Pirate School

We're a few months late to this, but we're joining the "Poppins Book Nook", over at The Canadian Homeschooler.  I was so excited to find this monthly link up because we're huge book lovers over this way.  (In fact, we're having a super exciting addition, related to books, at our home come August that I'm so excited to soon share.)
This months theme was "Ye Old Pirates!"
We have several pirate themed books in our home library, so we had a hard time just choosing one.  We ended up reading Pirate School by Cathy East Dubowski.

Pirate School by Cathy East Dudowski. At first I wasn't liking this book.  I didn't like it because the pirates were rude and they were taught to fight out any differences.   I didn't want to be reading this and encouraging such ill manners in my own kids.   But then I settled down.  They're pirates!  Pirates are supposed to be mean!   It's a really cute story; they take a yellow school boat to school!  Plus, in the end, everything turns out good and well mannered and leaves you with a nice "happy ever after" feeling.  

For our go along activity we role played (any surprises there?).  There's just so much fun to be had with pirates, and so many opportunities to sneak in some fun learning.  Like how about gold coin math!?  Since it's summer, I gave the kids a break and just let them do their thing with role playing.

With perfect timing Grandma gifted us an old spyglass that was my brothers.  In today's age of instant gratification, this was a nice lesson on patience.  The spy glass was touchy and you had to get it "just so" before you could see anything.   We explained to Connor that this would be all the pirates had.   They wouldn't have had binoculars or auto focusing lenses.

For an additional hands-on (and free!) activity, we visited our local Home Depot where they were building ships!  Connor embellished his to be sure we knew it was pirate.  You can sort of see at the top he had taped a pirate flag.


Living and Learning and Summer

After the long winter of ice storms and arctic temps, we can't be outside enough.   

There's still plenty to learn outside, away from the papers and pencils and "boring" things Connor complains of but Emma begs for. 

I thought we'd take a break from school for a while, and just enjoy lazy days of summer.  Oh how I can dream.  The kids have been begging me for school though.   Which I suppose can be an encouragement that I'm doing something right.  They love to learn and they don't want a break.  To live is to learn and to learn is to live.

So we've been living, and we've been learning. 

We've listened to the sounds in our backyard (at Sam's prompting).  Soaking it all in for one rare quiet moment. 

We've decorated the porch.  And the brick walls.  And the door.  And the screen.  (hey, it's all in the name of art, right?)  Our front porch may as well wear a big neon sign now.  "Kids live here."

We've enjoyed good books on a sun speckled porch, while wearing sun ray flowers in our hair.

 We've buried treasures, dug for treasures, learned not to throw sand, and learned how to share.  And we've learned to always wear sun screen.   But not the kind that coats your kid in a layer or 3 of sand.

We've learned about fitness, and to save gas by walking to places close enough.  And that it's okay to take the long way.  Unless it's lunch time and your mom failed to bring water and/or snacks.   And no, you won't actually literally die if you walk for 3 more minutes, even if you haven't ate since 10 minutes ago when the kind people at VBS gave you a snack.  And they also gave you a drink.  You can do it.  Endurance. 

We've had squirt gun fights and picnics - where we've learned mom is a cheater and uses the garden hose.  But it's okay because it's funny.

We've searched for pirates on the high seas with a vintage spyglass.  Only this isn't the sea, it's a Great Lake.  And no, there's no sharks.   I promise. 

We've exercised gross motor skills with bright yellow steppers.  Ran barefoot in lush green grass, grown by a hard working invaluable 80 yr old man.  Great Grandpa.  We learned the honor in asking an elder if they'd like help, and at no cost.  We learned the value in being patient and slow roasting a marshmallow over an open flame, with gentle encouragement from a Vietnam veteran, who will tell you you're the best marshmallow cooker he's ever seen.  Great Uncle.  We've learned the value in fostering relationships by thinking of others before ourselves.

We've practiced fine motor skills by kindly passing small pebbles back and forth with cousins.

We've learned (or remembered) how blessed we are to live where we do, where so much is offered.  Libraries, museums, parks, splash pads, festivals, and rich culture. 

We learned all about science, weekly, for free at city hall.

We lived.  We learned.

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Weekly Wrap-Up

Curriculum 2014/15

This year we will have a 2nd grader (age 7), a junior kindergartener (age 4), and a toddler (age 2).  Here's what we've got planned:

Family (Group) Study:


2nd Grade:

For Connor we will have a pieced together curriculum.  I really wanted to move forward with FIAR - finishing what we haven't done of volume 1 & 2, then moving on to volume 3.  However, our library currently doesn't have most of the books we have left to "row".  So we'll be slowly adding to our home library as we find them in the thrift stores, and then we'll come back to it another year.  In the meantime, we're just going to do unit studies on whichever book seems a good fit to match Emma's schedule this year.

I downloaded the free Language Arts exemplar, printed off the grade K-2 section, and highlighted those books we own or are at the library.

In addition to unit studies Connor will be also doing a few textbook and workbook type things.

Language Arts:
Connor reads very well for his age, so we're just focusing on fine-tuning grammar and spelling; otherwise we would have moved on to Grade 2 Hooked on Phonics.

We'll be doing much more than this, I'm sure, because Connor absolutely loves science.  We'll probably do theme related science to whichever books we are reading aloud.  A "do as we go" style.

Math: (and logic/creativity)

Junior Kindergarten (JK or K4):

Emma's main curriculum will be B4FIAR (yay!), with add-ins shown below plus whatever she wants to absorb of Connor's lessons.

Language Arts:
  • Handwriting without tears, pre-K

Tot School:

Basically, Sammy will just play.  But he also insists on being included and loves to color and paint.  So we'll be adding in special things to make him feel included.

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