Cinder and Flora’s Learning Plan for 2011/2012–Cinder’s Grade 4 and Flora’s Grade 3 year.
Cinder’s Focus and Objectives
Cinder wants to continue to practice Tang Soo Do through the fall, and to return to a more “rigorously regular” swimming schedule. He also wants more science experiments this year, but fewer external lessons or workshops. He plans to continue working on his reading skills via the Terraria Wiki and “that awful spelling program I hate.”
Flora’s Focus and Objectives
Flora wants to do art, colour, take a clay class, do more art, draw, and, oh yeah, take another year of music class. She plans to continue learning all about animals, spend lots of time with her friends, add to her Museum of Natural Mystery, and keep on learning about Greek myths, and maybe other myths.
Parents’ Focus and Objectives
We’re almost loath to make any predictions or choose a focus or objective of any sort: goodness knows, at no point last year did we decide that the children should be immersed in the mythology and culture of Ancient Greece, but we haven’t left that sphere since Spring 2011. But, being parents, we do have a few hopes and plans for the coming year, and a couple of them are more concrete than our usual over-arching “we want Cinder and Flora to continue to learn and to love learning as they grow and develop into loving, capable, intelligent and productive people.”
For Cinder, our key goals are to support him as best we can along his literacy path, to re-sharpen our awareness and attention to his high physical needs, to ensure we’re feeding his hunger for science, construction, and activities with a tangible goal/product at the end, as well as to respect his need for non-social time (while structuring some opportunities for some social time).
For Flora, our key goals are to provide her with the space, time and supplies she needs to create and imagine, to ensure we’re feeding her hunger for story and imaginative play, to stay aware of the fact that she does not need as much physical activity as Cinder―and indeed, that amount exhausts her―and to provide ample opportunities for her to play with her friends.
On a more practical note, for both children, we plan to introduce some more tangible and regular handwriting practice, to provide them with the tools they need for their other activities and explorations. We expect this is an activity Flora will embrace, and may well come to naturally―she practices printing and writing all the time on her own―but it is not something that Cinder plays with at all, so we will need to find a creative and non-coercive way to make it a regular part of our days.
Finally, after a very a-rhythmic summer, we want to return to a more predictable week in the fall, anchored on a weekly basis by external activities―swimming, music, Tang Soo Do, etc.―and on a daily basis by our favourite at-home routines―reading together, walks on the hill with the dog and baby, creating art or science messes at the kitchen table, etc.
Potential Projects and Resources
Literacy and Literature
Planned Projects: Cinder and Flora like to sink deep into a series of books or a topic and stay there. Once we leave Ancient Greece and Percy Jackson, we look forward to repeating the immersion with something else. What will it be? So far, attempts to take them to Narnia or Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island have been rebuffed, as has The Mysterious Benedict Society and Chris Bradford’s Young Samurai. We’ve got Katherine Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole and a few others waiting in the wings. In the summer, we celebrated the Percy Jackson obsession by holding a one-day book club with four other families who were also deep into the books―a very positive experience, and one that we hope to repeat with another book or series.
Key resources: books, books, books, supported by audiobooks and DVDs. On the mechanics of reading front, continuation with All About Spelling or equivalent. Likely some use of Bob Books.
Numeracy and Mathematics
Planned projects: Nothing overt―math works into our lives very easily and naturally, and has not thus far required planning or structure. We are introducing a couple of new book resources into the house on this topic, and we’ll see where they take the kids.
Key resources: Life of Fred series, Murderous Maths series, money management and banking, Lego and building activities, as well as TOPScience’s Get a Grip fractions/decimals box.
Planned projects: After a somewhat academic, reading-focused science year last year, this year, we plan a return to more hands-on experiments at Cinder’s request. Flora will continue to add to her Museum. We will also continue to take advantage of opportunities offered by the libraries, wildlife rescue organizations and other science organizations to attend their workshops, open houses and presentations. And, of course, there will still be reading.
Key resources: Horrible Science series, Basher Physics, Chemistry and Periodic Table, Periodic Table shower curtain, perhaps some kits from K’nex structures series, series of science kits (to be determined―TopsScience Lentil Science or Young Scientists Club Kits or Delta Education), wildlife rescue open houses, visits to the zoo, farms, etc.
Planned projects: The Percy Jackson books have meant deep immersion in the mythology of Ancient Greece, with segues into ancient Greek history. It’s been a wonderful experience, and we hope to repeat it with something else, but it is hard to predict where Cinder and Flora’s interests will fixate next. Additionally, of course, we continue to plan to explore relevant local historic sites, museums, etc.
Key resources: Standing by to assist in the journey when it happens are resources such as Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World, Volumes I&II, Horrible Histories as appropriate, Dead Famous biographies, supplemental DVDs, and other books.
Geography is an incidental area of interest, but if we end up delving into it, key resources include our maps, globe, atlas, Wow Canada! Books, puzzle map of Canada, puzzle map of world, Horrible Geography series, and the Kingfisher Atlas of World History.
Sidenote on Canadian geography and history: We had a bit of a binge on Canadian geography, with small historical detours, at the beginning of the summer, but the children seem to be sated for the time being in that regard. Barring strolls through the Glenbow Mavericks gallery and similar explorations, we may not do as much “Canada” this year as anticipated by their interest in June.
Planned projects: This is a key focus for Flora, and an incidental one for Cinder, but one in which he has, for the coming year, expressed more interest than in the past in participating. Flora is continuing in Orff Music, planning on working on art lessons with her aunt who is an artist, as well as drawing on ideas and exercises from the Artistic Pursuits series, Ed Emberley’s Drawing Books and others. Both children will participate in a family clay class; Flora may take an additional class as well. We also will continue to make good use of our Glenbow Museum membership.
We hope to return to our enjoyment of drama this year, and look forward to regular attendance at the Y-Stage plays, some Loose Moose plays, and CYPT’s wonderful presentations at the library and elsewhere. The children may take a drama class at Evergreen Theatre.
Key resources: Artistic Pursuits Book 1 for K-3, Ed Emberley’s books, Discovery Room at Glenbow Museum, North Mount Pleasant Art Centre etc., plays and festivals.
In addition to continued engagement in regular physical activities―swimming, biking, Tang Soo Do for Cinder, etc.―both children will continue to be involved in meal planning and preparation, gardening, house cleaning, and other hands-on practical life experiences. They will continue to play an important role in the care of their baby brother and other small people in their lives.
Tentative External Activities Schedule
Monday. 10-12 Swimming, Inglewood Pool / Home afternoon: default activity, science experiments OR Home morning / Swimming 2-4:30, Killarney Pool
Tuesday. Home morning: default activity, art. 1-2:30 p.m. Evergreen Theatre Homeschool Class (Oct 18 – Dec. 6). 6:15-7 p.m. Tang Soo Do (Cinder)
Wednesday. 10:45-11:30 a.m. Orff Music for Children (Flora). Home afternoon OR Misc Workshop Afternoon
Thursday. 10-12 Swimming, Inglewood Pool / Half-field trip day OR Home morning, 2-4:30 Swimming, Killarney Pool
Friday. Semi-regular meet-up with APHS at TBD location / In-town field trip day. Final Friday of every month: Leighton Art Centre. 6:15-7 p.m. Tang Soo Do (Cinder). Family movie night
Saturday. Oct 1-Nov 12, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Family Clay Class, North Mount Pleasant Art Centre (Cinder and Flora and parents). Evening: while weather holds, firepits at SHC Common; when whether turns, Board Game Saturdays hosted at our home
Sunday. Y-Stage plays. Dec 4-11, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Winter Animal in Clay, NMP Art Centre. Glenbow Museum visits. Sunday dinner with Nana.
At Home Daily Anchor Activities
30-90 minutes of chill time
Walk on the hill with dog
Kitchen table activity (art, science, handwriting practice etc.)
Run on the Common / Bike ride / Dog play
All subject to the vagaries and necessities of life as it develops
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