What are your summer plans?

20130527-103634.jpg

What are your summer plans?

Many children finish school in the coming month. Homeschoolers tend to finish school around now too. But homeschoolers also do summer learning.

The importance of summer learning can’t be over emphasized. Children loose skills when they aren’t exposed to them every day. Math is a perishable skill. Reading is a perishable skill. Spelling is a perishable skill. In order to maintain the same level of math skills, reading, and other skills, a child needs exposure to them over the summer.

Everyday over the summer we do math and reading. It’s not always the same amount of math that we do during the school year, but we still do it. And we read.

But other than that, our summer learning is all about museums and nature. We spend summer visiting parks, museums, and hiking. It gives the kids great exposure to things they might not do during the rest of the year.

The key to summer learning is remembering that not all learning involves a classroom.

Why I like Marine World.

The walrus swam right up to the window so the kids could really see him up close.

The walrus swam right up to the window so the kids could really see him up close.

IMG_1874[1]

The train was a great ride. I think we did this 10 times or so.

So we got season passes to Marine World/Six Flags again this year. It has been 2 years since we have done this, but I thought it would be good to do it again this year. It is one of those places that is fun, not too far, only open during certain times of the year, and educational.

Educational? Have you ever been to one of their shows? Or seen one of their animal exhibits? There’s almost always a docent there to talk to the kids about the animal. They can see first hand how animals eat because they can feed animals. They can see how dolphins move, tigers growl, and penguins swim. We study one, or two, animals before we go. Then I make sure that the kids see those animals when we are there. Last time it was butterflies. This time we did walruses and sharks.

Additionally, they have lots and lots of play areas for the kids. Nicholas can experience force first hand on roller coasters and make balls shoot out of cannons. Abby can indulge her wild side and go on roller coasters and things. There’s something for everyone.

We really like Marine World – I know it’s not called that any more, but it has been that since I’ve been little and so Marine World it will always be for me. We got a pretty decent deal that includes parking, so it really isn’t a bad place for us to go. I enjoy it, the kids enjoy it, it gets us out of Sacramento and it is fun. What more can you ask for?

 

Adding literacy activities into our daily work.

We sometimes have problems adding enough literacy activities in our work. Don’t get me wrong – we read in our house. A lot. But sometimes I don’t put enough phonics, word building, and other skills into our work. There are a few reasons for this:

1. I think they will pick it up as they go (which they do with some things).

2. I try and let the kids direct more of their learning, and the literacy activities take more time and are less fun for them. Thus, they don’t choose them as often.

3. It’s a pain in the butt to make literacy activities, and there aren’t that many good ones out there.

4. We do literacy in our other activities; we just don’t set special time apart for literacy.

So I’m working on adding more stuff to our work days to include this. One website I really like is Confessions of a Homeschooler.

She has two pretty awesome sets of things that my kids really like – Find a letter and the Letter ladders. So I’m adding these to our lists. Nicholas likes the letter ladders better than he likes the word flowers I was having him do (same idea, but making them into flowers instead of ladders).

We will have to see how this goes.

 

Toddler Tuesday: Letter garden and cutting.

IMG_1671

Every day we add a letter to our letter garden – well, almost every day. Some days we don’t add a letter. I just designated a portion of the wall for the letter garden, and we use painters tape to stick our letters up on the wall.

I let Abby choose whether she colors the letters or uses the dot art paint to decorate the letters. We are currently on the letter F. She chooses the pain sometimes, and the crayons sometimes. But regardless, we have a letter garden in the house.

Also, we work on certain prewriting skills. These are the two worksheets we did for our prewriting skills:

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/prewriting-vertical-lines-prek/

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/prewriting-horizontal-lines-prek/

Abby likes to make her lines connect to things, so we connect the lines from x to y, in various forms. Most of the prewriting worksheets we use, we also discuss what letter each item is called. So when we connect a line from a grasshopper to a leaf, we learn that grasshopper starts with G and leaf starts with L. It is just a little extra discussion thrown in while drawing lines.

We also then cut on the lines. I give Abby the scissors and supervise. She’s responsible for cutting on the lines. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn’t. She just loves cutting. It’s pretty fun to watch.

The last stop of our day was jelly bean math. We counted jelly beans into piles and worked on choosing which pile was “more or less” and then ate them.

What was my oldest one doing while we were doing this? He worked on his math worksheet all on his own! He did his math and his music-note-identifying practice all on his own. He did it 100%.

Nature #3 – Living and non-living.

Sometimes I find lessons that I like – I mean really like – online. I really like lessons that are complete where I don’t have to change a thing. I found this great lesson on living and non-living things. Here’s the link:

http://www.kindergartenkindergarten.com/2012/03/a-science-mini-unit-living-and-non-living.html

In addition to the lesson we did a living/non-living scavenger hunt in our house. The kids got a piece of white paper and one side was labeled “living” and the other “non-living.” They took their pencils with them and had to find one thing in each part of the house/yard to put on their lists. They got pretty creative: Nicholas put down that his toes were living, as were bacteria. I was informed that even after cleaning, bacteria can live everywhere.

It was a fun lessons and super easy to do.

%d bloggers like this: