Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Summer Learning

Back in May, I officially began homeschooling. I packed the first half (six weeks worth) of our phonics and reading program in our luggage, thinking that surely by the time we got through it, our container would be here with the remaining materials. HA! Here we are, nearly four months after arriving in Ecuador, and we are still waiting on the container -- although the good news is that it is now sitting in Guayaquil, so all we have to do is clear it through customs and get it here to Quito. Needless to say, we completed the first half of the phonics and reading program several weeks ago, but learning has continued while we wait for the rest of the curriculum to arrive. Here's a little of what we've been up to:

Rusty and I started Spanish lessons again. We ended up hiring a private tutor to come to our house because it was just easier than traveling back and forth to a school and trying to figure out the childcare. Our tutor has a daughter who is a Spanish teacher for children. She agreed to teach the boys for a few weeks while she was on her summer break. She always came prepared with fun games, crafts, and yummy snacks:

I used the Fourth of July to teach a little about American independence and the design of the U.S. flag. We made this handprint/footprint flag, as well as patriotic wands and patriotic Rice Crispy treats. Then we roasted hotdogs and marshmallows in our fireplace and watched fireworks on the Internet. Here are the boys showing off all their Independence Day creations:

Rusty took a trip to Kumanii in July to spend some time with the evangelists and see the progress being made on the new meeting hall. He took Alex with him, and they had a great time! Flexibility is one of the oft-touted advantages to home schooling, and for us, it will mean that the kids and I will get to join Rusty more often when he goes out to the jungle than we would if we were locked into a traditional school's schedule.

On the river
Alex and his friend Joscar watching the roof going up
Also in July, we enjoyed a three-day weekend in the town of Papallacta with several other homeschooling families we've recently connected with here in Quito. We played games, ate lots of yummy food, and spent time getting to know each other. And we of course we enjoyed the termas (hot springs)! I didn't take very many pictures this weekend, but here are a couple of the boys at the termas:

Alex and his friend Micah
The last few days, we have been following the Olympics pretty closely. Alex is old enough this year to understand what it's all about and to enjoy cheering on the athletes. I found lots of great ideas for crafts and games related to the Olympics on the Internet, so I have been trying to do some of those with the boys over the last few days. On the day of the Opening Ceremonies, we made flags of all the countries we have either lived in or traveled to since 2006 (the year Alex was born). There are 12 in all (if you count Gibraltar) -- how is that even possible? The boys enjoyed coloring the flags and then waving them during the opening ceremonies. Alex is now able to recognize most of the flags and their countries when he sees them on the TV.

And finally, we have done a little book work. While in the States, I bought this Brain Quest Kindergarten workbook from Costco, and we worked on a few pages at a time until he finished it. Now, we are working on sight words and using some beginning readers from A Beka just for a little reading practice each day. Alex loves that he is able to read these books all on his own, and is quite proud of his new talent! Here is is showing off his Brainiac award for completing his Brain Quest book:

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