Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not At Home-Schooling

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Sierra had convinced me to start in with the year's schoolwork. We have been doing a very non-labor intensive school schedule, mostly focusing on her spelling with some grammar and geography thrown in. I've found I'm doing a lot more of handing Sierra her work (because she can and will work independently) and spending more one on one time with Sedona. I've discovered Sedona thinks the "hand me the...." game is absolutely fabulous, so I've adapted that to working on her letter sounds. It started out with a quick check of her colors (I discovered that if I point to a color and ask her to name it, she has trouble, but if I name the color, she can pick it out). I laid out 8 cards, each a different color, and asked her to hand me the red one, the blue one, etc... When I picked up cards with letters on them, she told me to lay them out again, so I work in batches of 5 or 6 letters and ask her to hand me certain ones (using the sounds of the letters, not the names). So far this set up is working pretty well for us. If we are doing a more difficult subject for Sierra, like math, we wait until Sedona is down for a nap.

But then there are these trips we've been taking. I'd say a weekend trip causes us to skip "seat work" for two days (one day we're packing, one day we're--or I'm--recovering). She's 5 and it's July and I'm not too worried about that. However, there are plenty of opportunities to keep her learning without sitting down with worksheets. We talk about the trip ahead of time and I have her find the location on a big United States map I have on the wall. With the national parks, we've been having her do the Junior Ranger programs (and any other kid programs the park might have) so she learns a bit about the area we're visiting. A note about those, it would be helpful to keep a small pencil pouch in the car with colored pencils, a pencil and pen, and a pencil sharpener to use for the activities. I've been picking up the information pamphlets at each park or national monument and plan to hold onto them to have as a resource in the future.

When we're in the park, we do our best to answer questions that she comes up with or to find out the answer. For instance, being at Yellowstone led to quite a few discussions about people being on the outside of the earth and what is inside the earth and what makes volcanoes erupt and what is heating up the geysers. At Glacier, we talked about...well, glaciers. We've gotten to talk a little about the difference between a glacier carved canyon and a river carved canyon as well as why naturally occurring forest fires are a good thing. Last year when we spent a lot of time on the east coast, we talked a lot about what causes tides and what kinds of animals live in what kinds of shells.

We buy her postcards to send to all of her friends, which helps her with her writing skills. She also has a small journal that I have her write in when we get back. I'm focusing on her handwriting with that one, so she tells me what she wants to say and I help her form it into a coherent, grammatically correct story and I write it down on a piece of paper, then she copies it into her journal. Depending on how much there is she wants to write about, she might take two or three days to actually finish copying an entry.

There's been some complaining from her (the kid likes structure--she's not a fan of "missing school"), but I like how it's going so far. We had been planning a trip to Mt. Ranier National Park in the near future, but due to the distance and only having a weekend to cover it, we're thinking of changing that to Craters of the Moon National Monument (where she can do the Junior Ranger AND Lunar Ranger programs!), which is a little closer to us. If anyone is interested, there is also a web ranger program kids can do to learn about the parks even if they can't visit.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...