February 2013 Monthly Learning Summary (For Kai)

This month, we stayed at home quite a bit. At least, that’s what it FELT like. But that’s only partially true. I’d say we did more atypical things for us, which made it feel… different. Not bad, just different.

One thing that WAS bad was when the boiler system for our building broke… and it took them two and a half days to fix it. But we all appreciated hot water a lot more after that!

One of the things we’ve been working on is a morning routine. On weekdays, we’re having Kai go to the bathroom, get dressed, and brush his teeth. Right away. On weekends, he can wait a bit. For Kai, anytime you make a change in his routine, it can be a tough transition. We’ve (mostly) got it down without arguments now.

We read SO MANY BOOKS this month. Next month, we’ll be out of the house more, so I know we’ll read less. But he seems to be absorbing a good deal of it.

I’m also going to attempt to get out – and get outside – more often. Kai has been running in the house lots and I think he probably needs more space to get his energy out.

For tracking, I’d like to change this up, but I’m not sure how. We’ll see what happens next month.

Heart Shaped Pancakes For Valentine's Day

Holidays and such:

  • Kai got belated birthday gifts from Joe’s sister. He LOVED that, especially a book she sent him that was about Egypt – its pages formed a pyramid.
  • On Valentine’s Day, he got a couple of little gifts, we had heart shaped pancakes with chocolate chips, and we talked about the holiday, its history, that it can be for ANYONE you love.

February 7, 2013


  • We’ve been reading “Little House on the Prairie” this month. Joe and I showed Kai the areas the Ingals travelled in. We talked about why people would want to move west. We had a lot of conversations about the government “relocating” the Native Americans. We’ve had some hard conversations about racism, as well. We haven’t finished the book yet, but at the end of the month, we finished the Christmas chapter, which is my favorite “Little House” chapter ever. We talked about how the girls were so excited with so little.
  • We talked about the changing seasons and light. We’re working on the “Mystery Class/Journey North” project and have done a lot of talking in regards to that: What makes the seasons? Why are there different amounts of light? How are seasons and light levels different, depending on where you live?
  • We talked about Julius Caesar, because one of Kai’s Valentine’s Day gift was a LEGO mini-fig “blind blister” and he got one that looked like Julius Caesar. I was able to tie that into our continuing talks about calendars.
  • We talked about the meteors that hit in Russia. Kai watched some video footage from that. Later, in play, he reenacted the meteor attacks and used the “breaking glass” elements in his play.
  • We talked about the differences between carnivores/omnivores/herbivores.
  • We talked about mammals, what makes a mammal, and what kinds of mammals there are.
  • We talked about solids, liquids, and gases.
  • Joe and Kai had a very in-depth conversation about scruffing cats. Our cats all react very differently to scruffing. Scruffing Parker is a VERY bad idea – he left his mother too soon to remember it and will try to fight you off (and possibly get himself hurt). The other two: one doesn’t care, the other goes limp. I don’t like scruffing, but it’s something Joe does, so he talked about it with Kai and why he feels it is effective with some cats.
  • The three of us talked about how different families operate differently when it comes to parents’ roles. We pointed out how, in the Little House books, the girls were expected to listen, no questions asked. But, here, we’re okay with him asking questions (usually) and we (usually) tell him why we would like him to do something. We discussed how different parents have different priorities and how that isn’t even necessarily a good or bad thing –  for example, one family might prioritize eating at the table together while another family might not ever do it. This is something that’s really important for him because even between his parents’ homes, rules are different (which can sometimes be frustrating for him).
  • We talked about Buckingham Palace guards (after watching Cars 2).
  • While we were watching Mary Poppins, we talked about nannies, women’s voting rights, accents (particularly British), and one man bands.

February 28, 2013

Games played:

Kai, on the drums.

“Educational games” websites visited:

Playing with Play-Doh.


  • Electric Company (the old one)
  • Videos from Mystery Class
  • Minecraft videos
  • Wild Kratts: wolf, bees, geckos, rhinos, elephants, giraffes
  • Rock N Learn “Read Aloud Stories” DVD
  • Cars 2
  • How juiceboxes are made video
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Misty Mountain (Thomas DVD)
  • Caldecott Books on DVD
  • Transformers
  • Rock N Learn’s Life Science
  • Bill Nye – earth’s seasons, energy
  • Mary Poppins
  • Lots and Lots of Jets and Planes
  • Solid, Liquids, Gas DVD
  • Rock N Learn Earth Science
  • Rock N Learn Human Body

Kai and Joe, playing the SimCity closed beta.

Listened to:

  • “Titanic, Voices From The Disaster” – audiobook
  • “How Things Work” podcast: LEGOs
  • Beatles music
  • Music from video games, including Minecraft and Journey
  • They Might Be Giants, “Here Comes Science” album
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Head and the Heart

Playing with Zelda.

At home:

  • We’ve been weaning Kai off of naps and have instead been doing “one hour of quiet room time”. Sometimes, though, Kai would put himself to sleep! Mostly, he’d play or, quite often, read. I put some podcasts and audiostories on his mp3 player specifically for these times.
  • Joe and Kai worked on putting together LEGOs and Kai played with his LEGOs. Extensively.
  • Kai pretended to be in “SimCity”. He added in Minecraft elements and talked about how nobody died (from attacks) but how they did have to go to the hospital because they were hurt by the glass from windows breaking.
  • He played with the recorder (instrument) for quite some time one day and requested lessons (that may be a whim – we’ll see).
  • He plays “Superheroes” a LOT, especially Iron Mon.
  • Joe and Kai put together Super Skeleton, which was a gift from Joe’s sister. It has a bunch of named parts. Very cool.
  • Kai helped Joe “fix” (tighten) some of our dining room chairs.
  • I set up a “secret code” for him to unscramble. He had to do some addition problems to do so.
  • Played lots with his cars and trains.
  • Kai has been helping prepare food more.
  • Kai has been unloading the silverware regularly.
  • Did a few worksheets.
  • Worked on “Mystery Class/Journey North” project.
  • Played with Play-Doh.

Video of the month: Addition using a five frame.


Out of the house activities:

  • We’ve been doing storytime at the Ballard libraries on Wednesdays. Kai really enjoys these and they’ve the following topics this month: Chinese New Year, African stories, frogs, and, I think, the one right before Valentine’s Day was about love and friendship. We have something else planned for Wednesdays next month and I’m trying to figure out whether we want to do a different story time or not.
  • Kai’s been going to the Fred Meyer Playland about once a week, while shopping gets done. He really enjoys it and, apparently, often mentions that he is homeschooled if asked about preschool or kindergarten.
  • We went to the Pacific Science center. He looked at DNA activities, did “face matching” – match the younger face to the older one, played at the play area, watched a Beatles laser show, looked at a few things about the body, and watched their “Illusions” live science show.
  • We went to MOHAI with Kai’s friend, “Kidlet”, and her mother. It was a mini-MOHAI day and he and I both enjoyed it greatly.
  • Joe, Kai, and I all went to Coe Play Park for a while one day.


Social activities:

  • Toward the beginning of the month, Kai and I went to a Pokemon game day, hosted by one of the homeschool moms in the area. Kai enjoyed it, but found it frustrating at times. He was younger and newer to the game. It was also a group of boys and they kept talking over each other, which is typical, but not what Kai is used to. However, he really enjoyed playing and it was so sweet of the mom to host the game day and let us come.
  • My dad and stepmother were in town (they live in Arizona), so Kai and I went out to their hotel to spend time, mainly with my dad (as my stepmother was taking care of things to do with her mother’s estate – she passed away last year and they’ve been working on the place). Kai read to him, played, talked, etc.
  • Kai’s friend, “Kidlet”, came over to play. They played a fair bit, including doing cotton ball races (both with a straw and a spoon), tossing balled socks into a laundry basket (which they both REALLY enjoyed), played hospital (involving tools such as pliers!), did a game called “kindergarten yahtzee” where they roll two dice, add them together, and cross off the numbers on their sheet (the first one out of numbers wins), and just generally enjoyed each other’s presence. I’m always amused – these two are SO different but they’re such good friends.
  • Towards the end of the month, my nephew, Jeremy, had his birthday party. He turned 4. Jeremy and Kai are really good friends. Before my sister’s schedule changed, we used to have my nephew every week for a few hours. The boys miss seeing each other regularly. We drove down to their place, about an hour away. They have chickens and horses, which Kai got to see (and we took home fresh eggs). It was also Kai’s first time playing with a pinata – he was frustrated by not being able to see (didn’t see the point of making it harder), but scored a fair bit of candy and had a good time). He met some of my stepfather’s family – my aunt, uncle, and her kids. This was also the first time he’d been in the same room as my mother, my stepfather, my stepmother, and my father all at once! (As well as my mother’s mother.) Actually, it was a bit weird for me – as a kid, my parents fought a lot. The last time all four of them were in the same room was when I was getting married for the first time, in 2002. (And they stayed as far apart as possible!) Seeing them all talk and laugh together was… weird. But good.


Reading to me while I cook.

Books read:

  • Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. NY: Dial  for Young Readers, 1976. Print.
  • Adler, David A., and Edward Miller. Time Zones. New York: Holiday House, 2010. Print.
  • Anderson, Catherine. Apple Orchard. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 2005. Print.
  • Anno, Mitsumasa. Anno’s Counting Book. New York: Crowell, 1977. Print.
  • Anno, Mitsumasa. Anno’s Magic Seeds. New York: Philomel, 1995. Print.
  • Asher, Sandy, and Keith Graves. Too Many Frogs! New York: Philomel, 2005. Print.
  • Badescu, Ramona, Benjamin Chaud, and Claudia Zoe. Bedrick. Pomelo Explores Color. New York: Enchanted Lion, 2012. Print.
  • Bailey, Jacqui, and Matthew Lilly. Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and Night. Minneapolis, MN: Picture Window, 2004. Print.
  • Batten, Mary, and Higgins Bond. Who Has a Belly Button? Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, 2004. Print.
  • Branley, Franklyn Mansfield, and Michael Rex. Sunshine Makes the Seasons. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2005. Print.
  • Brooks, Erik. Polar Opposites. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010. Print.
  • Bryan, Ashley. Beautiful Blackbird. New York: Atheneum  for Young Readers, 2003. Print.
  • Carter, David A. If You’re Happy and You Know It: A Pop-up Book. New York: Scholastic, 1997. Print.
  • Chabon, Michael, and Jake Parker. The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. New York: Balzer + Bray, 2011. Print.
  • Cleary, Brian P., and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. The Punctuation Station. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook, 2010. Print.
  • Cleary, Brian P., and Martin Goneau. Dolphin, Fox, Hippo and Ox: What Is a Mammal? Minneapolis: Millbrook, 2013. Print.
  • Compestine, Ying Chang., and Tungwai Chau. The Runaway Rice Cake. New York: Simon & Schuster  for Young Readers, 2001. Print.
  • Davis, Jim. Garfield Tips the Scales: His 8th Book. New York: Ballantine, 2004. Print.
  • Dodd, Emma. Meow Said the Cow. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 2011. Print.
  • Dormer, Frank W. The Obstinate Pen. New York: Henry Holt, 2012. Print.
  • Ehlert, Lois. Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count on. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990. Print.
  • Emberley, Rebecca, and Ed Emberley. Chicken Little. New York: Roaring Brook, 2009. Print.
  • Eversole, Robyn, and Scott Campbell. East Dragon, West Dragon. New York: Atheneum  for Young Readers, 2012. Print. Another favorite. Has been checked out a few times.
  • Gibbons, Gail. The Reasons for Seasons. New York: Holiday House, 1995. Print.
  • Graham, Ian, and David Antram. You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the First Submarine!: An Undersea Expedition You’d Rather Avoid. New York: Franklin Watts, 2009. Print.
  • Gravett, Emily. Spells. New York: Simon & Schuster  for Young Readers, 2009. Print. Fiction.
  • Hamilton, Martha, Mitch Weiss, and Baird Hoffmire. The Big Wide-mouth Frog. Atlanta: August House Story Cove, 2009. Print.
  • Harris, Robie H., and Nadine Bernard Westcott. Who Has What?: All about Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2011. Print.
  • Hong, Lily Toy. Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman, 1993. Print.
  • Intriago, Patricia. Dot. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. Print.
  • Jacobs, Paul DuBois., Jennifer Swender, and Selina Alko. My Subway Ride. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2004. Print.
  • Jeffers, Oliver. Up and down. New York: Philomel, 2010. Print.
  • Kimmel, Eric A., and Janet Stevens. Anansi and the Talking Melon. New York: Holiday House, 1994. Print.
  • LaMarche, Jim, Wilhelm Grimm, and Jacob Grimm. The Elves and the Shoemaker. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2003. Print. This one has the most beautiful illustrations I’ve ever seen for this story.
  • Lichtenheld, Tom, and Ezra Fields-Meyer. E-mergency! San Francisco, CA: Chronicle, 2011. Print.
  • Lin, Grace. Dim Sum for Everyone! New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Print.
  • Lionni, Leo. An Extraordinary Egg. New York: Dragonfly, 1998. Print.
  • Lobel, Arnold, and Arnold Lobel. Frog and Toad Are Friends. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. Print. Started in February. Not yet finished.
  • London, Jonathan, and Frank Remkiewicz. Froggy Goes to Hawaii. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.
  • London, Jonathan, and Frank Remkiewicz. Froggy’s First Kiss. New York: Puffin, 2000. Print.
  • Long, Ethan. The Croaky Pokey! New York: Holiday House, 2011. Print.
  • Mosel, Arlene, and Blair Lent. Tikki Tikki Tembo. New York: Square Fish, 2007. Print.
  • Muth, Jon J. Zen Ghosts. New York: Scholastic, 2010. Print.
  • Newman, Jeff. Hand Book. New York: Simon & Schuster  for Young Readers, 2011. Print.
  • Orona-Ramirez, Kristy, and Jonathan Warmday. Kiki’s Journey. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book, 2006. Print.
  • Osborne, Mary Pope., and Sal Murdocca. Carnival at Candlelight Magic Tree House #33. New York: Random House, 2005. Print. Audiobook.
  • Osborne, Mary Pope., and Sal Murdocca. Season of the Sandstorms / a Merlin Mission. N.Y.: Handom House, 2005. Print. Audiobook.
  • Osborne, Mary Pope. Magic Tree House #36: Blizzard of the Blue Moon. Imagination Studio; Unabridged Edition (September 26, 2006): n.p., n.d. Print. Audiobook.
  • Parr, Todd. The I’m Not Scared Book. New York: Little, Brown, 2011. Print.
  • Paye, Won-Ldy, Margaret H. Lippert, and Julie Paschkis. The Talking Vegetables. New York: Henry Holt, 2006. Print.
  • Peters, Andrew, Polly Peters, and James Coplestone. The No-no Bird. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s, 2009. Print.
  • Pinkney, Jerry. Three Little Kittens. New York: Dial  for Young Readers, 2010. Print.
  • Portis, Antoinette. A Penguin Story. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Print.
  • Posada, Mia. Guess What Is Growing inside This Egg. Minneapolis: Millbrook, 2007. Print.
  • Rey, Margret, and H. A. Rey. Curious George Goes to the Hospital,. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966. Print.
  • Rinker, Sherri Duskey., and Tom Lichtenheld. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2011. Print.
  • Růžička, Oldřich, and Tomáš Tůma. Mysteries of Egypt. Richmond Hill, Ont.: Firefly, 2011. Print.
  • Santat, Dan. The Guild of Geniuses. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 2004. Print.
  • Schaefer, Carole Lexa., and Pierr Morgan. Dragon Dancing. New York: Viking, 2007. Print.
  • Schaefer, Lola M., and Geoff Waring. Just One Bite: 11 Animals and Their Bites at Life Size! San Francisco, CA: Chronicle, 2010. Print.
  • Schwartz, Corey Rosen., and Dan Santat. The Three Ninja Pigs. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012. Print.
  • Scotton, Rob. Splat Says Thank You. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.
  • Serafini, Frank. Looking Closely along the Shore. Toronto: Kids Can, 2008. Print.
  • Stampler, Ann Redisch., and Carol Liddiment. The Wooden Sword: A Jewish Folktale from Afghanistan. Chicago, IL: Albert Whitman &, 2012. Print.
  • Thomas, Shelley Moore., and Jennifer Plecas. A Cold Winter’s Good Knight. New York: Dutton Children’s, 2008. Print.
  • Van, Lieshout Maria. Hopper and Wilson. New York: Philomel, 2011. Print.
  • Wahman, Wendy. A Cat like That. New York: Henry Holt, 2011. Print. This one is ALWAYS a favorite. We’ve checked it out several times across two library systems.
  • Walsh, Joanna, and Judi Abbot. The Biggest Kiss. London: Simon & Schuster Children’s, 2010. Print.
  • Wells, Robert E. How Do You Know What Time It Is? Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 2002. Print.
  • Wilder, Laura Ingalls, and Garth Williams. Little House on the Prairie. New York: Harper & Bros., 1953. Print.
  • Willems, Mo. My Friend Is Sad. New York: Hyperion  for Children, 2007. Print.
  • Wilson, Karma, and Jane Chapman. What’s in the Egg, Little Pip? New York: Margaret K. McElderry, 2010. Print.
  • Wood, Douglas, and Wendy Popp. Where the Sunrise Begins. New York: Simon & Schuster  for Young Readers, 2010. Print.
  • Yu, Li-Qiong, and Cheng-Liang Zhu. A New Year’s Reunion. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2011. Print.


3 thoughts on “February 2013 Monthly Learning Summary (For Kai)

  1. Angie

    I love how you’re documenting! 😀 I like these glimpses into your world! My older sons also learned a lot about meteors from the Russia incident. As did I! Also, I love how you’re having discussions about families, and autonomy. Very important for us all to keep these things in mind!

  2. HSofia (@hsofia)

    Cool stuff – so much in one month! It’s funny how much ground one can “cover” just through conversation. I have so many memories of my parents talking to us about things in life, and I think that’s really important. I’m really interested in how other parents talk to their children about social issues, history and current events (you mention women’s rights, Julius Caesar, and the Russian meteor) and I feel a little bewildered about introducing these things to Kidlet. She seems to show now interest in these whatsoever. She won’t even listen to a story about a human child unless there is an animal companion featured prominently in it. I’m not sure if I should wait for her signal or if there’s something I ought to be doing to foster more interest. If you have any suggestions/advice, I’d be open to it. Also reading your update reminded me of Kidlet’s interaction with Kai and I added a few notes to our February summary. This is such a great record! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Misa Knight Post author

    Hrm. I think that mainly what we do is mention things as they come up. For instance, in Mary Poppins, Mrs. Banks has a banner on – I asked Kai if he knew why she had one and what they were singing about. The Russian meteor – we just showed him some YouTube footage, “I’ve got something I think you’d like to see,” or even play it up a bit. Or, when he opened the Julius Caesar mini-figure, “Do you know who that is?”

    If Kai wants to hear more, we talk to him about it. If not, we move on. For Kidlet, she seems so interested in stories and animals – what about reading to her some animal stories from different time periods or regions?


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