Monday, October 3, 2011

North American Adventure

Olivia has a passport. She had to fill out an application and "mail" into the processing center (that was just me). Then she had to wait for her passport to come in the mail.

We started our travels in the United States. This was mostly a review from last year. Olivia had a good time reviewing her geography and some fun information about the regions of the US. She knows at least half of her states, the major bodies of water and mountain ranges in the US. During this time, our science was on forests, deciduous and coniferous.We took lots of walks through our local forests and discussed/observed them. She is learning lots of new words and information about plants and animals. We listened to some American folk music and did some art projects.

Top left: she strung beans and seeds to make a necklace (Native American). Top right: apple face doll, the face of the doll is a craved and then dried out apple (colonial toy). Bottom left: Coude stick, this is picture drawings recording an event, used instead of writing (Native American). Bottom right: sand art (Native American).

Then her passport arrived. She was so excited. We were then able to cross the border into Mexico. We learned more about that country as well as an overview of some of the other countries and islands of Central America and the Caribbean. Our science focus turned to the desert, with its particular plants and animals. Since we couldn't actually visit a desert, we looked at lots of books, pictures, observed some succulent plants, and used our imaginations. Again we listened to some folk music and did some art projects. You will see the art projects in the next post because we had a great Mexican celebration at the end of the two weeks of study. My main basis for this curriculum is My Father's World, Exploring Countries and Cultures, but I have added in some activities from a company called Winter Promise.The map at the beginning with the sticker labels was part of that. The other thing is a nature journal/activity book. It includes lots of observation, scavenger hunts and other nature exploration ideas. We are also reading about certain animals and then putting them on a height/length chart. Olivia is finding this very fascinating as we put her and our dog on the chart first for reference.

The last visit on our North American tour was to head north into Canada. Another book we are reading on occasion to help Olivia understand the people and cultures of these countries is called, Children of Many Lands by Karen Brooks. It is written in conversation/story form from one child living in a given country to my American child. She enjoys these stories. So along with looking at lots of pictures in library books, physical and population maps, and hearing some words in the country's language, this is the way Olivia has learned the most.

Left side (top and bottom): maple leaf prints using real leaf and clay. Top Right: soap sculpture, hippo (Inuit) *she used a peeler and had extra help with this one*. Bottom Right: Canadian Flag cookie.

In addition to the geography and science learning, Olivia is beginning to read through the book of Matthew. She is also memorizing some scriptures as we go. And then we are reading about the lives of some heroic Christian men and women and learning about the character traits that made them great people able to serve God and make an impact on this world around them. We are also reading about people groups in a book called Window on the World and praying for them as we do. The read alouds we just finished are Cameron Townsend (this is the story of the man who started Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL and JAARS) and then My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (for science, suggested by Winter Promise). Olivia enjoys them both very much. She has also had a basket full of library books to read/look through. Olivia loves books. She copies her bible verses and character traits for handwriting practice. She has also been writing a letter to someone she chooses each Friday. She continues to do other language arts, spelling and math learning but there just isn't so much to say about those or take pictures of. :) She is diligent in her work. I am very proud of her.

She is also continuing to pick up her knitting. She has really been more careful and her abilities are progressing. She has asked me to teach her to cross-stitch after seeing a couple of projects at the craft store, so that may be next. She is also taking dance from Lauren at church. Right now, she gets classes one on one with her. She is enjoying it but does miss her previous dancemates. In addition to ballet, she is getting to do some tap and worship dance.

I am also having her take part in helping Gabe with his learning poster (which features a letter, number, color and new words and nursery rhymes/poems) and in playing with certain toys. This is good for her to try to be in a place to help him but, of course, it takes cooperation from Gabe too. That is not always easy to come by. :) There are times that he wants to participate in "school" activities and times when we have to coax him or fit them in when he doesn't quite realize what he is doing. Olivia has learned to work with her brothers and in the midst of our daily lives well. She still gets distracted and certainly struggles but overall I am seeing tons of improvement. I am working to figure out how to keep a schedule and be flexible all at the same time too.

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