Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weather unit and the rest of March

Beware: Lots of gratuitous photos in this blog posting.
For the month of March, Graham and I did a mini-weather unit.  And by "mini" I mean I started the month out well and did like three things and then fizzled.  And because I currently have a $5000 fine at the library, I was avoiding going and checking out some weather books.  Yeah, we homeschool.
Anyway, here is our cool tornado in the jar (via pinterest).  I was skeptical, but it actually really works.  We have left it sitting in the widow of our kitchen all month because it is so fun to play with!
We did a couple of fun weather crafts.
My favorite activity was the weather bath!  Add some blue food coloring and shaving cream clouds to a regular old bath, and it becomes super special and super fun!  Graham and Grayson had a ball playing!
Graham did an experiment in the tub with shaving cream and blue food coloring to demonstrate how rain drops through the clouds.
Last month, I started the "All about Reading" Level 1 with Graham.  He zoomed through the pre-reader level, so I figured he was raring to go for the next step.  Ummmm, not so much.  I had to pull my hair out to get him to sit still enough to do the lessons every day, and when he did sit still enough, he was getting frustrated with the material.  He was just not ready for it.  Totally Okay.  And totally why we homeschool.  So, I am putting it away for a few months to re-visit it next fall.  Anyway, I have decided to work on some other skills for awhile.  We have been doing alot more math lately, and Graham has really enjoyed it.  I think SO much of it at his age is him developing a positive view of math and building some math confidence.  This is something I sorely lacked from the moment I walked through the doors of the public school until the day I walked out.  I think this has much to do with why, even now, I am very reluctant to teach math.  But my boys both LOVE math and so far both of them feel pretty competent and I don't want to do anything to hinder that!
So, one of the things we did this month was to set up a "numbers station."  I pulled out a ton of stuff I had on hand: number stickers, number magnets, number dry erase boards, manipulatives, bingo markers, etc. and just let him play.

One day we got out our scale and he weighed all kinds of things.  He had big fun with this, and I couldn't believe how long he played with it.  We talked alot about why things weighed more, how to get the scale even, and why sometimes one side of the scale was heavier even though there were less objects on it. 
Little Bubba also got in on the action.  He seriously had a ton of fun putting stuff on the scale and playing with the smooth river rocks.
I gave him an egg carton and he played with it forever ("forever" in toddler time is around five minutes or so).  He put rocks in it and then I gave him all sizes of colored pom poms.
Graham is into Star Wars right now.  We did a Star Wars preschool pack.  One day I had Isaac read Graham a Star Wars book.  This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it warms this mama's heart! Notice diligent/organized/project-oriented child fully dressed and ready for the day while creative/messy/somewhat lazy child is still in his pajamas.  Not that we put anyone in boxes around here or anything.
For Geography studies, Isaac is learning about South America.  We did a diorama of the rainforest.
Here is Graham looking SUPER cute next to the diorama.  Isaac is noticeably missing because when I attempt to take a normal photo with him in it....
....this is what happens.  Part of having a nine year old boy I guess.
I was starting to second guess our geography curriculum, and was about ready to think the whole year had been a massive waste of time from an academic point of view, until I started really working with Isaac and quizzing him on some geographical things.  He can tell you on what continent, what country and often what city many major geographical landmarks are located (El Castillo, Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, Itsukushima Tori, Grand Canyon, The Parthenon, etc.).  He can identify where most major countries of the world are, he knows about many of the important eco systems of the world, and can tell you at length what the differences are between a temperate/tropical/arctic climate.  I am so proud of him!  And, the best part is...I am learning right along with him!