Monday, November 05, 2007

learning notes: late October

Thanks to Nina for the idea of posting my weekly learning notes. I jotted down plenty of notes for the week of October 15-21, but the following two weeks were too chaotic between the wildfires one week and being a temporary single mom the next (Chris had a business trip to New Jersey). Unfortunately, although I still have my notes from the week of the 15th, it has now been long enough that many of the details escape me, so in the future, I'll be sure to post for the week by Sunday so it's still fresh in my head.


T: library visit & nature walk
W: dance class
R: field trip to an organic vegetable farm
F: music class & Quail Botanical Gardens
N: San Diego Natural History Museum

On the 18th, Eliza's homeschool-preschoolers field trip group went to La Milpa Organica up in North County. Check out Jen's post - she took far better photos than I. Eliza's favorite part by far was yanking carrots and radishes from the ground (and eating them). I wish we had more room in the narrow strip of earth that surrounds our patio for more than a few herbs.

Here's a photo of Eliza among the giant bamboo at Quail Botanical Gardens. We have a membership, but we don't go as often as I'd like because of the distance. It's a very peaceful place with a stunning waterfall and distinct geographical themes. There's a children's garden there, too, but as Eliza spends the entire time holed up in the wooden cottage (not that there's anything wrong with that...), I much prefer the main gardens.

book theme: dragons

  • Puff the Magic Dragon
  • Where's the Dragon?
  • Dragons and Other Beasts
  • George and the Dragon
  • Behold the Dragons


  • Carnival of the Animals

Eliza hadn't listened to (or seen the book for) Carnival of the Animals in so long that it was new to her. I thought she might enjoy sitting on the sofa, having me read aloud the text of the picture book as the music played. She did that at first, but soon enough she thought to jump to her feet and act out the different animals (her favorite? kangaroo jumping on the piano keys). Ever since, Eliza has been asking to listen to the CD almost daily. She no longer wants me to read the picture book, but now she has directed me to two new jobs. First, she insists I have to get down the book at the start and lay it open on the recliner; once each section/animal ends, she runs over and flips the page, says to herself the animal and/or instrument to get psyched up for her next dance interpretation. The other job she gave me is to hold her horizontally in the air for the bird and aquarium parts, which is not best for my back, but to fly through the air gives her such joy.

  • Tosca

Thank goodness Eliza doesn't know Italian, that's all I can say, because Mama needs her opera fix. I include this because even listening to an act or two takes up a large chunk of our time, and also because, although I consider this "me time," Eliza loves, loves, loves to dance to opera CDs. So while I'm curled up with eyes closed or reading the libretto or commentaries, Eliza twirls about. Often she'll go off and play with blocks or such, then come back to dance more. Sometimes she comments to me on how the singer is feeling, but as Tosca's isn't a kid-friendly plot, I'm not about to elaborate.


I already wrote about that in this post. Most of the activities were from First Art by Maryann F. Kohl, but Eliza did "pipe cleaner garland" (MathArts) and the inaugural Unplugged Project.

The garland activity simply involved making a chain of pipe cleaners alternating (2 or 3) colors in a pattern. Eliza had never seen pipe cleaners, so she was fascinated by them. After she was done, she thought it would make a great necklace but was frustrated that the links kept coming apart (that's because after just one example from me, she made all the other links herself).


  • "ball bounce" (Slow & Steady Get Me Ready)
The object of that activity is to drop a ball straight down and catch it on the up-bounce. Eliza had no success in that area, but the second day we tried it, she discovered that a damp soccer ball makes a cool print on the patio, so from then on, we both had fun making water prints all over the patio with bouncing balls and her wooden cars.


Jenny said...

I've had my eye on Carnival of the Animals for quite awhile now, so was thrilled to read that Eliza enjoys it so much. I thought the pipe cleaner activity looked like fun- guess I'd better add Math Arts to my Wish List.

chanale said...

Jenny - I enjoy Carnival of the Animals, too, and I truly don't mind having it play almost daily (and you know of my low tolerance for children's music). The picture book to accompany it was very well done, I thought.

As for MathArts, we just started getting into it last month. It's marked for ages 3-6, and I'd say at least a third of the activities are good for 3-year-olds. The garland activity she really enjoyed, and I liked that it's no-waste since we've redone it a few times with the same pipe cleaners. Most of the 3-year-old activities deal with patterns, matching, counting to 3, etc., so it's very low key and leans more toward art than math.

ScienceArts looks fun, too, but we haven't been able to make much use out of it yet since it's for ages 3-12, and relatively few activities are suitable for 3-year-olds.

veganbaby said...

Cool! It will give me some inspiration to start schooling again. I have been slacking in that department.

Kate in NJ said...

So glad to see you're ok.
Looks like a busy week with a lot of fun!
I love opera too, but P can only stand it for so long. lol

Brit said...

Oh I miss Quail Gardens! You can see my old house from the lookout tower =(
Looks like you guys had a wonderful time, and I wrote down some of those books for our next trip to the library, thanks!

nina said...

Your presentation of the learning notes is wonderful. I like your focus on the arts. I need to check out the Carnival of the Animals. I think we had it once before but it didn't catch her interest. My dd isn't as imaginative as E. I can't imagine her acting out the parts.

Your outside outings taunt this sad upper midwesterner. We have had blustery winds and rain for the past week.

Love the photo of Eliza in the bamboo garden.

Have you seen the new Puff the Magic Dragon Book with the CD. Here is the link to amazon.

I haven't pulled out my copy of Slow and Steady in a while. I've been such a slacker in that area. We didn't have much success with the ball bouncing activity either. She is more adept at it now that she is closer to 4.

chanale said...

veganbaby - Having an adorable baby gets you off the hook. :) We're doing alright this week, but we just came through two very chaotic weeks where nothing (esp. not housework) got done.

Kate - I feel very lucky that Eliza not only tolerates but enjoys opera. I can't play CDs while she's asleep because headphones hurt my ears, so my only opportunity is in the late afternoon. Lately though, she has been taking late naps (and we're usually out in the mornings), which means no opera for me.

Brit - If I lived within sight of QBG, I'd do there frequently I'm sure.

Nina - That's the same Puff the Magic Dragon we have (which includes a CD with the PP&M song among a few others). Eliza's 3rd birthday present from Chris and me was dragon-themed: a few books and a pair of stuffed dragons, and this was part of it. Since that week, I've checked out more dragon-themed books (that aren't scary) from the library, so I plan to put together a dragon book post before I have to return them. As for Slow & Steady..., I don't remember to open it most weeks.

veganmomma said...

Just tagged you for a meme, see my blog for details.