Week 2: Space & Reading

If you’ve been following along with my “Homemade Summer School” posts, then welcome back and thanks for checking in!

Last week was the first week where we talked about landforms and volcanoes. To read how that went, or get ideas of what I did/used you can read that blog post here. It was a blast filled with really cool home printables, nature walks, a homemade volcano and a trip to Yosemite.  We put it all in his summer notebook.

For week two, I let him pick again and he chose space. Space is more more of a mini-unit, so we also worked on cause and effect and predicting, as we read through Captain Underpants. So this week has been kind of a two-part week. It has been a delightfully fun!

Part 1: Reading

Part of the stuff I have my son do is read and do book reports. Usually for these I’ve asked him to pick books he can read on his own and then I use THIS FORM to have him do a “book report”….which is basically where he draws a picture of his favorite part of the story and writes the caption underneath. Hey, we all have to start somewhere!

As we received a copy of Captain Underpants from Aunt Sari and Uncle E, I decided that we’ll wait and do the report to the end. We read about two chapters a day together (the reading level is a little advanced, so he gives up quicker), which works well with the super short chapters.

This week we started using the “Cause & Effect Detectives” printable worksheets from Teacherspayteachers.com. Super cute and full of great examples, cut out worksheets and fill in worksheets helping kids understand the cause and effect. Best thing yet? It’s FREE. We worked through some examples provided with the downloadable lesson, and then talked through cause and effect using examples from Captain Underpants. Worked well! In addition, another example page on how to do/understand the concept of cause/effect (which can be tricky at first for younger kids) is through using If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. Conveniently, there is a pre-made handout in the Cause & Effect Detectives” printable worksheets packet and if you don’t own the book, you can use this YouTube video of it being read aloud with visuals. It is a great starting point! Don’t forget to add it to your creative notebook as well, so your kiddo can remember what he or she learned!
For more info on creative notebooks, click here!


Part 2: Space

The topic of space is absolutely fantastic. I, for one, can’t watch anything about space without being in absolute awe. I cry watching the old shuttles launch into space, carrying not only the crew but so many hopes and dreams along with it. If you really think about it (as probably no one does as it is so “common place” to visit space), it is absolutely incredible that humans have built something that traveled to space. SPACE. The shuttle Discovery went 39 times alone from its inauguration in the early 80s until it retired in the early 2010s. There is a fabulous documentary by the Smithsonian on Netflix, “Shuttle Discovery’s Last Mission” about the  shuttle Discovery and her retirement and move to permanent housing at the Smithsonian Institute. While my four-year-old didn’t fine most of it interesting (he enjoyed some of the video about the astronauts and the occasional launching scenes, the rest of it was a bit over his head and too serious), I did. It would be a great documentary episode for an older kid for sure.

While most of the significance of the Discovery was lost on my son, we did have a fun time talking about planets, astronauts and space. There are a lot of fun coloring pages and resources on education.com, and really neat FREE mini-unit from TeachersPayTeachers.com that has a KWL chart (great talking part: K= what I already to KNOW, W=what I WANT to know, L=What I LEARNED…it is a pre, during and post lesson activity), a writing prompt and math/coloring sheets. I used a few worksheets from the 123Homeschool4me.com website from their solar system unit. These resources are great for kids from K-6th grade.

Since my kiddo already knows a lot about planets and space (for a four year old), most of this was review and just for fun. We reviewed more about space from a really cool set of Space flash cards from Target (in the Bullseye’s Playground area up front). They were like $3, but really great at providing a cool picture with a few facts. Not overwhelming for a kid, and easy for them to manipulate.

Some other things that were great, helpful resources were a number of YouTube videos that put the names of the planets and space things to music. He especially liked the Planet Song, which I will post for your viewing pleasure.

Another that was a really good video (and informative for kids, with no catchy songs that will stay in your head for an eternity is Exploring our Solar System from FreeSchool. I really like it, was made with kids in mind.

So there you have week two.  A discombobulated week for sure, but a fun one. Other suggestions if you’re looking for space-themed activities:

  • Discovery Science Center (Orange, CA) has a current exhibit on space shuttles
  • The shuttle Endeavour is on display at the California Space enter in Los Angeles, and the NASA website has a list of where the other four remaining shuttles have been moved
  • If you’re going to be in Florida or Texas, tour the NASA space centers
  • There are a lot of great space-themed movies from WallE (for little kids) to Apollo 13, or Space Camp if you’re an 80s fan
  • Build your own solar system with Styrofoam spheres and paint from a local craft store or purchase a kit

Check out my Pintrest Board of Summer Teaching ideas for other inspiration on how you can have fun teaching your kids, as well as additional space-themed ideas. See you next week!