May felt REALLY long, until it didn’t (funny how time works). But we did a lot.
Social activities – It is funny how anything “social” is a big Bugaboo for a lot of people when it comes to thinking about homeschooling, no? We’re so very lucky that Seattle is FULL of homeschoolers and also has a HUGE unschooling community. We’re not really ever having to LOOK for things to do (though I still do anyway!) but we ARE having to pick and choose what we do, because there’s soooo much to do. There are park days AT LEAST four days a week and other social activities planned throughout the month, as well. I know that this is not the case in a lot of areas and I feel so very lucky that we have these opportunities. I never have to worry if Kai can get “enough socialization”, whatever that is. It also interests me that while a lot of people TALK about socializing and socialization, it’s actually not one of the legal requirements for our state (or any state I know of! I could be wrong, though). Maybe because it’s so hard to quantify?
One of the big things that happened in May was that Kai had a friend spend the night (Kidlet) – the first one ever (with the exception of my nephew – but that’s a bit different). We took her home with us from homeschool park day, had homemade pizza, went to Pajama Story Time at the library, and then, the next day, we all went to Woodland Park Zoo, where her mother met us (she’s in our Wednesday group).
We also went to the birthday party of one of the girls that is in our Wednesday group. Instead of presents, they did a puzzle swap, which was pretty neat. Her parents set up a bean bag toss activity and Kai got to take home two of the handmade bean bags, which was pretty cool.
We continued our Wednesday group, going back and forth between Woodland Park Zoo and Pacific Science Center.
The day after Mother’s Day, my mother, my grandmother, my sisters, my nephew, Kai, and I all got together and went to the Woodland Park Zoo. One of my sisters, my nephew, my mother, and grandmother had some delays along the way, so those of us who were already there hung out at Zoomazium then checked out one of the Early Childhood backpacks for Kai and went on our way. Kai told my sisters all about some carnivorous plants – something he was really interested in, particularly the part where one of the plants “liquifies the insides of the bug, drinks it, and then drops the skeleton”! We did a conservation-based activity, where you pick things that are good for the environment or bad for the environment. At one point after everyone else got there, it rained. Hard. (Side note: Seattle, contrary to popular opinion, is not very rainy. It gets drizzly and gray, but “real” rain is fairly rare. Luckily, we were in the “African school” so we just hunkered down and had lunch while it rained. Another family was stuck there, too, and the boys all played together for a while.
At the end of the month, my nephew, my mother, my grandmother, and my stepfather all came over for a few hours. It was good for the boys to get more time to play together.
Kai is also becoming good friends with a few new kids, which is so fun to watch. He’s spent a lot of time playing with them at park days and on Wednesdays.
Places Visited: Wallingford Playfield, Golden Gardens, Miller Playfield, Ella Bailey Park, and Salmon Bay Park.
Seattle Gymnastics Academy
We went to the movie theater, for the Iron Man 3 release. We got to see at 9 pm on what was technically the day before the day it came out, because it was midnight on the East Coast (or something).
Pacific Science Center and Woodland Park Zoo – both with our Wednesday group and other times. At the end of the month, Pacific Science Center opened a new exhibit. We went with Kidlet and her mom. A lot of it is about Maker-type stuff. They even have an area where you can make stop-motion videos!
One of the stop-motion “movies” Kai made was called “The Cow Snuggles The Horse”. (I bet you can’t guess what happens! His description is actually pretty adorable.)
We went to the library a few times, including pajama story time.
We also visited my former husband (who Kai knows and we’re still good friends) at Virginia Mason Hospital (Kai asked tons of questions and I think making the hospital a “non-scary” place is REALLY important).
Art and Crafts: We started off the month by doing some gelatin prints, something Kai had not done before. He seemed to enjoy it and Kidlet and her mother stopped by and joined in as well.
They also made ducks at pajama story time.
Math: We tried a few days of Math Mammoth. I don’t know if we’ll continue that BUT we’ve gotten a few good things from that. In particular, they introduced us to a game where you show a number of objects, then one person hides some, and the other person has to tell how many were hidden.
We also played several other math games, mostly dealing with addition, but one was rolling and moving depending on whether an odd or even number was rolled.
Science: Aside from the science center and the zoo, we did a science experiment or two at home. Kai’s favorite was making a bottle full of oil and water to explore density and talk about water and oil not mixing. We also added an Alkaseltzer to the bottle a few days later and watched the bubbles go and go and go.
We’ve also watched some of the “North America” series that Discovery is doing. We learned a fair bit about animals that way.
Reading and Writing: Kai’s reading just keeps improving. He’s also enjoying reading to himself quite a bit and is happy to spend time in his room or on the couch, reading. We listened to a couple of audiobooks (one of them was a “Hank, The Cowdog” audiobook about “pteradogtail dinosaur birds” – sort of – and we’d just spent time discussing that pterodactyls were not actually dinosaurs so that was kind of nice timing) and, of course, we do bedtime stories. Joe’s books are usually picture books, some fiction, some nonfiction. Mine are typically chapter books.
One of the things we did this month was “Poetry Teatime”. I pulled out a pretty bedsheet to use as a tablecloth. We had cookies and herbal tea and read poetry and picture books out loud to each other. Kai LOVED it. We spent a couple of hours doing this. I hope to do it some more over the summer.
As for writing, he’s been using the whiteboard to write things, he labels things sometimes, the math worksheets helped him practice his numbers, and I’ve been working with him to improve some of his letter “shapes”.
Games: We all still continue to play lots of games, whether they’re board games, video games, computer games, or what have you. We got a new game this month, “Spot It!”, something he really enjoys that’s basically just matching pictures together. I have to admit, it’s quite fun.
As a family, we’ve done a fair bit of Minecraft this month. We explored a Stronghold. We got new skins – Kai’s looks like Iron Man. Joe and Kai worked together to make me a lava heart (I’d made one for them out of wool). Of course, we’ve done other things, but those are what strike me as the big things.
One of the board games we played that Kai really has enjoyed was “A La Carte”.
Upcoming in June: Continuing our Wednesday groups, park days, etc. I might not do a June summary – Kai will be at his other house for roughly half the month. I’ve been trying to find a better way to do these monthly summaries, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know. This takes HOURS at the end of the month and it’s kind of overwhelming/exhausting. I’d like to find a way to streamline it and maybe enter something in weekly or daily so I only have to do a bit at the end of the month. I’m also trying to figure out how to generalize more.
This month, you might notice, I’ve not listed SO MANY details, for two reasons: it was bogging things down and, also, it was very time consuming.
I give these monthly updates to Kai’s mother, too, (when you don’t have a curriculum but you have two households to take into account, there’s not a REALLY good way to keep each other updated on learning activities) so I’d like there to be a way to be more detailed without being so darn bulky. Any thoughts or suggestions?