Saturday, August 30, 2014

School 2014-2015 Animals Animals!!

We're about to dive into our second official year of home schooling! This year I am embracing interest-lead learning by setting loose over-arching goals for each child and pulling from many resources to meet those goals.
 What will we be using?
Our theme this year is "Animals and Their Worlds" habitats and their ecosystems. I am using a lot of resources from the Winter's Promise A&TW Curriculum for K-4th grades but I have decided not to use their teachers guide. We'll be doing our own unit studies on 9 different habitats as well as a unit on the night sky and space. Our main text book resource will be from the "One Small Square" series for each Habitat. 
We're taking a "gap year" from History and focusing purely on geography in nature and science studies. My over arching goal is to use Living Books for each Habitat unit to really give us a peek into each corner of the world- some will be playful fictional books. Others will be books like Chipmunk Song to really get deeper, yet playful, real-life peeks into where and how animals live. We'll also be doing geography and reading a few fictional stories about the people who live near or in each habitat.
I am really building this as we go, and I think when we get to the end of the year I'll have built some thing really cool!
 Monday is Library and Literature day: which is really just a FREE day for planning. We'll focus on phonics (SPELLING u SEE and the "Hooked on Phonics" iPad app ) and our preschool Heart of Dakota curriculum activities (mainly our number, letter, and animal of  the week and a few Bible stories). We'll also be listening to our audio books together (most of our read aloud books will be animal themed as well, we're reading "Ribsy" by Beverly Cleary right now).
For planning I'll search key words on the library website for anything that might be fun for us to read in line with our habitat for the week. In the afternoon we'll be making a trip to the library and we'll get our books for the week. That evening I'll sit down and set loose goals for each day in line with the One Small Square Habitat study and our daily theme focus...
Maybe I should back up a bit, the true core of our curriculum is our Daily Themes:
Like I said "Monday is Library Literature Day"
Phonics and word fun is our main focus...
building letters and words!
Tuesday is Math and Life Skills Day
We created a Lego Math Game using math addition/subtraction dice and Lego blocks for manipulatives. We'll also be focusing heavily on our Math U See curriculum Tuesdays and math apps.
Wednesday is Art and Music Day
We'll be using Ed Emberley's "How to Draw Animals" it will be our main art and handwriting (Yes! Sneaky hand writing! All the animals use key letter shapes!)  resource this year. We'll use this day to create animals for our habitat dioramas, and work on filling our diorama box for the habitat unit. I think Wednesdays are going to be a favorite day, we love to craft!
 We'll also be touching on musical pieces and composers as well.
Thursday is Science and Nature Day this is the day we'll be doing "field studies" from The One Small Square and adding things to our Nature Note Book  
We'll also be going through the Rod and Staff Second Grade Science and Nature workbooks we used their fine motor and thinking skills books last year and the kids loved them!.
We'll also be reviewing our animals in the alphabet! We'll be using the DK Animal Encyclopedia (awesome!!!) and read again about the animal and add it to the ABC section of our nature notebook.
Friday is Geography and Adventure Day
We'll be reading Living Books about people who live near or in our habitats, putting stickers on our giant world map, and the afternoon will all be about getting out on an adventure... We are now proud members of our local Science center so we'll probably be heading over there on Fridays to explore the hands on exhibits and play.
I think we'll be dong pretty well with out a Teachers Guide-not missing out too much? ;)
On top of our busy mornings of learning we'll be adding in ballet and gymnastics to our week, and we have a little 2 year old Side Kick joining our days-it's going to be an interesting, busy, awesome school year!!! 

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