May 11, 2009
Today we are starting our new school year (yes, we school year-round). Both boys are using WinterPromise's Adventures in the Sea & Sky program. Like anything else I use, I couldn't help but tweak it some and put together some extras. I'll be chronicling our journey with Sea & Sky this year and taking pictures of our projects. If you are curious about this curriculum (at least our experience with it), hopefully you'll get an idea of what it's like through my blog.
Today to celebrate our starting this theme I made the kids a lunch of octopus, ocean water, sea foam, sea stars and fish. Or something like that...
The octopus is made out of a hot dog with a mustard face. The ocean waves/water beneath him are Top Ramen noodles with blue food coloring. The fish are Goldfish crackers and the star fish is a slice of star fruit. To wash it all down I created some "sea foam": sparkling apple cider colored with blue food coloring.
The kids LOVED it. It was a great way to start off our studies.
Another extra I added was the book 1-2-3 Draw Ocean Life. In the schedule of extras I created I assigned Otter drawings that match up (for the most part) what we are studying each week. I've added a study of mollusks for science so today he learned how to draw an octopus. I opened up Corel Painter and with my trusty tablet drew each step for him as he followed along. Then we both colored our creations. Here is my drawing (digital pen & ink, and watercolors):
Here is Otter's drawing:
Otter's going to keep his drawings in the notebook we're working on. Other extras for this week are a free lapbook on mollusks, a mollusks movie on BrainPop, and some notebooking pages I found online: Mollusks paragraph & questions and Mollusks worksheet. He's also reading Eyewitness Classics: 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and doing a few other goodies like watching a Treasure Island movie online to give him some visual context for this week's WP read-aloud and more.
The Eyewitness book is really nice. The original 20,000 Leagues under the Sea is still WAY over Otter's head right now. The Eyewitness version is 63 pages long with a much abridged story, lots of wonderful illustrations and photographs as well as side box style information to make certain things in the story more clear or to explain facts related to the story. If you click the title linked above you can see a free preview of it on Amazon. I also like the fact that the book contains 2 page spreads on history and science like a section on submarines, the ocean depths, sea exploration and more. There are also maps showing the fictional voyage. It's a wonderful version of the story for younger readers.
May 13, 2009
We've been enjoying our first week with Sea & Sky.
Yesterday Otter made a "shadow box ship" from the book Sailors, Whalers, Fantastic Sea Voyages. The activity book's instructions call for supplies like craft foam and wooden dowels but since I didn't have any of that on hand we just used card stock paper. I think it was probably easier to do that way anyway. The instructions were a little bit vague for Otter to accomplish this activity on his own so I helped direct him. We didn't do everything exactly how it was described, but Otter was happy with the end result:
Bear is going to be making a much more detailed paper model from the Canon Creative Park website.
Otter has also been working a free lapbook about mollusks. He's enjoying the added science component to his schedule as well as some additional hands-on activities. Here's are some pictures of what he's accomplished so far:
The cover of his lapbook
What is a mollusk? flap book
Inside "What is a mollusk?"
A 3 panel squid booklet
Inside the booklet
All in the mollusk family booklet
Inside the mollusk family booklet with 3 individual tabs
We also got to start the notebooking component of Sea & Sky. The program comes with a packet of papers called the "Make Your Own Captain's Log". Today Otter did a sheet on labeling a ship (hmmm, interesting color choices for the sails, LOL):
He's keeping all of his papers for S&S in a notebook:
So far I'm finding the pacing of Sea & Sky to be very manageable. Both boys are really enjoying our read-aloud of Treasure Island and there seems to be a very good balance of activities.
My only complaint so far is that one of the books scheduled as a reader (Voyage of Ice) turned out to have, in my opinion and for MY family's values, some inappropriate material in it for the ages it was scheduled for (3rd-6th). I'm actually quite irked about this. I am NOT criticizing Winter Promise for choosing the book as a reader. I understand that it is our responsibility as parents to preview our children's materials and ultimately make choices and decisions regarding them and also that every family is quite different in their beliefs and philosophies. However, I would have liked a little warning about the level of romance and violence it contains. I am really quite liberal when it comes to read-alouds (books I read out loud while my kids listen) because I can be on hand to discuss things with the kids and help expose them to real life, under my terms. However, when it comes to just handing my 11 year old son something to read by himself, I am a lot more picky. Voyage of Ice is quite an amazing adventure story that is very educational about life on a whaling ship but fails my test as a reader. We will, however,be doing it as a read-aloud with some edits on the fly.