Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Years Days

I'm going to post about our new 2nd Grade Rhythms in bits and pieces as we go along this week. We were waylaid a bit by a quick stomach bug yesterday, which means we'll do school work on Sunday this week, and also means that we did not attend several of our 'afternoon adventure' type things (so I'll probably post about those at another time), but otherwise this is going to look pretty typical:

We started our week on Monday at the first of this session's Monday Homeschool Classes. J is taking my Revolutionary Days class, where we made Tricorn Hats and Hasty Pudding; Drama, where he continued to practice in his role as a Monkey in their production of "Anansi and the Strange Moss-covered Rock"; and a class on the human body, where they learned about skeletons. Here's his drawing from that class:

Zoo Boy meanwhile completely rejected taking the one class that he signed up for (about Vertebrates -- he loved the topic, but the class had too many kids in it for his comfort level), and opted to play with some friends in the museum instead. Honestly, for him, that's more important than any classes anyway at this point, so we're just going with the flow.

Tuesday was our first day of our new morning rhythms at home. We started with a nice walk, followed by some sensory-rich fold-and-spin sequences while I sang our favorite winter song, "The North Wind Doth Blow". After snack we began our "story work", which started, as we will every day, with a reading of the poem we are learning this week:

New Years Days
by Celia Standish

January days are white with snow,
The winds are laughing as they slow.
Across the ponds and lakes we glide,
And o'er the drifting snow we ride,
And down the hills we gaily slide,
For it is winter weather.

Each rushing stream is warmly dress'd,
An icy coat upon its breast,
And on each branch of every tree,
Packed in as close as close can be,
The next year's leaflets we can see,
All nestled close together.

Then we started work on our "alphabet 8s". We start with a blank piece of paper with a side-ways "8" on it (the infinity sign), drawn in yellow. We then trace the "8" with our crayon, starting at the center (where the lines cross) and following the entire "8" three whole times. Then we form the lower-case letter we are working on. So, for example, for an "a", we again trace the left-hand portion of the "8", then flow right into adding a short "stick" in the center to form the "a". We'll be working with most of the alphabet that way, introducing a new letter each day, and repeating the previous days' letters for several days. I'm mostly doing this for Zoo Boy's benefit, as he needs a lot of work on crossing his mid-lines, and is very uncomfortable writing lower case letters. But I'm finding that J is quite awkward with this exercise as well, and I'm actually having to give him more support than even Zoo Boy. It makes a bit of sense, given that J has a lot of established habits in regards to his handwriting.

Then we moved on, this first day, to the journals. This time slot will be taken up with story work the rest of the week, but since we don't read our first story for the week until today and it needs a night to 'rest' before we work with it, I thought this was a good time slot to introduce the concept of journaling. I presented each boy with a pad of drawing paper with their names on it, with several pages prepared with "forest path" lines below a open space for drawing. I told them that these are their journals, and they can draw and write whatever they want to inside. I made few suggestions as to what they might do: something they did over the weekend or at homeschool classes the day before; something to do with the poem we are learning (which is posted where they can see and read it from their work spaces); something they make up or just want to draw/write about.

J immediately jumped in, exclaiming as he worked "this is FUN!":

Zoo Boy was more reluctant. He followed me around and asked me what he should draw. I gave him some suggestions, but told him that it was ultimately up to him what he wanted to do, as this was his journal. He decided to draw something from his Monsterology Handbook:

When it came time to write something, he balked and asked me if I'd write a whole bunch of stuff for him. I told him that I couldn't write in his journal, as it's HIS journal, and he should only write what he thought was important. So he returned to his work and came up with the above.

We then moved to our story spot (which is currently my bed) and read our first trickster tale, which I'll blog about separately. They then move on to an hour or so of creative play, then lunch, rest and afternoon adventures.

It all went quite smoothly, although before we started, Zoo Boy admitted that he doesn't much like doing "the homework," as he calls it. I told him it's either this or we could think about putting him in school. His eyes got huge and he quickly agreed that "the homework" was just fine by him.

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