In the last few months, we have done amazing things.
- Mapping and labeling Massachusetts and all the New England states
- Creating a Massachusetts timeline from 1620 onward
- Creating a map (with photos) of the old Cape Cod train line
- Reading about (and answering questions about) colonial New England; comparing it to present day
- Reading about (and answering questions about) native Americans, particularly the Wampanoag
- Attending a presentation by a Wampanoag educator
- Visiting an early lighthouse and centuries-old shipwreck in Wellfleet, MA
- Doing an arts project related to colonial America (making and using a hand-made loom)
- Performing in an "all bands" event in the local High School gym
- Visiting the Fine Arts Mueum in Boston
- Continuing and doing much better in math (word problems, simple multiplication)
- attending weekly homeschool gym at the Y, and working on all kinds of ball-handling, rock climbing, swimming, etc. with "typical peers"
- Continuing with candlepin bowling league -- Tom and Sara's team is top among four!
- Volunteering monthly to feed and exercise the critters at the local nature center
- Completing and writing about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the book)
- Learning to use a graphic organizer to develop and write paragraphs
- Becoming expert in conjugating the verb "to be," and using the right tense
- Starting to learn about homynyms
- Created a painted river and waterfall and made "trees" from twigs and "old man's beard" for train layout
And on and on it goes...
I'm beginning to understand while homeschoolers all sound so impressive: it just kinda happens, without your spending too much time planning or describing it.
shipwreck at Cape Cod National Seashore
The big question, for me, is how much of this is he actually understanding and retaining? And I have a sense that it's somewhere between "some" and "a bit." For example, he's definitely getting local geography and basic map reading. He's definitely got the very general gist of Mass history (there was the Mayflower and pilgrims and Wampanoag indians greeted the pilgrims. Life was diffferent then. There are still Wampanoags around now, and I met one). He understands that the king of England was in charge of the colonies, and the the revolution was about removing the king and replacing him with a president -- George Washington. Is that about as much as most fifth graders know? I wonder...
Both of us have pretty much had it with American history - at least for the time being. And we're staring in on what I think will be a more engaging unit on The Human Body. We'll start with a National Geog. video, and cover various different systems (skeletal, muscular, digestive, etc.). Found some good books and websites, and will supplement with some hands-on fun (I know some good stuff, and grabbed a Janice Van Cleave hands-on book from the library). Should be able to cover science and health content pretty nicely, along with some non-fiction book reporting, drawing, and maybe even a three-D art project.
Thanks, so very much, to the person who recommended the City Creek Press animated times tables. So far, they have made a huge difference in Tom's understanding -- even though he claims he doesn't want to watch or do the quizzes!