Monday, August 31, 2009

Shhh...This is Top Secret!

Poor AH. He was asked last night what we were going to be studying starting next week and he really couldn't answer. The reason? It's a secret! I wanted to start our year with a bang: something fun, hands-on, mysterious and out of the ordinary. Okay, so a Not Back to School Week is not out of the ordinary for homeschoolers, especially this time of year. But fun, hands-on and mysterious it is. I would also say that it is out of the ordinary compared to our "normal" schedule. We usually don't do this many hands-on activities on a daily basis. But it will hopefully kick start AH's 6th grade year.

First of all, I thought it would be fun to design a t-shirt for AH to kick off our week. You have all probably seen a version of this shirt at stores: Why Do They Call It Homeschooling if We're Never Home? Underneath this heading I personalized it with all the places we have gone in our 2 years of homeschooling. I'll post a picture later.

Each day that will include some fun hands on activities. Tuesday starts out with a brief study of lenses and light culminating in a reveal of the microscope I bought earlier this summer! I thought that the rest of the day could be devoted to exploring the slide sets I bought along with some experiments which use the microscope. We'll have a lunch of miniatures: mini veggie burgers and baby carrots with mini cupcakes for dessert.

Wednesday is the day I watch AH's very young cousins. I decided to incorporate them into the week and art day is something we can all do together. I've got some new art supplies and activities to try out for that day. I thought we could decorate cookies for both an art activity and snack time!

Thursday is the day I have set aside for planning and executing a "Redwall Feast." AH is a big fan of Brian Jacques' Redwall series. The characters are just as likely to be baking and cooking as defending their beloved Abbey from vermin hordes. So today we will study weapons from the Medieval period while planning, preparing and serving dinner using some recipes from The Redwall Cookbook.

History is AH's favorite subject. We have zoomed through the first and second volumes of Story of the World and still AH cannot get enough! We are starting a living math curriculum this year and as a fun start I thought that after our dinner from Redwall Abbey, we could sit down as a family and watch the PBS show, The Story of 1.

Friday is usually the day I will schedule field trips, so we will be traveling to Interstate Park at Taylor's Falls next week. It is a wonderful park filled with potholes drilled by the water of retreating glaciers, rocks to climb, a river and abounding plant and wildlife to sketch. We'll bring our field guides and sketch books (and camera!) for a morning of discovery. I'm looking backgound materials on the pot holes and Minnesota geology. On the way and back we'll listen to The Legend of Luke, the next book in the Redwall series.

This is my rough plan and I need to fill in more activities and details, but I'm so excited I had to tell someone!

**update...9/9/09 we dropped the Redwall feast tonight due to not getting the cookbook from our library. We'll probably do that in the next two weeks. So Thursday is now Castle Day. We are studying castles, watching a video about castles and making a castle! Check out my blog later this week to see how it turns out!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Planning Mode

A lot of the blogs I follow have been dealing with planning of the upcoming school year, so planning has been on my mind. It's been a rainy and dreary week here in Minnesota. A good time for planning our upcoming school year since I don't feel like I'm missing out on our very few beautiful summer days! I've got some fun ideas bouncing around in my head! It's just a matter of organizing them into the school day and year. We'll be starting the same week that AD, our 17 year old son, goes back to school. This year it's the Tuesday after Labor Day. I've got some time yet so instead of planning our math year, I've started organizing our education room. To be clear, this is not a school room, but a place to put the accouterments of homeschooling. It's also a great place to work on projects that can't be moved regularly (like those done on our kitchen table). AD even uses it to do homework when he needs to be away from the noise of everyday life.


Organizing led to purging, which lead to taking posters and projects off the walls,which lead to looking at the walls, which led to...PAINTING! ARGHHH!!! It needed it, to be sure, but what it really needs is more shelving! Ah well, it'll be done tomorrow (if I stick to my schedule) and then I can tackle the shelving problem and procrastinate further!