Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer Break (still)

So we're still on summer break and having a great time. It's been a hot summer for us so lots of outdoor time. But even though I'm not doing school, DJ still has access to his work shelves and selects activities randomly. This summer is giving me more respect for unschoolers - a homeschooling method where the parent doesn't directly teach but just provides materials for the child to teach themselves.

The past couple of weeks, DJ has been interested in geography again. He started with the World Map, placing each of the continents on the control map and then returning them to the puzzle. (Note the fire truck and police car that had to help him work!) He identified most of the continents, pointed out where we live, reminded me that he wants to drive to South America someday and talked about the two BiG oceans to the east and west of us.

He also commented on the map being presented as two circles and asked me why. I pulled off the globe and showed him if you took just half the globe and laid it flat, it would be a circle. He remembered that is why a little puzzle piece of Asia shows up on the Western Hemisphere because it gets cut off when you divide the globe in half. I think that tiny little yellow piece has intrigued him the most on this puzzle!

Next he pulled out the North America map and he immediately identified Mexico. We opened the North America continent box and laid out several of the miniatures we have. He wasn't interested in removing the puzzle pieces of this map so I suggested we work with the country flags.
I had him select a flag and then I'd find the picture of it to help identify the country. (Hey, I don't know them all either!) I made the photo cards you see in the bottom left of the picture to help. One side is a picture of the country's capital city. On the back is a picture of the country flag, the country name and the capital city name. There are two pages for the map because one is North America and the second is just Central America and the Caribbean islands.

Then he worked with the US map, first placing each piece on the control map and then replacing them. I name each state for him as he puts them back. I'm impressed he has the endurance to finish this puzzle. It takes a long time to complete but I think he likes the challenge.

We also did some more math with the Golden Bead material. I presented static subtraction. I selected numbers that would not require borrowing in order to solve the problem. I gathered the beads for the minuend and told DJ they were ALL MINE. Then I have him number cards for 2,213 and told him he could "steal" that many from me. In the photo you can see him stealing a thousand cube from my pile. When he was done I explained that I didn't have 4,515 and we should see how many I had left so we counted what was left in my pile to show that the difference between 4,515 and 2,213 is 2,302.

DJ also completed, for the first time, the number side of this busy bag activity that I made for him when he was only 21 months old. This was a simple project that has maintained its usefulness for two years! When it was new, he struggled to learn how to clip the pins. Later, he learned to match the colors on the other side and now he has mastered the numbers! All that is left is for him to learn to read the numbers spelled out on each clip.

DJ almost has counting to 20 mastered but he still often skips twelve. Lately he's been focused on learning to count backwards from 10 down to 1. That's not even something I thought to teach him! He just came up with it himself.

Another area that DJ has renewed interest in is the bells. He can now remove all 8 bells of one set and then return them one at a time, using the sound to match its proper location. He gets really goofy when he finds a match!

Here's another old favorite that made a re-appearance out of the blue. I'm not sure what made him think of it but one day DJ just said, "I want to do Brown Bear!" So I sent him upstairs to find the book and felt shapes while I found the Brown Bear YouTube video. I like this video because they sing the book rather than just read it. I couldn't take a picture because my phone was being used (and all my pictures are taken with my iPhone), but DJ laid out each felt shape as the song played and I turned the pages to the book. He loves these felt shapes that match the book. I'm going to have to put some more for other books on his birthday wish list.

In addition to work and play, DJ has done some practical life as well that I caught on camera:

Hopefully you'll see more of the construction pictures in a new blog post soon. I'm waiting for the project to be completed before I post about it, but it's a huge upgrade to DJ's bedroom!

And that's all for now. Happy August!

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