Tuesday, January 3, 2012
New year....fresh start. I rearranged our learning rooms and it really feels better. The first picture is a shot of my older ds' desk and the bookshelves. This desk is ridiculously small, but E insisted he wanted to keep it. He's since decided he needs something bigger, which either means a trip to Ikea or a trip to the grandparents who have a desk they're willing to part with.
Next to the bookshelf I created a little nook which I'd like to turn into a comfy reading space. I need a big floor pillow, a chair, or a bean bag chair, but it's not really the best time for shopping.....
The picture below is our new science/art table. I set up the bookshelf next to it and was thrilled to be able to put all our science books together, as they seemed to be in at least four different places. However, it turns out, I can't put all the science books there as we have too many. I also wanted a space for some supplies and art supplies on the bottom shelf. On top of the table to the left is our question board. We are jumping off into inquiry based science, but more on that later. Actually, we are jumping into all kinds of science, largely inquiry based, but also just plain fun.
This last picture shows my younger son's desk and shelf.
I'm also changing up some of what we do, how we do things and when we do things. Prior to Christmas, our school time was getting later and later in the day, or at least inconsistent. This was due, in part, to our being out three nights a week and all of us being just plain tired and lazy in the morning. However, I'm working to change this. It's been a tough couple of days, getting back into the swing of things, particularly trying to change it at the same time.
Five in A Row
I started using this program very lightly in the fall with my younger son (who is actually considered old for it). Okay, the truth is, as much as we loved our first "row", it was our only row. We also read Cranberry Thanksgiving and Papa Piccolo, but didn't really do any activities with it. We did read other books to go along with them, but that was it. So, I decided we would pick this up again this winter, but I am also folding my older son into it. He is 11. I'm using the books as a jumping off point for him and I think we'll do at least a few of the FIAR titles before moving onto Beyond Five in a Row. I am having him doing additional research, reading, and writing.
Inquiry based science:
I learned about this approach to science from The Well Trained Mind message boards. It really resonates with me and I have been trying to learn more about it. Nurturing Inquiry: Real Science for the Elementary Classroom is one of the books that lays out this approach. I will post about this in more detail and cover my journey toward creating this in my home.
I have been covering both world history and American history. As we move into the new year, I am picking up Winterpromise: American Story 1.
I have had this for several years and used it a bit with my older son. My younger son seems to have missed out on things we did several years ago and my older son still needs more American history, so we're pulling this back out.
It seems we have done plenty of ancient history and yet......we never covered China, Africa, or the Americas. We covered Greece and Rome, but not in much depth and again, my younger son was too young to retain much. So, I am doing an abbreviated ancient history this year. I'm approaching it TOG style. Of course, without a Tapestry of Grace guidebook, it doesn't even come close. I won't claim it to be TOG at all. Just TOG style--with history core reading, in depth history readings, related literature, focus on famous people, etc. geared to each child's level.
History notebooking--this is something I'm trying to incorporate, but with all the other changes it may be awhile.
I'm still up in the air on this. I'm leaning towards trying some Bravewriter: Arrow units. I'm also considering Writing with Ease, Igniting Your Writing, and The Creative Writer.
All in all, trying to just get back into the swing of school and change things up is hard. I think the changes will be good, though.