Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fall Semester Report Card

Since the university semester calendar structures our family calendar and we are now beginning the Spring Semester, this seems like a good time to recap what N. has studied in first grade so far this year.  This is not an exhaustive or complete list, but I think it covers a major portion what N. has been focused on between late August and early January. 

Major immersion in:
  • Butterflies.  Tim and N. observed butterflies daily throughout the fall in our front yard.  They read many books from the library and our own collection and learned to identify a slew of species, as well as learning about butterflies' life cycles and butterfly-friendly plants.  N. began a Butterfly Notebook, drawing butterflies he'd seen and writing their names.  When we visited a big live butterfly exhibit this fall, I could see all that study pay off: N. was utterly absorbed in the exhibit, spending an hour looking for butterflies and teaching a friend how to identify them.  His deep attention was a complete contrast to the first time he'd seen this exhibit earlier in the summer before his fall butterfly study.
  • Early northern Minnesota history, via Minnesota's Iron Country.  This included railroad history, the Louisiana Purchase, a brief introduction to Thomas Jefferson.
  • Brick masonry.  [which involved: history, physics, structural engineering, artisanal craft.]
  • James Herriot.  Lots of life lessons about Herriot's early efforts to establish his career.  Science and problem-solving in his veterinary career.  World War II history as Herriot trains to be a pilot.  Vocabulary!
  • Music I.  N. is really loving learning to play the piano.
  • Music II.  Listening: some of the CDs in heavy rotation this fall:  18 original movie themes; Asian harp music; Hoagy Carmichael; Getz & Gilberto; Duotones; Carter Family; Finlandia; Christmas music.
  • Clouds.  Continuing to learn to identify cloud types.
  • Math & Numeracy.  Worked on: identifying 10s, 100s, 1000s, millions.  Learned concept of percent.  Worked on single-digit written addition and subtraction, basic mental multiplication and division facts.  Multiplication x10.  Basic fractions.  Counting and fractions via reading music.  Radius & diameter. 
  • Art.  The work of William Morris.  The construction of the Chrysler Building.
  • Reading.  N. can read almost any word he sees and is constantly reading us newspaper headlines, book titles, packages, signs, words in books, etc. without being asked.  He has read a few books aloud to us but resists doing this often.  He spends lots of time looking at books on his own (including long  books with few illustrations), and there is some silent reading is going on then.  He seems to be waiting for further confidence and facility before really jumping into reading books independently.
  • Read alouds: list here (through The Lord God Made Them All).
Minor immersion:
  • Scientific classification
  • Solar system
  • a bit of French vocabulary
  • myriad Random Encylcopedia entries
Plus: daily long walks, daily drawing, daily play.


      Mom and Kiddo said...

      Such an impressive list. It's funny about reading aloud. My son, a voracious reader, also does not want to read aloud to his parents. I wonder what makes him so resistant, especially when I never pressure him to do so?

      Adrienne Pilon ("A") said...

      Great record of stuff "studied"; I love the reading list, especially, since a written record of what was read keep us from saying, "What was that we were reading last month?" I even keep one for myself.
      Sometimes kids are afraid that if they start serious independent reading that they won't get read aloud to anymore. I've known a number of kids who thought (in that secret way kids have) that this would end when they embarked on their own reading.

      Fanny Harville said...

      A, I love your phrase "that secret way kids have" -- so true. And I have heard that kids worry that reading independently means no more read alouds, so I've tried to reassure on that point.

      growingflowers said...

      I, too, make lists of what my children have learned and studied. It is a wonderful way to keep track of what we are doing. It sums it up beautifully. I look forward to reading your blog more regularly. My children are bunches older than yours, but it seems that I resonate with your very academic take on homeschooling.
      One of the first blogs I have found that discusses literature in the way we study it over here. I am also homeschooling in order to provide my girls with an INCREDIBLE education - one that cannot be received without a lot of money for a private education.