March-April Updates: Hands On Learning

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I am in awe that we are in the final stretch of this school year and   my daughter and I still like each other (most days).

What we’ve been up to:

Spanish- We are still taking lessons through the Homeschool Spanish Academy.  It’s been wonderful to see her make progress and feel more confident with her conversational skills and vocabulary.

Social Studies- In social studies we’re working on our Florida history using our first Intellego Unit Study.   This curriculum is web-based and focuses on engaging all learning styles.  So far, we’re very happy with this approach.

Math- I  decided to switch our math curriculum to Touch Math and have been using it for the past week. Her school used this program when she was in pull-out intervention in first grade. It was familiar to Kate and it is a solid curriculum, which made for an easy to transition.

Reading- We are continuing to use Explode the Code for reading, both the workbooks and the online version.  I was surprised that she likes the workbooks better.

Science- In science we finally put the materials for experiments from the Magic School Bus science kit to use to learn about electricity.  We also used the full episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Learning about static electricity with Dad.

Learning about static electricity with Dad.

 

In March we went on “Spring” Break to visit family in freezing Illinois.  It was wonderful to see family and Kate’s wish came true.  The day before we returned home they got four inches of snow.  She got to play in the snow and we had our flight delayed and then cancelled, but eventually made it home.

We got Kate a subscription to Kidstir to encourage her interest in cooking and baking.  Each week we try to make one of the recipes that they send along with kid-sized kitchen tools. She loves getting a package in the mail and adding the new recipes to the binder that they sent her in the first package.  She is learning the basics, like separating eggs and measuring ingredients and is motivated to stick to it and complete her cooking project.

Kate unboxes her first box from Kidstir.

Kate unboxes her first box from Kidstir.

 

Making one of the Kidstir recipes, chocolate lava cake.

Making one of the Kidstir recipes, chocolate lava cake.

In April we will be finishing our Spanish lessons.  We started art lessons with our city on Saturdays, something that was missing in our homeschool and which Kate was constantly requesting.  Music is coming up next with a much anticipated field trip to the symphony later this month.  We will try to follow-up with another Intellego Unit Study on the orchestra.

Later in the summer I would like to review the Intellego Study Units that we complete as well as the Touch Math program and Explode the Code.  I do see her responding well to these programs, but I want to use them for a while before writing the reviews.

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Proudly showing off her homemade sugar cookies. They were very tasty. 

Field Trip- Last week we were able to participate in an unexpected treat, a field trip to the beach where we learned about marine debris from a local 4-H Club and participated in a beach clean-up.  I was so thankful that it was scheduled on my day off from work and that we were able to enjoy the beautiful weather as we were doing hands-on learning together.

Kate, volunteering at the 4-H Education/Beach Clean-up.

Kate, volunteering at the 4-H Education/Beach Clean-up.

Read Aloud- Finally, our read aloud since March is the book: The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.  I got this suggestion from the website A Mighty Girl.  Kate loves princesses and I wanted to challenge her with a book where the main female character was  independent and interesting.  I’m amazed at how focused she can be when she is listening to a story.  Just when you think she might be losing interest she’ll stop you and ask the meaning of a word she hasn’t heard before.  Our new way to make the most of every minute together is to listen to the audiobook together while I get ready for work. So far, we are both enjoying this book and can’t wait to see how it turns out.  We’ll keep you posted.

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Outside

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Our garden is growing and making us so happy.

Our garden is growing and making us so happy.

Outside.

Now with our weather cooling down. We are enjoying walking,  gardening and learning outside.

We spent some time at Anne Kolb Nature Center, which got us in the right mind set to be outside.  Later in the week we saw a cool bird while on our walk.  We think it’s a little blue heron. (Let us know what you think, any bird experts our there?)

Taken at Broward College South Campus.

Taken at Broward College South Campus.

We also did some volunteering last week at our church, putting some mulch down in the butterfly garden and helping out at the pumpkin patch.  Kate was a bit disappointed because during our shift nobody came to buy pumpkins. 😦

Helping out at the butterfly garden.

Helping out at the butterfly garden..

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Kate showing off her first completed sewing project.

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What we’re reading (Read Aloud): Just finished the 3rd book in the American Girl Kaya series. We will go on to the 4th book tomorrow and are planning to do a lapbook on Kaya.  We just love that girl!

Next post I will do a review of Time4Learning, now that we’ve been using it for a while.  I was thinking of writing about our reading program and how we are using it.

To help me stay organized I’m following the district calendar, since my older daughter is in public school.  Last week was the end of our first quarter and I must say we’re in a better place today than when we started.  Kate finished her first sewing project.  She was so proud of herself.  It was so important that she complete it and see that it was worth the hard work. We are starting to make some progress in reading and hope to complete Level 1 of our reading program.  It is still challenging. We are working hard.  We review sight words all the time, read, journal,practice handwriting.  We are growing into this one day at a time, like the little seeds that we planted weeks ago.