Our first two weeks of school are under our belt, and we are having so much fun!
Since we are following My Father's Word: Exploring Countries and Cultures for the main portion of our curriculum, the first couple of weeks were all about learning about maps and globes--their history, and how to use them.
To show how much for accurate a round globe is than a flat map, we drew the basic continent shapes onto a mandarin orange. Then we carefully peeled the orange to watch how the shapes and sizes of the land would have to be distorted to fit onto a rectangular map.
During one of our morning walks, we walked down one side of our street, and then the other, counting houses on each side. Later, we laid out a large sheet of paper, drew a street down the middle, and stamped the correct number of houses on each side of the street. We used directions during the whole project, and made sure to include a compass rose on the street map.
The first time Esther (3) saw me stamp a house onto the paper, she came out of her seat with excitement. I guess she'd never seen a stamp before! She was equally involved in this project with the big kids.
On a different day, I drew out several streets in our city, and had the kids help me remember where the places were that we frequently visit.
I really wish there weren't quite so many fast food places on this map.
We added grandma's house, the zoo, the library, and several Sonic locations. Then they took turns giving each other directions (north, south, etc) to the next place, while the driver "drove" a matchbox car around the town. If you are unsure about how the streets line up in your town, take a look at google maps to help you out.
After we had practiced driving around our map for a little while, we hung it up at baby level, and let the little ones play with it. We also continued to play the directions game as we drove around (mostly to Sonic) throughout the week.
Here are some of our favorite library books about maps and globes:
This one is so helpful and beautiful that I will probably end up buying it, so we have it for the whole year.
And of course this one is just plain fun!
What I have learned from our first weeks of homeschooling:
:: The little kids want to be way more involved than I expected. And not always in a quiet, calm way. This is not necessarily a bad thing--it's just going to take a little extra planning. With all the extra time I have now. Heh.
:: I thought I was patient. But this teaching-multiple-grades-with-toddlers-in-the-h0use thing is taking me to whole new depths. And because I did not just wake up with the new level of patience required by my new role, I have also discovered a whole new level of humility. I have said, "I'm sorry" a lot these past couple of weeks. But I think our bond is that much stronger for it.
:: Speaking of bonds, can I just say how absolutely in love with my children I am falling. I had been missing so much. They are hilarious. They think of the craziest things to say at the most ridiculous times. They are wildly inappropriate with the potty humor, which I'm sure they get from their dad...
And they are smart--I mean really smart. I can actually watch them taking in new information and retaining it. I have so much respect and admiration for their processes. I can't wait to see it again every morning.