Monday, September 26, 2016

Kindergarten Week 6

Some of what we did in kindergarten this week...

Gemma was only supposed to learn "Raindrops" on piano, which introduces staccato, but she took a look at "Cracker Jack," next week's song, and was able to play that one, too. I'm sure if she had a real piano teacher (instead of just me - who is learning right along with her) the teacher would tell her she wasn't staccato-y enough on "Raindrops" and make her stay on "Raindrops," but I'm not a real piano teacher, and I think this skill is something that, over time, she can refine.

She can play all of the songs in the Alfred Prep Level B Christmas Book, except the last one, a song I'd never heard until Thursday night called "Coventry Carol." I found a YouTube video of "Coventry Carol (Lullay Lullay)" by Annie Lennox, and it's beautiful:

Gemma loved it and listened to it over and over. It helps me a lot to hear a song before trying to learn it, so I can put the visual with what I know I should be hearing, and I think the same is true for Gemma.

My husband subbed as the tutor for Gemma's Classical Conversations class this week. I'm so proud of him.

At our afternoon co-op, the kids made airplanes. The host mom read a book about Amelia Earhart. I had no idea she built a roller coaster using an 8 foot tall shed, boards, lard, and a crate! The mom also played a game like Follow the Leader using words like lift, thrust, drag, and gravity.
We read a little Little House on the Prairie, Prince Caspian, Training Hearts, and Life of Fred: Honey, as well as "The Frog Prince" and "Rapunzel," and a Brambly Hedge story, but we also read "Snow White and Rose Red" from My Book House, a couple of pages each night for three evenings, and Gemma read aloud "Rumplestiltskin" to me.

...Which leads to something I've been thinking about: If we look over Charlotte Mason's programmes for Form 1, we see that for "Tales," she only assigned 3 fairy tales and 3 fables - 6 stories! - for 12 weeks. But this wasn't all a student in 1B (1st grade) was doing; he was also doing reading lessons. I think it's easy to look at 6 stories as too few, and want to add 6 more, or 18 more. (Why not do a fable and a fairy tale every week? I've got to keep the kids busy with something.) I see this information as freeing. 

Because Gemma is a strong reader, I'm thinking that next year, I will probably have her read aloud "Tales" to me. We'll spend a set amount of time reading and pick up the next day where we left off, instead of worrying that we didn't finish a story. That's what I'm thinking right now.

A final thought on this is that if we look at the exams for 1B, there wasn't a specific list of fairy tales and fables that had to be read. Students were simply to tell a fairy tale or a fable from the term. I think this information is also freeing.
Gemma is still a Minnow. The September session ended this week, but she starts her final session of the year next week. Her coach said I need to tell the next coach to focus on rotary breathing, and work a little more on treading water, but that Gemma has learned all of the other skills on the back of the Minnow card. Yay! Progress was made!

Gemma went to Church Mice; the lesson was about Moses. She did two Duolingo Spanish lessons. She also went to dance class.

Gemma asked to bake sourdough bread, so I explained to her that, unlike baguettes, according to Emeril Lagasse's (AWFUL!) recipe, we have to make a starter 12 hours before we make sourdough bread.

...and then she watched a couple of YouTube videos about how yeast works in bread, and the history of bread:

This is Gemma and the yeast...
Here is the yeast after 5 minutes...
I don't have a kitchen thermometer, so I read that I could just turn on the tap, let it get as hot as it could, and stick my hand in the stream. If I could hold my hand in the running hot water without jerking it away, it would be the right temperature to activate the yeast. It worked.

Here is our starter the next morning...
We added salt and flour. (But not enough salt, Emeril.)
After sitting for an hour and a half...
Gemma kneaded the dough...
...with her elbows.
It turned out deceptively appetizing...
...but it tasted as good as baked wallpaper paste.

Earlier this week, Gemma asked how perfume is made, so I got her the least expensive toy perfume kit for her to use however she pleased. It was the My Perfumery kit from Scientific Explorer ($13). When buying a perfume kit for a five year old, know that half of the oil will get spilled. In hindsight, I should have had her play with it inside a baking pan. Also know that your child will cover herself from head to toe in perfume oil. The perfume oils all smelled pretty much the same, except for the peppermint one, which seemed like an odd addition to the florals. They smelled not unpleasant, sort of like liquid hand soap.

There was a little tree climbing...
...and an early evening rainbow.
There was also fort building. One of the moms in our co-op got the idea to organize a meet-up at a state park not too far away, and bring clothes pins, sheets, twine, etc. so our children could be let loose and build. I love that she did this because, living in the city, and not having a yard, Gemma doesn't otherwise get to have this quintessential childhood experience. She gets to have so many other amazing experiences, but this one is really important. It's not just about playing outside. Going to a park and playing on a playground is very different from going to the woods and building your own playground.
Finally, Gemma asked how to fold a shirt, which led to us watching a video on the KonMari method of shirt-folding. Her folded shirt is on the left, and mine is on the right. She was insistent that our shirts be able to stand. We KonMari'ed several more shirts, and then I finished her drawer while she read me a story.

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