Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Quarterly Report


SCHOOL YEAR: 2009-2010
GRADE LEVEL: Kindergarten
THIS QUARTER COVERS: 7/1/09 to 10/14/09
DATE SUBMITTED: October 15, 2009


Mikro is progressing at a satisfactory level or above in all subject matter. His handwriting needs improvement.

We have had instruction in all the following areas, as per Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education and Mikro’s Individual Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language Arts, Math, History, Geography, Science, Health, Physical Education, Music, and Visual Arts.

Mikro had no absences from instruction this quarter, and has exceeded the required hours of instruction (225).

Highlights for the Quarter include:


Mikro has enjoyed listening to music on a Quadricentennial theme. We have learned about Pete Seeger and the Clearwater, and Mikro loves the song My Dirty Stream. We have also listened to Mr. Seeger's 50 Sail on Newburgh Bay album, and other music about the Hudson River, including: Lisa Atkinson's Hudson River Stew, Rich Flanders' Tribute to the Hudson River and Chris Rawlings' Henry Hudson. In our other studies, we have incorporated songs relevant to the subject matter, including, for example, Science Songs (an album that includes material about such topics as hibernation, migration, insect life cycles, scientific method, plants, pollution, dinosaurs, oceans, the solar system, gravity, the five senses, etc.); Addition Songs and Phonics Songs. Walking Jim Stoltz's nature themed albums, including The Web of Life and A Kid for the Wild, have become particular favorites of Mikro's, as has Kids Saving the Earth (various artists). We have also introduced patriotic songs and anthems, such as the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, This Land is Your Land, and God Bless the USA, along with folk songs such as Where Have All the Flowers Gone, God on Our Side, and Blowing in the Wind.


Mikro is taking a class from Private Picassos at the Bronx Library Center in which the students have viewed the works of famous artists and created their own work in a similar vein. Some of the artists studied thus far include: Piet Mondrian, Claes Oldenburg, and Alexander Calder. Mikro has also participated in art projects in connection with programs at Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers, the Lower East Side Studio, and at the local libraries. At home, he has experimented with collage, watercolors, clay, crayon, oil pastels and tie dye.

History & Patriotism and Citizenship:

Our focus this first quarter has been on the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's voyage up the Hudson River. Some of the books Mikro has read include: Hudson Talbott's River of Dreams, Mitchell Bring's My Mighty Hudson, Susan Whitehurst's The Colony of New York, and Laura Vila's Building Manhattan. We have used Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World, and have gone through sections on what history is, early nomad cultures, agriculture as the impetus for more permanent settlements, and we have begun looking at Ancient Egypt.

We have had discussions about how America became a country, rights and responsibilities of family members, community members and citizens, good and neighborly behavior, the role of community helpers such as police and fire personnel, how government officials are elected, racism and other forms of discrimination, September 11, 2001, nations/states/cities, world geography, European settlement and consequences for the Native Americans, Native American culture, war and conflict resolution by other means such as diplomacy; and we participated in a peace rally with Dr. Jane Goodall at Bowling Green and Liberty Island.

Mikro also attended the reading of the Declaration of Independence at Van Cortlandt Manor, and Fourth of July Fireworks at Peekskill's Riverfront Green. We visited the Tarrytown Lighthouse and learned about what a keeper's life was like, how the shoreline of the Hudson has changed, and how technology replaced the keepers. We have visited the National Museum of the American Indian, and attended Quadricentennial festivities including Holland on the Hudson at Bowling Green, Harbor Day at Battery Park, Greeting the 100 year old Dutch Fleet at Peekskill; River Day at the Croton Yacht Club, The Hudson River Ramblers: 400 Years of the Hudson in Story and Song at the Croton Free Library, and a demonstration of Native American crafts by expert Barry Keegan at Sennasqua Park. We visited the Museum of the City of New York and explored exhibits including Mannahatta/Manhattan, Amsterdam/New Amsterdam, Timescapes, Trade, New York Interiors, and the Toys of Old New York.

Reading/Language Arts:

Mikro reads above grade level, but still experiences difficulty with some irregularly spelled words and some consonant blends and vowel combinations. He can read a picture book independently, and is becoming more proficient at sounding out multisyllabic words. His reading comprehension is wonderful, and he can narrate back a good summary of what he reads. He enjoys making up rich and detailed stories about dinosaurs and imaginary creatures. We are working on phonics using lessons on Explode the Code Online (and the workbooks) and Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten. Mikro successfully completed the Summer Reading Game at Croton Free Library as an independent reader.

Mikro does struggle with handwriting, as he has some fine motor issues and difficulty with a proper pencil grip. He can form all upper case letters, and is learning lowercase. We practice writing words relevant to our other studies (for example, words about dinosaurs, plants and the Hudson River.)

We are practicing spelling simple words phonetically, and he enjoys watching the PBS show Word World, and making words with plastic letters. Other reading related programming that Mikro watches on PBS includes Martha Speaks (vocabulary), Between the Lions (phonics) and Super Why.

Some of the books read independently by Mikro (in addition to those listed by subject matter in other categories below): Many books in Suzanne Tate's Nature Series, including: Tammy Turtle, A Story About Sea Turtles; Johnny Long Legs (herons); Old Reddy Drum (redfish); Crabby and Nabby (crabs); Crabby Swims Free (crabs); Mary the Manatee; Perky the Pelican; Spiny Sea Star; Sea Turtles by Gail Gibbons; Rosie the Ray; Chipmunk Song by Joanne Ryder; Oddhopper Opera; Where the Wild Things Are; Blue Dog and Other Stories (early reader); several collections of Little Bear stories; Ocean's Child; Circle of Our Days; If the World Were a Village; Library Manners; The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger; Every Living Thing by Joanne Ryder; Orangutan Tongs by John Agee, Pony Island by Candace Ransom; lots of Dr,. Seuss, including: Green Eggs & Ham, Horton Hatches an Egg, And to Think That It Happened on Mulberry Street, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, The Lorax, Sneetches and Other Stories, and several of the Seuss-inspired Cat in the Hat Science Readers, including Inside Your Outsides, and I Can Name 50 Trees Today.

Read Alouds: The Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant; The Legend of New Amsterdam; The Girl Who Helped Thunder; Spider Spins A Story: Fourteen Legends from Native America; The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and too many dinosaur books to list.


We are working on one digit addition and have introduced the concept of subtraction, using workbooks, games, and both purchased manipulatives and found ones (Mikro likes to do math with acorns and sugar packets). Mikro is working on writing ordinal and cardinal numbers. He can confidently count to 50. We have discussed concepts like sets, different base systems like binary, octal, hexadecimal and decimal, zero, what comes before zero, patterns, and place value.

Books include: Mission Addition, Math Fables, How Much is a Million.
Games include: addition bingo, the Bug Collection Game (includes addition and subtraction), math dice, and dinosaur dice.


We have discussed the history of the space program, gravity and it's effect on tides; the seasons; biomes; habitats; classification of animals; living vs. nonliving things; photosynthesis; plant reproduction; evolution, cladograms, climate change, ecology and conservation. Mikro regularly watches educational programming such as NOVA Science Now, NASA TV, Croc Hunter, The Most Extreme, Walking With Dinosaurs, Walking With Cavemen, Zula Patrol, Dinosaur Train, Sid the Science Kid, NOVA, Nature, Wild Kingdom, Focus Earth, and Stuff Happens. He has an extensive collection of science and nature DVDs. which he watches as a treat before bedtime.

Books: A Fruit is A Suitcase for Seeds; From Seed to Plant; The Tiny Seed (read alternating pages), How Groundhog's Garden Grew; Monarch Butterflies Up Close by Carmen Bredeson; In the Trees, Honeybees; Seahorses by Elaine Landau; Looking at Coelophysis by Graham Coleman, Peeper, First Voice of Spring by Robert McClung; The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons; Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert; Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert (we are trying to sample every fruit and vegetable in the book, and keep a checklist); News About Dinosaurs; Extremely Weird Birds; Animal Architects: How Animals Build Their Homes; Slither and Crawl: Eye to Eye with Reptiles by Jim Arnosky; Where Did the Butterfly Get Its Name by Melvin and Gilda Berger; When the Wolves Returned by DH Patent; Science Works: Monster Bones: The Story of a Dinosaur Fossil by Jacqui Bailey; Lets Go Dinosaur Tracking; Wildlife Gardening; A Nest of Dinosaurs; Chirp, Chirp: Crickets in Your Backyard by Nancy Loewen; Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar; Owl Moon by Jane Yolen; Slap, Squeak and Scatter, How Animals Communicate, by Steve Jenkins; Essential Science, Grades 1-3: Dinosaurs.

Field trips: AMNH: Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, Extreme Mammals, Wild Wild World Awake at Night, Climate Change, the Dinosaur Halls, New York Environment, Hall of Biodiversity, the Rose Center (Hayden Planetarium); The Science Barge; Beczak Environmental Education Center: Animals in Disguise program, Honey Bee Hives program, Pipefish, Striped Bass & Hogchokers program; homeschool group seining class; Teatown Lake Reservation: Wild Senses; New York Aquarium; New York Botanic Gardens: Fall Harvest program and visits to the Everett Children’s' Adventure Garden; Sony Wonder Technology Lab; many nature walks where Mikro has observed such things as a red-tailed hawk catching and consuming a rat, seagulls catching crabs, and dragonflies mating; stargazing with a telescope and following NASA's scheduled sighting opportunities for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (which Mikro saw arc across the sky together, an awe inspiring experience!); planting and harvesting a community garden with our homeschool group at the La Plaza community garden (Ave C and E. 9th St, NY, NY).

Classes: Mikro is taking a ten session introduction to chemistry called "Crazy Chem" by Mad Science at the Bronx Library Center. So far they have discussed states of matter, atoms, molecules and compounds, chemical reactions and their indications, food chemistry, and polymerization. They have learned the basics of laboratory safety and use of lab equipment and have conducted hands on experiments including mixing acids and bases with indicator substances, testing foods for starch, and creating a "super ball". Mikro takes a nature class at the Croton Nature Center, which is currently monthly, though we have hopes it will be offered more frequently in the future (as it has been in the past two years that we have participated).
Projects: raising painted lady and monarch caterpillars, planting a vegetable garden(including growing plants from seed and seedlings, transplanting, weeding and harvesting), dissecting fruits and flowers, collecting and observing bugs, monitoring nest boxes and bird feeders, building and maintaining a compost heap and an indoor worm bin, maintaining a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat.

Phys Ed:

Swimming Lessons at Silver Lake (Level One and Level 2); Geocaching, hiking, hoppity-hopping; soccer and basketball informally; trampoline.


We have discussed good nutrition, the basic food groups, the food pyramid, safety issues related to food allergies, basic human needs, maintaining adequate hydration, personal hygiene including tooth care, and why drugs, alcohol and smoking are unhealthy, and the perils of drunk driving.

Traffic, bicycle and general safety:

We have discussed the importance of always wearing a bicycle helmet, of looking both ways before crossing the street, obeying traffic signals, watching cars for signals, safe and appropriate behavior on public transportation, seatbelts, carseats, not distracting the driver, what exit signs and emergency instructions (e.g. on the trains) mean; strangers, staying where mom and dad can see you, what to do if lost or separated from family, how to avoid getting lost in the first place, how to ask for help. Mikro knows his name and address (though not his zip code), and his parents' names. On trips outside our neighborhood, he wears a dog tag engraved with name, address and phone numbers, as well as information regarding his food allergies, and he knows that he should show it to police if he becomes lost.

Fire Safety and Prevention:

We have discussed what to do in a fire emergency, including formulating a family escape plan, stop drop & roll, get low and go, exiting the house immediately and not returning, trying to wake family members, but leaving if unsuccessful, telling firefighters if family and pets are still inside, going to a neighbor to call 911, and waiting at a designated location for family members. We visited the Fire Zone in New York City last year, and periodically talk about the fire prevention strategies we learned there, and look at our notes and drawings from that experience. He knows how to call 911 in the event of a fire or other emergency and has role-played doing so, and knows what sorts of situations should be considered emergencies. Mikro successfully completed the rounds of all the fire activity stations at the Croton Fire Fair to win his ride on a fire truck.

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