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Family Engagement - January 2020

January is a celebration of our winter season. Within the Timeline of Life, the Ice Age. Cold climates, snow, Arctic explorations. The cultural holiday of MLK and his speeches. Courage is our theme and stories of courage – from the American Revolution to braving the Arctic to the courage we show each other every day.

Family Activities:

Relieve Morning Stress  

Make a commitment as a family to get up 15 minutes earlier during the week.  And get everyone on the same page about this.  This will help alleviate the morning rush where stress can lead children to have a poor learning day.



Upper Elementary:  Do the Washington Spy Trail this weekend or next!  It can be found throughout Huntington but also here’s a guide.  https://www.discoverlongisland.com/trip-idea/the-george-washington-spy-trail/

This will significantly aid in their adventures learning about this very important time period.

Build Mandalas with your Learner.  

This is especially fun in winter because it inspires time outside and using natural materials.  Very fun to do at the beach in winter!  You’ll see that to make them symmetrical you’ll need to skip count, add, subtract and understand even and odd numbers.  For older learners, add all the materials you use and divide by the number of different materials to form groups.


Spend ample time in the snow this weekend!  Best workout ever: snowball fights with your kiddos.  Ms. Anna will be taking our microscopes outside to look at snowflakes next week.


Winter Walks are one of the best ways to see nature (no broad-leaf cover), see animals and keep immune from winter bugs.  Take your children to Target Rock on Lloyd Neck for a special “Totality” Engagement.  Thefamily-friendly hike will take you through the woods to the beach where you will see the actual Target Rock - the rock where Man of War ships during the American Revolution would engage in cannon target practice.  Mr. Willie’s cannon he brought in this week was found in the mud in that very spot!


What to Read:


Read to your child three books of your choice.  Please do this in all grade levels.  I did mine in the bath with Duke last night!  After you read them isolate the 3-act structure.  The beginning, middle and end.  At the end of the “beginning” something should happen to a character.  If nothing happens and if there’s no resolution in the 3rd act, it generally is considered a not-good story.  This is true for every story ever written (and every play, movie, etc.)  If you need guidance let me know and I’ll send along more information.  This will give your Learner even more confidence in preparing their book.


  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (teaches us the courage to love what we have)

  • Little Polar Bear series (for little ones also on the topic of courage)

  • Story of Ruby Bridges (about courage in the time of MLK)

  • For older children Watership Down (combining nature and courage as brave rabbits leave their home).  

  • For parents: The Knowledge Illusion (a fantastic book about how we learn from each other and how much we don’t know!).



What To Watch:


Watch the film Big Miracle with Drew Barrymore.  This hits on a lot of our current themes - the Arctic, animal origins and courage.  It’s based on a true story.  There are moments of language (hell, for instance) so please take that into consideration.  Make sure you watch this movie and all films together.  There is a big difference between children who are left alone to watch something and those who get to snuggle with their parents and talk about aspects of what they’ve just seen.


Please take a look at the documentary Your Inner Fish - available on all streaming services.  It aligns beautifully to the Timeline of Life tracing pieces of our DNA back to the first animals.  Very accessible for most children.


Continue and conclude your viewing of our suggested David Attenborough specials that connect our study of the Timeline of Life.   Check out two additional documentaries.  

  • Pavarotti by Ron Howard hits so many great points from the Italian culture and language that Ms. Anna infuses us with everyday to courage on the stage to the appreciation of his music (Mr. Willie is exploring taking some of our older children to the Opera later this year).  

  • And one of my favorites Free Solo- the account of Alex Honnold’s free solo attempt in Yosemite.  Combining both nature and courage this documentary is an inspiration to children and adults everywhere.


We are expanding our book and art supply collection.  If you have any of these items we’d love them!  We'll have an art box in the front lobby:


dowels

twigs

springs

small cardboard boxes, tubes, any cardboard packaging

styrofoam wrapping, peanuts etc

cans

paper bags

acorns

leaves


And if you’re doing that winter cleaning and have any books you’d like to donate please email Ms. Jen atJen@theschoolhouse.org. She has a list of items that we could use to augment our upcoming curriculum.  We will certainly buy these books but would much rather up-cycle first!


About Family Engagement: At The School House, family engagement activities in lieu of homework are sent home by our teaching team. These are family-based projects that enhance our weekly, monthly and seasonal curriculum.


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