Thursday, August 21, 2008

Focus on Chipmunks

We are wrapping up the end of our first official week of school, and I have to say Pamela is awesome. I made up a schedule in Excel (by the way, if you do not already have it, homeschoolers and other educators and students can buy the home and student edition of Microsoft Office for a great price--I enjoy thinking in Excel and find it indispensible for planning! Like her daddy, Pamela loves accomplishing and swiping things of her to-do list. We have accomplished nearly everything on the plan, and what is not done is due to things I need to figure out! She even adjusted it for me when we got behind in the association method because I got too ambition one day this week and we got a day behind!

The highlight of the week for me was one of Pamela's ideas. Throughout the summer, Pamela has been dropping little hints about what she would like to do differently. She requested that we read her beloved Getting to Know Nature's Children series of books. I do not believe these books are truly living books, they are not dry like encyclopedia articles either. I thought she might enjoy making entries in her nature notebook and writing her narrations there. As you can see, we started off with chipmunks.

Even though the soil in our area is too swampy and full of clay for chipmunks, we know them very well from our time in Colorado. We fed and watched the ground squirrels and Western chipmunks in our backyard. The baby chipmunks were so adorable, and Pamela enjoyed watching them scamper about. David spent hours trying to tame those things and could not contain his joy when one touched his shoe. One day, he ran into the house bawling, "Loa [our dog] broke a rule! She ate a chipmunk!" Yes, that day our dear dog shattered David's innocence, but he forgave her anyway.

During the week, Pamela read through page 11 and recorded her thoughts on graphic organizers posted below.

When it came time to write her narrations today, I put away her graphic organizers and she wrote from memory. I enjoyed seeing what she took away from her reading and what she found important. I loved her illustrations, too!


Mama Skates said...

i LOVE the little chipmunk tracks that she painted!

Anonymous said...

This looks great! I especially love the artwork. :-) And thanks for the Excel idea.

I noticed you use a lot of graphic organizers (I like them too -- as we all tend to be visual learners) Do you find that they help you accomplish RDI-friendly things in your home school? For example, do graphic organizers nurture dynamic (vs. static) thinking?

I've been pondering things like this lately -- and I'd love to hear your thoughts. :-)

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

love that spreadsheet... we have another spreadsheet program and it isn't quite the same but it is so handy as we decided to do a co-op on fridays and it was easy to go back in and adjust. we are increasing our graphic organizers too this year. 2 more weeks of vacation.

walking said...


I do not think typical Charlotte Mason homeschoolers need graphic organizers, except for this with very random, scattered-thinking children or special needs children. Pamela is able to narrate orally but struggles to organize her ideas in a logical flow when writing. Graphic organizers help her to see how her ideas fit together.

When she was writing into her nature notebook, she wrote the first five sentences and got stuck. So, I said, "What about the eastern and western chipmunks?" Then, she wrote the next four sentences and I pointed to the white spots on her map where they do not live. She wrote her final sentence after that!

Queen Mum et al, I love Excel, too! On this week's list of things to do, I reorganized Friday to fit in Pamela's adventures with her consultant (blog post pending).

Anonymous said...

Tammy I love what you wrote on my blog. Beautifu;!

"In fact, I think the fruit of the Spirit will then flow through us and THEN the performance flows from that. To me, our actions reflect our relationship, without which the actions mean nothing."

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

This book will be a treasure later. I thought the tracks were cute as well!

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Pamela! Amazing. And to finish Endless Steppe and want to keep it, too! I'm almost as proud as your wonderful Mom!