There are some mornings where I just want to wake up on my own terms without bouncing boys in my bed shattering my last moments of sleep. And then there are other mornings where I welcome their warm, cuddly bodies worming their way under my sheets, followed by their groggy kisses. On this morning, I was grateful for the latter because I was excited to reveal to them a new week’s theme. Before I even put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard, rather) planning out Mommy Summer School, I knew that we were going to do a farm week when I saw how enthusiastically Luke responded to a kindergarten field trip this past spring to Great Country Farm in Bluemont. The way he relayed every detail of the trip made me want to experience it for myself, so I promised him that we would go some time during the summer. He has not forgotten that promise, and, while he has been excited and totally into each week of MSS so far, I have heard him mention to Noah on a few occasions when he thought I wasn’t listening, “Just wait until farm week…I know Mommy is going to take us to Great Country Farm, and you will love it!” It might be silly, but the feeling I had this morning knowing that I could finally tell them that farm week had indeed arrived was reminiscent of Christmas morning!
Introduction: The clues given for this week’s new theme were… 1) The theme has to do with a place. 2) The place is outdoors but also has buildings that you can go inside. 3) The place can be dirty and stinky. First guess–in a very monotone, groggy voice–was the zoo which I figured would be one of the first ideas. I was lying there thinking to myself, “Wait for it, wait for it…” Bam! Luke shot up off the bed and yelled, “I think I know–” his voice trailing off as he bolted down the stairs to see the centerpiece reveal. Of course, little brother went following after, and I got to revel in their joy from the middle of my bed as I heard their exuberant voices wafting up the stairs: “It’s farm week! It’s farm week! I knew it! I knew it!” Great Country Farm better hold onto its straw hat because have they got something a-comin’ their way…
Morning Meeting: After an appropriate “farm-ish” breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage, we headed down to the basement to check out the special sight words for the week…
…and answer the Question of the Day: What do you know about farms? I let the boys take turns generating ideas while I listed them on paper. Then I read aloud a book called Farm by Elisha Cooper. (We had read Beach by the same author during our Wacky Water Week, so it was cool to read another book by her in her same unique style.) Before reading the book, I gave the boys a Reading Focus which was to find things about a farm in the book that we didn’t include on our lists. After reading, we added a third column to the paper and listed the ideas mentioned in the book.
AM Activity: In addition to going to Great Country Farm later this week, I wanted to visit one of our favorite local farms, Frying Pan Farm in Herndon. On the way, I told the boys that we would be revisiting our Morning Meeting lists and comparing our lists with what we see at Frying Pan Farm. We had a fantastic day and couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather!
We took a 25 minute wagon ride all around the farm learning about their history, their crops, their machinery, and other interesting facts about the different types of cows they have and other topics related to the farm. Luke loved the tractor pulling the wagon.
We visited all of the animals several times over, especially the adorable baby pigs! Luke was all giggly watching the adult pigs wrestle and fight over the food, pushing each other out of the way with their snouts and kicking each other. We enjoyed a brief conversation while leaning on the fence to their pen talking about how sometimes people and animals aren’t all that different!
Noah’s favorite part of the day was “driving” the miniature tractors. They really are adorable and were fully functioning back in the day, as I understand. In the past they have just had three tractors, but this time there was a fourth one with a little bench attached to the back. Luke had me sit on the bench like I was a visitor to the farm taking a wagon ride tour, and he drove the tractor narrating in his words what he had heard from Dennis, our wagon ride driver, earlier in the day. It was impressive to hear how much he remembered!
We made time to climb a cool looking tree…
…stop by and read all about the dairy building, the outhouse (The boys were SO fascinated by this. Males.), the cider press barn, and the smokehouse, grab a ride on the old-fashioned carousel…
…and make a sweet purchase in the Country Store–always a favorite when we visit. Before we left the house, the boys had decided that they were going to bring their wallets with some loose change so they could buy themselves a few candy sticks from the vast selection of flavors they have at the farm. As they were saying, “Cheers!” to their candy sticks and Cow Tails, Mommy was saying, “Cheers!” to them paying for their own treats! It was cool watching Luke at the counter figuring out what coins he needed to hand over and even helping Noah make his purchase, too. I guess the money unit from kindergarten has really stuck with him. Nothing like real-life application of math skills!
Luke’s Quiet Time:
- Reading: Since Luke’s favorite animals at the farm were the pig family, we started our reading time with a read aloud of Pigs by Gail Gibbons, one of the books that my sister-in-law loaned me for our farm week. I have to say that I have had a lot of misconceptions about pigs, and I enjoyed learning along with Luke about our pudgy pink friends. Of course, in addition to read alouds, Luke is continuing with reading one or two Early Readers every day. We are still working our way through the Ds, and I am so proud of how many books he has read this summer! I am really starting to see his fluency pick up.
- Writing: Luke seemed to enjoy doing Superhero ABCs back when it was superhero week, so I decided that enough time has passed that I could reintroduce that activity. It’s such a good one! This time I gave him a piece of the large paper that we’ve been using during Morning Meeting. He thought it was really cool that he was getting to write on that paper. I told him that I wanted him to do at least 5-6 letters a day, and it was up to him how he wanted to complete it. He could pick a random selection of letters each day or go in order of the alphabet. This kid is just as particular as his mother, so I knew he would pick the latter option. I’ll post his finished ABCs at the end of the week, but for today he wrote–apples for A, barn for B, cow for C, duck for D, eggs for E, and farm for F.
- Math: I didn’t really come across any farm-themed math activities that struck me as amazing, so for today we just stuck with what is in the Summer Bridge Workbook. I’ll have to drum something up later this week for math.