Monday, December 20, 2010

"No School" Doesn't Mean "No Learning"

We have officially caved in and declared a holiday vacation from homeschool. But just because we are on vacation, doesn't mean that there isn't a little bit of learning still going on! Here are some of our activities that I consider to be enriching learning experiences even though they are not a part of our official curriculum...

Grammar & Spelling

For the past week, my daughter has been writing out her holiday cards. This is her first time to do so. She wanted to do them after she saw me writing out mine. So I picked up a couple packets of festive Mary Engelbreit note cards ($1 at Michaels) and then helped her write out her message on a dry erase board, which she then uses for reference as she writes out her 10 cards. This also has provided me with the opportunity to teach her how to address a letter with both a mailing and return address.


Earlier this year, we enrolled in Pizza Hut's Book It! reading program. Each month, we set a goal as far as how many books to read, or how many minutes each day, and if my daughter completes the goal, I give her one of the coupons that Pizza Hut sent me, which entitles her to one free personal pan pizza. She did great the first month (goal: she reads 12 books, and I read her 5 harder, longer books), so we made the second month a little harder (she reads 20 books, and I still read her 5). We squeaked by, so this month we kept that same goal. I ordered some new readers from Scholastic, and to ensure her participation, I am having her read one to me every night before bed (because our days have been disjointed and off schedule!). So far, this is working out great. In fact, tonight she redeemed her second pizza, as we decided to have a family night out. She takes great pride in her accomplisment and insists on personally handing the cashier her Book It! certificate/coupon.  


Baking, baking, and more baking! Learning how to measure is never as much fun as when you actually create something edible and yummy. On our list this week: blueberry bread, lemon cake, gingerbread cookies, and my special homemade fudge for gift giving!

We're also planning to work on patterns (recognition and creating) as we assemble some cranberry/popcorn garlands for our little feathered friends, who have been extremely busy at our feeders the last several days during our snowy weather.


Project Feeder Watch is in full swing. The observation table is set up next to the dining room windows, and it includes binoculars, field guide, pencils and data sheet. We've also been conducting a little science experiment by growing lima beans in plastic bags (wet vs. dry vs. cold vs. warm) and then carefully recording the data. I'm thinking we might try some of this with a few of the seeds from our bird feeder and see what kind of results we get.

Arts & Crafts....and Character Building

Some of the other homeschooling parents in the area were receptive to the idea of a gift exchange among the kids. So I assigned each child a number and then used to draw names. Each child is responsible for giving another child a gift. Our only rules? Each gift must be handmade, using household items or materials that cost $5 or less. The goal is to promote creativity, thoughtfulness, consideration, and a giving heart. I'll post soon about what gifts my children have chosen to create for their friend.

How are you encouraging your children to learn during the holiday break?

Con mucho cariño...


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