I love my neighbors. I can't even begin to explain what it means to me to live in a community where I can call my neighbors friends, where my kids can safely ride their bikes in the streets, and where people look out for each other's kids. We are so blessed. We had an impromptu party last night, blocking off the street, setting up sprinklers, wading pools, and the BBQ. Kids and adults all gathered for a good time and delicious food. Here's a few pictures.
I'm sorry to see summer coming to an end. The good news though, is that it's a long weekend, and we're not done with the BBQ's yet!
Reading great books together is the backbone of the kind of learning that I like to do at home with my kids. I love books. Sometimes I just send them off to read and don't require any sort of response at all. Other times, I want to encourage a deeper interaction with the book. Here are some of ways I do that:
*A quality pen that glides beautifully across the thick pages of good notebook is a sensory experience that inspires. My husband is a big fan of moleskine notebooks, the kind that Hemingway used. He has filled stacks of these as he studies for tests, often just copying words out of his textbooks into his notebooks. I'm not sure that he ever refers back to these, but writing things down helps him remember what he's reading.
*Main lesson books- These work well with my daughter. The large blank pages invite her not only to write, but to illustrate. These are a bit like scrap-books to record her learning. Pretty papers, stickers, maps, photos, stamps, etc. have all made there way into her lesson books. I do not consider this a waste of time or materials. She is engaging with what she has read when she does this, giving her more time to think deeply about and remember the material. Her illustrations often invite further discussion about the books if I ask about them. I rarely tell her what to put in her main lesson books unless asked. Instead, I tell her that she needs to respond in a way that lets people see what she's learning. Sometimes I set a minimum time required that she needs to spend on it, if it seems like she's rushing through her work.
*Online Journals/Blogs- public or private, book reviews, favorite passages, synopsis...there are many possibilities here. I can type much faster than I write, I like to write with an audience in mind, I like to add pictures and links to related sources of information, and I enjoy getting written feedback. This is my own preferred way of writing about books (or anything else) but it's also something that my daughter has enjoyed doing in the past.
*Video Clips- I haven't tried this yet because I just thought of it. But this would be good for my seven year old. He entertains himself in the car by using my phone to record himself- just talking and being silly. He loves to watch his own videos. Asking him to talk about a book he just read, on video, would be highly motivating for him, especially if I put it on You-Tube. For an older child, if you want to add a writing element, have them write a script first.
*Research- Sometimes a book is just so interesting that it inspires one to find out more about a particular topic. This usually happens to me when I'm reading fiction. After I read Cutting for Stone, I realized that I knew very little about Ethiopia, so I naturally sought out more information. It didn't feel like work, it was just something that I was curious about. For a student, a situation like this would be the ideal time to introduce the necessary skills for writing a research paper. Movies can also inspire additional reading and/or research.
*Exploring- Visiting a setting from a book, a museum, or trying a new food that is mentioned are all fun ways to learn more about a book. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was a book that I loved, set in Seattle during WWII. Many of the places mentioned in the book are now gone, but not all. I visited the hotel, took photos, and wrote about the experience on my blog. The experience really brought the story to life in my mind and I enjoyed sharing it with my family.
*Teacher/Student Correspondence- read the book together, keeping separate journals, taking notes on both facts and personal responses, then swap journals and leave comments/feedback in each others journals.
*Book Club- reading books together, sharing delicious food, and talking about the book....this could be as simple as a teacher/student meeting at a coffee shop or a great excuse to invite several friends over for a party.
If you have other fun ways that you encourage your kids to respond to the books they're reading, I'd love to read your ideas.
Do you want some cute book plates? I found these on Pinterest. Click here for the link to these free printables.
I bought myself some Gerbera daisies on Friday. Pretty, happy, and simple. It seems as if they set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
My husband and I wandered through some pretty neighborhoods on Saturday afternoon. Just the two of us, enjoying each other's company and the sunshine.
On Sunday morning, we went to Seward park for a breakfast picnic and watched a bike race with friends.
This coming week will be the last week of summer vacation before school starts. The summer weather was late in coming to the Seattle area this year. Perhaps that means it will be late in leaving too. I hope so.