Tuesday, December 10, 2013

... On a Snowy Evening

A Child's Garden
Winter nature walk find. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013.

Winter Comes...

We had our first winter weather this week, awaking to a coating of snow and ice on cars, pavement, and tree branches on Monday. The day warmed up, after many delayed openings, and you could almost forget that winter is upon us.

So, just to keep us remembering that we DO live in New England, even more snow came on Tuesday, closing most schools and sending the rest home early. The kids can't wait for their first real snow day. This flip-flop girl can!

But the wintry weather makes for a great time to drink hot tea, wrap in a blanket, blog and think about school lessons and other cozy topics.

homeschool blog carnival
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Homeschool Planning for 2014-15

I am an overplanner. It just makes me feel good to have something well thought-out, even if I end up doing something different. So I am systematically going through each subject area of next year's curriculum and preparing materials now, while we're staying comfy inside, instead of in the summer and fall, when I'd prefer to be at the beach or in the garden. Because my little one is heading into 6th grade next year, I want to make as much of his studies self-directed as I can, leaving direct instruction time for the more complex tasks which require an adult (discussions, chemistry experiments, music lessons, for example).

Next year, we will combine materials from Ambleside Online and The Well-Trained Mind (I love the history texts from Ambleside, but also love the wee bit of structure of TWTM. This month, I am preparing the poetry materials for part of our literature studies.

My son likes to read poetry -- it's great for teaching rich language, and visual imagery, among so many other things. I wanted to create materials that could be as self-directed as possible, leaving me time to assist more with the things that really need a teacher, such as chemistry or writer's craft. So I compiled the poems suggested for this term into a workbook, of sorts, allowing space to illustrate each poem or take notes. You can print the pages out double-sided, or print them single-sided, and photocopy simple lined stationery on the reverse, if you'd like.

Ideas for how to use the poetry pages (from our own homeschool practice):
  • Read & illustrate (the simplest response)
  • Highlight a vocabulary word (e.g., shimmering) - use only pencil to illustrate the meaning of this word
  • Highlight a hard word (e.g., clandestine) - create a concept web of the word 
  • Circle specific details (words & phrases) - categorize them by part of speech
  • Circle words with your focus phonics or spelling pattern...
... anything you  can think of or whatever goes with your current spelling, grammar or writing focus.

The first set is a collection of poems by Robert Frost. I will print them out double-sided, and add in a 12-page set of notebooking pages on Robert Frost, from the Notebooking Treasury's Famous Poets Collection. I am currently waiting (with excitement!) for my ProClick Binder, which will allow me to bind my poems and other materials into oaktag and clear plastic covers to make soft-covered workbooks. The next sets will include the poets Carl Sandburg and Alfred Noyes.

For a great deal on the Notebooking Treasury, see the coupon, below -- we have been using the Treasury for most of our notebooking needs for the past five years -- the pages are wonderful. Do check it out.

A Child's Garden
(c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013. Click link for a free download. 54 pages.

Holiday Preparations

My dear friend, Lisa Kowalyshyn, from Kindred Crossings Farm LLC, raises grass-fed sheep and cattle, and produces (among many other things) organically-produced wool. My eldest son has been spending the last several weeks helping her button up the farm for the winter, spreading an incredible amount of manure over the fields and the vegetable garden. He loves it, and she appreciates the extra set of hands for the winter farm work.

The collaborative she belongs to uses the wool to create beautiful wool blankets and scarves that are perfect for holiday gift-giving. There is a new blanket design each year. The scarves come in a variety of gorgeous colors. I told her I wanted to share her photos and a link to her blog here -- please like Kindred Crossings Farm LLC on Facebook, too! {While my blog contains affiliate links, there are none for this listing -- it's totally a love thing!}. If you live in the Connecticut/Rhode Island/Massachusetts area, it's worth finding Lisa's products at the local farmer's markets, where she also sells her fresh, organically-produced lamb, beef and pork products.

Beautiful wool scarves, $15-$25 each,  from Kindred Crossings Farm, LLC. Order now for delivery by Christmas!

Next up...

Stay tuned for more homeschool materials sharing, and a sneak peak at our gardening plans (yes, the catalogs are already out! -- I miss summer...).