Homeschool #012 – Symphony for 5yr olds

Today Tt + I went to a concert of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for Elementary School-aged kids.  There were quite a few homeschool groups on the list – they almost couldn’t find our particular one, and we almost turned back and just hung out at Starbucks together for an hour.

Really, I wouldn’t have minded one bit.

However, they found us and in we went.
A room full of 5-10 yr olds… at a “serious” concert.
I brought candy to bribe my kid to be QUIET. I’m a bad, bad mother.

The first two songs we sat as still as possible, no talking, no moving. He was hating it, and I could tell. By song two he was already asking if it was going to be much longer… All you could hear were angry parents spitting “SHHHHH” to various wiggly children. FUN. Not.

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So, for the next song which featured cute and plucky violins, we started tapping. We danced with our fingers on each others laps. Then I started to tell a story (in whispers) – “this sounds like cute little fluffy mice playing in a field, doesn’t it?”. Tt caught on quick (in not-so-quiet whispers) “YA! and now they’re playing in the bushes, around some raspberries that have no pointy things” and on we went (much to the person in front of us’s HORROR I’m sure). Good thing it wasn’t full and there weren’t many people around us.

The next song sounded like a big parade, with Knights and Nobles and Kings and Queens “and 50 pigs and 80 horses and…” passing by.

The next one was spooky, and we were walking through dark castle hallways. We started running faster and faster towards a lit up room as the music got quicker and louder. “The light is getting bigger!!” Whew! We just made it!!

At the end I asked Tt if he enjoyed the concert. He said “It was pretty good, but the beginning was really bad”. The beginning was boring to him – no moving, no stories, no imagination.

And I’m left wondering… WHY does classical music HAVE to be enjoyed only in silence and complete stillness of bottoms? Why can’t we get up and move around to it? Why can’t we imagine stories together as it plays? Why can’t it be treated more like a rock concert? WHY can’t it be more fun?

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Whispering during Symphony concerts is widely deemed as HORRID, RUDE behaviour. But, Tt almost walked away with a lifelong distaste for the wonderful instruments and tunes of Classical music. We broke the rules, whispered away, and he left thinking it was all great.

It was a nice date (ending in, what else, Starbucks), and I’m going to buy some vibrant classical CD’s for the car – or better yet DVD’s for the surround sound plasma – where we can imagine to our hearts content, as loudly and as actively as we please.

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Homeschool #011 – Playgroups!

I’m very glad we joined our local Homeschool playgroup! The kids basically run nutso in a big room with lots of big toys. It’s great.

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We’ve tried implementing crafts, sit down, do this instructional kind of stuff, but at the end of the day all these younger kiddies really want to do is jump, run and play.

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So, we let them. It’s like a weeks’ worth of recess and lunchours all rolled into one 4hr chunk per week. Besides, they’re told to sit still enough at home.

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The Moms get to sit and chat and share ideas and thoughts (or nap quietly in the corner…). Bliss. Plus we’re there to continually butt in and teach the kids how to get along, play together, talk to each other and all those social skills people think they learn on the (barely supervised) schoolgrounds (most don’t).

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Sometimes they really surprise us by starting a mini-theatre, or building a giant castle. One kid starts an idea, and it just grows from there between the group. How educational is that? I totally believe now what I’ve read about how much kids can learn from play.

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And we just about always end with an hour at the nearby park so if any one of these kids has any wigglies left, they can get ’em out here!

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Playgroups. Ahhhh FUN.
They really should have ’em for adults too.

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Homeschool #010 – Math Worksheets!

Worksheets now available for homeschoolers or not!
Tt’s had fun learning his numbers with these. I write in a few random numbers here and there along each line, then he fills in the rest.

I try to make a new sheet up every now + then to keep him interested. Next up is Scooby Doo…

No laughing at my little drawings allowed.

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Bugs, etc: Butterflies (good for counting in 2’s), ladybugs, ants (count in 3’s?), suns, frogs (ok, no laughing – they’re hard to draw!!), raindrops (yes, I ran out of ideas…), and a giant caterpillar.

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Transport vehicles: train, cars (apparently in a traffic jam), UFO’s, scooters, space ships, a massive bus (with only 2 wheels?!), and pirate rafts.

math_swIs it me or are the stormtroopers all leaning a little? Hmmm. In case the drawings are difficult to figure out (lol): stormtroopers, spider droids, super droids, yodas on his floaty thing and AT walkers. Ok, so some of them need a little imagination…

Here is one of Tt’s “finished” worksheets:

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***I don’t know how to .pdf from either laptop, and I don’t know how to do a d/loading link, so I hope this works ok for d/loading to print by right-clicking, save-as’ing and print’ing.

**** See also Homeschoolin’ Activities for more Math / Spelling / ?? Worksheets. I mean, ACTIVITY sheets. I should try not to call it “work”.

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Other posts you might enjoy:
Lego Math Worksheets
Math / Spelling Worksheets

Homeschool #009 – Jammies Days!

Granted, we’re only in “K/pre-K” and not quite as “busy” as many older h.schooled kids, but we’re sure enjoying one of our traditions from as far back as… 6 months ago! Jammie Mondays.

Mondays have become JAMMIES DAY and we love it! What better way to end a weekend and start a week than relaxing…

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reading lots of books…

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enjoy a nice, relaxing latte…

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playing a video game or two…

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(Ok, so Momma was playing SW Lego while the boys battled and played… I just HAD to finish those last few levels!!!)

doing a craft…

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(In case anyone’s wondering… that’s Tt’s gum. Painted. Oddly enough, that isn’t the first time chewed gum has been used in a craft ’round here.)

or two…

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having peaceful naps that AREN”T in a carseat…

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having an imaginary war or car race…

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or teaming up against some imaginary “bad guy” stuffies…

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Ahhhh, Jammies.

Momma even got a few things done (in her jammies!) – I completely reorganized the boys books and craft/drawing supplies…

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and my homeschool shelf!

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(We won’t get into the lack of 2008 scrapbooks sitting nearby. I’m totally behind for the first time EVER! It stresses me out to see this shelf.)

Jammie days are EXHAUSTING. 

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Homeschool #008 – READ.

It’s amazing how much one can learn from just reading… That said, we’ve done very little actual reading time around here. (YES< shocking, I know). Tt actually LOVES to read and look at books, especially if they have a. sharks or b. star wars characters in them. He’ll even turn away from a movie if someone sits to read a book with him.

So, for starting K this spring, our main (and pretty much ONLY) goal is to read.
We have plenty of books around, as Mom isn’t allowed in any of the libraries anymore due to, well, overdue books. I’ve decided it’s cheaper to go to Chapters than it is to pay all my fines…

Here is a list of some of what we’ve been reading lately:

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Tt enjoys anything to do with weapons, so we try to use it to read a bit further into Medieval times…

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This was one of our “curriculum” books from Sonlight. We always read it with an Atlas to see where we’re “visiting” with each story.

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We found a few of these “Frog + Toad” books on the Chapters bargain shelf. Tt loves them – they’re cute stories about friendships.

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I found a few of these books at Superstore, of all places. They go chapter by chapter in cartoon style through a classic story. We also bought Swiss Family Robinson – Tt seems to really enjoy both and I hope it’ll open the door to reading the “real” books one day when he’s older.

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Tt got this one for Cmas – it’s the kind of book that’s right up his alley. Lots of pictures and facts about all kinds of animals – including Sharks.

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I picked up a few of these at Costco once. Tt loves to look at all the pictures of battles, mummies, knights, vikings and his “new favorite” – the Colosseum in Italy! All kinds of things for boys to look at in these. And sooo educational ;-).

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This is another from the Sonlight “curriculum” that we’ve loved. Great poems on all kinds of silly things. I’ve heard since that there are more of these – we’ll have to find them.

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Then there are our dozens of readers… Backyardigans, Transformers, Star Wars, Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E, Madagascar 2, Lego knights – you name it, we’ve probably got at least one.

I’ve heard that to “keep up” with school Kindergarteners (?) and be “ready for Grade 1”, we need to read for 15 minutes a day. So far so good – and then some!

Happy reading!

Homeschool #007 – Field Trips?

One of the great things I’m anticipating about homeschooling is GREAT FIELDTRIPS. You just can’t beat learning something first hand, right there, at your touch. So I’m anticipating anyhow…

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One of the homeschool groups we’ve become a part of this year as we “try things out” has monthly field trips to all kinds of locales all over Vancouver. We’ve tried to attend two of them.

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Tried. And really pretty much failed. At some point, on both trips, Boo has had the urge to wander far, far away and Tt feeling left behind has ended up in tears. Although I’m sure Tt still got SOMETHING out of each trip, I’ve found it too stressful to go with Boo in hand.

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Even when we have gone to Museums, Art Galleries etc. on our own, it’s just useless to expect to spend some real deep one-on-one time with Tt, learning alongside him, with Boo on hand.

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We’ll try leaving him with Nana more when we’re out with groups, and see if we can keep trekking out on our own. Maybe I just need more practice ;-).

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This year we tackled:
– Vancouver Aquarium (membership)
– Science World (membership)
– Monterey Aquarium (holiday)
– San Fransisco Aquarium (holiday)
– Burnaby Wildlife Rescue
– Burnaby Heritage Museum
– Royal BC Museum
– Museums, sights in Italy