Wednesday, September 30, 2009

History Notebook

One of the things K12 wants you to do with primary-age kids is to keep a history notebook and a science notebook. With history, the child is supposed to dictate a narration or draw a picture and dictate the caption for each lesson. So, a bit like Well Trained Mind's program. I didn't really focus much on this during these last two weeks. I was too busy just getting the hang of how the program worked, and getting Paddy past his first reaction of impatience to the new way of doing things.

However, things are easing up. We are just finishing our first "units" for both the kids in history and science. The units seem to take about 2 weeks and there is a review and a "unit assessment" at the end of each unit. The review day asked me to look at the history notebook with Paddy so he could see how much he's learned. But I didn't have one -- just a folder with worksheets that I've been stuffing all his work into. (He passed the assessment anyway).

So anyway, yesterday I got a bunch of binders out of the closet and I think I'm actually going to set up notebooks for Paddy, something I always kind of wanted to do but never really got around to. I put page protectors in them and I also got out a file box and filled it with different kinds of paper and even some photocopied maps so we can just grab things out when needed.

Since I didn't have any narrations recorded for this first Geography unit -- he did do narrations but I picked stealth moments so as not to exasperate him, and didn't write them down -- I made a sort of PDF review packet using things I found on the web (I did NOT use K12 materials to make the packet).

I'm putting this in the beginning of the notebook so we can go back and review every now and then. This weekend I'll try to get him involved in decorating the notebook covers.

This coursework keeps bringing back memories of earlier homeschool days when Brendan and Clare were small. I used the Core Knowledge series as a guide and devised little units and book trails based on them. My fall-down area was organization and review, so this layout makes it easier for me.

I've been reading the What Your First Grader Needs to Know book to Paddy at night when I want him to get sleepy, after I read to him from Thornton Burgess's Book of Animals and William Bennett's Heroes anthology. We made it past the geography and are now reading about how history began and King Tut. It is very cute -- when I started reading about history as "the story of the past" his eyes brightened and he said "History!" because that's what the last K12 lesson was about (he seemed sort of bored at the time!). We had a long discussion about his first memory, my first memory, and how long back his grandparents' memories might go. He was very interested -- so much for sleep! Then when I started reading "The Nile Gives King Tut a Present" he started rapping "King Tut" (his siblings think the Steve Martin song is amusing so he's heard it). Every time I said King Tut after that there was a sort of undervoiced chorus of "King Tut". Made me laugh. Then I had that stupid song stuck in my head for the rest of the evening.

I debranched and froze a bunch of elderberries, and we had elderberry yogurt muffins yesterday. They disappeared fast. Kevin has been splitting more logs. He came and got me while I was cooking dinner and showed me how both the little boys were together pretending they were splitting logs. It has gotten MUCH colder within the last couple of days and we are definitely closing all the windows and checking out our heating system for the coming winter.

1 comment:

  1. Willa
    It's sounding more and more like you are happy with your program. You do have me thinking;) Just the whole approach.
    By trial and error I have found they take more pride in a notebook to fill rather than binding after the event.


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