Friday, September 21, 2012

Homeschool K/1 - Week 4

Things are a bit calmer this week and we are hitting our stride with this whole homeschooling thing. So yes, we had another good week of homeschooling almost devoid of frustrating experiences. The field trip of the week was BugFest (we actually went the Saturday before Week 4). Nope, we didn't eat any bugs, but we did watch people eat them and asked for their reviews (thumbs up for brownies with crunchy crickets and thumbs down for hotdogs with mushy worms). M didn't care for a taste of that and preferred a regular hotdog and an ice-cream.

This is what we did this week:


Геометрия для малышей (Geometry for the Little Ones) - we are continuing reading and working through this book. The more we read, the more I like it. M seems to be warming up to it as well. This week's theme was angles - what are they and how do we compare them. At first M's idea was that a larger angle of the two is the one with the longest sides. That's why, when I asked him to draw an angle larger than the one I drew, he drew a smaller one, but with longer sides. We cut the two out and superimposed them onto each other.

Geoboard - we played a bit with the geoboard this week. I asked M to make different-sized squares and rectangles that were not squares. He also made a couple of designs of his own with squares and triangles.

With all the geometry work we've been doing lately, M's noticing it everywhere - a very long and rather straight crack in the blacktop was a "straight line, but it's not really very straight". He explains that if he was to draw a line between two stars, he would get "a segment of a line". He points out "a circle inside a square" on the way to the playground (a manhole cover in a raised square of blacktop). He's been on this geometry finding quest for a few days now. I gotta remember to take a camera with us wherever we go and let him take pictures of his finds.

The Tower of Hanoi - I got a real Tower of Hanoi puzzle. It's very pretty and M was eager to play. He actually asked me if he could play with it. I simplified the problem by leaving only 3 circles on it. I had to remind M the rules a couple of times, but after a couple of minutes he did solve the puzzle! Although next time he tried it, he seemed to be a bit lost. He eventually solved it again, but got frustrated and didn't want to play it any more.

Adding/subtracting - it's a simple game in which I start by placing 4 popsicle sticks in front of M so he can see them. I then cover them and show M two more sticks. I tell him that I'm adding these two to the other 4 and ask how many are there now. He has to figure out the total without seeing the sticks. Whatever answer he gives, I do not correct him, but just show him the sticks and he checks himself. So I continue adding/removing 1-2 sticks at a time in this way. He is usually very good at this game, except when we get to 9 sticks. This is the number that he has a lot of problems with right now.

Yellow is the Sun - speaking of numbers, the RightStart Math curriculum that we use teaches a counting song "Yellow is the Sun". I did not do it because it's in English and M doesn't want me to mix English and Russian in the same lesson (something I totally support). But M was having a very hard time remembering that 7 is 5+2, 8 is 5+3, etc to 10. So I came up with my Russian version of the song. It starts with В мусорке бензин... (A garbage truck has gasoline...) As silly as it is, it's really helping.

Double Doodle Zoo - this is a game from the Moebius Noodles book I'm working on with Maria Drujkova of Natural Math.  The game is so simple to play. Just fold a piece of paper once (any which way you wish) and doodle on it so that at least some of the doodle is touching the fold. Then cut out the doodle and unfold it. Enjoy and explore the wonderful symmetry. In our experience, it's hard to stop at just one doodle. M always wants to make more. So on the next few, I ask him questions - what does he think the new shape will look like if I cut out a rectangle here, a triangle there, a half-circle here or if I punch out a circle, how many will I have once we unfold the doodle. Another really awesome thing that happens is that the game doesn't stop once the doodle is cut out. First, we created a collage with my doodles and came up with a little story about it. Then M wanted to decorate his own doodles and worked on that for a while concentrating on making the designs as symmetrical as possible. He ended up making an alien in a T-shirt and a sparkling palace for his imaginary Electroworld (a world that exists entirely on discarded printed circuit boards).

Combinations - M loves the idea of secret messages and codes. So this was an opportunity for him to break a code that disarms a stink bomb. To break the code, he had to figure out as many combinations as possible of 3 dots - magenta, yellow and green - without repeating any single combination and without putting more than one dot of each color into each combination. He was very careful and kept checking himself. We then went over his combinations and realized that if we only rotated a couple of them 180 degrees... But since the dots represented the buttons on a keypad, we couldn't rotate them. We (and the world) lucked out this time.


Read and find - we read a few more poems by Чуковский and found some more syllables for the syllable house. It's filling up pretty fast.

On the road to the alphabet - we continued with this workbook. The exercises are rather repetitive, but they do help M to hear sounds within words more clearly.

Story-telling - we practiced telling stories, first by sequencing pictures and describing what was going on in them. Then I told M a couple of stories and role-played them. Then he told me slightly different (lengthier and more involved) stories with the same characters.

We also played a few games that reinforce the reading skills by getting M to read syllables. One of the games was called "a magic plate". I divided a cardboard "plate" into 8 segments and wrote one preposition on each of the segments. The idea was to roll a dice and then come up with a sentence that would include a preposition on which the dice fell. I went first.

The dice fell on "к" and I came up with a sentence Я подойду к кастрюле. Then M rolled "над", thought about it for a second and said Мне тоже надо подойти к кастрюле. It was way funny! 

I tried a few more times, but each time he simply came up with a word that had the letter or the syllable in it and used that word in a sentence. So we dropped the game for now.


Lapbook - I would've never guessed, but turns out, M is totally into lapbooks. Just as long as we don't call it a lapbook. Instead, it's a book. We continued talking about prehistoric people. We read more books about them. We watched a few more videos, mostly about the Younger Dryas and about Lyuba the mammoth. And we looked at the bugs that prehistoric people might had eaten on the days when woolly mammoth was not on the menu.

And then M just wanted to make a book about all this. He asked to make copies of the different pages from all the different prehistory books we had. Then he spent quite a lot of time cutting the pictures out and gluing them into his book. He drew fire after watching this episode about Home erectus on History channel. We spoke about what a timeline is. He also read a few words such as "nomad", "hunter", "gatherer", "cave" and we discussed why they were important words for his book. M even wrote a couple of words! So it was a whole lot of work and it's not finished yet. More pages are to come.

I'm trying to get M to a) make a cover for his book and b) come up with a little story about a prehistoric boy's life. So far he's not too keen on either. He particularly objects to a cover since he says it's going to be a secret book and it should not look like a book when on a shelf. And he also says that his is more like a picture book or an encyclopedia, so no stories are needed.

And this was our week. How was yours?

1 comment:

  1. It's really neat that M wants to capture his learning in the lapbook. Anna is only interested if I do all the work :) The story about "nad" preposition is too funny (for Russian speakers, of course :))