I’m just going to say it. You’re an adult and can take it (but I’m guessing 90% of kids out there would be horrified to know this)…we continue schooling all summer long. We don’t school quite as intensively as we do during the year, but there are some things like reading and math that we just keep chugging along with…we don’t lose what we’ve learned and it keeps us in a routine. We also usually add in a few unit studies and keep learning about our Faith. We like it that way. No, really, we do. Everyone thrives and there’s joy in routine. We still follow our sabbath schooling (so 6 weeks of school followed by 1 week off) so there’s still plenty of opportunities for vacation and play. (The pictures sprinkled throughout here are from our Tinklerlab which you’ll read about soon!)
Our 2015 summer schooling kicked off a few weeks ago and it’s been awesome. Here’s what we’re up to and what’s in all of our reading baskets…
Daily Routine (the same routine we follow during the school year): Required reading (completely their choice during the summer), math fact practice, and piano practice
World History: We’re finishing up our Medieval World History from this year, so a couple of times a week, we’re listening to Jim Weiss as he reads from Story of the World Volume 2. No major activities or follow-up plans unless something really tickles our fancy. Just listening and narrating and keeping it very simple.
Grammar: We’re revisiting our Grammar plans from last summer although I’m not sure we’ll have enough time to cover punctuation like we did last summer. This summer we’re continuing to use Thursday as our letter writing day and on Fridays we’ve been using the Storymatic cards to create lots of fun stories.
Taken from Summer Plans 2014: We are using Ruth Heller’s books and Word Fun for our grammar lessons this summer. One day each week we’re reading a different Ruth Heller book (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, interjections and conjunctions, pronouns) and then later in the week, we’re reading the corresponding section from Word Fun. The Ruth Heller books are awesome…packed full of tons of information and so fun to read. After reading the stories, the boys are making a page of that part of speech to add to their lesson book. Toward the end we’ll be using Punctuation Celebration and Eats, Shoots,& Leaves for a quick review of punctuation.
Math: We finished up our Math plans during the Spring, so now it’s just a matter of keeping things fresh and well-practiced. In past years, we’ve switched to other grade appropriate curriculum like Miquon or Singapore. This summer is no different. Joseph is using Math Mammoth (to help solidify mental math and math facts in his head) and William is switching between his Singapore and Miquon. We’re also thoroughly enjoying Life of Fred and our Math book basket which is full of all sorts of gems like Stuart J. Murphy books.
Other favorite books in our Math book basket (aside from Stuart J. Murphy books) include: Tiger Math; Roman Numerals I to MM; The King’s Chessboard; Round Up: A Texas Numbers Book; How Big is a Foot?; One Woolly Wombat; The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Museum Shapes; Cookie’s Week; How Long or How Wide?; Spaghetti and Meatballs for All; Sea Shapes; is it red? is it yellow? is it blue?; The Best of Times; The Mission of Addition; The Doorbell Rang; Math for All Seasons; Anno’s Magic Seeds; The Action of Subtraction; Math Fables; Zero; One; If You Made a Million; Great Estimations; Greater Estimations; Emily’s First 100 Days of School; City by Numbers; Sea Sums; The Grapes of Math; One Hundred Hungry Ants; A Remainder of One; Pigs will be Pigs; Sir Cumference and the First Round Table; Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone; Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Desserts; Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar; Perfect Square; The Button Box; Math-terpieces; How Much is a Million?; Anno’s Counting Book; Ten Little Rubber Ducks; Ten Little Caterpillars; Shapes, Shapes, Shapes; 100 Days of School; 100 Animals on Parade; 100 Snowmen
Poetry Tea Time: We’re making a real effort at poetry this summer since it always seems to get bumped during the year. Each day at snack time, we pull out the poetry placemats (plain placemats that my sister-in-law whipped together for us), the fabric pens, our poetry book and we enjoy some poetry over snack and tea (or lemonade or milk or whatever sounds good). The kids listen and when something touches their heart or makes them giggle, they can add the words or lines to their placemat, creating a keepsake of poetry for themselves. This has been met with wild approval and much enthusiasm!
Manners: We’re reviewing manners this summer by learning how not be be a Goop. Hysterical yet effective. Whatever works…I’ll take it.
Tinkerlab: This seems to be the highlight of our summer plans. We decided to study inventors this summer and I set up a Tinkerlab. It’s been fabulous fun.
We start out each day by reading a book about an inventor and then some days I guide them in creating something fun, while other days I just open up the Tinkerlab and let them create whatever they come up with.
Here are the guides we’re using…Gizmos & Gadgets; Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors; 150+ Screen Free Activities; 101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!
Here are the inventor books we’ve been reading…Andrew Henry’s Meadow; What Do You Do with an Idea?; Now and Ben; Timeless Thomas; Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea; So You Want to be an Inventor?; Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum; Balloons over Broadway; Marvelous Mattie; Hooray for Inventors; It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph; Mistakes that Worked; The Boy who Invented TV; Queen of Inventions; Mr. Ferris & His Wheel; Leonardo and the Flying Boy; Uh-oh Leonardo!; I is for Idea; Going Up! Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top; Incredible Inventions; The Man Who Made Time Travel; Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions; Usborne’s See Inside How Things Work; The Wright Brothers; A Child’s First Library of Learning: How Things Work and Inventions.
Joseph and William are both required to keep an Invention Journal and to update it several times a week…their journals are brimming with ideas, inventions, and each of their own personalities. After brainstorming the first week, Joseph designed his own Mario board game. It’s surprisingly entertaining, easy to play and fun!
Our Tinkerlab includes all kinds of recycled materials and odds and ends (rubber bands, clothespins, scraps of fabric, ribbons and thread, pom poms, etc). A lot of the supplies are left out and anyone can use them at anytime (there are all the basics for creating with paper…glue, markers, scissors, rulers, tape, etc). I keep some tools (like the hot glue gun, sewing needles and the hand drill) as well as the kitchen ingredients (like cornstarch) and the color changing tablets out of kids’ reach, but during Tinkerlab time, they’re free to ask for any supplies they may need that are not easily accessible. For outdoor use only (I’m only so brave), the kids have a tool kit and a pile of wood as well as a limited supply of nails and screws (only given out when an adult is present…again, my bravery has its limits!)…
Some of the highlights so far include goop and flubber, bouncing balloon balls and toe paint, sidewalk paint and a teepee for the backyard. Already we’re thinking like inventors over here!
Book Detectives Book Club: After reading Deconstructing Penguins and seeing how Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles put Goldstone’s suggestions into action, I was inspired to start a small book club for the kids for the summer (we’re meeting every other week and our meetings last about an hour; our group is made up of 6 to 10 year olds and there’s around 8 to 12 kids per meeting). It’s been a smashing success…it’s truly amazing to listen to the kids discuss denouement and protagonist and antagonist as if it’s something they talk about everyday. I’m using the story chart from Teaching from the Classics as well as some of the conversation pointers in Deconstructing Penguins to guide the discussions. Later this summer, we may trip to do an ANI chart from the Lost Tools of Writing, as Heidi suggests. So far we’ve analyzed The Bear that Wasn’t and Brave Irene.