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August 2013: Month-At-A-Glance

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We are really enjoying our school time as fall comes to Colorado. As the days cool off, we have spent many mornings and afternoons just playing outside and enjoying the fresh air. We are still digging in to some new academic studies and it is exciting to see Bud’s interest.

Reading and Math

We have been doing a short reading and math lesson each day. We are still using All About Reading and RightStart Math which have been wonderful for Bud. The lessons are very quick (5-10 minutes) and we seem to move through them faster than I would expect. We both usually finish the math lesson with a “That’s it?” thought, but I think that is just perfect at this age. As Charlotte Mason says, “You want the child to remember? Then secure his whole attention,” Home Education. (Vol. 1, p. 156). It’s hard to secure a four-year-old’s attention for more than 15 minutes. 

History and Science

Picture 4We had a wonderful unit study this month on volcanoes. We started with a history lesson from the book Escape from Pompeii by Christina Balit. What a great book! This is an intense yet fascinating story about Mount Vesuvius erupting and destroying a town. It is written from the perspective of two children who escape safely so it isn’t too scary, but it definitely evoked emotion from Bud. He talked about it all day and recounted the story to his dad. We read that book many times before taking it back to the library.

Stemming from our Pompeii book, we also read several books about volcanoes and did a wonderful science experiment. We enjoyed Volcanoes: Nature’s Incredible Fireworks by David Harrison. We also created our own volcano using an experiment from Janice VanCleave’s Volcanoes. We used a 16oz bottle, baking soda, flour, food coloring and vinegar to create an oozing volcano that illustrated how some volcanoes flow right in front of Bud’s eyes. It was fun!

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Habit Training: Rest Time

Bud has always been a great sleeper and he functions much better with an afternoon rest. He has started staying awake this month each day for the first time so I have put some thought and time into how his transition out of “naptime” and into “rest time” will happen each afternoon. As we move forward with our days in homeschool I would like to have 1-2 hours of quiet in the afternoon for the kids to have some time alone to think, process, read, and sleep if they need to. I have started giving Bud audiobooks and a couple of books in his room in the afternoon to ease him into this new “rest time” idea. For the most part, it has gone very well. Some days he will fall asleep and take a nap. Others he listens quietly to his audiobook. Peanut still needs her nap each afternoon so I encourage Bud to be mindful of the others in the house. I simply take his books and audio players away if he refuses to settle down.

We are still ironing out the wrinkles in this new habit, but I’m hoping it will become second nature to take a rest in the early afternoon as a few more weeks go by. Here are some of the audio books he has liked so far:

  • Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne
  • The Lighthouse Family, Cynthia Rylant
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends, Arnold Lobel

What is Mom Reading?

The kids aren’t the only ones who dug into reading this past month. I read a few good books too. I read Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Students by Cindy West and enjoyed the tips on how to best reach these types of kids. I also enjoyed A Wedding for Julia by Vannetta Chapman. This was a great story about an Amish family in Wisconsin. I look forward to reading (devouring!) Chapman’s other books in this series.

What books are you reading and enjoying this month?

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