History Night

November 2nd, 2013

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Beatrix Potter meets Sacagawea.

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Thursday evening we culminated a project that we have been working on since school started.  Several homeschool families got together for a History Night, where our kids displayed and reported on an historical figure that they selected and studied.

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A much better alternative than other Halloween activities (in my opinion), and they still got to dress up, which is half the fun anyway.

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I interviewed the girls for their portion of the presentations.  All the kids did such a great job, it was a lot of fun, and everyone learned something new.

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Miah chose to be Sacagawea.  We read several books, and it fit in well with our study of Native Americans in school.

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You can see some of the items the girls have made as part of their curriculum.  The cradleboard holding “Pomp” was an added touch by Mom.

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Ami agreed to be Beatrix Potter.  It was interesting to find out more about the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

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Ami was just happy to be able to carry around her bunny.

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School At Our House

April 27th, 2013

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It may not look like it, but we were “in school” during these photos.

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Science is such a fun subject to learn, especially in the Spring!

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After reading about the parts of a flower, and how bees and bugs help with the pollination, etc, we took a “field trip”.

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Down the bank.

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There were plenty of specimens to study.  And Collect.

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Then we had recess.

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School & Learning

February 29th, 2012

Homeschooling Miah in Kindergarten has been a blessing this year.  It is such a joy to see her learn and master new concepts.  After reviewing the ‘Key Learnings’ for her grade, and seeing that she has surpassed most of them, I guess we can slack off a bit . . . Seriously though, she is learning at her own pace, school is very informal in this house, but the teacher in me just naturally brings learning into pretty much everything we do.  I guess when you read multiple books with a child every single day since bringing her home at nine months of age, she will learn to read without much effort at all!  She enjoys playing the phonics game, too, so I’m sure that has helped.  Although Miah has been reading for a while, she is just starting to feel confident enough to read to other people, and with more than a whisper voice.

A big advantage to homeschooling is the time it allows the girls to be kids, and not sit behind desks for hours in a day.  More time for playing outdoors.  I’m thinking the bicycle has got to be one of the greatest inventions!

I’ve been working with Ami also, doing preschool activities while Miah does her work.  We are blessed to have two bright little girls.  I have noticed though, that Miah was learning things (colors, numbers, etc.) at an earlier age than her mei mei.  (But Ami has reached higher speeds on her bicycle than her jie jie did at her age!  This is our ‘no fear’ child.)

I read something recently from another adoptive parent, and it reminded me to put things into perspective.  She worded it well, so I’ll quote her:

“Age does matter. Dr Tony Tan did a study and found that children adopted at approximately 12 months learn the language of their adoptive parents as a first language and have no significant delays. But as children age and begin to speak in their native language – and learn concepts – learning English becomes subtractive bilingualism, where the child is losing their first language while learning a new FIRST language in a totally unsupported environment. Even with adoption at the age of three there will be several years delay in conceptual language- though they may appear to be “fluent.” With that language often go newly learned concepts – colors, number etc. for toddlers. This is one case where the more they have learned, the harder the transition.I strongly recommend you read the works of Dr Boris Gindis,” http://www.adoptionarticlesdirectory.com/profile/Boris-Gindis,-Ph.d./2

I learned this years ago while taking Masters courses in ESL at the University of Guam, but I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of my own children.  Although Ami was 21 months at adoption she really wasn’t speaking (of course that was mostly due to her cleft), so I didn’t think ‘subtractive bilingualism’ was much of a factor.  We knew she needed time to catch up, and she appeared to do so quickly.  (Within a couple months her receptive language was right on target!)  But over time we’ve recognized that the concepts were slower in coming.  Now, after being home 19 months, we certainly don’t see any delays.

We were blessed to be able to bring home both our girls while they were still quite young.

“The younger the child, the easier the transition” is definitely true!

(On a side note, you can see by the pictures that February can’t decide if it’s spring or winter!)