Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Reading & Stargazing

We are reading Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne to W for storytime. He has been enjoying it so much that I think we will start The House at Pooh Corner soon, or rather as soon as I can find it, since it is likely packed away in a box at the basement in the house. Also I want to introduce him to the poetry collections also by Milne. I can't wait until we and our books are all under one roof! W also enjoys the Disney movie The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which stays true to the spirit of the book. 


W has also been reading several Disney themed books that his Aunt gave him (thanks Noreen!) On a recent trip to Falmouth to visit Grandma we stopped in at Eight Cousins, one of my favorite book stores, and we bought The Big Dipper by Franklyn M. Branley which is a wonderful introduction to astronomy and star gazing while also being a challenging yet readable book for W's level. He now he enjoys looking out for the stars at night and has been able to spot the big dipper. I would highly recommend this book to Kindergarten age children and plan to seek out more books in the Let's Read and Find Out Science series. Last year we enjoyed What Lives in a Shell? from the library, but I think that now that W is doing the reading he may get more out of it.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kindergarten Lesson Planning

We will move to NH at the end of August, and W will begin homeschooling Kindergarten this September. Our main curriculum for this fall will revolve around Five in a Row and the Math-U-See primer. We are also planning a unit study on Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. W loves the "My First Little House" books so I can't wait to share the originals with him. Combined with some gardening, cooking, crafts, history, science and geography from FIAR, along with several phonics and early writing workbooks, I think it will be a pretty well rounded curriculum. We joined a wonderful forum with local homeschoolers and I can't wait to set up a play group and coop activities once we get settled in.

I picked up several teacher planning books at the Target dollar spot similar to the one I used for PreK last fall. They have blocks for each day of the week and make it easy for planning. They should help keep us organized. After the move I am hoping to turn our old changing table/shelves into a work-box style education station where we can keep all of the current books and supplies organized and at hand.

One surprise of moving to the Live Free or Die state is that there are actually more legal restrictions on homeschoolers. For age 6 and onward NH requires an annual evaluation along with your annual letter for intent to homeschool, while in MA you merely need to send the letter with your intent to homeschool to your local school district. Granted, some MA towns are more homeschool friendly than others, but I was certainly surprised that moving to NH means adding extra restrictions.

Often we hear that there should be more standards and tests, although please ask yourselves the question of who makes these tests and sets the bar. Every child learns differently and has different talents in life, and I see homeschooling as a way to more naturally express these talents and focus on their interests. Learning is about context as well as content, cramming meaningless dates into your brain when learning history does not spark a love for history, yet spending time to understand the events and how they affected people often does.