Monday, August 24, 2009

Ready or Not....

It's here! Our first day of school! We had a wonderful day, overall. Not to be confused with "perfect", because, well, we all know there is no such thing. I would have liked another week or so of summer break, to finish cleaning out the school room, but it's about 75% complete. Not bad.
We are easing into school this year. Our beach vacation with John's parents begins on Saturday, and we are really looking forward to it. Taylor is only doing her language arts this week, especially since her co-op classes haven't begun and some of the books I ordered for her aren't in yet. Science lessons for Alexa and Skylar this week will focus on shells, mostly seashells. I'm hoping they'll pick up enough from this mini unit study to really notice and appreciate the seashells as they collect them and maybe even be able to name a few. And I'm hoping they'll ponder the animal that once lived inside.

To enhance this study, I made a Montessori-type seashell box. It consists of a little pouch of seashells that I've collected from other beach trips, magnifying glasses, a seashell field guide and some sea life stickers.
I misplaced my Montessori seashell cards, but plan to print more out tonight, then place those in the box, too.

For a change of pace, we worked in my bedroom. It's very bright in there with lots of natural light. We began with this book that we borrowed from the library. Alexa really enjoyed that story. Then we read a science book called What Lives in a Shell? that I purchased at a local bookstore a few weeks ago. I realize this book is geared towards children younger than Sky and Alexa, but we aren't studying seashells in depth, so this book provides us with a nice, simple overview of what animals live in shells.

Next, I opened the box. Their faces lit up when they saw that I had seashells for them to touch and examine. I let them enjoy that for a bit, then I had them each choose one or two to draw, either from the shells I collected, or from one of the stories. They anxiously began. At this point, Evan joined us and was fascinated by the shells, too. I talked to him about how the seashells felt and what colors they were. Then I gave him some paper and the sea life stickers along with some colored pencils, so he could "draw" like his sisters. We will continue with these drawings tomorrow, and label them. I also have a few more interesting seashell stories and books to share with the girls (and possibly Evan) over the next couple of days. Skylar and Alexa will do some fun copywork and decorate it. I'm thinking of having Alexa copy the tongue twister, "She sells seashells by the seashore" but I'll choose a more difficult poem or quote for Skylar. And the girls will narrate one of the stories that we read together this week. All of these things will go into their nature notebooks.
You can view the books we are using for this study in my sidebar.

I took some photos of Evan's school time. He and I had a lot of fun! I'll try to post those tomorrow. No promises, though. I'm really trying to get off on the right foot with school this year, so I don't want to be on the computer too much.

Hope you are enjoying this new school year!


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