Monday, August 13, 2012

A Crazy Fun Summer 2012

It's been a wild couple of months! When we finished school last April, I thought we were leaving ourselves all kinds of time for summer. And I needed that.

Because of this:

38 weeks with child #3

But the time has just flown past and next week we're beginning school again!

Our busy summer at a glance:
Family performance in the church talent show

Even little tigers lose their knack
when somebody twice their size
can't see the world through children's eyes.

We finally filled up the zoo chart with good Sunday behavior!! But Mom was too pregnant to go yet...

Summer time crafts out of the DK First Encyclopedia

They're Aztec headdresses

DK First Encyclopedia 
Great summer time resource. Below is my review:

A great conversation starter with your kids! 
A typical encyclopedia addresses topics in alphabetical order, and a bit more thoroughly, which this does not do at all. Rather, it addresses topics in a seemingly random order, providing more of an overview peppered with interesting facts and ideas. That's what makes it such a great conversation starter. I used this as a summer learning tool with my five-year-old who's now starting first grade. It took him all the way up to the first day of school, so every day he had some new curiosity to explore. We did a two-page spread per day, sometimes reading four pages if they happened to be in the same subject area. The subjects included are: 

World Regions (including one large world map near the back of the book)People and Society (including pop music and the six major religions)History of People (introduced the concept of cave people and the theory of cultural progression, which was a great conversation for a Christian family)Living World (the plant and animal kingdom)Science and Technology (very interesting introduction to light and color, matter, and many other concepts; led my son to an interest in mechanical engineering)Planet Earth (introduces geography and geology, including awareness of scientists who study them)Space and the Universe (impressive pictures of planets; we particularly liked the volcano on Mars and space probes/robots)

As a summer overview, this was perfect. There were a few "get messy" activities highlighted now and then, but not so many to be overwhelming. If we were to use this formally again, I'd make better use of the "Website addresses" pages in the very back. I didn't really notice them until part way through the book and then wasn't sure how to use them. Looking at them now, I can see how they would have complemented specific pages of the book. I would have liked this to be a truly internet-linked resource by listing those sites directly on the pages to which they correlate. As it is, you have to go looking in the back to see if they've provided a site for further exploration on any given topic. I've given the book five stars anyway because this is just my personal preference, and if I'd looked more thoroughly through the book before starting, this would be a non-issue.
Even though we've now read through the entire book, I know this is something we'll pick up again, maybe even as a summer study again but with more science projects and internet exploration. It's clear that children can get more out of this as they mature, and I think my son will find the subjects even more fascinating after he's encountered them a little through other studies.

Box guitar

Tents and telescopes; the trappings of summer

Gilgamesh became interested in chain reactions and built endless ones out of all his toys.
Youtube has countless examples of these. MIT hosts an event each year involving several teams who link their chain reactions together for one giant one! It's called FAT (Friday after Thanksgiving).

The music video below is an extreme example:

Bedroom makeover

Mighty Mind

Car washes

After church visits to the duck pond

but only if they were really good at church

Daddy and Mommy helped Gilgamesh with his summer workbook

Mommy found an old favorite!

We celebrated Mother's Day
with a Mother's Day craft

Basketball ended; Soccer began

And the sunshine was just what we needed!

Daddy completed his master's program

Tinker Toys tripod; Gilgamesh practiced amateur photography

We tried (and failed) to grow strawberries

We welcomed a new brother!!!

And he is wonderful
Mommy meme

We love little Sir Petrus!

Soccer ended; Tennis began

We played for fun

as a family

Daddy reads with all the young knights

Sir Gilgamesh, Sir Alastor, and Sir Petrus all together, three little knights sharing a quest



Learning how to be the big brother

Fourth of July bicycle parade

Chutes and Ladders with Papa

And last of all, we finally made it to the ZOO!!!

Ready to see some animals!


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