The Secret in education lies in respecting the student.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This was our first week back to our curriculum for EJ who would now be considered a third grader, and a beginning of sorts for JD who would be in kindergarten. I prefer to ease back into our lessons rather than BOOM, try to fit everything in right from the start. Easing back into lessons for me means starting with the basics. For EJ that means math, spelling, printing, and of course reading. For JD, just starting out – it’s math, printing, and pre-reading skills. To round out the week I added in a science lesson about friction.
First some fun stuff. We spent some time at the local nature center with our homeschool group this week. The center catches and tags monarch butterflies in last summer for Monarch Watch and they invite kids of all ages to come, help capture the butterflies, tag them, and then release them. Unfortunately we’ve been having very wet weather so the butterflies weren’t fluttering. They did get to learn about the tags and watch one monarch be tagged and released.
Today the boys found a red-spotted newt in the pool which was very exciting for them because while frogs and toads are plentiful, they have not seen any salamanders. They actually identified it incorrectly as a tadpole. Oops! I guess we’d better learn a bit more about that.
JD has been eager to “do school” as he puts it. The challenge is that he has his own very strong opinion about what constitutes school. In a way I think he is more playing at school, which is fine, he’s still young and I don’t feel the need to rush him, but sometimes our goals don’t mesh. One of his favorite “games” is for me to act like the dunce so he gets to show off how smart he is. I’ve started him on Right Start math level A which he is more than ready for. We are also working on letter writing, and pre-reading skills using Handwriting Without Tears, and All About Reading Pre-1. He had a good week, I think he enjoys the extra attention and I enjoyed spending the extra time with him.
EJ was also eager to get started particularly when he realized that all of his friends were heading back to school and would not be available to play during the early part of the day. He put in a great effort this week as we muddled through spelling rules that we had both forgotten since the spring, and argued over math.
Full disclaimer, everything is not always sunshine and rainbows here at the meandering homeschool. EJ and I had quite a row during math one day this week. It is obvious that he is a natural mathematician while I am, well, not! I’m still processing the event but I believe that I need to work on getting out of his way a bit more, work on being more respectful of HIS math process and not let my own math insecurity get in his way.
EJ loves to read but has trouble finding books to his liking. It’s not the only area where he is picky so I suppose I should not be surprised. We recently discovered the series Secrets of a Lab Rat. He loved the first book, No Girls Allowed, and has requested the other two. So that’s a win!. Our literature read aloud, and narration title is E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan. Although I’m very familiar with Charlotte’s Web and even Stuart Little, this book is new to me and quickly becoming my favorite of the three.
Rounding out the week, we took some time out for science. In the spring we concentrated on the physics thread in BFSU and because we only have two more physics lessons I decided to finish them off first. This week we learned about friction. Using a variety of non-round objects they compared how different materials will slide, or not slide, down a ramp. This led to a discussion of rubber, when they discovered that a rubber eraser didn’t slide at all, and how rubber can be used when we want lots of friction. The next day we compared sliding objects with rolling objects and of course found that even the fastest sliding object (the play slice of pizza) was slower than the rolling object. The boys were great during the busy activities, but in hindsight, this lesson needed to have one more day because I felt they got lost a bit toward the end of the second day. Every day is a learning experience in so many ways!
I’ll close with one more photo of JD looking for Jewelweed seeds to explode. We learned about these cool and edible seeds last week during a foraging for food gathering we had with our local homeschool group.
Jewelweed, also called Impatiens or “touch-me-nots” grows in damp spots, has lovely little orange flowers, and when the seeds are ripe one only needs to touch the seed pod to see a little mini explosion! This is of course how they propagate, as animals brush past them the seeds are released and are carried on their body or fall to the ground. The tiny seeds are edible and taste like walnuts. The plant also has a sap that can be used to ease poison ivy rash. They have one final secret. If you remove the outer husk the inside seed is robin’s egg blue! How cool is that!
As always, thanks for reading! I love to receive comments so if you enjoyed this post or have a question just let me know!