Sunday, May 8, 2011

Summer Scholar Sunday #1

Welcome to our first week of
Summer Scholar Sundays!

Each week, I will feature an activity found in the Sun Scholars Summer Program and share some highlights from our Summer Scholar Families.  We'd love to have you follow along.  If you like what you see, and would like to learn more about my Sun Scholar Summer Program, click HERE.

Summer Supply Box
Subjects:    Art & Reading
Time:         15 mins
Supplies:        Large Shoe Box, Supply List, Paper, Glue, Markers, Stickers or Glitter (optional)

Have your child create a special box to keep the basic supplies they will use throughout the Sun Scholars Summer Program.  A shoe box or any box similar in size will do.

Your child can choose to decorate their supply box in a number of ways.  They may want to cover it with paper and decorate it with markers or crayons and stickers.  You could have them cut out pictures from magazines or squares of tissue paper and glue them onto the box as a collage.  Add some glitter for some sparkle.  Let your child decide how they would like to design their box.

Inside the box, glue the supply list.  Have your child read the items on the list and help to collect them.  Keep these items in your child’s supply box so they are always close at hand, and restock them as needed.  That way, you will always be prepared for your weekly activities.

Let's hear from our Summer Scholar Families...

I have to tell you, I was so excited to use your program, but now that I have received it and gone through the whole thing, I am even more grateful you chose our family. This program is AMAZING!! I can't believe how detailed and creative it is. You have done an amazing amount of work to organize this program and I love it. Thank you for sharing.

We chose the first week kit (Getting Started). My kids loved creating the supply box and gathering the supplies for it.  In fact, they didn't want to stop at the supplies listed and added a few more "necessities". We chose to make one family supply box, rather than a supply box for each kid. Easier to transport.

I think my kids’ favorite activity this week was making the address books. They love sending and receiving mail, so they really enjoyed making their own books. They also loved searching for the most hilarious photos of loved ones to include on their pages. It was a simple enough project for my 3 year olds to participate, and captivating enough for my 7 year olds.

My 4 little ones also really enjoyed making their journals this week.  I have to say I am very excited about this one. I love to have my kids keep journals, because it is so fun to go back and read later. I gain a lot of insight into their lives through their journals. And they are still young enough that they want me to read them. Rather than printing off all the pages for the journals, we just used notebooks we already had on hand, and then the kids decorated covers for them and glued them on the front. I also found it easier to get them to write more if I had them draw a prompt from a jar. I just filled a cute jar with lots of little papers with topics to write about. We've been writing at night, until school gets out, but then I love your idea to write while I prepare lunch.

The calendar math was a big hit, especially when they got to eat the M&M counters when they were done. I may have to invest in M&M stock. I think my little boys ate more than they added, but we have been focusing on counting with them, and they LOVED counting the candy as they popped it in their mouths.

And of course, who doesn't love edible play dough? "Tatos" as it is called at our house is a highlight of childhood and they loved mixing it, tasting it and playing with it.

We also filled out the family tree, which was a lot of fun, because my kids are always trying to connect relationships and this really helps them see how everyone is related. The older two enjoyed this a lot more than the younger, but they liked coloring on their tree and looking at pictures of family. I plan to do a larger version to hang on the wall with all their cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.

May started our Sun Scholars Summer program!  Kids were excited, as well as I!  We chose week 1 as our starter week! 

Story Time:  Select a book for story time that you can use for a couple of activities this week.  I had already had planned to start our bug unit so we read BUGS!  Next we tried to find  some vocabulary that would be more challenging for Zachary.  We discussed words that were "new" to Zachary as we read.  Since the topic was bugs, it was easy for him to "figure out" the meaning of the words just by reading the remainder of the paragraph.  We referred to this book many times throughout the week. of other school work.

Another assignment we choose this week was the Address Book assignment.  Zachary had to start an address book using the printables provided by the program.  He filled out his information on the 1st page and then started additional pages by putting in friends and families addresses with a picture (great addition) of each person.  Love this idea!  

We finished up the week with the Family Tree assignment. This really fit in well with the address book assignment.  Zachary did have some trouble reading the "headers" on the leaves of the tree since they were written in script, but with some help he filled the tree in entirely and even added a leaf for his Great Grandmother! 

All in all we had a great week using this program. Love that we can pick and choose what we want and what fits our lifestyle and time!  We are looking forward to next week as we are using the The Great Outdoors unit!  Kicking it off with our Mother's Day camping trip! 

A few thoughts from the journal activity.
-  Perfect for all ages
-  Our kids could use their imaginations and creativity to really make the project theirs. They like that and want to be more involved when they have ownership over what they are making and doing. It was very personal.
-  We used ribbon to attach our journals so they would open flat, and so that we could untie and then add pages as we went along, if we want to. 
-  Rings would also work, and I am considering getting them each a small binder and hole punching the pages so we have a recored of our entire summer. 
-  They didn't want the activity to stop. Long after the journals were made, they were still personalizing, drawing, and writing stories in them.
-  Everyday they looked forward to writing in them. I included extra pages so that they can draw and illustrate their thoughts and feelings about what we are doing, and about what they are doing at school also. 

Week one observations. (I am guessing these will apply to all the weeks :))
1. KIDS LOVE THIS PROGRAM-after only one week, our kids are so excited for the learning that is taking place. 

2. THE ACTIVITIES ARE VERY DO-ABLE-some programs say "you have everything you need on hand", or, these activities are quick and easy", and they are not. Not the case with the Sun scholars program. They are just what they say, easy to facilitate and the time estimation is very right on. This is really important for me. Spending lots of money on supplies, or having to skip activities because I don't have things on hand might deter me from certain programs. 

3. ALL AGES CAN "PLAY"- I wondered if I would have to schedule the activities when our 2 year was asleep. This was going to pose a problem, and I wanted her to be apart. The activities are perfect for all ages. I am able to use the activities to challenge our almost 9 year old son, our 6 year old and our 2 year old did every activity with us all week long. 

4. THE ACTIVITIES REALLY TEACH/AND THEY ARE FUN - The greatest part this week is that our kids learned, and had fun at the same time.

5. THIS WEEK I FELT GREAT - It is comforting to know that as a mom, I am giving our children productive learning experiences on a daily basis. It has also helped to continue to brings us closer together as I see their thoughts and ideas, their strengths and weakness, and MY strengths and weaknesses. 

6. WE WORKED SIDE BY SIDE - There is nothing better.  

We started out by doing week one.  The kids really enjoyed the different activities and it was a real eye opener to me how different my kids are.  The cutting and reading stories really applied to my younger son, while my older son enjoyed writing and numbers. 

The Calendar Math was a huge hit at my house and while we were cutting out the numbers, we discovered a new game.  Since I used an older calendar we had twelve months to cut out, but some of them weren't the best so I put them into a bowl and the good ones into the ziplock bags that I used later.  Not wanting to waste the numbers I told the kids we would play follow the leader.  I pulled a number out and we did that many jumping jacks.  We each in turned got to pick a number and be the leader doing a different activity.  This was such a hit that my kids would randomly get the bowl and want to play it again.  I love this because it helped my younger kids learn to recognize the numbers and count them while doing something fun.

I enjoyed making the flashcards with the kids.  It was interesting to see what pictures the kids associated with the words.

I really liked that once we work on one project we would pull it out and use it again, but for something different.  Once again on the Calendar math (I didn't how little my son knew about numbers, so these activities really helped me help him.)  I asked my kids to line up the numbers 1-30, (1-10) for my littlest, and was surprised how the different kids approached the ideas.  My youngest had trouble at first, so I got out a number chart for him to follow.  But it was still too confusing.  So I took some tape and that helped a lot. :)

Sun Scholars

Thanks to the Summer Scholar Families for sharing with us.
We'll see you back next Sunday for more Summer Scholar fun!

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