Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Catch Up!

Summer is upon us and as many children have a two month or more break, our kids are still exploring and learning. 

Eric has grown tremendously in the past few months, not just in size and vocabulary.  He is becoming more focused and displays a strong desire to learn now.  He's willing to sit for longer periods of times and is requesting to do "school."  Our letter of the week, has been letters of the month.  However, he is definitely gaining ground on letter sounds and names.  He definitely knows their sounds better than their names.

Ella started her art class for the summer at Monart, which includes Clay and Drawing utilizing the Mona Brooks book method of drawing.

Ella really enjoys this class she has taken on/off , since she was 3yrs old. Her drawing our starting to really display her own style, as she experiments with different color and mediums.  She absolutely loves art!

Eric had a glorious time with Glitter for our letter G study.  

It came at just the right time as we were getting our Garden ready for planting!  The kids walk through our gardening nursery, like kids in a candy store.  The vibrant colors of all the flowers and the pictures of all the fruits and vegetables are just too tempting, as the kids made their their own garden.

Spring training came and went and Eric loved trying his hand at T-ball.  The sport definitely became a favorite, but will be exposing him to others during the years ahead.  

Preschool is often thought of the only place to learn how to take turns, follow directions, and listen to authority; however, we have the same outcome when we slowly introduce Eric to life outside of the home and in various activities.  Eric started a gymnastics class and is loving it, really building all those wonderful preschool social skills in a much smaller group setting.  I am always their to supervise and correct when needed. 

Even on vacation, school doesn't stop.  The world is our classroom.  On a vacation to Florida to visit family, the kids were enthralled with all the sea life that graced the ocean floor.  Ella encountered this beautiful sand dollar, still alive.  She opted to throw it back in the ocean, instead of taking him home.

While in Florida, we ventured over to Clearwater Marine Aquarium where Winter the dolphin was filmed for the movie, "Dolphin Tale."  The Aquarium was filled with educational opportunities for the kids.  We were able to tour many of the props from the movie set, as well as learn how some of the props were altered & filmed for use in the movie.

Of course, we visited Winter the dolphin (the highlight of the trip) and learned first hand Winter's story and triumphs.

We were amazed at just all the different types, textures, and sizes of shells.

Even more amazing was watching a sea turtle undergoing surgery for numerous tumors.  Being an active working marine hospital, we spent hours learn all about marine life in and the hurdles they face from man.  A true real life educational experience for everyone.

We spent some time at the Children's museum in Charleston, where the kids learned about dams and working lock systems.

Ella enjoyed playing cashier in their kid sized store, but quickly realized the computer system wasn't accurate in it's calculations.

The kids loved the fire museum in Charleston, learning about fire safety and the history of firefighting and fire trucks.

We arrived home and jumped right into finishing our study about the earth.  Our most yummy project yet, was our Rice Krispie treat model of the earth and it's layers. 

Eric made a huge leap in his learning these last few weeks.  He's recognizing letters in words and is quick to point them out.  The first time we heard Eric catch a letter, was during our study of letter H.  We were sitting at the breakfast table and he quickly glances up and shouts, "letter H!"  He had spotted the letter H in the writing above our front door which reads, "God Bless This Home."  

I was shocked and totally amazed!  This was the first time he had seemed to absorb and verbally dictated to me without prompting what he had been learning.  What a proud Mom I was, to know that it is all starting to "click" for him! 

Eric still struggles to form letters with pencil, but have found other ways to build his writing skills.  He often switches between left and right hand, but does seem to be left hand dominant.  We sometimes use fingers paints, as he does well with forming letters this way.

He is very precise in his dot paint and takes the time now to complete each letter.  No more flying through his dot paint letters with paint everywhere and anywhere.  

The kids had a fun time getting Daddy involved in building an Assyrian tower, out of legos.  The re-enacted the story of the conquering of Babylon by the Assyrians.  Eric always enjoys joining us for the history projects.

Eric took it upon himself to grab these playdoh tweezers and place his letter "I" parts in just the right spots on the page to form the letters.  What a great way to help develop his fine motor skills and pincher grasp for writing.  I'll have to remember this next time we're playing with Playdoh.

Notice how well he holds the magnetic pen as he moves the balls around the board.  He spent 15 minutes with me, taking turns and maneuvering the balls.

We've had this shape sorter for a couple years, it was gift from his Aunt.  He asked to put it together with me and as we played together, and we had lots of conversation about the different sizes of the cars and colors.

We are so blessed to be able to see all these learning moments first hand!  I don't have to hear about it at a teacher conference or from someone else, I am privileged to see the spark in our kids eyes, when they grasp a new concept.  During times of frustration and struggle, I pick them up and find new ways that will encourage and inspire them.  Never once, are our children left behind.  They are always top in their class!  Probably why our kids are so strong willed and confident, which shows in many aspects in their lives.