Well, the school year is coming to a close in a few weeks. It doesn’t really close for us–we school year-round (taking days or parts of days off when needed.) But it will change slightly for the summer.
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We’re finishing up our space unit study (culminating with a trip to the planetarium next week). When we’re done with the lapbook, I’ll post pictures. It’s been a really fun study.
Next month we’ll be doing a botany unit. We’ll be (hopefully) doing a lot of nature walks and drawings to put in our nature journals this starting in May and continuing all summer. We started putting together backpacks for the four oldest kids to take on our nature walks. In them we put a clipboard with pencil attached with a string, magnifying glass, colored pencils, binoculars, and digital camera. We’ll visit the botanical gardens and arboreteum next month, too.
The boys have finished the final printing Handwriting Without Tears book, so they’ll be doing copywork until ready to start cursive. My 4 yo has also started Handwriting Without Tears and will continue that through the summer.
For reading, my 4 yo is still in the beginning stages with TATRAS phonics program. My 6 yo is really starting to pick up in reading confidence. He’ll keep up with reading from his Rod and Staff readers this summer. My 7 yo is almost finished with his last reader and will begin reading novels, poetry, Bible etc. to me daily. He reads to himself all the time and just finished "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Hobbit" this week.
For history we are finishing up our study of the Ancient Times (Roman Empire) with a focused study of the New Testament (life of Jesus and the early church age). The kids are all notebooking on this topic. (For some free notebooking ideas and tips, see the links at this site.) I found a lot of coloring sheets and other types of inserts (maps, list of 12 disciples, etc.) on the internet which go along with the Bible story/ passage we read about each day. We are using Egermeier’s Story Bible to guide us through our New Testament study. I’m hoping to finish it up by the end of summer. The baby is due at the beginning of September, so we’ll take a short break and then start in with the Middle Ages.
I just ordered our Middle Ages texts: Story of the World, vol. 2 and Mystery of History, vol. 2. We’ll be getting the CDs for Story of the World, too. I found out that all of the historical fiction I’d like to read for the middle ages is available at the library. Yeah! I’ll post those books later. Right now we’re reading "The Bronze Bow" (ancient Rome and New Testament times) and listening to "The Secret Garden" on CD (for the botany unit). My husband is reading aloud "Heidi" in the evenings. (If you haven’t read "Heidi", go check it out! Be sure to get the unabridged version.) Next I’ll read "A Wrinkle in Time" (a little late for our space unit).
Soon we also need to finish up our hands-on projects for Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Space. I have a list of things to do on the fridge and will post about them when we do them! They include things like Greece: make paper mosaics, bead/seed/bean mosaics, geometric 3D shapes, and sugar cookie clay tablets; Rome: food like olive bread and artichokes, army helmet out of paper mache, aquaduct, weave a mini basket, crayon engraving, and volcano model; and Space: planetary model out of foam balls, comets, rockets from plastic film containers and space food (soup and comet ice cream cones.) These are the hardest things for me to get to because of the preparation time (buying materials), mess and difficulty dealing with the two little ones.
Here are our unit studies for the summer: In June we’ll study Famous Artists and Paintings and take a trip to the Art Institute. In July we’ll study oceans. I have some fun lapbook materials for this. And we’ll take a trip to Shedd Aquarium. In August, we’ll study Desert Habitats. I was going to study China because of the Olympics, but my oldest son expressed his interest in Deserts, so we’ll do that instead. We’ll go to the zoo and see some great "boy" desert animals such as rattlesnakes and gila monsters! My other son said he’d rather study dinosaurs, so we’ll see if we can fit that in, too. I have some wonderful materials from Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research.
Finally, now that we’ll be finished with swim lessons, I’d like to start up our Musikgarten classes again. These are related to animal habitats: Cattail Marsh, Meadow and Seashore. In the fall they are related to 4 different world cultures: British Isles, Germany, American Indians and African Americans. Each of these cultures will be a unit study for next year.
With all the above, playing outside a lot, field trips and a couple of vacations, we’ll be plenty busy this summer!