Monday, December 31, 2012

Educational Outline 2013

So, in the last few weeks, Emma and I have been a bit more structured in her learning. We seem to be doing well with it, but we quickly realized that structured learning every day was a bit much for us (going from 0 to 5 days would overwhelm anyone I guess). So we have made a few changes.

Beauty of Spring Dec 2012 (2)

Starting with January, we are going to allow the "Horse Diaries" series to direct our learning (yes our learning, because there is a lot I will be learning as well). Each month we will read one of the books in the series, and focus on that horse breed throughout the month. Along with the horse breed, we will pull one or two other areas of interest from the book.

January is a little odd, only because we randomly chose the other subjects, but the next 5 months tie in a little more closely to the books.

What will we learn about each month? In addition to focusing on a horse breed, we will focus on one artist, one science concept, and one geographical location/culture. We will mix in some math worksheets (Emma really enjoys these), as well as reading and writing. For the writing, Emma will create a story based on the subjects we are focusing on and work on it throughout the month. Oh, and we plan to keep up with the letters to family and friends.

Let me use January as an example.

The book we will be starting the month off with is Maestoso Petra. The story is a Lipizzaner horse and takes place in Vienna, Austria in 1938. Before I was smart enough to tie in more of the story to our learning goals, we had just randomly decided to learn about Leonardo da Vinci and crystals. So, for January, we will do a bunch of science experiments to learn about crystals (rock candy, borax snowflakes, etc.) as well as recreate some works of art by da Vinci and maybe learn about some of his inventions. 

Here is a quick peek at the next 5 months. 

Book: Golden Sun
Horse Breed: Appaloosa 
Location/Culture: NW United States, Nez Perce Tribe
Art: Native American Art
Science: Horse Anatomy 


Book: Yatimah
Horse Breed: Arabian (we have already done a Horse Geography sheet on the Arabian, but we decided to go back and learn more)
Location/Culture: Northern Africa/Middle East, Nomadic Bedouin
Art: African/Middle Eastern Art
Science: Human Anatomy (to compare it to Horse Anatomy from the previous month)


Book: Risky Chance
Horse Breed: Thoroughbred
Location/Culture: England
Art: Shakespeare
Science: Oil/Energy (not related to the book, but we will be in Texas this month with Da while he goes through some training, so we thought it might be neat to talk about these two topics and maybe try to schedule a field trip)


Book: Black Cloud
Horse Breed: Mustang
Location: United States- we will be learning about the history of horses
Art: Cave Paintings
Science: History of the earth, continental drift, geology (we will be in California for most of May and June, so we will begin learning about the ocean as well this month)


Book: Tennessee Rose
Horse Breed: Tennessee Walking Horse
Location/Culture: Civil War/Slavery
Art: Poetry
Science: Ocean life

Sadly, that is all that has been published for the Horse Diaries series. There is one more book that comes out in the next few weeks. We also need to go back to the first 3 that we have already read and tie them into our new learning system, but for now, I think that is a great game plan.

As I mentioned, there will also be math worksheets, reading, and writing. We still plan to write 1-3 letters a week to family and friends, so if your interested, e-mail me your address and we will add you to the list!

I hope that 2013 brings fantastic things your way!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Horse Geography

So, I thought I had written a post a long time ago about our horse geography, but I didn't. So, here it is now!

About a year ago, I had the brilliant idea to use horses to teach Emma geography. She loves to learn about horses (has for about 3 or so years now) so we decided to use it to our advantage.

I created some blank worksheets that we would be able to use for all different breeds. One side is dedicated to breed characteristics, the other side is dedicated to the horse's origin. Here, this is what they look like.

horse geo blank1

For this sheet, we just record the name of the horse, it's hand height, colors, purpose, temperament, and origin. We use one of the small rectangles to record our references, and we use the other rectangle to tape (or glue) a picture of the horse (so Emma has something to go off of for her drawing). The big rectangle on the bottom is for her drawings. 

horse geo blank2

For the origin sheet, we record the continent, country, language (we also look up 'horse' in that language), climate, and terrain. We print up the flag and map from the horses origin and glue/tape them onto the sheet. Emma looks for the origin in the world map at the bottom then colors the area in. 

At this point, the info we put on here is mostly just basic stuff. As Emma gets older, we can increase the difficulty level of the info, or use the info to write reports or what not.  

Once the sheets are filled out, we add them to our Geography binder. If we have printed any information to use, we also include those pages into the binder as well. Any drawings that Emma has done of the specific breeds will also be included in the binder. 

Here are the two we managed to get done last year. 

horse geo exmoor
Exmoore Pony

horse geo exmoor0001
Exmoore Pony Drawing

horse geo fellabella

As is typical with us, we lost interest after these two. I think we lost interest because I was a little too exuberant about it. This time we will take things a bit slower, and Emma is a year older so that will help as well. 

Here is the first one we have done since we started back up again. 

arabian horse geo
Arabian Characteristics 

arabian horse geo2
Arabian Origins 

After starting up again, I realized that Emma was ready to learn about continents as well, so we have divided the binder up into continents. Each horse is placed into the section of it's continent. 

I used this site to print up maps of the continents. 

Well, that's about it. Feel free to use these worksheets (just click on the link below the picture). If you find them useful, let me know! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Structured Itch

So, it seems to be that time of year again when I feel the need to be more structured with Emma's education. It is totally me, and has nothing really to do with Emma's level of knowledge. I am pretty confident that she is where she needs to be (on a personal level, not a dictated level).

Reading to Fredin

Her reading is going really well. Her favorite books to read the the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems. I have to say, I have never heard a 6 year old read a book with such inflection. She LOVES these books and we love listening to her read them. Of course by the third time around she has pretty much memorized them, but then she forgets about the books for a few weeks and actually has to read the words again.

There are other books here and there that she will read. Later this week she is going to be reading this book to me.

So what do we consider structured around here? Each morning she will spend a bit of time doing "school" stuff. This morning she worked in a math workbook for about 20 minutes while she listened to an audio book (Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris). 

Tomorrow we are going to grow crystals using a little kit that Gramma had bought for Emma a while ago (I know, finally!). I have printed up some info and we may also play around with making some borax or salt crystals as well.  

On Wednesday we are going to do some horse geography after we attempt to make it to the Homeschool P.E. class that is offered down town. We ran into the homeschooling family today that we met while skiing on Thursday and they mentioned the P.E. class and that they would be there, so we are going to try and make it. It starts at 0900 and for us to make it we would have to be out to catch the bus at about 0820. Seeing as we haven't been getting out of bed till 0800 or later, that may be a problem, but we will see. 

Thursday will be reading day where Emma will read the above mentioned book to me (plus a few others), as well as some super short and simple stories I have written for her to read and illustrate. 

Friday will be dedicated to making her birthday cake/cupcakes. I can't believe she will be 7! 

Also, each day (or just about) Emma will be writing a letter to friends and family. If you are interested in receiving a letter, and would have the time to write back (even just a quick hello), send me an e-mail and we will add you to the list. It will be really great for Emma if she gets replies to her letters, otherwise she might loose interest. 

Each weekend we will sit down and figure out what she wants to work on for the following week. At the end of each month we will sit down and figure out goals for the next month. 

Our goals for the remainder of this month are for Emma to read me 3 books, finish 2 horse geography sheets, and to finish up her K-1 Math Readiness book. All very doable, but the math book may require a few pages each day. 

Well, I think that's about it. I promise that I will write a post about the horse geography stuff soon (maybe even tomorrow seeing as I will be getting it ready for Wednesday anyway). 

I hope everyone had a great Monday!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Making Friends

is really tough! Granted, we have only been here for three weeks (today as a matter of fact), but I think Emma was expecting to have made some friends already.

Out and About- Emma's Photos (34)
"Red Light!" by Emma

We did get to meet some people last weekend at a family work function. We even talked about getting together during the week with one of the girls and her mom, but man was this week brutal! With Da working till 6 or later every night except for Friday (which he walked in the door like a Zombie at 4:30 and was passed out in bed by 5:30), it didn't leave much time for fitting in social calls.

Out and About- Emma's Photos (33)
"Groceries" by Emma

So, our mission this week is to get together with some potential friends. We may see if there are some classes we can sign Emma up for, we are going to try to get to the homeschool meetup that happens every Monday on base, and we are going to try to see if we can meet some new people at the library (which we have already been to twice).

Out and About- Emma's Photos (23)
"It's Time" by Emma

Other than that, I guess Emma and I just need to be patient and let time work it's magic. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Emma's Mystical Table- Christmas

So, for those who didn't catch it in this post, Emma has a special table that is all for her. She loves to decorate for the holidays and seasons. Jared and I really don't. Not wanting to crush her enthusiasm or her creativity, we have set her up with a table all her own that she is free to decorate however she chooses.

*Actually, she is free to decorate anywhere in the house, but this makes it a bit easier to coral her decorations and limit what she can purchase*

So, here are Emma's photos of Emma's Mystical Table.

Emma's Mystical Table2 (2)
Emma's Mystical Table

We promised Emma that we would get her a tree to decorate for Christmas, but also a tree she could decorate throughout the years. Right now this tree is too small to hold anything other than little paper ornaments, but if she takes good care of her tree, the tree will get pretty big. 

Emma's Mystical Table (11)
Tree Unicorn

Her tree is watched over by a plethora of unicorns and horses, but only one is special enough to sit at the base of the tree. She also has some moss collected from NH, snail shells from IA, and rocks from who knows where in the pot. 

The carousel horses around the pot were picked up at a garage sale in the last 2 years. She just had to have them. 

Emma's Mystical Table (10)
The Sign

I drew the letters, she colored them. I am kicking myself because I didn't think to call it "Emma's Mystical Table" till right after she finished the sign. We may change it later when she is able to draw the letters herself. 

Emma's Mystical Table (9)
Another Unicorn

This unicorn is a Schleich model unicorn given to her by a friend in Tucson a few years ago. This was her very first model unicorn (at least I am pretty sure that's which unicorn this is).

Emma's Mystical Table (7)
Carousel Horses

These pretty little rocks were a found treasure one of the times we went snooping around Gramma's back room. 

Emma's Mystical Table (6)
Da's Ornaments

Some of Da's ornaments made the cut for Emma's table. 

Emma's Mystical Table (5)
Fairy Garden

This picture is a little fuzzy, but these clay figures (tree, mushrooms, birdbath, stepping stones, centuar) were all made by Emma at The Exchange in Cresco. She worked really hard on them and they are so stinking cute!

Emma's Mystical Table (4)
Centuar (half man, half horse)

Emma's Mystical Table (2)
Fairy House

This is the fairy's house. The centuar was originally going to be a chair for the fairy house, but when Emma realized the scale was WAY off, she was disappointed. I mentioned that the chair sort of looked like a centaur (we were listening to Harry Potter at the time) and so she went with it. 

Emma's Mystical Table2 (2)
The Whole Shebang

I actually took this picture because Emma didn't get one with both the table and her garland in it. The garland has more ornaments, many of them from Emma's first Christmas as well as many of Da's ornaments on them. 

Well, I hope everyone enjoys decorating as much as Emma (or else doesn't have to decorate). I look forward to seeing and sharing what else she does with her space.

Have a wonderful week!