Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Moving Beyond the Page: Culture Unit

We have been dabbling in using Moving Beyond the Page here and there for a couple years now.  I started with just individual units for Zach, mainly literature units to supplement what he was already studying.  Then, as I mentioned earlier in the year, I purchased the entire age 4-5 curriculum for Eden.  That is going really, really well given that I also got the supply kit.  I cannot emphasize what a stress reliever it is to have everything I need for her all organized and ready.  Without that, I think she would fall right through the cracks of daily life in terms of our homeschooling.  As pre-K, she is last priority this year in terms of concrete curriculum. 

Given that the above was going so incredibly well, I got a unit for Lily too this semester.  She usually just tags along with Noah for most things, keeping my life a little easier, but her social studies of Medieval Times, while fun this year, was sometimes a little hard for her personally.  This Culture Unit seemed just the thing for her age, and I have started it on the one day a week when the boys are in on-site classes but she is home with Eden and me.  We are going to look at geography and world cultures geared for age 6-8. 

Our first day, we are looking at an intro to geography and maps, and opened with this book:

A little Armadillo from Texas decides to take a trip to find out where in the world he actually is.  He starts out on foot, mailing postcards back to his cousin in the zoo in Texas.  He travels across plains to cities, further out, meets an eagle who lets him fly higher to see further, onto a rocket ship to go higher, etc. 

The words are rhyming, keeping interest of the kids, very lyrical to read aloud.  Each 2-page spread has great illustrations. 

This book is obviously most interesting if you are from Texas or Amarillo, but for any elementary child it can serve as a jump point to talk about geography and location, a common thing to teach around 1st grade or so.  The book goes from ground to city to state to country to continent to planet, etc.  That is exactly how we used this book, a fun fictional account to lead us into our study of geography with a 2nd grader and a pre-K child. 

The book actually reminds me of a more updated version of this book we found used and have used as a fun fictional account of world geography:

Both books are excellent to introduce geography in a more engaging way than just - this is a map, blah, blah, blah.  Some kids really are into nonfiction and want just the facts, but most of mine I found loved the fictional stuff.  In terms of Moving Beyond the Page, they used our Armadillo to lead up to an Usborne title, Usborne Children's Picture Atlas, which actually is good too.  Lily is absolutely loving her first day of this though, and I couldn't be happier.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Brother printer - today's Amazon Gold Box Deal

I had to share today's Amazon Gold Box Deal because it is the printer we use, and it has saved us a lot versus the old inkjet we had.   The price today is $55, good deal, but anyone who does a lot of printing knows the cost is really the ink not the actual printer.  Though I will say this has lasted us without issues or problems, either directly connected or via wireless connections to our Mac (problems in the past with that with other printers).   I use off brand cartridges from Amazon without problems, so it is fast, does duplex printing and is economical. I miss the color ability sometimes but not too much really.  Just sharing for those in the market for a new printer.