Happy New Year! We took a bit of a break over the latter half of December but we’re back in the learning saddle with a renewed sense of wonder and a yearning for learning.
Holidays of note this month:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 20.
Chinese New Year (Rat) begins Saturday, January 25.
This is what we have on deck learning-wise this month:
Ballet classes resume. We’re back in session, perfecting our poise and learning a new routine to a song from Zootopia called Foxy Fakeout.
Forest school continues. Rain, sun or snow, we’re in for another round of Forest School. We’ll be donning another layer and strapping on our snow boots.
Monthly kids book club. The group’s age range is 5 to 10. We meet with other homeschoolers and a children’s librarian to talk about the month’s selection. We also do an activity around the content of the book. This month, we’re reading a selection from The Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliot.
In other learning news:
With the break from the holidays, we’re recapping the word families and consonant blends we’ve learned so far.
We’re continuing our study of ASL (American Sign Language) through flash cards that I pull out when we have some down time in the car. We also have new resources to share soon.
One of our favorite activities, poetry teatime (inspired by Julie Bogart’s Brave Learner) continues. It is our special time to read our library book selections and talk about literature over a treat and a cup of tea or another tasty beverage and treat.
Podcasts are perfect for our car rides and we’re still listening to Circle Round. Each week, this literary-focused podcast tells folk tales, fables and stories.
Music appreciation is part of our everyday and we’re continuing that. I recently fired up the old computer with my iTunes library – so in addition to our Mozart Mondays, we listen to some of my music collection.
We’re continuing to learn piano but mostly informally. Although we check out the free video learning series for piano called Hoffman Academy from time to time.
Arts and crafts
I reorganized our “art studio” downstairs so hopefully that will open up more opportunities for the kids to just create. We have crafts planned around the aforementioned holidays. But really, the kids just like to go down and create off the cuff.
We’re continuing to do social emotional learning daily. It’s a priority for our family. Whether, it’s through a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episode, role playing or in our everyday family life. Another focus of ours is managing emotions and anxiety, getting calm and expressing how we’re feeling about things. The kids like using their gratitude journals.
Our main way of incorporating social studies into our routine is through running errands during the week. But this month, we’ll also be talking about New Year’s resolutions, civil rights (through MLK, Jr. Day) and learning about other cultures (including Chinese New Year).
With the holidays over, it’s a good time to revisit some key health concepts. We’ll be covering nutrition, balanced diets, food groups and the food pyramid, food prep, baking basics, sleep and exercise.
After a bit of research, I decided to purchase the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum. Getting outside has become such a cornerstone of our family life, I found it very fitting. Each week, the curriculum covers a different topic with a corresponding activity. I’ve read a number of nature school themed books and considered DIYing this but decided to let someone else do the heavy lifting. This month, we’ll be studying the winter sky, the moon, trees and ponds.
Although the books are still a little old for my kids (series is targeted ages 8-12), we’ve been reading stories from the informational fiction series called “The Acadia Files” by Katie Coppens which follows the life of preteen Acadia Greene and her family as they make STEAM themed discoveries.
We loved our Kiwi Crate subscription so much this last year, that I extended it another year. The kids request to do the boxes consistently. They love hands on learning,
We’ve also been listening to a podcast called “Wow in the World” from NPR. It’s an entertaining way to hear about a fun scientific discovery and it definitely appeals to the kids’ funny bone.
Math hasn’t been a huge priority as of late, but I’ve been told by the kids that they love it so we’re going to get back into it this month. They received a dice game for Christmas that they seem to be enjoying. We have also been going through online lessons and printable worksheets from Education.com. The kids work on number tracing daily with calendar practice and through their math sections in their workbooks.
Forest School has inspired us to get outside together as a family more, so we’re planning on taking more hikes in addition to exploring our community together.