Friday, June 10, 2011

Summertime Learning

Just what kind of a mom am I anyway? Some might argue that putting summertime and learning together could be qualified as some sort of cruel and unusual punishment. Really though, we find that not only does it work well for our family, but it's fun.

I've had many people ask what our summer looks like, and besides the fun activities such as hiking, swimming, bike-riding, and summer camps, we're also endeavoring to learn. Here's what our learning looks like on a daily basis:

I've bought each of the three kids a workbook, from which they complete one page a day:

Upon completion and correction of the questions they answered incorrectly, they receive a tally mark for each page. After 20 tally marks they have the opportunity to choose a prize from the prize bin. What do prizes consist of? Gift certificates for the toy store or ice cream store (of small value), cool pens, and toys that I normally wouldn't purchase (again, of small value).

Next, I've bought each of the kids their own notebook:

Each notebook is divided into three sections. 1) Reading, 2) Memory Verses and 3)Words:

Under the reading tab, I've printed a grade level-appropriate list from which the kids can choose books at the library, and then do a short summary after they've read each book (this one is from Garrett's book, 5th grade reading level):

The next tab is the memory verse area. On Monday of each week, I assign all three kids the same memory verse. During the week they work on memorization and understanding of the meaning of the verse. Friday is quiz day! Upon successful memorization of the verse of the week, each kid receives an extra tally mark toward their 20 tally mark goal. The following is from Brody's notebook:

Finally, we've got the word tab. In this area of the notebook I either assign words or let the kids choose their own, in order to expand their vocabulary. We've found that the zanier the word, the more fun it is to learn. For each word the kids look up the selection in the dictionary, copy the definition, and then use the word in a sentence. This is a page from Ashlyn's notebook (she just completed kindergarten). You'll note the words "fissure" and "noble" and you'll also see that I helped Ashlyn with the copying of the definition of fissure:

Finally, I'm always looking for teachable moments that make "schooling" applicable to life. For instance just this morning we were taking a close look at the beautiful lilies adorning our dining room table:

One of the kids noticed a drop of fluid on the pistil. After just a few guesses on what it could be, they came to the conclusion that it was nectar, the very same fluid that bees turn into honey. Honey? That realization led to the curiosity to taste the nectar, which was sweet but not as much so as honey. And there you have it, a plant biology and physiology mini-lesson during the summer!

And just what do the kids think of this summertime learning? Enjoy the following quotes from each kiddo regarding their opinions:
GARRETT: "Fun and cool."
BRODY: "It's kind of not fun."
ASHLYN: "It's really fun because we get to do work."
And one lesson you can learn from this whole post? Males are creatures of few words!

Lesson over and class dismissed!

1 comment:

Little apartment in the city said...

Very cool. You're inspiring. Too bad Emmie can't read yet. Or write. Or walk, for that matter. Although she's learning quick!

I'm reminded to ask you: what was that acronym or saying you used to have the kids repeat about obedience? Or maybe it was from Garrett's school. Anyway, I tried to remember but couldn't! Love you!