Friday, February 3, 2017

Term One: Week One ~ Natural and Play Based Learning

Our first week of the new school year started out super hot (39C/103F) so we planned an excursion in the city with friends, and shortened our learning days down to the three that were cool enough to think straight.  It was also an adjustment for EVERYONE to get used to being on the more structured routine of a school term, so a short week was needed.

I kept our focus on play based, natural, and self-directed learning this week and we really enjoyed the activities for this week.

Although Munchkin won't register with the Dept of Ed until next year (when he turns 6) he is working on kindergarten curriculum this year, and excited (most of the time) to be doing school like his brothers.  I will keep his "work" developmentally appropriate, play based, and low key. We will do a Letter of the Week program through the year - which will focus on literature, art, and science, and I will follow his lead for most everything else.

It looks like the winner for read aloud time (at least for now) will be sensory play. All three boys listened to a rather tall stack of books while their hands were busy creating with the magic sand. 

I promised Munchkin we would do some painting this week ~ and I came good with that promise.  I set everything up outside and they enjoyed acrylic paint and finger paint!

Thursday afternoon we were off to the library to restock our library bookshelves! We were also excited to welcome back our favourite librarian (George) after he had six weeks off.  The boys enjoyed some computer time while I browsed the shelves choosing selections for history/geography and science.  See photos below for a more detailed description of what is on each shelf.

The top shelf usually holds our DVD selection and the boys Beast Quest books that they are currently working through.

This shelf holds Monkey's dinosaur books, and then Monster's government, natural wonders, continents and habitats books, and the Ancient Rome books. 

On the bottom shelf we have Munchkin's picture books, a selection of natural disaster books, animal books, and more habitat books.  These are some of the unit studies I'm hoping to accomplish this term. 

I've created another little library book area with the temporary bookshelf I moved into the lounge room after we redecorated.  It isn't overly suited for anything other than very small books though so I'll be on the lookout for something that will work better for us. 

This shelf holds Monkey's Premier's Reading Challenge books. This way he knows where they are and can easily grab one or two when he has some spare time to read. 

The other shelf will hold the books that correlate with Munchkin's Letter of the Week program. I bet you can guess what our first letter will be next week!! 

Monster is making a huge attempt to finish this puzzle as he is eager to move on to a puzzle given to him for Christmas by a special friend of ours! 

We spent all day Friday at our favourite park catching up with our homeschool group! All the children were eager to play together after not seeing one another for six weeks, and we welcomed a new member to the group who was born just three weeks ago!!  So while the children ran around, the mum's chatted and doted on the new baby!

Monkey was brave and climbed all the way to the top of the spider web, so I rewarded him with a photo!! 

Our book selections for the week... On the left is a wonderful picture book about the various different seasons at the top end of Australia. We paired this book with The Seasons Cycle (below) for a mini unit on weather (we'll extend this later in the term when we learn more about extreme weather and natural disasters). The book on the right was one of Munchkin's bedtime stories for the week. 

We enjoyed the Beatrix Potter book and the Roald Dahl book as our literature selections for the week and Monkey finished Flat Stanley for Premier's Reading Challenge. 

Monster spent long amounts of time reading silently and finished two Beast Quest books, while Monkey read Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo silently to himself as it is a Premier's Reading Challenge selection. 

Two more Premier's Reading Challenge Selections that Monkey enjoyed reading. 

 Finally two non-fiction books that Monster and I enjoyed (as read alouds) to kick off our study of Ancient Rome!

Despite the heat, tears and frustrations at the beginning of the week, I'm really pleased with what we accomplished this first (short) week of the term!  I am excited for the learning that is ahead of us and I hope and pray I can share that excitement with the boys!!

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