Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What We've Learned - October 30, 2012

High time I popped in here with a learning update, since we have been learning lots behind the scenes even while the blog has been neglected. Sadly no photos..we're getting back into our groove one thing at a time here. =)

Michelle (7)
1. We are doing the letter u sounds in spelling.  Most of them are vowel-consonant-e words.
2. We are doing French in the book and listening to it on a CD.  (We finished the part of The Learnables Level 1 that was on the computer, and have proceeded to the workbook portion.)
3. We finished the cursive book, so now I am writing and doing copywork in cursive.  I am even writing notes in cursive. 
4. In history, I read about Hannibal leading his army from Carthage to Rome.   Only 3 elephants survived in the winter up in the Alps.

James (4)
1. We made the letters into words.*
2. We played the number game.  (Basically like War - the person whose card is "more" takes both cards.)
3. We did something in my math book. (MEP Reception)

*We finished working through all the alphabet sounds, and have starting working on putting together 3 letter, short vowel words.   He's been picking up on this idea really quickly!  You can read about this second stage of Charlotte Mason style reading instruction here or here.

Elizabeth (2.5)
What has she learned?  Michelle says that she loves running to the steps across the street and climbing them, and that she follows.  Yes, running and climbing describe Elizabeth well....when we can corral her, she is very in to cut-and-paste type activities these days.  And reading All About Alfie (by Shirley Hughes)

With my birthday money, I purchased the CD set of the 2005 Ambleside Online Conference, which has been really fantastic listening.  Definetely worth owning if you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler!  I'm sure I'll revisit it again and again.  One nugget I really appreciated was the advice to take time to just enjoy my family.  It is easy as homeschooling mothers to be always "doing" and to not spend enough time "being".  But that is where the relationships are built, and ultimately that's what CM education is about - the child's relationship to God, to self, to others, and to ideas.   Also the idea that the little things that we do consistently over time add up and eventually yield a harvest.  Oh, that I could be faithful in the little things!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Nature Study


Sorry this place has been so quiet this past month!  We had visitors for two weeks.  Then we were recovering from them, as lovely as they were.  And then we bought plane tickets for moving to Africa in January, so we have entered full-blown transition mode now.  So, please accept my apologies if things are a little neglected around here.  I do have a lot I would like to share in this space...all in good time.

We have, however, had some really wonderful times of fall nature study, despite all the busy-ness.  I am feeling so very blessed that we have be able to enjoy autumn two years in a row before we go back to the tropics.

One thing we did was record the end of our Sunflower project.  We got to observe the seeds down there in the flower head...just like the ones we started with when we planted!  Everything came around full-circle.

Over on the Ambleside Online forum, a group of us has been reading and discussing the Handbook of Nature Study. It has been a wonderfully inspiring discussion.  One of the things we discussed was the balance between freedom and structure in nature study.  When do we let our children run loose and find the things that interest them, and when do we gently nudge them in the right direction?

Not long after this discussion, we decided to pop over to the park in between rain showers.  Inspired by one of the ideas from this month's Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter, we decided to see if we could find leaves in three different shapes and/or three different colors, which we did.   There was the structure.

 I also stopped to take a closer look at an evergreen tree that was covered with some kind of berries.

While I was trying to figure it out, Michelle noticed that there were mushrooms growing in the dirt under the tree.  Heaps of them.  Different kinds too. 

 We spent several minutes observing and counting them.  Michelle was absolutely fascinated.  There was our freedom.

We also stomped in the puddles on the way home.  What good is nature study on a wet day without some puddle stomping? =)

Hope you are enjoying the season wherever you are, too.