We’ve been enjoying our summer break and have just two weeks left until we start our next school year! One project Elliot and I have worked on this summer was making a “real” book. He has been dreaming of the idea for a while. He’s been inspired by his love for reading, particularly mysteries and has been planning on writing his own but he wanted more than just a stack of paper stapled together and handwritten pages. I came across Bare Books and decided it would be a great affordable way to make the finished project into a real bound book. They’re completely blank hard covered books in a variety of sizes with different numbers of page numbers. I purchased several (just had a hunch this would not be his last book) with twenty pages which worked out to be just right for this project. For about two weeks, Elliot worked feverishly on his book, writing pages and pages in his creative writing journal. The finished product was a complete story with an intro and ten chapters. He even included a moral at the end. My job was taking his written work and typing it out for him, as it would’ve surely taken him more than the entire summer to type it and he would have burned out before completing it. I wanted to make the process and fun and stress-free as possible. We pasted what I typed into the bare book, leaving blank pages for his illustrations. He’s quite proud his first book and is excited about getting to work on his next mystery.
This is his list of book titles he intends on completing someday. There are about 200 in all (these pages are covered front and back).
The kids successfully filled up our chart! I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase “My pleasure!” so much in my entire life as I have in the past two months. We’ve talked about continuing the habit, even though we will no longer be aiming for a reward and since we finished it, the kids have said it to me several times and have not expected anything in return, so I am hoping it will stick.
As promised, they were rewarded with a trip to Jamba Juice.
Elliot was also the winner of the bonus prize ($3), since he had the most stars on the chart. Surprisingly, Caroline had no complaints or regret about not winning. I think she was just thrilled to be able to participate in the group prize.
It worked so well I’ve decided to make another one, this time to encourage acts of love and kindness towards each other. I’ve told the kids I want to see more care and tenderness for one another and when I witness that, they’ll get stars and work towards another reward as a team.
We found this great states sticker book last week and decided that making our own states book would be a great little project for us over these last few weeks of summer. Elliot has been obsessively soaking up as much info as he can about things like states and presidents, so much so that he will spend hours in his room copying information from books onto his Magna-Doodle just because he wants to write it somewhere. Needless to say, he was thrilled to have been given a project where he could collect all this information and put it together. We also plan to add to it over time, as we come across fun facts about a state.
I love that he gave me credit for helping.
He’s been working on this every chance he gets. He has spent hours at a time doing it and has completed 38 states in just a few days!
The last couple of weeks we’ve been learning about some very important inventors, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Elliot has been soaking it up and he has told me on numerous occasions after reading a book about one of them, “This is making me want to invent something!”
While reading about Alexander Graham Bell, we also came across some tidbits about Helen Keller, who he worked with, so we decided to start reading about her as well. We’ve learned a lot!
We’ve got just four weeks left of summer until we start back up with our next official homeschooling year! We’re trying to make the most of this free time to learn about whatever interests us.
Because all the people we’ve been learning about lately are from around the same time period, we decided to put them all on a big timeline today so we could get a better understanding of what order it all happened in. Elliot was all giddy when he realized they were all alive and must have heard about it when the Titanic sank.
He also completed a writing project about Helen Keller. After he finished his picture of her, he explained to me, “She looks a little sad because she’s sad she’s blind and that she’s deaf. But she is very happy to be a human! She wouldn’t want to be a dog because all the dogs in her neighborhood are very fierce and chase after people.” I have no clue where that came from! I’m just happy he can understand looking on the bright side and counting your blessings.
And this is what Elliot has been reading lately. We were reading the Nate the Great series but he was really ready for something more challenging, and The Flat Stanely series is perfect for where he’s at. It is a challenge for him, but he has been really impressing me with all the words he figures out all on his own.
My goal for summer is to keep Elliot improving on his reading skills, while still making it seem fun and different than how we typically do things during our school year. He’s really getting into “I Can Read Books”. He is reading through them so fast so I have to stay on top of keeping him supplied with them. I’ve recently noticed a big change in his excitement for reading. While he has always enjoyed it, he used to be happy to be done with his chapter and he would mention something about his brain being tired. Since beginning our summer reading, he often asks to keep reading more than I require of him. He really surprised me the other day when he wanted to keep going and going and he read for about thirty-five minutes straight! I’m so proud of him and I want him to be proud of his accomplishment, so we decided to make him a card where we can keep track of all the books he reads this summer. We’re hoping to be able to fill it up!
He’s currently reading level 2 books, but I think we will be able to move up to level 3 in the next few weeks.
We were recently able to add a lot more to our collection when Half Price Books had their 20% off sale. Once Elliot has read a book with me, he often enjoys reading it by himself again and again during quiet time, so we like having plenty that we own.
Our little chart is working wonderfully for us. My kids jump at the chance to do jobs for me so they can say things like “My pleasure, Mommy!” In just two days they’ve filled up an entire row, so it looks like this may not take us that long. We’ve decided on getting a Jamba Juice for our reward (Not something we do often at all since we can make smoothies at home in our Blendtec, but Elliot has really been wanting to go.) The bonus prize for the one who has the most stars at the end will probably be a few dollars. Both of the kids have been given money lately so they’ve been learning about what it means to use and save money. Elliot been saving up some money from lost teeth so that he can buy something more significant than a matchbox car.
We’ve been enjoying our more relaxed method of learning for the summer. Elliot and I have acquired lots of books from the library on a variety of subjects he’s interested in. My goal is to always be learning about something in the area of science and history. I’ve got a long list of things he’s mentioned in the past that interest him, so we should be covered for the summer. He’s been very interested in volcanoes since we learned about Mount Vesuvius so we’ve gotten several books on those. He still has an interest in learning more about specific volanoes around the world, so we’re going to keep getting books on the subject. Next up on our list is outer space and Sam Houston.
He discovered that he loves making drawings and then labeling them. He’s been asking me for more ideas on things he could label.
He’s also recently become interested in the story of Rosa Parks, so we’ve been reading books about her too.