Thursday, August 28, 2008

Week 4: Settling in...

My plan for this week was to settle in to our schedule without adding anything else in order to get a better idea of whether our schedule included adequate amounts of time for each subject and to let the kids get familiar with the new routine so they weren't continuing to ask what to do next. Being the opportunist that I am, however, I ended up adding spanish and sign language on Tuesday when we went into town. We managed to squeeze them in one other day when the girls asked me to teach them some more so I guess I'll have to figure out how to do them more consistently. I also have some music and art to add in at some point. Here's a look at our week.

Math is the main area that we are still struggling to finish on time. Jessie finished her actual workbook exercises in time the first part of the week. Thursday she got confused with the page on the left thinking that the blocks she colored in were supposed to mark the path. Silly Mom made the same mistake. We erased the blocks and colored them in a second time only for me to finally realize that the white blocks the remained were actually the ones marking the path. (Duh! I need more sleep.) Friday I simply had too much assigned and should have adjusted it instead of having her do it all. Hmm... Maybe we didn't do so badly after all. I am going to try one change next week. I'll have Jessie work on CWP first while I do Violet's math lesson. That way if she needs help with the problem, we can work it out together during math time instead of trying to squeeze it in later in the day. The downside would be if she is sitting there doing nothing because she is waiting on me. It's still worth a try.

Violet has done much better this week with math as well. She's finished up mental addition and has started working on mental subtraction. The subtraction is a little bit harder for her, so some of the problems she chose to work them out on the dry erase board if there was borrowing involved. I know part of the struggle is that she still hasn't mastered the corresponding addition facts. We'll finish the section out and she if she becomes more comfortable with it. She has also struggled the last two weeks with the CWP book on Friday. Part of the problem is that she is not always reading the problem carefully to recognize that it involves more than one step. Part of the problem is likely that I am assigning too many problems in one day. I'll have to look to see if there is a better way to schedule these.


Jessie's language arts have gone well for the most part this week. Spelling ran over because she had to look up the definitions of a few of the words. I'll give it one more week before I adjust the pace. Her grammar (on the left) is going much better than last year. It's taken a few days, but the memories of diagramming last year appear to be coming back, and I've seen steady improvement of her ability to find the simple subject and predicate (even when that is a verb phrase) over the last week and a half. Dictation has still been running over its time slot. Her speed and confidence is improving. Part of the problem may be that we are not starting on time. We'll give it one more week before I adjust the time here. Classical Writing is going very well (no more tears or power struggles during editing) and is actually the one area where we don't use the entire 30 minutes that are scheduled every day. It's nice to have that buffer of extra time for now, and I know that it will begin to take more time as we progress through the year into longer selections. This week's selection was The Milkmaid and Her Pail. Jessie made a few minor changes to the original story using her imagination of which we were both very proud. Dare I say it. She actually had fun this week. For reading this week she read 9 more chapters from Pollyanna, "As You Like It" from Tales from Shakespeare, and "The Unknown Land" from Parables from Nature.

Violet's language arts are all going smoothly. We started copying the 23rd Psalm for handwriting. She was very proud to have spelled all of her words correctly on both spelling tests. (That's here spelling page on the write.) Grammar seems to be moving along well, and she enjoys doing it (which is always a plus. :) ). Violet read 9 more chapters of Pinocchio, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" from The Blue Fairy Book, and "How the Rhinoceros Got It's Skin" (I believe it's called) from Just So Stories.


Jessie is very excited to be nearing the end of memorizing 1 Corinthians 13. Only one more sentence to go! Yeah!! Violet's making good progress with the 23rd Psalm and is a little ahead of Jessie on our poem. I'll give her a couple more days next week to cement it in her mind. Hopefully by then, they can both move on together.

Jessie is loving Latin for Children. She loves the DVDs and the activity book. This week I also gave her a parsing exercise from the free worksheets that can be downloaded from the CAP website. She did an excellent job.

I mentioned at the beginning that we also learned some Spanish and sign language this week in the van. We don't have a formal program for either right now and are simply starting out by learning both alphabets. I think I'll see if I can ILL one of the Signing Time videos through the library. For Spanish, I don't know what are next step will be yet. I'd like to focus on vocabulary and common phrases this year.


This week in history, we read about the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition under the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. The assigned biography of the week covered Sacagawea. The booklets on the left cover Lewis and Clark as well as Sacagawea. In addition to these two we also added Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase to our time lines. Our map work covers both the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. Jessie helped Violet with the map by holding the papers up to the window so she could easily trace my outline of the Louisiana Purchase. I also only required Violet to draw the path of Lewis and Clark going to the Pacific Ocean while Jessie's map included the return trip as well.

For science this week, we studied ants and bees. The girls felt sorry for the male ants and bees who don't live very long. Benny was glad that he wasn't an ant or a bee for the same reason. The booklet for ants focused on how an ant colony is started as well as what the different jobs are for the worker ants. The bee booklet focused on honeybees covering what the hive is made of, what different bees eat, the different jobs of worker bees, and how to make honey. We did read about bumblebees and Africanized bees as well, but didn't include either in our booklets.

Benny's PreK

On Thursday, we introduced the short i sound in Phonics Pathways. Friday, Benny did great using the sound in our little vowel game. He still occasionally mixes up the short e sound with either the a or the i but is doing much better. This week's reading covered South Korea and tigers. I'll put up the list of books and a link for the tiger craft tomorrow. Benny was very excited about his craft this week. I believe he asked me every single day if we were going to make his tiger that day. Today Benny asked me to cut out the head and the piece of meat. Everything else was cut out by him. We worked together gluing all of the pieces. He started coloring on it some as well while his sisters were working on there maps. I promised him we'd take another picture when he finished coloring.


Anonymous said...

Just out of curiousity, do you create your own booklets all the time (i.e. science and history)? If so, I'm thoroughly impressed.

Paige said...

Looks like you guys had fun this week. Your little guy looks so cute, thanks for sharing.