Monday, September 5, 2011

Fifth Grade: First Day Rhythm and Nature Journals

First Day of fifth grade

First day of Fifth Grade! The weather has been grey and dreary, but we made a cheerful start to our new school year, anyway. I know this is Labor Day, but we chose to start school today so Husband could be with us. And I’m glad we did.

We began our day with lighting a candle and reciting last year’s main lesson verse:
The sun with loving light, makes bright for me each day.
The soul with spirit power, gives strength unto my limbs.
In sunlight shining clear, I reverence O God, the strength of humankind
which Thou has graciously planted in my soul.

That I with all my might may love to work and learn.
From Thee come light and strength; to Thee rise love and thanks.

After a nourishing breakfast of baked oatmeal, we ventured outdoors to feed and picket the goats and feed the chickens. From there we headed out on our morning walk, gathering flowers along the way. As we entered the house, I turned to my son, offered my hand to shake and welcomed him to fifth grade. He placed the flowers in a waiting vase and checked over the posted schedule.

First thing: review last year’s main lesson books. It was amazing to see how much we covered last year, especially in math.

We then packed up our nature walk kit: magnifying glasses, scissors, plastic bag, sketchbooks, crayons, pencils, and camera and headed to Apollo, an undeveloped park, to do some observation.

I chose this particular park because there are no distractions — no rocks to climb or playground calling. Just a path that winds through several terrain changes: pine and  deciduous woods, a replanted valley, and the edge of a field. It’ll be a good spot to observe the changing of the seasons.

While out and about, I tasked the boy with looking for different types of plants. We found  ferns, mosses, mushrooms, pines/firs, deciduous trees, vines, and flowers. I also asked him to look for a model tree for drawing this year’s weather tree. We decided on a black gum (tupelo, of the dogwood family). Well, he decided on a black gum.

We collected a few samples of interesting plants, then headed home for lunch. After which we made drawing journals. Boy has verbalized several times that he “can’t draw,” and doesn’t like to draw. My thought is that if we draw some simple object every day for 30 days, we will hopefully improve our skills. If not, we will at least become more comfortable with sketching.
The “rules:” 
  • The object must be simple and something you can set on the table.
  • Only graphite, no color. 
  • You may draw it as many times as you wish, as will fit on one page. 
  • You may not erase the entire thing or scratch it out; find a clean place to start over. 
  • Only one object per day.

Here’s how we made our “sketchbooks:”

Fold as many sheets of paper in half as you will need for your book.
Each "paper" gives you four surfaces. Cut two notches in the spine.

Insert a rubber band from the outside of the book to the inside

Slip a stick through the rubber band on the outside of the book.
Pull the rubber band through the bottom notch and slip over the end of the stick, on the outside of the book.
Finished book

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