else could I ask for?

This concludes our unit studies pertaining to our apex destination of the California Academy of Sciences. For the next couple of days, we will review what we've learned and jet off to San Francisco!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Like most Tuesdays these days, Aidyn played with his cousins, Susie and Julia. They all decided to play dress up, so Aidyn became a stormtrooper, Susie was a monkey, and Julia was a black cat. For a good half portion of the day they scampered and cavorted together.

Later, Aidyn helped me water the front and back yard though most of the time he was the one directly in front of the hose. So we had to outdoor water play until Aidyn was a soakin' mess.

Now Aidyn is running around dressed as a stormtrooper. Ah, it has quite an imagination. : )

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Monkey Craft

This afternoon, Aidyn and I added another African animal to our craft collection: a monkey. Aidyn painted the toilet paper roll while I cut out all the monkey's various body parts. We both colored his body parts and Aidyn glued and applied them himself. Later we listened to some African music and took pictures of his animal family. Playing the photographer, Aidyn snapped some shots of his creations, and he was very proud of them indeed.