Sunday, September 21, 2008

fabulous fall fun

I don't know if we are aloud to have this much fun at school! After our wonderful first day of school things have continued to go so well. We are accomplishing so much and having a great time doing it!

In our first week we focused on getting familiar with maps and globes as we prepare to study different places around the world. We used the book How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World. After reading we acted out traveling from continent to continent to get our pie ingredients, then we mixed it all together and made a delicious pie.

I have been learning a lot too these past two weeks. I am learning how to adapt the routine to fit the kids. They work so well together I am amazed. I have found that when everyone is getting a little restless, a little dance party in the kitchen turns things around immediately. Nothing like a little techno beat to get you going...

Another thing I have learned is that dry erase board is a wonderful invention. Who knew it would provide so much entertainment. Ian loves to sit at the table and use it when everyone else is working. Everyone also loves drawing on the big board on the wall. It's a great place to practice handwriting (as Isaac is doing below) or just draw a fun picture. Below is Ian's creative picture. He told me it is a picture of a war.

Isabella and Hannah started their Ballet class too. They were so adorable as they practiced in the kitchen before class. I think little girls dressed up in their ballet clothes is definitely one of the cutest things.

Last Monday we had the very cultural experience of going to Tanglewood for a performance by the Silk Road Music Ensemble. They had a rehearsal that was open to the public. It is an ensemble of musicians from different cultures who come together to compose and play music that reflects a variety of places. It was so cool. I thought it was going to be outside and the kids would be able to run and play while they listened but it was actually inside in an amazing building w/ incredible acoustics...the kind of place where you can hear a pin drop. Amazingly the kids were captivated...even little Mika and they didn't make a peep (for the most part). They all drew pictures of how the music made them feel while they were listening and we talked about it the next day in school. We all agreed the the Pipa solo was a bit long but the rest of it was really beautiful and interesting.

This past week we began our study of china by reading a book called Round is a Mooncake. It is a very simple book but we did lots of fun things with it. It spurred discussion of compound words and we also mimicked it's fun rhyming pattern by making our own "Round is a..." poem. The most fun thing we did, however was making our own mooncakes. They are a traditional pastry served in China during their autumn festivals. They are not easy to make and require a special pan. They are usually filled with bean paste. We modified it and filled ours with jam and almond slivers instead and used cookie cutters to make imprints. It was fun and they were yummy, even if they were nothing like real mooncakes. This is a picture of real mooncakes...

These are the mooncakes that we made...

We also made a string of Chinese lanterns because we saw some in the Mooncake book.

For me the homeschool highlight of the week was when the kids did their own science experiment outside at recess. We have some large pieces of lumber and cinder blocks out in the backyard (for constructing a rail to skateboard on of course) and the kids are constantly playing on or around them. One day last week, Isaac and Hannah decided to make a see saw. It worked pretty well but wasn't very comfortable. After a few minutes they realized that they could also make a catapult! I almost said "no, someone's going to get hurt!" but I decided instead to only allow the catapulting of pine cones (not rocks) and let them experiment and learn. All of the kids joined the process and they experimented with how to position the wood on the cinder block to get the most momentum. It was great. They were having a blast and had no idea that they were having a lesson in "physical science".

At the very end of the week I took my kiddos on our annual field trip to the Big E. We have gone every year with my family since Bella was 1. This year we were extra blessed to have Uncle Mike and Anty Ginger (visiting from Hawaii) join us! We love sharing all of the delectable treats and perusing the state buildings and vendors. Last but not least the kids get to choose two rides to end our fun day. This year I made a "photo and fact scavenger hunt" for Isabella to complete. She had to find various things, find out a fact about it and have her picture taken with them (For ex. an animal, something yummy, something from each state building etc.). When I print them we will make a mini scrapbook to chronicle our day and document what we learned.

Here they are snacking under a tree
Here is Bella with a cup of fresh cranberry juice from the Massachusetts building. She learned that they grow cranberries in Cape Cod in cranberry bogs.
Isaac took a moment out of his busy race to pose for the camera.

We had a delightful weekend and got to see some of our friends in Monson while we were in town watching Madi so Angela could enjoy a lovely day in Boston for her birthday. Was the weather beautiful or what?! I am usually facing some serious allergies at this time of year but have been almost completely allergy free this year!! I finally found something that works (Airborne allergy). I am truly enjoying this beautiful weather of early fall. I hope you are too.


Anonymous said...

Missy, You are doing such an amazing job with the kids! They are very blessed!!<3Audry

Anonymous said...

Learning should be fun, even for the teacher! Great job Missy.


Gishtu said...

Ian's picture of "war" looks like a vital organ of sorts...

Anonymous said...

You are the most amazing teacher, I wish my education was like that!! you make me think that I will need to live near you when I finally have kids so that you can homeschool them :) i love you so much and had a great time with you at the big E...xoxox see you soon-kimmy