SCHOOL YEAR: 2009-2010
HOMESCHOOLING STUDENT: Mikro
GRADE LEVEL: Kindergarten
THIS QUARTER COVERS: 10/14/09 to 1/14/10
DATE SUBMITTED: January 15, 2010
Mikro is progressing at a satisfactory level or better in all subject matter. His handwriting still 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, 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's reading skills continue to improve, and he has had great success with decoding multisyllabic and irregularly spelled words. He is reading short chapter books independently. 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, dragons, fairy tale characters and other imaginary creatures. He continues to participate in "Reading With...", our homeschool group's Book Group.
We have begun looking at the parts of speech using Songs for Teaching, HaveFunTeaching.com and Schoolhouse Rock videos, as well as worksheets available online. Mikro can successfully identify nouns, verbs and adjectives.
Mikro's handwriting has improved, but still has a way to go. He is now drawing and writing on his own without prompting, and is far more interested in working on his skills in this area. He lacks confidence in his skills, but is fairly proficient with upper case letters, and is learning lowercase. He still struggles with proper pencil grip. We practice writing words relevant to our other studies and writing notes and cards to friends and family members.
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: Izzie Lizzie Alligator, Sammy Shrimp, Pearlie Oyster, Spunky Spot, Lucky Lookdown, Lindie Lobster, Jenny Jellyfish, Harry Horseshoe Crab, Stevie B. Seahorse, Ellie & Ollie Eel, Perky Pelican, Oopsie Otter, Oozey Octopus and Great Sharky Shark.; several books in the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant; Animals, Animals by Eric Carle; The Armadillo from Amarillo by Lynne Cherry; The Frogs Wore Red Pajamas by Jack Prelutzky, Nonsense Verses by Edward Lear; lots of Eric Carle, including: Twelve Tales from Aesop, Rooster Sees the World, Mister Seahorse, and Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth; The Raucous Auk by Mary Ann Hoberman; Little Raccoon and Other Poems from the Woods by Lillian Moore; To Sleep, Perchance to Dream by William Shakespeare, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein; lots of Dr,. Seuss, including: Horton Hatches an Egg, The Cat in the Hat, , The Lorax, Sneetches and Other Stories, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, and several of the Seuss-inspired Cat in the Hat Science Readers, including Oh the Things You Can Do that Are Healthy for You, and Oh, Say Can You Seed. Mikro also reads books online via the Westchester Library System's Tumblebooks program.
Read Alouds: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan; The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, One Day in the Woods by Jean Craighead George; Petunia's Christmas by Roger Duvoisin, The Runaway Rice Cake by Ming Chang Compestine, several Nate the Great books, Como Cuentan Hasta Diez Los Dinosaurios by Jane Yolen; Un Dia Con Elmer by David McKee and too many dinosaur books to list.
We are working on one digit addition and 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 80. We have explored concepts like sets, patterns, place value, estimation, graphs and charts, measurement, symmetry, angles, polygons, fractions, topology, and/or statements and truth tables, and very large numbers and exponential notation. We attended a Math Demo at the New York Hall of Science on topology and patterning, and explored the Mathematica exhibit there.
Books include: Mission Addition by Loreen Leedy, Each Orange Had 8 Slices by Paul Giganti, Jr.; The Action of Subtraction by Brian P. Cleary; G is for Googol by David Schwartz, How Much is a Million by David Schwartz, On Beyond A Million by David Schwatrz, Fractions by Penny Dowdy; Fractions Are Parts of Things by J. Richard Dennis, What is Symmetry? by Mindel and Harry Sitomer, Yes No Stop Go: Some Problems in Mathematical Logic by Judith Gersting and Joseph E. Kuczkowski, Measurement by Penny Dowdy, Estimation by Penny Dowdy, Estimation by Charles F. Linn, Graphing by Penny Dowdy, and Dealing With Addition by Lynette Long, PhD; Angles Are Easy as Pie by Robert Froman.
Games include: Addition Bingo, the Bug Collection Game (includes addition and subtraction), Math Dice, Math Spin, Measuring Monkeys, Sum Swamp, Bionicles and Dinosaur Dice.
We have discussed the history of the space program, gravity and its effect on tides; the seasons; solstices and equinoxes, the phases of the moon; navigation; constellations; magnets; the elements and the periodic table; acids and bases; water quality; biomes; habitats; climate; classification of animals; migration; hibernation; camouflage; animal communication; predators and prey; animal reproduction and life cycles; the water cycle; photosynthesis; plant reproduction; evolution; extinction; geology; cladograms; oceans; 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, Raw Anatomy, Focus Earth, and Stuff Happens. He also watches Bill Nye the Science Guy on YouTube, including the programs on Flight, Buoyancy, Gravity, Seasons, Climate, Climate Change and Dinosaurs. We have also watched science related Schoolhouse Rock videos on You Tube, including The Body Machine, Do the Circulation, and Them Not So Dry Bones. He has an extensive collection of science and nature DVDs, which he watches as a treat before bedtime.
Books: Evolving Planet by Erica Kelly and Richard Kissel; Paleo Bugs by Timothy J. Bradley; When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm by Hannah Bronner; When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth, by Hannah Bonner, Periodic Table by Salvatore Tocci; Atoms and Chemical Reactions by Suzanne Slade; What Is the World Made of: Solids, Liquids and Gases by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; Let’s Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans and Holly Keller; Looking at Ouranasaurus by Frances Freedman, Slippery Slimey Baby Frogs by Sandra Markle; The Sun, Our Nearest Star by Franklyn M. Brantley ; Sunshine Makes the Seasons, by Franklyn M. Brantley; The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklyn M. Brantley; Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; Outside and Inside Dinosaurs by Sandra Markle; Forces Make Things Move by K. Bradley; Energy Makes Things Happen by K. Bradley; A Watertight Case (World Water Monitoring Day); Mariana Becomes a Butterfly (written by the Engineering is Elementary team of the Boston Museum of Science); Kwame's Sound (written by the Engineering is Elementary team of the Boston Museum of Science); Awesome Ocean Science by Cindy H. Littlefield; ABCs of the Ocean by Isaac Asimov; Velociraptor by Elaine Landau; Tyrannosaurus Rex by Elaine Landau ; Stegosaurus by Elaine Landau ; Triceratops by Elaine Landau ; Pterodactyls by Elaine Landau; Looking at Megalosaurus by Graham Coleman; Iguanodon and Other Spikey-Thumbed Plant Eaters by Virginia Schomp; The Seven Seas: Exploring the World Ocean by Linda Vieiera; Secrets of the Deep Revealed by Dr. Frances Dipper; Marshes and Swamps by Gail Gibbons; One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss; My World of Science: Magnets by Angela Royston; What Makes a Magnet by Franklyn M. Branley.
Field trips: New York Hall of Science: rocket park and space history, molecules, microbes, light and optics; Beczak Environmental Education Center: Beaks & Feet program; New York Botanic Gardens: Forest in the City program with our homeschool group and visits to the Everett Children’s' Adventure Garden; Central Park Zoo (especially snow leopards, polar bears, penguins); American Museum of Natural History: Journey to the Stars planetarium show, African Mammals, Birds; Hudson River Museum: Riverama exhibit; many nature walks where Mikro has observed such things as bird migration and behaviors, animal tracks, animals preparing for winter; stargazing with a telescope and following NASA's scheduled sighting opportunities for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (which Mikro again saw arc across the sky together on Thanksgiving!)
Classes: Mikro finished his ten session introduction to chemistry called "Crazy Chem" by Mad Science at the Bronx Library Center. Topics included states of matter, sublimation (using dry ice), atoms, molecules and compounds, chemical reactions and their indications, pH testing, catalysts, luminescence, oxidation and reduction.. 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, making slime, inflating a balloon with a chemical reaction in which gas was released, and experimenting with blacklight. 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). Recent topics were: the forest floor and bird habitats. He also participated in Science Stories at the Croton Library. Mikro attended the first session of a ten week series of classes on “Spy Science” offered by Mad Science at the Sunnyside Library in Sunnyside, Queens, which he will be taking next quarter.
Projects: Project Feeder Watch through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; water sample collection and testing in connection with World Water Monitoring Day; maintaining a compost heap and an indoor worm bin, maintaining a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
History & Patriotism and Citizenship:
In this second quarter, we have continued our studies of the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's voyage up the Hudson River. We took a tour of the replica ship Half Moon at the Yonkers Half Moon Festival, went to a talk by Mitchell Bring, author of My Mighty Hudson, at the Croton Library, visited the Dutch New York exhibit at the Hudson River Museum, visited the Dutch New York: Between East and West, The World of Margrieta van Varick exhibit at the Bard Graduate Center with our homeschool group, and participated in the Quadricentennial Time Capsule buried at Beczak Environmental Education Center (writing and photos submitted). Mikro participated in NYCHEA's (New York City Home Education Alliance) History Fair, which was in quiz show format, wherein students portrayed a historical personage and gave clues to the audience regarding their identity. Mikro portrayed Henry Hudson.
We have also been studying Native Americans, especially the New York tribes, including the Lenape, Mahican and Iroquois. Some of the books Mikro has read include: Mitchell Bring's My Mighty Hudson; Rocky Landon's A Native American Thought of I;, If You Lived in the Days of the Wild Mammoth Hunters by Mary Elting and Franklin Folsom; and Tiphaine Samoyault's Alphabetical Order: How the Alphabet Began. We watched related documentaries including Dutch New York (PBS), Bill Moyer's America’s First River and Conquest of America: Northeast. We have also watched a wonderful program about Native American legends, called Dreamkeeper. We have continued looking at Ancient Egypt via books and documentaries and have covered ancient Egypt, Assyria, and Israel using The Story of the World: Ancients by Susan Wise Bauer. We have begun looking at the Greek myths.
We have had discussions about early explorers, trade routes, imperialism and colonies, feudalism, the Divine Right of Kings, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, how America became a country, daily life in the thirteen colonies (including what life was like for children, and hands on experience with many different varieties of old fashioned toys and toymaking at the Yonkers Half Moon Festival), European settlers and Native Americans, 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, poverty and hunger, how government officials are elected, racism and other forms of discrimination, September 11, 2001, the United States military, war, nations/states/cities, and world geography. Mikro trick or treated for UNICEF. We have discussed the origins of holidays such as Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Veteran's Day and Election Day. We have discussed our family history and interviewed grandparents about what life was like when they were children, and we drew up a family tree on the computer. We have watched American history and government related Schoolhouse Rock videos on You Tube, including No More Kings, The Shot Heard Round the World, The Preamble to the Constitution, I’m Just a Bill (How a Bill Becomes a Law), Three Ring Government, and the Great American Melting Pot.
Mikro visited Fraunces Tavern Museum with our homeschool group and saw the Magna Carta as well as a very special facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence. We also visited the National Museum of the American Indian and saw the following exhibits: Beauty Surrounds Us, Identity by Design, A Song for the Horse Nation, and a presentation/demonstration about the Taino culture. Mikro made a corn husk doll at a program at the Croton Library. We learned about holidays in early America at the Holiday Weekend at Van Cortlandt Manor, and about September 11, 2001, the US military and the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan by touring the recently commissioned USS New York, the bow of which contains steel from the World Trade Center. We learned about trade routes and the cultures, stories and crafts of civilizations along the Silk Road at the American Museum of Natural History’s Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World exhibit. Mikro was especially captivated by the live silk worms and their cocoons and the step by step tour of silk making.
In our other studies, we have incorporated songs relevant to the subject matter, including, for example, Here Comes Science, Here Come the 123s, Science Songs, Chemistry Songs, Ocean Songs, various ecologically themed albums including Earth Mama's Under the Rainbow, Around the World With Earth Mama, Love Large and Grass Roots!; Kids Saving the Earth; Walking Jim Stoltz's The Web of Life and A Kid for the Wild. We have also introduced and continued to sing patriotic songs and anthems, such as the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, This Land is Your Land, Yankee Doodle, Grand Old Flag, God Bless America and God Bless the USA, along with folk songs and protest songs. We have introduced Mikro to country music, rock & roll, classic rock, Native American music and Christmas music.
Mikro has attended musical and dramatic performances at venues including the Paramount Center for the Arts, the New Victory Theatre, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and local libraries, including: Red Hawk Native American Dancers (Mikro participated in the Iroquois Smoke Dance, onstage at the Paramount); Arm of the Sea Theater's City that Drinks the Mountain Sky; Chestnuts Roasting on the Flaming Idiots; Pigeon Party; and The Frog Prince (Mikro attended a drama workshop and participated in two scenes during the performance at the Croton Library) ; and the Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park.
Mikro finished up his class with Private Picassos at the Bronx Library Center, in which the students viewed the works of famous artists and created their own work in a similar vein. Some of the artists studied include: Andy Goldsworthy (natural materials collage/assemblage), Robert Sabuda (pop up pages), Frida Kahlo (self portraits), and Keith Haring (murals). Mikro has also participated in art projects in connection with programs at Beczak Environmental Education Center in Yonkers, and at the local libraries, including candlemaking, painting, drawing, collage and assemblage. At home, he has experimented with collage, watercolors, clay, crayon, oil pastels and colored pencil. Mikro saw the Kandinsky exhibit at the Guggenheim and was very interested in the recurring symbols in the works, especially the ones that looked like microorganisms. In one painting, he described what he saw as "a dinosaur detecting sound waves" and, in another, "fertilization in action."
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, dressing properly for expected weather conditions, frostbite, personal hygiene including tooth care, first aid for bleeding, choking, respiratory and cardiac issues, head lice prevention, sun protection, why drugs, alcohol and smoking are unhealthy, and the perils of drunk driving.
Traffic, bicycle and general safety:
We have reviewed Traffic Safety materials from the New York City Department of Transportation and public transportation materials from Metro North Railroad's 2008 Harmon Yard Open House. We have also discussed gun safety.
Fire Safety and Prevention:
We continue to discuss what to do in a fire emergency, and role play calling 911.