Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Logic stage history - researching and writing, part 2

9So in researching and writing a paper, I remember doing 5 basic steps back when I was in school:
  1. Pick a topic
  2. Read and take notes
  3. Organize the notes into an outline
  4. Write a rough draft
  5. Write a final draft
Simplifying the steps for Jessie to get her comfortable with the process, I came up with the following plan of action:
  1. Assign a topic.
  2. Provide questions to be answered based on reading & discuss answers.
  3. To start, I'm providing the outline with topic sentences for each paragraph.
  4. Jessie writes the draft independently. We edit it together.
  5. Jessie creates the final draft to go in her notebook.
Here's how it played out this week.

Step 1: I assigned Jessie the topic of hieroglyphics.

Step 2: I gave her the following list of questions organized by book based on her assigned reading.
Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (124-125)
1. Where did the name hieroglyphs come from and what does it mean?
2. What are some of the different ways hieroglyphic symbols are used?
3. What is a cartouche?
4. What directions can hieroglyphics be written?
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt (3-19)
5. Describe how the Rosetta Stone was found.
6. What was on the stone and why was it so important?
The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone
7. What did Champollion believe that the hieroglyphs represented?
8. How did he prove that theory and work out the Egyptian alphabet?

Step 3: Outline: I gave her the following directions for her essay. I gave her topic sentences for each paragraph because that is how the paragraphs have been handled so far in R&S 5. I hope to move to her organizing the questions and coming up with her own topic sentences over the course of the year.
Paragraph 1 should discuss what are hieroglyphs and give some reasons why they are so complex using questions 1, 2, and 4. Topic sentence: Deciphering the writings of the ancient Egyptians was necessary in order to learn more about this culture, but the task was not an easy one.
Paragraph 2 should discuss the Rosetta Stone and its importance using questions 5 and 6. Topic sentence: The mystery of the hieroglyphs might never have been solved if it were not for a very important discovery in August of 1799.
Paragraph 3 should describe how Champollion deciphered the hieroglyphics using question 3, 7, and 8. Topic sentence: The final breakthrough in understanding hieroglyphics came in 1822 by Jean Francois Champollion.

Step 4 and 5: Here is the essay that resulted. I though it was a good first try.

My Summary About Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Deciphering the writings of the ancient Egyptians was necessary to learn more about this ancient culture, but the task was not an easy one. Hieroglyphics were not the Egyptians only means of writing, but they were very hard to understand for a good reason. Hieroglyphics were written left to right, right to left, or top to bottom. Pictures stood for words or sounds, and extra symbols beside or below meant that the hieroglyphic had a slightly different meaning. Determinatives were hieroglyphics that explain somewhat the meaning of other hieroglyphics.

The mystery of the hieroglyphics might have never been solved if it were not for a very important discovery is August of 1799. A French soldier was digging a trench as preparation for a war against England. While digging, he found a large stone upon which three languages were carved. After bringing Major Bouchard, it was taken to Cairo where it was discovered that the languages were Egyptian hieroglyphics, a strange language that nobody knew, and Greek (which almost all of the scholars knew and thus was easily deciphered). The story upon the stone was repeated once in each language, as later deciphering showed.

The final breakthrough in understanding hieroglyphics came in 1822 by Jean Francois Champollion. The most repeated word on the stone in Greek was Ptolemy, so Champollion figured out the most repeated hieroglyphics stood for that. Then an old colleague sent a hieroglyphic copied from an inscription found in a temple on an island called Philae on the River Nile. He compared the hieroglyphics and discovered the second hieroglyphic was Kleopatra, wife of Ptolemy. He deciphered cartouche after cartouche, the list of hieroglyphics and their translations getting longer and longer till at last he had deciphered all the cartouches. After he died, he had not deciphered every hieroglyphic, but he had left a firm path for others, and it was a little easier for others to finish the deciphering.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our new geography program

OK so it's taken me an entire month to find time to decide exactly what and how I wanted to cover geography. I decided to switch to notebooking pages rather than lapbooks this time because they'll give me more flexibility over time. The pages are designed to meet the following goals.

1. To be able to identify and locate a given country on a map.
2. To practice using an atlases to look up information.
3. To learn to read topical maps to obtain information.
4. To improve their mapping skills.
5. To have some fun as well.

Here's a look at one of our blank starting pages.
My basic plan for each of the pages is as follows with the corresponding goal parentheses:

1. Add a flag sticker to the upper left corner under the country name. (5)
2. Find and color in the country on the regional map in the upper right corner. (1)
3. On the large scale map for both girls:
- Label the countries/bodies of water bordering the current country. (2,4)
- Mark and label the capital. (2,4)
4. On the large scale map just for Jessie:
- Mark and label major cities (2,4)
- Draw and label major geographic features (bodies of water, rivers, mountains, etc.) (2,4)
5. To complete the information in the bottom left hand corner using the maps I am providing. (1) All the information came from the back of National Geographic World Atlas for Students, 3rd edition. The population data is as of mid 2007. In the case of languages, I chose to only list the first 3 for any countries that had several.

6. To complete the information in the bottom center by using a topical maps and map keys in the atlases.(2,3)

The atlases we are using are from the library. I have the National Geographic Student Atlas of the World 3rd edition for Violet and the National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers 3rd edition for Jessie to use. The former has only continent maps while the latter is broken down by region within each countinent for more detail. I liked the map of dominant religions better in the first one because it had the political boundaries between countries and is keyed to show how dominant the religion is. It divided the economies into agriculture, industrial, etc. so we'll be using the young explorers maps for economies. The regional maps have symbols to show the different types of economies (ie. cattle, corn, cotton, mining, oilt, manufacturing) which I think are easier to understand. My plan is to ask Violet to simply choose any 3 and list them and to require Jessie to determine the 3 most common based on the number of map symbols in each country.

For the added practice and fun (5) this year, I will also be purchasing Africa and the Middle East Geopuzzle. We'll use the free online mapping games from Sheppard software for the Middle East and Africa. We'll continue with the corresponding geopuzzles and games over the next couple of years. I also have a blank laminated world map to put up on the wall for reviewing. I'm sure we'll make up some games to play with it, but I haven't thought that far. (If you have any game ideas or links to ideas, please share them in the comments.)

I'm leaning towards doing 2 pages a week on science days since we generally don't need 45 minutes for science activities. That will let us take a few weeks off for review now and then. I'm guessing that once the get the hang of what they are supposed to do, it will take Violet 5-10 minutes per page and Jessie 10-12 minutes depending on the geographic features she needs to draw.

At the end of each unit, I'm planning to take the information the girl's have collected and have them make their own topical maps on population density and religion. We may pick one or two languages to map as well.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 7: Starting Egypt

It has been a frustrating week. Several of our history books for the week were already checked out. Violet and Benny took it upon themselves to repair one of Benny's arrows with super glue and got superglue all over my bathroom counter. I got most of it off, but I also scraped off a small chunk of counter top where the glue was thickest. The power kept blinking while Jessie was trying to type her history essay on the computer. Jessie set her copy of God King in the rotten pepper juice on the table. I tried to clean the pages with water and Lysol spray, but I think we're going to have to get a new copy. It still reeks. I considered briefly that if I just had them sit on the sofa all day then they couldn't make messes or break/damage anything. Still that wouldn't have kept my printer from running out of ink on Friday morning when I tried to print the new geography pages. Some weeks are like that (even in Australia as Benny would add). Happily for the most part our school work went much more smoothly than the rest of the week.


Jessie spent most of the week working with mixed numbers. She added and subtracted, found common denominators and simplified when necessary, and even borrowed from the ones place to be able to subtract the fractions. Most of the days she even wrote out all of her work without me asking for it and did an excellent job. It wasn't until Friday, when she tried to do it all mentally that she ran into problems and made several mistakes. She argued with me that three of them were correct, so I told her to prove it by showing me her work. It turned out one of them was correct but not simplified while the other two contained mistakes so we both got a partial victory out of the challenge.

Violet is still multiplying and dividing with Singapore. She's getting through the lessons for now by either skip counting or using the abacus. I know we're going to have to start some multiplication math fact work soon, but she's still really slow on her addition facts. She also had a couple of days of word problems in her textbook and did really well catching on to the diagrams. In Miquon, she's been working on prime numbers. One day she had a number line with numbers from one to 100. The instructions were to shade in every second number after 2, every 3rd after 3, every 5th after 5, and every 7th after 7. The all of the numbers not shade were prime numbers. Thursday, she had to take those and identify prime factors (ie. 24 would be 2, 2, 2, 3). It took her awhile, but she eventually caught on.

Benny has finished up the number bond section of his Intensive Practice book and the A pages of his Miquon orange book this week. Next week we'll be on to addition in both books I believe. He's doing very well so far although some days he's tries to rush through the work so he can go watch his video.


Jessie has been working on nouns this week in R&S 5. Much of the material has been review so most days I either just had her complete the worksheet or assigned her only a portion of the textbook work. We did try to combine history and grammar this week. One of the grammar lessons was to write and develop a paragraph using examples. Instead of using any of the topic sentences given, I made up my own. After Jessie's paraphrasing it became "the geography of Egypt help them build a stable civilization". You can see the final product on the left hand side. I would have liked to see it a little more developed, but I reminded myself it was a first attempt so we simply corrected a couple of spelling mistakes and moved on. In CW Homer, this is our final model at the first skill level. The routine was basically the same as last week: identify the part of the scene, dictation, and sentence analysis/diagramming. I tried for a little bit greater sentence variety this week so that the sentences had some combination or direct objects, objects of the preposition, indirect objects, and predicate adjectives. The latter two we've only covered in Latin, so we labeled them but I left them out when we did the actual diagramming. She completed another lesson in SWO G and is continuing to enjoy God King and Age of the Fable.

Violet complete the first unit in R&S 3 grammar and did very well on her test. She started the second unit on nouns Wednesday. We've cover the definition of a noun, the difference between proper and common nouns, and how to write proper nouns correctly. I'm finally starting to see a decrease in the number of extra capital letters outside of copywork. She completed two spelling test this week. I thought the lesson with ie versus ei and the i before e rule might be confusing so I had her copy the rule for handwriting one day. She did fine when I tested her on the words. Her new CW Aesop model was "Androcles and the Lion." Beyond discussing the fable and dictating the moral, we worked together to figure out the meaning of a couple of words based on context and reviewed sentence types.

Benny's phonics continues to progress very well. I think it would be easier if I could decrease the distractions by Henry. When he's not distracted, he can actually sound the words out fairly quickly. Maybe the schedule could use a bit more tweaking. In handwriting we're up to the letter P. We did take two days this week for review. I had him trace all the capital letters from A to O and then write them on the line below without giving him the starting dot. We did the same the following day with the lowercase letters. The latter didn't all end up sitting on the bottom line but they were all well written and legible.

This week in Bible history we started the story of Joseph starting from the many-colored coat and continuing through the first time his brothers came to Egypt to buy food. The girls used the Draw and Write Through History to draw a picture of Joseph (I'll post pictures of these next week when the notebooking pages are complete.) and started their summaries. We'll finish the writing and put together the notebook page with a map next week. In ancient history, we started studying Egypt. The topics were supposed to be the geography of Egypt, the Rosetta Stone, hieroglyphics, and Champollion. Jessie was the only one to cover all four topics. Violet and Benny read Egypt in Spectacular Cross-Section to give them a visual idea of what it would have looked like to travel down the Nile in ancient Egypt. The text is so-so, but the pictures are excellent. Violet read portions of The Gift of the River, which will be her spine for Egypt. Benny's spine Ancient Egypt by Cohen is checked out, so we're still waiting for it. We're also waiting on Seeker of Knowledge to cover Champollion and Hieroglyphs by Milton for Violet to read portions and for Benny to use the hieroglyphic stencil. For related literature, Violet and Benny also read The Shipwrecked Sailor. Violet and Jessie (in her free time) read Pepi and the Secret Names. Violet took the hieroglyphic alphabet from the front and wrote her on name while Jessie used it to write the Rosetta Stone on her notebooking page. Both girls added timeline figures for Joseph and the Rosetta Stone and completed maps of Egypt. Jessie's was colored in to show the valley and the desert. Jessie in addition to the paragraphs I talked about up in language arts typed up three paragraphs on hieroglyphics, the Rosetta Stone, and Champollion. I'll write up a summary of exactly how we did this later this afternoon. Violet wrote 5 things about the Nile River and a few sentences about the original kingdoms before Menes.

We actually would have gotten to this if my computer hadn't run out of ink. At least I finally have the lessons ready, so we'll start next week.


We finished up lesson 4 on pollination. Tuesday we covered bees, butterflies, moths, and bats and the types of flowers they pollinate. Thursday we learned about wind pollination and self-pollination. No labs or nature walks. Hopefully, we'll have more time next week.


Jessie completed lesson 6 in LfC B. We've finally started some new grammar material. This week we covered singular personal pronouns in the third person. Her Building Thinking Skills had her putting lists of words in order based on time or size. Her MindBenders puzzle this week was extremely long so we spread it out over to days. The first day we matched up the 12 first names with the 12 last names. (They could only have 3 letters in common.) The second day we match up the names to the countries (four matching letters). I did go ahead and check Jessie's work at the end of the first day because I didn't want to restart the entire puzzle if she made a mistake. No mistakes found, however, she did a great job.


Since we didn't have the hieroglyphic stencil, Benny decided to do some drawing on his own in addition to some more pages from his Kumon book. Here's a look at his giraffe.
Not to be left out, even Henry tried his hand at some drawing when he discovered the girls' drawing board. I was trying to get him to sit behind the board so I could get a picture. The picture below was the best we could manage. Who wants to sit still when there's a camera within reach?
I have a video of his favorite game of the week, I'll try to upload by Sunday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Logic Stage history - researching and writing, part 1

To date, the vast majority of Jessie's writing has involving simply narrating stories or information based upon what she has read. This works extremely well for writing a biographical sketch of a historical figure or covering a sequence of events such as the story of the battle of Marathon. It falls short of reaching the goals I have for analysis of history during this next four year cycle. While I agree with The Well-Trained Mind that "logic-stage history involves both synthesis (fitting information into one overall framework) and analysis (understanding individual events)", I find myself differing a bit as to how I wish to achieve the latter goal. As many times as I've reading the chapter on history in the logic stage, I just don't get how the notebook setup that they use and the student-led choice of topics to research really achieves the goal of analysis. To me it seems like a great way to learn researching skills, but I can't see it producing a lot of the connections that students are supposed to be making to this point.

Analysis in my mind should include examining cause and effect, how events are connected, how an individual's beliefs impact his way of life, what role geography plays in the development of a civilization, the goals of individuals and how they achieve them, etc. Basically, I'm interest in why things happened the way that they did. While I could simply highlight some of this information in my history discussions with Jessie, I believe she will be far more likely to learn and remember the information if she discovers it on her own. It's a simply a question of how to reach the goal. I'm sure we'll make a lot of adjustments as the year goes on, but in part 2 I'll share my basic game plan with examples of what it looked like this week in our history studies.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WW: All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!

Or at least the ability to much on whole apples again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy first day of fall!

My kids reminded me that today is the first official day of fall.

Benny wants to go out and make a leaf pile. There just aren't that many leaves down yet around here.

I spent part of the morning unpinning fall and winter clothes from our local consignment sale and sorting them to start washing tomorrow.I still need to dig into boxes and have the girls try on some clothes.

Jessie and Violet are begging me to get a pumpkin to carve. I'm hoping they'll settle for making pumpkin bread with me instead. We have some home canned pumpkin that needs to be used up.

I've also been thinking about going apple picking, but with DH working last weekend and the next two upcoming weekends I haven't come up with a safe way to keep Henry from tumbling down the hill while we pick. We could try picking a few up around the barn where it's more level, but those have probably already been picked over. Maybe I'll be lazy, and we'll just go buy one or two of the bushel boxes on Sunday after church for a change.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Week 6: Finding Traction

It has been another very busy week here. The goal on Monday was to finish up five days of work in four days so we could shop at the local consignment sale Friday morning. We came close. Jessie's finishing up her last few items. Violet is wandering around the house searching for yesterday's science booklet which has gone MIA. She has a bit more to finish up than Jessie since she claimed to be finished a couple of days but actually was not.


Jessie finally finished up unit 2 in the Intensive Practice with a lot fewer computation mistakes than last week. She's moved on to unit 3 which covers fractions. Much shorter times at math lessons have made for a much calmer homeschool this week. After a quick reminder to go back through her work and simplify all the fractions that needed it, she completed all of her work with no mistakes. The picture on the left shows some of her work for her CWP problems this week.

Violet has also completed up her second unit in the 3A Intensive Practice. Wednesday she began unit 3 on multiplication in the textbook and workbook. Her assignments have also been completed much more quickly this week allowing us some time to work ahead.

Benny finished up the textbook and workbook section covering number bonds and has begun the corresponding section in the Intensive Practice. His Miquon work included some introductory adding and another number line. I only had him write the numbers for half of the page, then we finished it up orally so the writing wouldn't bog him down.


Jessie completed her first review unit in SWO G for this year. In R&S, she finished up unit 2 with an A on her test and began unit 3 on nouns. For CW Homer this week, we rewrote "The Wind and the Sun". She did an excellent job on her rough draft so we didn't really have much editing to complete. For literature, she finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth. We completed a story chart from Teaching the Classics again focusing on plot and conflict, and she wrote a book report. (This book report went much more smoothly than the first one.) She's continuing to enjoy Bulfinch's Age of the Fable and has read through chapter 6.

After realizing that Violet had skipped her spelling assignments on Tuesday and the previous Friday, I made her complete and test lesson 8 on Tuesday. In grammar, she is close to finishing the first section of R&S 3. Her diagramming is going very well, but she keeps forgetting the helping verb in the questions. In CW Aesop, she rewrote the story "The Crow and the Pitcher". For literature, she has begun reading The Whipping Boy three days a week and continues to enjoy The Red Fairy Book and The Complete Peterkin Papers.

Benny's starting to gain some confidence with his 4 letter words. It's still slow going, but I'm definitely starting to see some improvement. Most days, we completed a half a page from Phonics Pathways. His handwriting fell by the wayside a bit this week. What he didn't complete as part of school, he made up for with his sisters while writing out a list of things to take to the beach.(with the girls taking turns spelling the words for him). This week we read Cappyboppy during our read aloud time in addition to our regular Aesop, Pooh, and Potter stories.


This week for OT history, we read about Isaac, Jacob, and Esau. The girls completed summaries of Isaac and Jacob and maps of Jacob's journey. Jessie also made a chart of Jacob's children by each of his wives. For ancient history, we covered Sargon and the Akkadian civilization, Hammurabi and Babylon, and the Indus Valley. Jessie outlined Sargon and wrote summaries of the other two topics. For Hammurabi, I wrote up questions for her to answer as she was reading, and then we tried to turn the answers into an essay format. It wasn't the best essay ever, but it was a good first try. Violet wrote about Hammurabi and the Indus Valley. Both girls completed a map of Hammurabi's empire. All of it went into our notebook pages. For our timelines, we added figures for Isaac, Jacob and Esau, the Akkadian civilization, and Hammurabi.


In Apologia Botany this week, we began learning about pollination in lesson 4. Tuesday, the girls made the model flowers that we didn't get to last week which we're counting as art. Benny opted not to participate although he did several pages from his Kumon pasting book throughout the course of the week. Thursday, it rained all day so we didn't get a chance to go on a nature walk. My plan is to try and take a short walk either later this afternoon or early tomorrow. I'm hoping we can still find some bees to watch down around our grapevines.


We completed lesson 5 in LfC B. Jessie doing much better with the vocabulary than I am. We're still struggling with the translation work in the History Reader. I think I need to go back and look at how they recommend completing the translation, so we can work on more of a step by step routine to get it completed. Jessie's continuing to do very well with her logic assignments.

Violet and I completed lesson 4 in Prima Latina. I'm finding that she needs a bit more practice than what is in the book. I'll have to see if there are any free worksheets or if I need to make something.


Henry decided this week that he was ready to graduate from washable markers to the permanent Sharpie markers in my desk drawer. Luckily for me, he chose only to color on himself this time. You can see some of the darker colors on his leg in the picture below.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Logic Stage History - the Outline

This is actually only our second week of outlining for history, but Jessie is doing extremely well. Here is her outline from this week completely independently.

Early Empires
1. Sargon was the king of Akkad, but he wanted to rule Sumer too.
2. Soon he had conquered a lot of land.
3. But war struggles continued until, a few hundred years later, Ur conquered both Akkad and Sumer.
4. For a while, the empire prospered.
5. Then the Amorites entered the country, and it started to become divided.
6. Finally, Elam demolished Ur.

I had forgotten that we had done similar outlines with some of the longer CW Aesop assignments where I thought the keyword outlines would be too cumbersome. Last week when we did the first outline, I gave her an example using the first paragraph on the page. She nodded and said, "OK. Like we did with CW." Now I'm wondering what to do. Should we go ahead and start working on two level outlines? Should I be happy that the outlining is easy and focus more on researching skills?

Monday, September 14, 2009

History in the Logic Stage - my rationale

After two great years with TruthQuest American History for Young Students series, I was bit perplexed as to what direction to take with history this year especially with Jessie. While I purchased and will use some of the books and commentary from TruthQuest's Ancient Egypt & Ancient Greece as well as Ancient Rome guide, it wasn't the perfect fit that it has been for the past 2 years. I wanted to incorporate Biblical history, revisit the other cultures mentioned in the Old Testament, and try to shift from learning what happened to making connections as to why things are happening. To that end, I have pulled together resources from TruthQuest, Greenleaf Press, Miller's Classical Homeschooling website, the Tanglewood Education website, All Through the Ages, and The Well Trained Mind; mixed them together; and created our own version of history for this year based on the following goals for Jessie.

1. To establish a strong foundation of Biblical history.

To meet this goal, I have chosen to separate Biblical history into its own course for the year. I didn't want to cram Biblical history in between the history of other cultures and rush through portions of it to cover everything in one year. Jessie has assigned daily reading from her NIV Bible, which we are discussing using The Greenleaf Guide to the Old Testament. When we get to the NT, she'll be reading primarily from Luke and Acts. For maps, I have a copy of The Holman Bible Atlas to use as a reference.

2. To focus on depth rather than breadth.

I've decided that it is more important to cover a few civilizations well than try to give an overview of all of the civilizations as many of the available programs do. The bulk of our studies will be focused on the three largest western ancient civilizations: Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The four main spines for this effort will be The Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt, The Story of the Greeks, The Story of the Romans, and The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World.

3. To use history as a means to work on research and writing skills.

Outlining skills - She'll use the Usborne book to complete one 1 level outline a week.
Summaries - She'll write 1 paragraph summaries on all the important people or events that we encounter. My goal would be 2-3 paragraphs a week.
Research - still working out the kinks here, I'll post more as we settle into something workable

4. To improve mapping skills.

Last year, I found that to get the girls to create accurate maps, I had to make the map using the blank line map that I was giving them. They couldn't take a map from a book and translate the information onto a blank map when they didn't exactly match up. This year, I want to teach Jessie at least how to take one map from a book, compare it to a blank line map, see how they match up using similar features like rivers, and transfer the information to the blank line map.

5. To keep it fun.

I'm trying for one activity each week. We'll use all the lessons from our two Draw and Write Through History books. Other weeks, I'm trying to fill in with one craft or activity.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week 5: Two steps forward, one step back

This has been an extremely challenging week for us. Monday, I was trying to get the kids through their school work while finishing up pricing clothes to drop off at our local consignment sale. (Note to self: Never try this again. It doesn't work.) Tuesday, we took some school with us as we went to drop off the stuff at the sale. By Wednesday, we were behind on several assignments, and the house looked like a disaster. The girls are still working on finishing up their work while I write this on Friday afternoon. Make that they were supposed to be finishing up their history while I worked on this yesterday; but since they goofed around, we are actually doing school on Saturday for the first time ever. (I could have let it pass if they had actually been working.)


Jessie's math this week has been like a roller coaster ride. She started off dividing by two digit numbers. Tuesday's practice page in the textbook took forever and earned her a 92%. Then Wednesday it all fell apart. I assigned her two pages in the IP. It took forever for her to finish and half of the problems were incorrect. Thursday's assignment became correcting all the mistakes from Wednesday. Interestingly, she got them all correct on Thursday, and Friday's assignment was also completely correct. I'm at a bit of a loss as to whether or not I'll need to give her some more practice before we move on to the next unit. I suppose I'll wait and see how the rest of the IP assignments go next week.

Violet's week wasn't quite as bumpy of a ride. She did well with the word problem assignments. Her practice pages had as many copying errors as they did computation errors. I'm tempted to write out the problems on paper for her, but I want her to pay more attention and be careful when she's copying something. (She does the same thing in her grammar assignments.) At any rate, she finished the second unit in the textbook and workbook and started working in the IP by the end of the week.

Benny finally finished up his hundreds chart in the Miquon Orange book. We did another fill in the missing number page, and then starting adding blocks together. In Singapore, we worked on ways to make 9 and 10 using the cuisenaire rods to help us like we've done the past couple of weeks. So far so good. He's doing very well.


Jessie's spelling got done. In grammar, we spent most of the week either working with sentences with compound subjects or predicates or compound sentences. As part of compound sentences, we learned the difference between a correct sentence, a comma splice, and a run-on. The compound sentence diagramming was just in time for our CW Homer analysis. In addition to identifying parts of the scene and dictation, one of our assignments was to mark up a few sentences. We took the conventions that we use in R&S of underlining the simple subjects, double underlining the simple predicates, and circling the conjunctions and added some of our own conventions. We did squiggly lines under prepositional phrases and arrows to connect adjectives and adverbs to the word they modified. I dropped off a few of the parts when we diagrammed that Jessie hadn't learned to diagram yet. Overall, it went really well. Jessie's not quite finished with The Phantom Tollbooth. We did take a few minutes to discuss the behavior of Zeus after her Age of the Fable reading, noted the similarities to human behavior, and introduced the term humanism.

Violet's spelling also got done. In grammar, she worked on using apostrophes and rules of capitalization. For her CW Aesop analysis week, we discussed the fable "The Crow and the Pitcher", did some more alphabetizing, identifying sentence types, changed a sentence from one type to another, and used the moral for dictation. She has finished reading Understood Betsy, and continued to enjoy her assignments from The Red Fairy Book and The Complete Peterkin Papers. Copywork was rather hit and miss. I'm going to take some handwriting paper to Staples can have it bound together at the top. Hopefully, I can write out next week's assignments ahead of time. I've decided to focus on literature selections (with the occasional Bible memory verse) rather than poetry to work on her capitalization skills for awhile.

Benny's phonics is still moving along. We haven't quite reached the end of the section with double consonant endings yet. He did some handwriting off and on during the week, but I wasn't very consistent. We're continuing to zip through his literature at a much faster pace than I had originally intended. Friday, we finished the last story of Three Tales of My Father's Dragon. (I think Benny already has plans to get his sister's to read it to him for a second and third time.)


This week we covered Abraham and Lot for our OT history. The girls completed a summary for each and a map that showed Abraham's journey. For ancient history, we covered the Sumerians and the Epic of Gilgamesh and drew a map of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent. They added timeline figures for Abraham, Lot, Sumerian civilization, Sumerian cuneiform, and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Jessie outlined the first two pages of her reading about Sumer in The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World and read Excavating the Past: Mesopotamia and Gilgamesh the Hero (which she didn't liked because it was weird.) She did a great summary of Gilgamesh. Her essay on the Sumerians wasn't quite what I was looking for, but I decided the fault was mine for not giving clearer instructions. We'll keep trying as we go through the year. Violet read the Sumer section from The Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World, Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, and Gilgamesh the King. She picked 5 things that she found interesting about daily life in Sumer to write down and narrated about Gilgamesh. Benny and I read (with Mom editing the content on the fly) from The Usborne Book of World History. He actually found it more interesting than I expected and was disappointed that we didn't keep reading. Below are the notebooking pages that the girls assembled on Saturday after Jessie finished her Abraham summary.

GEOGRAPHY fell through the cracks this week.


We completed all the reading and booklets for chapter 3 on our botany book. Thursday, we finally got around to our flower dissection that was scheduled for Tuesday. We didn't make a clay model of a flower (which I was going to count as art this week). We also finished up both of our bean experiments from the previous week. All the bean roots grew down as the kids predicted. (Now Benny wants to plant the sprouts. Maybe they'll actually eat them if we grow them ourselves.) Our germination experiment didn't go quite as well. The bean in the refridgerator, of course, did nothing. The bean in the dark started to mold along with the paper towel. It did grow longer than the one in the sunlight before I terminated the experiment to throw it in the trash.


Jessie completed lesson 4 in LfC B. I was glad to see the translation exercise in the history reader was much shorter this week although I did finally have to download the answer key to make sure I was translated the first sentence correctly. She completed her logic assignments and memory work as well.

Violet and I reviewed Latin vocabulary all week. Monday, we chanted. Tuesday I made a matching exercise for her. Wednesday she translated from Latin into English, and Thursday we reversed it so that she translated from English into Latin. I guess I forgot to do anything with it on Friday.

Benny decided he wanted to make a tiger puppet this week. It turned out to be a lot more involved that I expected. He insisted on cutting out all of the stripes rather than just drawing them on. I helped him color a few of them when his hand got tired, but he was very happy with the end result which always makes the added effort worth while.
Henry continued his normal routine of checking the doors to see if he could go outside and scouting the dining room for unattended writing utensils to use.