Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Homeschooling Week 7

This week we added more kids to the homeschool group to learn with. The week went smoothly, with the house livelier and louder than it has been in weeks. As a result, everyone has been happier. The minis seem to want to continue their learning all hours of the day--even requesting to do school work on the weekends! Part of me truly loves this and the other part of me just wants a break. The highlight of the week was mastering the United States map and capitals with nightly "map challenges." Even the adults participated a few times, filling out our US maps in under 10 minutes. The key to getting kids invested in their education is to have fun while learning. This often involves games and memorable activities. We've been having a blast learning (or re-learning A LOT in my case).

Here's what our week looked like:

Our saw dust sensory bin in the sensory corner brought out all kinds of creative play. Sometimes they were "building" with the blocks and tools, they built a playground using the blocks and saw dust (pictured below), and they also set up a restaurant table with it. I loved seeing how the big kids played with vs. the younger kids. They all enjoyed so much we left it up for another week.

Cursive writing has become a favorite. They only spend 15-20 minutes per day practicing, but they've all gotten pretty good at cursive writing and take it very seriously!

Lunch and an education show/movie/documentary continues. They watched National Parks Adventure, then did some reading on their favorite National Parks.

We leave plenty of time for playing outside in our days. It's a balancing act between studying and free time.

Their nightly map challenge. The middle mini had to learn for fourth grade social studies. The oldest already learned, but I decided they could all learn/re-learn (the oldest also added in countries and capitals of Central and South America). The middle mini easily learned his states and capitals as he competed nightly with his older brother, but the youngest mini is who I'm really impressed with. Never one to miss out on competing with her brother's, she's nailed down all 50 states on a map and has about half of the capitals down. She'll be a pro at 4th grade social studies and 6th grade science! Big advantages for being the youngest.

It was raining and chilly out, but this one wanted to go outside before bed and blow the dandelions. They woud spend all day outside....soon enough (once summer vacay starts) they will.

Tuesday was our Cinco de Mayo celebration. Read about it here.

Slime on the ceiling during "school." Most would be shocked; I found it halfway normal.

Last week we studied natural disasters in science. Our volcano experiment was enjoyed by all.

Class chats and school lessons midday.

Practicing reading and punctuation to a doll. 

The preferred reading for the week. I'm incredibly happy and excited how invested the minis are in the new puppy. I'm creating our summer project around our new puppy Zeus. The kids will learn how to care for (completely) another creature other than themselves. It's a win win for everyone involved.

Working on their measuring. They had to measure in inches, feet, and yards. The oldest mini was "in charge" of this activity. Mixed age groups can be very beneficial!

Mid-week take out. These two insisted on eating on the front porch because they miss sitting on patios in "this weather." The fact that they can distinguish what patio weather is means they no longer need homeschooling, right?? I have taught them all I know (wink, wink). Also, can we take a minute to appreciate the youngest mini's outfit: St. Patrick's Day leggings and a bright red turtleneck. It doesn't get much better than that.

Our nightly map challenges aren't the only way we learned capitals. I would say a capital and the kids would have to point which state it belongs to. A simple and fun learning the game the kids insisted on playing over and over again.

For someone who doesn't love electronics for the kids, we sure have our fair in use during the days. In all honesty, they've come in extremely handy for videos.

I went with a simple Mother's Day craft this year. It worked well because all of the kids were old enough to write their own. I cracked up reading the ones the my kids made for me: My mom is sarcastic sometimes.

We've already had many, many meals and snack times outside. The middle one came in for the rest of the mac and cheese....we took the entire pot outside and ate from it!

The bigger mud kitchen is already used daily. The second best thing I put in our backyard (the first being the playset, of course).

Everyone around the table journaling and writing book reports. Most afternoons you can hear a pin drop in the playroom while the kids work on math, reading, and writing.

The puppy has been a hot topic amongst the minis and daycare kids. Since daycare will consist of school agers this summer, I plan on having the puppy around the kids and the kids learning to take care of him. We started already, with learning as much as we can about the breed and making a 'Puppy Needs' list (and shopping online for those items). They had to research each item picked, what size the puppy would need, etc. I love to see how invested they are in helping and learning. Fingers crossed that continues!

Outside by 8 a.m. despite it being 40 degrees. That doesn't seem to stop them!

I've spent a great deal of time giggling at their spelling of states and capitals. I had to take a picture to always remember this one!

We spent the week learning about natural disasters. We got to do a few fun experiments. At the end of the week, their challenge for science was to build a flood barrier. I showed them how when the princesses are just standing in the middle of the pan and the water pours in, water gets to them, so protect them from the water. They instantly understood and got to work. I told them they could use anything they could find in the house. They went with rice, noodles, and clay. All worked well, especially when paired together. Of course, the kids quickly learned they should have built their barriers higher.

Gym class was a driveway chalk challenge that had them doing jumping jacks, squats, skipping, shuffling, jogging around the block, hopscotching, push ups, and more jumping. They had a great time with it!

Mid-week the kids researched different natural disasters. On Friday they presented them to each other and had to explain what they learned in their research. It looks like we have to do a little work on how to research!

Their challenge for art: make a face in the dandelion play dough using all things found outside. I loved seeing what they came up with!

We spent Friday afternoon and evening baking muffins for our Mother's Day surprise on Saturday. The middle mini baked 6 batches of homemade muffins throughout the day and evening on Friday. The muffins were finally completed at 9:30 p.m. What a way to end the week accomplished!

Only three more weeks to go until we're done with online learning. We're/I'm eagerly anticipating summer. We've had a great time homeschooling/freeschooling, but I'm ready for our regular daycare schedule and activities to commence. I do plan on keeping them going on reading and writing throughout the summer, along with other learning opportunities, but they're ready for their free time and days in the backyard playing.