Friday, August 14, 2009

Slippery, slimy, ew.

We're supposed to be starting first grade on September 7. I flipped through "Everything Your First Grader Needs to Know" this afternoon to get an idea of what other things we need to be covering. (I'm trying to be a cool, organized homeschool mom. I have no doubt I'll fail... again.) I discovered that, according to that book at least, we're finished with first grade except for math.

Math is a struggle. Chloe can't concentrate on math for more than five minutes. I just lose her, and then I get frustrated, and she gets discouraged, and it's a mess. I realized this a week or so ago, so I decided that if that's what it takes, we'll do five minutes of math each day and leave it at that. And in five minutes a day, over a week, she has successfully learned to count change, something we've been working on off and on for weeks. It was an exciting moment for both of us when I realized she got it. Love when things like that happen - when we figure out what works, even if it's not "standard".

So my tentative plan for now is to put some focus on writing short paragraphs and spelling words correctly, continue life science as it happens in the garden, review some basic math concepts like measurements, time telling, tens and ones places, etc. and continue our study of basic American History in the form of interesting stories. Learning just happens around here though - all of that could change in an instant if an opportunity presents itself.

Case in point:

Mating snails. Because really, everyone wants to know what snails look like when they're doin' it, don't they? Now ya know. :o)

Chloe found this thrilling. She was outside at 7:30 in the morning in the pouring rain, barefoot in a nightgown to pluck them from their cozy bed of grass and promptly lock them into a small plastic terrarium, where they will live out their inevitably shortened lives.

Did you know that snails lay eggs? They are asexual, but require mating to reproduce. Eggs will be laid, probably by both of them, in about a month. Baby snails look just like grown up snails, only they are tiny and have paper-thin, transparent shells. They often ride on their parents if given the opportunity.

We added social studies to the project by going to the library, where Chloe spoke with the librarian by herself and asked for help in finding books about snails, then checking the books out at the counter without help from me. It's hard for her to do that- she's shy, especially around grown ups in their work setting, so it was good for her.

We'll add reading the calendar to it by writing the date they mated and counting down days as we wait for eggs. I sure hope eggs come.

We're learning about different types of snails and their habitats and how to keep these ones comfortable and alive in their small plastic abode.

Reading comes from the books the librarian helped her find, which are right at her reading level and are fascinating to her.

I might print this photo and have her write about them a bit, start a "project journal" to keep in her school folder.

A little bit of creativity, and we have easily a month's worth of schoolwork, all because I almost stepped on a couple of snails in the pumpkin patch. :o)


Dani aka Super Mom said...

We're doing school pretty much the same way you are, but with a curriculum as well. We aren't doing American History though, we're doing World History through literature.

We are keeping a journal for school work, but also an art journal. If you want a premade book for journaling, check out the Mead Primary Journal. It has a place at the top for them to draw or paste a picture, and they can write about it underneath.

Wendy said...

cute story - and interesting picture of the snails! it is definitely ew.

Well, I have no experience whatsoever with homeschooling, but I do have a masters degree in teaching (I taught English though). I wonder if you could increase your math time, but break up the activities - so there's the direct teaching, maybe a few minutes of a computer activity like (I think that was the one the little kids used), did some "playing" with a cash register, or had her take orders as a waitress or something (adding up the bill), etc, double a recipe for lunch, etc. I guess that's probably all stuff you do as a homeschooler, so sorry if I'm stating the obvious.

Julie said...

Wendy - good ideas, thanks for your input! We do definitely get a lot of other activities into our day - in fact "shopping" and "restaurant" are two of our favorites. Love Starfall for reading, we've been using it for years now. We've got a whole pile of math games too. I guess if I really think about it, we do more than 5 minutes of math a day, it's just that that's the only 5 minutes where we're sitting down in front of a worksheet trying to master a new concept.

Dani aka Super Mom said...

Since Chloe hates math so much, I'd save the worksheets for a last resort, Julie! I really think it's better to learn hands on anyway!

Crazy Homeschool Mama said...

check out
have you discovered hersheys math books?? Fractions are hershey bars etc... FUN FUN