Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sissy's Second Grade Year Post #1

 We made the decision to bring Sissy back home this year after her one year in public school. We aren't homeschooling her because we don't like public school (although we don't think public school is perfect, by any means, either). We are supportive of all school settings and choices. This is just one avenue that seems to make the most sense for her right now, and we are so happy having her at home again. There are specific reasons that homeschooling works best for Sis, and we have been having a successful second grade year.

Tampa airport
 Her first week of school was technically the last part of the month we spent traveling in Eastern Europe. No one was more excited about traveling than this girl. The preparation and anticipation was so exciting for her.
waiting on our double decker
bus for our Riga tour to begin
 Riga was great to explore, and my girl was ready for sightseeing everyday. She was the one who always wanted to get out and roam with me, even when the others were tired and weary. She and I especially loved walking the mile regularly to a raw vegan restaurant and back. And no matter who was walking down our five flights of stairs to get a few items from Rimi, the grocery store on our block, she excitedly piped in, "Can I go?"
 ziplining for the first time
 She loves sweets so much and was overjoyed by the cotton candy that was almost as big as she is. Mezaparks was a great place to take kids near Riga.

Back to School
 We returned from our big trip on a Saturday night and fought through our jet lag to start our studies that week. I welcomed her second grade year with these treats.

We decided to have a back to school party, and I let her choose the theme. She picked "butterflies."

Field Trip
 I wasn't sure which homeschool co-op to choose because there are so many around here. I did want to join one, though, because it hasn't been easy making friends in Florida. We picked a winner! It is led by fabulous moms, and they have organized fun field trips for us. We went to the fire station one day.

 I don't know why (after a few of these field trips over the years) visiting the fire station is always so fascinating for me, but it is. I just think it's so cute the way there are bedrooms and a living room and kitchen, etc. One of the new things we learned about were these very expensive thermal imaging cameras to see through the dark and smoke.

 And I just feel teary-eyed at how their jobs consist entirely to help people and save lives. One of the men giving us our tour talked about just how brave and amazing the firefighters are who are also trained as medics. (This brings up the memory of a big firefighter holding my little one year old Dash, post seizure, in my living room.) They're always right there, available at a moment's notice to assist in emergencies. In fact, they got a call while we were there, and our tour was cut a little short. The alarm went off, they said, "We've got to go!" We got to watch them hurry into their trucks and head out.

 This is one of her learning days at co-op. She is taking 3 classes, Five in a Row (which is a literature based class), Science, and American History, once a week. Her teachers are FABULOUS. They spend a lot of time preparing for the classes. Here she is making layered banana pudding after reading Caps for Sale.

On Cops and Robbers Day, they made dog ears for Angus Lost.
Crystal Springs Preserve
 We also join our fellow co-op members once a month for a class at Crystal Springs Preserve. This is a beautiful place at a spot on the Hillsborough River.
This particular class was an aquifer study.
Here we were watching the water in the
spring bubble up through the sand.
magnifying her river finds and classifying them
Out and About

homeschooling one day with tea and
breadsticks at downtown Pizza Fusion

 One day she got to meet up with a sweet friend she made in Latvia! This friend is actually from Delaware, and she was on vacation with her family in Orlando. We went bowling at Downtown Disney and to Rainforest CafĂ©.
American Girl Club
 Another activity she is involved in this year is an American Girl book club, which meets once a month. She and I read a book together, then they meet up to discuss the book and enjoy related craft and food activities. We've read all Samantha books, so far.
Book Buddies
  She also attends another book club once a month. The books she has read include: Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail, The Queen's Smuggler: William Tyndale, and Rickshaw Girl. This is a paper "rickshaw" she decorated, based on popular rickshaw art in Bangladesh.

"Home" School
earlier in the year, working on blends
and place value
I love being with my girl.