Jan. 9th, 2011

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This was our first week back from winter break, and I thought it went very well. Erika didn't have any trouble getting back into the swing of "doing school," though she did seem to have forgotten everything she'd learned about place value.

English

I introduced silent reading this week. Up to this point, I've only had her read out loud, and she has not done much personal reading. For silent reading, we're spending 15 minutes each reading our own books. I'm letting her pick whatever she wants for silent reading, and encouraged her to pick something she thought was easier than what we usually read out loud. She picked "If I Ran the Zoo" by Dr. Seuss, which I think is actually pretty hard. The first day, she asked me for help or confirmation on a lot of words, but she's been asking less as the week progressed. I view this as positive, in that I think she's developing more confidence in her ability to figure it out for herself.

Karl asked for reading lessons this week, and since Funnix is available for free this month, I downloaded it and gave it a shot with him. I have no intention of teaching him to read at this age unless he continues to request reading lessons, but I'm happy to meet those requests when he makes them. Erika thought Funnix looked like so much fun that she wanted to try it, too. I gave her the placement test, and was not surprised that she placed into it at the highest level, lesson 57 of Funnix 2. I think she will probably find Funnix boring, but I am willing to let her do it if she wants to.

Erika worked a bit on learning her lines for the production of The Tempest she has a role in. I was amused when she called Karl an "insolent noisemaker" at one point during the week. She also finished reading "Bobcats," read a book called "Jack and the Box" at the library, and started reading "Amelia Bedelia Helps Out" to John before bed.

Math

When Erika did page 34 of the Math Mammoth Place Value 1 book this week, I realized she'd forgotten a bunch of stuff about place value. She suggested going back and doing some of the earlier pages again (what a great idea!), so she went back and did page 21 this week also. She also continued with the Subtraction 1 book, where she did pages 32, 33, and 34.

We also tried some interesting little 3-D block puzzles from McRuffy, which were challenging, and got back to doing drills on the iPod. Her times were slow at the beginning of the week, but got almost back to her top speeds by the end of the week.

Social Studies

I read out loud to Erika this week from the book, "What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know." I thought it was a good idea for her to have some grasp of American history at the most basic level, and living here in the DC area, even the most basic understanding can be expanded on as naturally as breathing.

We also began our study of China. It was my turn to facilitate the Kindergarten co-op this week, so I showed pictures of China, read "The Empty Pot" and the relevant section from "Children Just Like Me," looked at maps and at the globe, and did Tangram puzzles for a hands-on activity. Erika also started watching a series called "Wild China" that's available on Netflix streaming.

Science

Erika went to a nature center program about the value of dead trees this week. She particularly enjoyed making a woodpecker craft, and later in the week drew a picture that featured a dead tree with a woodpecker on it. Picture )

Saturday was very heavy on Astronomy; she went to a planetarium show in the afternoon, and in the evening the Earth Scouts had their stargazing field trip, which had been postponed from December. I set up my telescope, and everyone enjoyed looking at the moon, Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Orion Nebula.

Today we went to the National Building Museum for the "Flying in the Great Hall" session -- a couple of times a year, a local model airplane club flies electric and rubber band powered airplanes in the huge hall there. The kids had a great time watching the planes and learning a little bit about how they fly. At home, we flew a remote controlled "flying saucer" I happened to have kicking around.

Oh, and she finally finished watching the "Plants" episode of the Life series.

Art

Erika did a number of drawings this week, but I feel like this was a weak point this week.

I've started putting a postcard of a well-known artwork on our school table; I plan to change it out every week or two. Right now it's a self-portrait by Van Gogh.

Music

This week, Erika had a piano lesson and listened to the first Classics for Kids episode on Scott Joplin.

She also had an abortive recorder lesson -- just when she got the first note right, I startled her and she banged her mouth with the recorder. Oh, well. I don't think it will put her off of trying again.

Physical Education

Despite the cold weather, we went to the playground several times this week. We also went swimming once, and Erika had her first Karate lesson.

She liked Karate, and is looking forward to doing it again next week.

Health

Nothing special here this week, though Erika did get back to her memory work in Anki. Some of that was safety-related information this week, like phone numbers, while other parts applied to Social Studies or Science.

German

Erika did her usual work in Einsterns Schwester this week; she's only a few pages away from completing workbook 3 of the 6-workbook first grade series.

I also read out loud to her from "Conni geht auf Klassenfahrt," and she went to her Saturday School class.

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