Over the years I've changed my methods based on the needs of my children as well as on the desires of our family. You know the old question, "If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?" Well, I can lament that my oldest never learned Latin, or that my 6th and 7th graders just started this year. Or that I didn't continue with math and reading lessons through the summer like I often planned to. That's the beauty of having younger children. I can do those things now! My 4 youngest are in PreK, K, 1st, and 3rd grades.
One thing that I have added to our curriculum (well, I added a couple years ago but didn't enjoy it enough with the kids). My first grader saw FIAR listed on his assignment sheet. He was so excited, he told his younger siblings how fun that was when he and his 3rd grade brother used to work on them. This year we are creating little books of their work. Nothing fancy, just a 50 cent -3 hole type folder to hold all of their reports for the year. Most of the ideas I get out of the FIAR book. I also add other projects based on something I might want the kids to learn...or as in the case with our current book...what they are asking to learn.
We are reading and rereading the story Owl Moon. It's about a young child who finally gets his turn to go owling with his father. They go out in the moonlight in the middle of the night as quiet as can be hoping to see an owl. I love how all the younger kids crowd around me to listen to it day after day. They love talking about it in relation to what we have learned so far. My 3 year old loves to point out the deer hidden in the woods.
So far we have
- The cover page with the title, author, and student name to print.
- A bunch of different type of small owl pictures I found on the internet for them to cut out and paste on a page. They pasted the ones that live near us on the top, and the other ones that live in our state on the bottom.
- A chart filling in the sunrise and sunset times for a couple weeks. Did you know that each day we get 3 or 4 minutes of extra daylight right now? I never knew the exact number myself. I just wanted to start teaching them what it means when we say the days are getting longer at this time of the year.
- A page of hyperboles from the story. They keep calling them exaggerations and that's OK. I just wanted to point out that authors do use words to exaggerate to make something more interesting. We have a ton of homework, we stared at the owl for 100 minutes.
- We also have a page of similes and metaphors. I don't think they are getting a firm grasp on the difference, but they get the basic idea that it makes for interesting reading/writing and they are pointing those out in the book as we read it. And, again, that's what I want them to learn.
So...here's what we have planned this week (or two)
- House rules (the book stresses the importance of doing what is told..if any noise at all is made...they won't see an owl).
- Two different art projects on owls. (6th grader Terese leads the kids in art projects 3 times a week, usually she chooses, but I think everyone will enjoy these easy projects.)
- Some work on identifying different phases of the moon.
- Hopefully I can use the globe, a ball, and a flashlight to explain why the moon looks different to us at different times.
We were driving home and the kids saw a 1/2 moon. They thought it was neat but my explanation must not have made much sense to them because a little while later they were playing in the sandbox together and one child looked up and yelled to the other, "Look! There's the other 1/2!)
Before this book we did Down, Down The Mountain and learned why the Blue Ridge Mountains are blue, where they are, what flora and fauna are indigenous to the area (well, I mostly wanted them to learn what flora and fauna mean).
I can't wait to pick out a new book, but for now I will continue with Owl Moon for as long as they are begging to!