Monday, August 25, 2014

the rest of our Monday

 Today our One Small Square, Backyard [science] helped us to slow down and take a closer look at the birds in our lives.
Reference books
The art response to The Fisherman and His Wife 
[English Lit/Jr. Great Books]
Of course math (not shown), lots of good reading... 
 And Spelling
 Chocolate Zucchini Brookies to go with lunch and a gift for teacher.
What a great day! 

fun with spelling: jump spelling

For spelling this year our motto is steady as she goes. Using a list of words which start at about grade level 1, word family consonant blends such as "gr", we are working our way as far as we can go. Hopefully ending the year on or near grade level which for Boo would be 6-ish grade. 
Each week Boo will have a new list. Last year I allowed her to pass off spelling words as soon as she thought she could. I realized doing it that way how little she was incorporating her new spelling words (at least in their correct forms) into her writing. I understood she needed more time working with them. 
This year it is one list per week. On Monday she gets the list and I will help her to learn her new words. The rest of the week she is on her own to master them. Working on that independence.  
 Today's new list we took out to the driveway for a little jump spelling. I wrote the blend "gr" in the center. Next I wrote the second half of the words in shapes around the first. As I called out the word Boo would jump to the correct ending.
I took my turn jumping too while she read them to me. As we played we called them out faster and faster. We both had a blast.
And of course Boo had to grade it.

reading now: The Secret Of The Old Clock

Friday, August 22, 2014

lit notes

I love being surprised by Boo when it comes to likes and dislikes with literature. I adore having a front row seat to seeing how she reacts to exploring with words and stories. 

Take The Giving Tree. We are huge Shel Silverstein fans but after reading her The Giving Tree Boo made me promise to NEVER read her that horrible book again. Of course the issue was the strong emotional response she had to the book not her dislike, although she couldn't express that at the time. She understood and related to the message so clearly even now she still refuses to read it.

Just as equally telling Boo, the self proclamation history hater has once again picked a historical based book as her favorite book EVER. The first one she fell in love with was last year. It was the Freedom Train, the story of Harriet Tubman. This time it is Helen Keller's Teacher, the story of Annie Sullivan. And what else beside history do they have in common? The central character is a strong woman overcoming both physical and social barriers for themselves. Then they use their success to help others.

 As for independent reading, Nate The Great has come to our rescue! As Boo gets older her desire to read more complex story lines is increasing. She doesn't want her visual disability to confine her to "baby" readers. But most chapter books have too small of font or print too close together or both for her to read them. The Kindle helps a little but not as much as we had hoped it would. There just isn't enough large print options out there. 

Turns out the answer (for now) has been on our bookshelf just waiting to be discovered. The reading level of most of the Nate The Great books is about 2.2 which is a bit lower than where Boo reads but the humor is winning her over. And reading at any level is reading!!!! The humor is probably why the interest level of the books is rated for grades 3-5. Best of all there are tons of these books around we happen to have 6 already. I am sure more are in our new future. 

working with her

After her school work was done I set Boo free to play. She visited the rope swing behind the chicken coop composing a few new songs as she glided back and forth through the air. She spent some time petted Owen. Then returned to the house to play with her Pinterest stables...or if we lived in a state which required me to account for our learning I would check it off as creative writing, reading, and spelling. 
What she is doing: Boo has invented a whole series of stable stories to go along with photos of horses. Created and named at least a dozen riders and horse all with unique personalities, back stories, and show names. Organized and documented on the various charts she generates each time a new rider or horse is added to the stables- so let's check off penmanship as well.
I will let you in on a little secret behind the origins of that incredibly complex, imagination based creative writing project of hers. It came out of allowing her time to be bored. It emerged out of unlimited Kindle screen time. Hours of shows like Kicking It With You and Kitchen Nightmares. Eventually she found a way to actively entertain her own mind.
 The point of all of this is we spend 2-3 hours learning (for now) my way, with books, structured games, and papers. And the other 12 hrs or so of the day are hers. (Well, plus or minus the 4 hrs she likes to spend at gym) 
Yesterday after school ended we dug up the last of the potatoes, we washed them, baked them, and ate them for lunch. Boo's idea sparked from reading about potatoes earlier in our science lesson. Where do you file experience like that? Science? Nature? Agriculture? Nutrition? Home Economics? Lunch?
All of the above. Home school :)
Time is the key to learning. Not just taking the time to learn something but providing the time and space for learning to organically grow...just like a garden- space, love, light, energy, and time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

how it goes

I knew Boo was up because I could see she was on Pinterest. A flurry of horse pins flooding in among my oh so 'grown-up' pins. I was looking for a banana muffin recipe to make for breakfast. 

Next time I ran across her trail she was out in the yard showing Owen how to get up into his shelter box because today it is overcast and the promise of rain is hanging low in the sky.

We met up again on her bed where she was back pinning but asking me to double check her spelling of the word dream, one of her spelling words for the week. She talked about the wind last night blowing through her window. We checked her mini terrarium to see the miniature sprouts just beginning to pop out of the dark soil. 

Before the muffins were done baking I found Boo working on her spelling words at the kitchen table in her little blue speller.
I asked her if she would tolerate an egg with her muffin. 
>kid does not eat enough protein< 
She replied, "As long as it is not eggie."
*right, no eggie eggs*
After eating her muffin and picking through her very flat, over cooked, dry egg for not eggie parts to eat she cleared her plate and took up the math I had left out for her.

Day two of school and it goes just like that, peaceful and slow. The pleasure of playing Chutes and Ladders with an almost 11 yr old. A walk in the rain. Reading novels in "mom's bed", history snuggled together under blankets on the sofa while the rain falls.

Last night in the parents meeting we had four coaches with nothing much to say to us but 'that there is a great kid'. Gymnastics strong, very strong, respectful, sweet, hard working, funny... It can make such meetings a little awkward, a little Stepford-ish but yes, that there is a great kid and I am so lucky to be her homeschooling mom.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday with love

Yes, it is true we are officially back in school. 
Our morning started with harvesting a field of fresh clover for Owen,  Boo's rabbit. Not quite the traditional way to start school but this a farm home school.

Welcome back to home school reading:
English lit this year includes Jr. Great Books. We are pairing each story with an art project. Today we started with The Master Cat
 Cat faces art project.
To help her foster independence Boo is doing her weekly spelling practice mostly unaided this year. She is responsible to set aside the time she needs to work in her speller and do her silent/aloud reading each day. 
Today she did her math work by herself too.   
Our first science unit this years is based on One Small Square Backyard. The perfect way to practice observation skills and enjoy exploring our own backyard. 
Slow life lunch line:
Homegrown grapes 
mini carrots
Homemade basil & cheese pizza on a whole wheat oatmeal crust 
Homemade cinnamon roll 
green tea 
Dessert pizza rolls are one of Boo's specialties.
After lunch mixed media: Antboy (in place of swimming). We rented this DVD over the weekend thinking we would find time to watch it but we never did. I gave Boo the choice between the pool and the movie and she picked movie :) 
Probably a B movie but the science info (which went very well with our science lesson) & the good message made it worth watching at least once.
Great start to the school year. With school work done all that is left is a little downtime then off to gym early for a Parent Gymnast Coach meeting.