Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Year E begins!!

We have a schoolroom! My mother and father came to visit for a wonderful month, and while I was busy with kid stuff, my mom organized my new shelves and learning materials in what used to be our laundry/storage area made into a room with a bookshelf wall. The last step is to hang a curtain to keep visiting kids out of the fragile things.

Another important homeschooling step was the decision to try year-round schooling, so our schedule will run from July 2014 to June 2015. Although I don't have to register as a homeschooling family in WA (our state of residence) until Raccoon is 8, I feel concerned about getting in the required 180 school days. I am not so worried about the 11 required subjects: reading, writing, spelling, language, math, science, social studies, history, health, occupational education, and art and music appreciation. Having a soft start in July is like school days' extra credit before our more structured schedule begins in September. We'll see how it goes; we're three days in so far.

What are we up to? Raccoon's current passion is catching bugs for his two insect boxes that his Grama gave him. He has all of his neighborhood friends also chasing after tarantulas and grasshoppers along with him. So far the only thing we can sustain in captivity is garden spiders. We have abundant flies and a nifty little jar with a pivoting door to catch them. It has been interesting to have an arachnid on our kitchen counter. We are now onto spider #4 because spider #1 was released into the wild, spider #2 hid in the container instead of being released with its roommate #1, then it ate spider #3. We got spider #4 from a beautiful web in our back yard. I was hoping it would spin a web in the box, but with the abundance of flies it seems to be content with a few silk threads here and there.

My mom also brought down a lot of hands-on kits (pictured below), so we jumped right into those. What we're doing doesn't even feel like school to Raccoon, which is why I like the year-round model for now.

Spider #4

Sneaking in some pre-writing activities

Music, Art, and Language


Raccoon's first microscope! Unfortunately it only works on at 100X but not at the 300X nor the 600X settings. It was pretty cheap though, and my goal was just to familiarize with handling the slides and microscope. He was so excited when we bought it and says he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. The next thing he wants is his own lab, like Johnny Test's sisters. :)

The chemistry kit is pretty basic but Raccoon likes it since it came with balloons, straws, pipets, etc. He's more interested in combining things to do his own "experiments," but we've done several of the activities so far.


This is a bit beyond Raccoon, but we've put together several of the circuits. I think it's good exposure to a grid system (the instructions give coordinates like A4) and for following directions. We made a Star Wars alarm today. My only complaint is that I still have no idea how electricity works even after making the models. I plan to do a little research of my own so I can explain it better to Raccoon. He thinks the parts can just be put together willy nilly. The plastic cases are good for protection but they also make it so that neither one of us knows what is actually going on.

This was Raccoon's book at occupational therapy in the US, which his therapist kindly gave to us when we left.  He has never been much of a pencil and paper guy, so I think the activities in here will be good practice for him. He does not like to color at all, although he will draw or paint things occasionally. This is the only school thing that he would not choose to do on his own, but I have promised him a prize upon completion of the entire book.