Friday, May 6, 2011

My Birthday and our Mommy Camp Box

I don't know why we started calling it Mommy Camp.  Maybe because I'm the mommy and I lead the camp, but at our house Mommy Camp rules!  We usually do Mommy Camp on rainy days.  We get out some special art supplies or games and just go to town.  Red has attended science day camp for two weeks during the last two summers.  We enrolled her mostly so I could have a break and so I could have some time for just me and Tom Thumb.  This summer we have several trips planned so attending science day camp wasn't going to work this year.  Then I had an idea---why not do an extended version of Mommy Camp during the summer?  More on that in a minute...

On a separate but related note, I have some concerns about the math program that our school district uses.  Red's school uses a combination of Everyday Math (as required by the district) and the Montessori method.  I remember years ago trying to help my niece do her Everyday Math homework, and I literally had no idea how to help her.  The method is so different from how I was taught elementary school math I was incapable of showing her how to do a simple math problem the way her teacher wanted it..  Here's an article called One Step Ahead of The Train Wreck written by a parent who was struggling to help his daughter who attended a school who used Everyday Math.

Right now, math is Red's favorite subject and we want to keep it that way.  Our plan is to "stay one step ahead" by having her do 10 minutes of Singapore Math (a well respected Asian math program) a few times a week.  By having her exposed to concepts at home first, I'm hoping that this will save us a lot of crying and gnashing of teeth down the road.

So without further adieu---after much debate and research (and the selling of my cloth diaper stash on eBay so I'd have the money to pay for it), I placed the following Rainbow Resource and Amazon order of Mommy Camp supplies:

  • Singapore Math Standards 1A & 1B (textbooks, workbooks, and home instructor guides) - I'm planning on starting to do a little work with this over the summer and then continue through the school year.
  • R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life - I am SO excited about this curriculum.  It's a science program geared to the 1st grade level that covers life science.  Click here to see their "try before you buy" sample.  Red is very interested in science and nature, and I love the open and go easiness of this curriculum.  I just ordered a Butterfly Garden from Amazon so we'll be raising caterpillars and watching them become butterflies as part of our science this summer too. Woo hoo!  If this goes well, we'll try their Earth and Space curriculum next summer.
  • Making Amazing Art - A friend of mine showed me her copy of this book last year and I was floored by the awesomeness of the projects and the low price for the book (around $10).  I had been looking at buying Artistic Pursuits because I was intrigued with the idea of teaching art by introducing the masters and then doing related projects.  After seeing it in person at a homeschooling convention, I was less than enthused with the amount of content for the price (around $43).  When I saw this book and saw that it had similar content for much less money, I was sold.  I can't wait to try some projects with the kids.
  • Bastien Piano Primer Books - Red has been asking me to teach her how to play piano.  After searching my parents' house high and low for my old piano books to no avail, I decided to pick these up for her.  Amazingly these are the exact same books that I learned to play piano with 25 years ago.  I figure I already know the content and they're inexpensive.  If perchance, she enjoys playing and wants to continue I'll be on the hunt for a teacher.  If not, no harm.
  • Spelling Workout Level A - Red is almost done with The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (only eight lessons left --- yay!).  When we're done, I don't think she'll need more phonics practice. She's reading fluently and reads for fun for 30 minutes to an hour per day.  She does, however, need writing practice.  Knowing my daughter, I don't see her taking to copywork willingly, but I do think she'll be interested in spelling and this book includes some writing.  Two birds---one stone.
  • Story of the World: Ancient Times with the Activity Guide - I bought this a while ago.  It's a history curriculum that covers from the earliest nomads to the last Roman emperor on a 1st grade level.  The activity guide has lots of art and cooking projects that I think the kids will enjoy.  
I'm definitely not planning on trying to fit all this stuff in on a daily basis or even finish any of it by the end of the summer, but I think it will give a good variety of activities to choose from when I get the "I'm bored!" whine.  The box gets here next week.  Can't wait.

My birthday was a few days ago and I just had to share some of the rockin' birthday gifts I got from the kids and the Cobbler.  Because we were out of tape (thus, none of my gifts could be wrapped), I was sent on a scavenger hunt around the house for my gifts.  I found this in one drawer of the china cabinet and the matching silver scallop earrings in the other drawer.  Gorgeous!  The necklace is beyond amazing.  I have been coveting it for months, but refused to buy it at full price (the Cobbler wisely bought it on sale).  Both had my favorite bars of Lindt chocolate tied to them.  I adore the chili flavor.  It sounds weird, but it's strangely delicious.  Then, I was led to the freezer and found this.  Yes, that's right.  There was a giant throw pillow inside my freezer.  I am seriously in love with this pillow!  I rescued it from the kids and cats trying to rough house with it and selfishly declared it MINE and off limits.  Aren't birthdays grand?


Sock Monkey Mommy said...

Just reading your summer ideas for fun made me exhausted.

Piano suggestion - start with the white keys, because the black keys (even though easier to learn music) become a bit of a hindrance when trying to incorporate the white keys afterward. It makes a lot of students frustrated because they could play "Jolly Old St. Nikolaus" with the black keys and then they are playing some silly song with the white keys!

Good luck!! :)

Carri said...


I read somewhere that Everyday Math was like trying to teach someone how to drive by explaining internal combustion. Do the schools not realize how bad it is, or are they that stubborn?

I wish I had read this yesterday, I would have had you bring over the Science and Spelling you are using so I could look them over. Hmmm, how to invite myself over? lol

Belated happy b-day! C