Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Lessons

Feeling less and less certain of where Isla will start school in September, I am feeling the pressure to get her reading. But I can't let her feel a modicum of pressure! We are plucking along, keeping everything in the imaginary realm, learning through story and picture.

We finished up our book on uppercase letters, "The Wise Enchanter," with which I took significant literary license to make it work for my girls. Here are the last letters (I guess I didn't take a picture of Z):

Then, since the vast majority of letters in their lives will be lowercase, we figured it was time to bring those in. The letters that were the same (or very similar) but smaller (c,k,o,p,s,v,w,x,y,z) were instantly recognized, but the rest had to be learned. Some were easy for me to introduce imaginatively. E, for example, was "elephant" in our story, so I drew the lowercase "e" as a baby elephant, with its trunk hanging down. This also helped Isla remember which way both of the letters faced, since Mama and Baby faced each other. Others were tricky. We started by making watercolor cards with upper- and lowercase letters on them:

These went up on the fridge so she could easily see them from her school desk:

I had her write them all down as though they were different animals on the earth, some of which reached up to the sky, and some of which dipped a tail into the water:

Most of the work learning to read Isla does on her own, whenever she feels like it and without any prodding by me. On walks she delights in finding letters she knows on signs or spray painted on the sidewalk. At home both girls love to play with their wooden letters:

Besides a little bit on letters, December has been mostly about remedy-making:


Cooking: We made so many pies! I don't think I captured much of our cooking on digital film, though.

Dressing up, mostly playing Anna and Elsa from "Frozen." Yes, I let them watch "Frozen." I don't want to be too extreme, so we don't cut out ALL media. We don't do TV, but we do watch a few carefully selected movies. Some that made the cut: "My Neighbor Totoro," "Ponyo," and "Frozen." They don't play on our computer, but I do use it with them to look up plants we don't know, and they are allowed to play the games on the computers at the library.

And playing outside (although we didn't take many pictures of our outdoor adventures this month, here are a few - at the zoo, at the park and creek, in our backyard with her froggy friend, and at the spot they call "Fairyland"):

We made the trip to Fillmore to chop down our tree, and made it to the grocery store to see Santa:

We saw The Nutcracker:

We keep snack time fun:

And we've been reading books on some of the different ways people celebrate this time of year:

It has been a busy month, and I'm looking forward to getting back into our routine. The girls are dying to go to Numeria, and take the keys I gave them out of their desk drawers to look at often. I am almost ready for our math block, and have finished the math gnomes as well as Empress Equal:

Now I just have to do some more reading ("Making Math Meaningful" and a few other ones, especially Andrea's beautifully retold homeschool adventures on her blog, "Littlest Birds," from which I borrow many ideas and glean much inspiration) and get my script sorted out for the interactive puppet show I plan to do. My hope is that I can set it up so that Phaedra and Adira (see November Lessons) become my girls when they enter Numeria. Then, they will meet the math gnomes (the four processes) one by one. They will be able to interact with the gnomes. I have velvet pouches and beautiful jewels in different colors for manipulatives. I'm as excited about our next math block as the girls are.

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