September 7, 2011

Galloping the Globe

This year we are Galloping the Globe! For anyone unfamiliar with it, it is a geography based unit study that includes history, science, literature, language arts, etc. Pretty much everything but math and reading.

Our first week was an introduction to maps and the globe and the continents. This week we started on Asia and we are learning about South Korea. Over the next few weeks we will be "visiting" China, Japan, and India, a few more Asian counties and then off to a different continent. We are using the library for resource books and stories from the counties. Our county system seems to have everything on the GtG list if I wanted to hunt them down but the branch down the road seems to have a more than adequate selection for our needs so I think I'll be sticking to that. Crafts and cooking (Eat Your Way Around the World) will help to make this a hands-on fun year (hopefully). As our science subjects come up we study them (tigers in India, coral reefs in Australia, etc). I picked up a bunch of Usborne beginners science books that I'm really impressed with - great illustrations, short but information packed books. These work well with GtG even though they aren't on the list.

I love the flexibility that GtG provides but while giving you the outline. You can spend as much time on a country as you want. From what I've read, some people take a year to do it all, some take two. Some people only do one country from each continent but spend a whole month on it. You can do all of the readings and activities if you wanted to. But everything is organized for you. They provide lists of age appropriate stories. They point out what science fits in where and books to read to learn about them. They list websites for the different subject matter.

Our plan right now is to spend a week on each country to go for an overview/exposure effect. December will be "Christmas around the World".

I organized Max's preschool list (the SL preschool I've used with K and A) to fit in the best it can. It doesn't always fit but it is fun when it does. All of the kids are listening in to that - who doesn't like nursery rhymes, fairy tales, classic stories and fun books!

As much as I love the idea all of the subjects working together, I couldn't abandon the workbooks all together. Some people are great using unit studies and getting kids to learn their language arts things just fine...I admit I like the security of a book. Maybe some day...but then again maybe not. So we are sticking with our Abeka language and math programs and Veritas Press for reading (with a little Abeka/SL reading to gain confidence since those seem to be easier for for Katrina). I'm also thinking we will read through the Abeka health and history books at some point this year. (Abeka history is US focused at this grade which I wouldn't mind Katrina hearing a little since we are focusing on the world with GtG).

So I guess that is the plan...we'll see what it shapes up to be!

August 12, 2011

Second Summer

This year our summer has been divided into two parts - Lake and Rochester. At first I felt that our summer was over when we came back to Rochester (we are renting the lake for the month of August) but I've realized it is actually just a different kind of summer. We are now in the middle of "second summer" and it is going much better than I thought it would.

First summer: hot, sun, laid back, no shoes.
Down at the lake we take a relaxed approach to life. The kids don't wear shoes and most of the time only wear bathing suits. I'm in flip flops, gym shorts, and tank tops. We are in a routine rather than a schedule. Most days include time at the beach, bikes, fishing, swimming. The kids go on walks with Pap (my dad) and the dog to pick berries. We sit around a camp fire in the evening. I got a great tan! The weather was very warm but a great breeze came off the lake making it very comfortable - warm enough to want to swim but not to the point you get miserable.

I can say that the great weather and fun definitely made it very hard to leave the lake this year!

Second summer: VBS, dance, friends, play.
I was not sure how it would go being in Rochester for summer - slightly cooler temperature have helped I think. The kids have been going to morning VBS. Max was able to go the first week which gave me just Tristan for the morning! I tried out public market since we didn't have our vegetable share we get down at the lake. This past week was a dance workshop so Katrina attended, I taught and the boys got to play at a friends house for the afternoon. We'll finish out the summer with a couple more camps and our church's family camp.

It was certainly a crash back into schedules and shoe wearing but the kids have had a great time!

July 7, 2011

Long Time No Post

Well, I see I have been quite neglectful here I see. Guess the first thing to do is play catch up. Here's a quick look at our year. Perhaps I'll elaborate on them, perhaps I'll just move on from here.

* Katrina and Alex took gymnastics
* Katrina took Irish dance
* Went grape picking in Naples, NY
* Tristan turned 1!
* Went to Alumni Weekend at UR - saw Jim Gaffigan and Yellowjackets as well as some friends
* Had a successful Oireachtas - Girls U9 Ceili 7th, Mixed U9 Ceili 3rd, Girls U12 Ceili 10th, Mixed U12 Ceili 6th, Girls O16 Ceili 14th, Figure U15 2nd
* Annual holiday Pops concerts
* Dance Ice Skating Party
* A multitude of Christmas - our family, Tallo's, Zink's - and a visit from Bear and Hannah
* Family trip to Myrtle Beach
* Max turned 3!
* Katrina danced at the Hooley, dance outs for St. Patrick's Day, and the Brockport Concert
* Katrina turned 6!
* Bear and Hannah
* Katrina started competitions for dance
* School ends, Academy ends
* Katrina and Alex's fun meet at the gym
* Moved back to the lake for the summer