Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 2: Ramping Up

I have to say overall it's been a great week! I found a few places where I'm going to need to tweak the schedule over the weekend, and I had to scramble once or twice to get something together that I had forgotten. (I really could have sworn I printed those timeline figures over the weekend, but they weren't in my history file.) It wasn't a perfect week, but the days went by smoothly and we got an almost full load of work done. Here's our week with lots of pictures.


Jessie got off to a bumpy start this week. Her math assignment in the IP book was a disaster on Monday, and she was not happy with me when I said we needed to back up and redo the first unit. We spent Tuesday to Friday taking a second try at the textbook and workbook pages. Rather than follow the textbook lessons, I looked at the concept and taught it my own way using a dry erase board and simply illustrations to make sure that she could visualize what we were doing. The workbook exercises went much better with no more than one correction needed, and she scored a 97% on her practice page in the textbook, which I grade as a quiz.

Violet continued on with the first unit. This week's focus was on factors and multiples. We discussed a few shortcuts for finding factors: even numbers always having 2 as a factor, adding the numbers and dividing by 3 to see if 3 is a factor, and numbers ending in 5 or 0 having 5 as a factor. We also discussed common factors and common multiples. It took Violet some extra time a couple of days because she hasn't mastered all of her multiplication facts yet, but she did very well over all. For math drill, we're working on increasing her speed of computation with her addition facts. This requires not only recollection of the facts, but also greater concentration on her part (no daydreaming or zoning out). The latter has been more difficult for her. We moved her math drill time to first thing in the morning, and that seems to have helped.
Benny and I worked on unit 3 this week in the 1A textbook and workbook. We practiced writing addition number sentences, looked at how number bonds and addition sentences are related, and practiced filling in various parts of each. I haven't added in his Miquon text yet, but I'll look over it this weekend and try to decide where the best place to restart him will be.


Jessie completed another lesson in SWO H successfully. I was a little worried after all the spelling mistakes she made completing the exercises, but apparently that had more to do with a lack of concentration than anything else. In grammar, we did finally hit a new topic for the year. We defined clauses and compared them to sentences and fragments. We also had a refresher on types of sentences. Nothing new hear except the terminology (interrogative sentence instead of question, etc.). The R&S writing assignment was to write a set of directions, and she completed the end of unit review exercises on Friday. In literature this week, Jessie read Beowulf: A New Telling by Nye. On Friday, we filled in a story chart from Teaching the Classics and discussed some of the Socratic questions relating to the protagonist. For Classical Writing, her model was "Scylla and Charybdis", which was rearranged and written by starting in the middle.

Violet continues to work with subjects and predicates in R&S 4. This week some of the simple subjects were noun phrases instead of just nouns or pronouns. She also had to write a paragraph describing something that she could see. In spelling, she worked on lesson 2; however, she missed 5 words on her spelling test so we'll stay on lesson 2 again next week. For CW, she rewrote the fable "The Fox and the Grapes" and illustrated it. For literature, she's been reading 2 chapters a day from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by O'Brien and narrating it orally.

Benny drew a blank on Monday when we tried the review of the the digraphs -sh, -th, and -ch/-tch in Phonics Pathways. We spent the week going back through that section of the book and will retry the review page on Monday. In Explode the Code, he completed lesson 2 this week. He also read books 6 to 10 in the Bob A1 series. For handwriting we finished our review of individual letter on Friday. Monday, we'll have a try at straight copywork and see how it goes. For literature, we're reading 2 chapters from Little Pilgrim's Progress by Taylor and 1 chapter from Mystery Ranch by Warner daily. We also read extra picture books from history or science, which I'll list below.


Jessie's history focus this week was the Celts. We discussed the first 2 commentaries in TruthQuest on Monday, (and I learned not to try this on the fly so I'll be making notes for next week). She read the first 15 chapters of The Story of the Middle Ages by Miller and two chapters from The Celts of Northern Europe by Hinds. On the map below, she labeled the geographic features of Europe that appeared in the first couple of chapters of the Miller book. There's a family tree tracing the Celts, Gauls, and Britons by to Noah and an outline of chapter 4 of the Miller book on the Druids.
The second map shows the distribution of the Celts at their largest point. Below that from left to right are the notes she took on the Britons, a timeline of the major events in Celtic history, and a list of classes in Gallic society in order from Druids to slaves. After a discussion on Wednesday, she wrote the essay on the right hand page to pull together all of her notes for the week. Paragraph 1 is an introduction telling who the Celts are and what they were like. Paragraph 2 covers their beliefs. The third paragraph covers the different roles in society, while the last explains how the society changed under the Romans. It's not a perfect essay, but it's a good start for the year and a step up from what I required last year.
Violet, Benny and I read unit 1 of The Story of the World 2: The Middle Ages covering the later Roman Empire and the fall of Rome. We also read 3 chapters from Peril and Peace by Withrow covering Augustine of Hippo, John Chrysostom, and Jerome and the Vulgate. All of this reading was narrated orally to me and written down for their notebooks. Violet also read 4 chapters from Famous Men of the Middle Ages covering Alaric the Visigoth, Attila the Hun, Genseric the Vandal, and Theodoric the Ostrogoth. She completed a brief written narrations on each, and I promised her this was the only week she would have 4 written narrations. She also read Life in Ancient Rome by Mehta-Jones. For Violet's map, I took the map from student page 1 of the SOTW Activity Guide and removed most of the labels since I felt it was much too easy in its original form.

For Benny's map, we followed the instructions in the activity guide of coloring the Mediterranean Sea, circling Rome, and tracing the outline of the Roman empire. For him, the mapwork was perfect, (and he enjoyed it. YEAH!!) Both of them also had a smaller version of student page 2 coloring page of the barbarian. Benny informed me his face was red from blood where he had been fighting, so I asked about the green leg. He said that he just felt like making it that color. Benny and I read several picture books on Rome this week including: Rome: in spectacular cross-section by Biesty, If I Were a Kid in Ancient Rome by Sheldon, and The Best Book of Ancient Rome by Murrell.
We also did **2** hands-on projects this week. (Adding fun hands-on to history for Benny is the main reason we've added SOTW to our normal TruthQuest history. On Tuesday, we tried making Roman pillars. The dough recipe in the activity book was really crumbly. I'll stick with my own cookie cutout recipe next time. Instead of rolling out pillars, we carefully squeeze and stretched them, then drew lines using toothpicks.
I thought it would be fun to actually build something with the pillar cookies, so I cut off one end to stand the cookies up and added a graham cracker roof. The kids liked the result, and it was delicious.
On Thursday, we tried eating like Roman soldiers. I prepped the vegetables. Violet and Benny took turns assembling the burger, onions, carrots, and potatoes. It wasn't totally authentic. Aside from the aluminum foil, I cooked the packets on the grill, and we used plates and silverware to eat so no one burned their fingers. Everyone enjoyed the food.

Timeline figures for the girls included: Alaric, Attila, Genseric, Theodoric, Augustine, Chrysostom, and Jerome. Jessie will actually read about them next week, but it is easier to keep the timeline figure together.


Jessie had a blast with science this week. Monday and Tuesday, she made an edible cell following the directions in the Apologia anatomy and physiology book. (Note to self: Next time take it out of the container and take a picture immediately before the candy coatings start dissolving.) It's not the most educational project, but she had a lot of fun.
She also completely a vocabulary crossword that I created for chapter one and took a test that I printed from the files in the author's Yahoo group. She scored a 105%. Yeah! I was glad to see how much she learned. She finished writing up her speculation sheet from our mummified apple experiment started last week.
On Thursday and Friday, Jessie started lesson 2 on the skeletal system. She filled in an outline detailing what bones do and what makes them strong, wrote a paragraph on the structure and function of the different parts of a bone (which I just noticed needs a bit of editing), and completed a model bone using The Body Book.

In astronomy, we did a demonstration to explain why we have seasons using our Thames & Kosmos Space Exploration kit. I had diagrams in the girl's notebooks to label the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes and a booklet for Benny to simply label the seasons. We read about telescope in God's Design Our Universe, and answered questions in either notebooks or booklets. The girl's summarized Galileo in their notebooks. Benny and I read Starry Messenger by Sis and Galileo: Scientist and Stargazer by Mitton. We also read the introductory chapter for the unit on stars with questions/booklet.

Our hands-on activities for the week included making a telescope using the T&K kit and a planetarium using a shoe box. (The latter idea I borrowed off another homeschooling blog.) Basically, there is a larger hole for our constellation and a smaller hole for the flashlight. We introduced 2 constellations this week: the Little Dipper (Yes, I know that's technically not a constellation.) and Ursa Major. The kids each have a set of constellation cards to label and connect the dots using Find the Constellations by Rey on one side, and they have a picture of just the stars on the other side. I'm hoping we can use them to review and play some games with once we're a little further along. I made a larger version of the pictures for our planetarium and had the kids punch holes with a push pin. The plan is to go out tonight and try to find the constellations and hopefully use our telescope to look at Mars while we're there.


Jessie tried the beginner level of the Sheppard software game on Europe. I forgot about the smaller countries like Malta, so she had a really hard time. Violet built our Europe puzzle again. We'll try the software again in a month or so.


Jessie finished LfC C lesson 1, which was grammar review with some new vocabulary and 10 more pages of The Greek Code Cracker. Violet completed lesson 1 in LfC A.


Jessie's assignment for the week from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain was to draw her hand.
Benny wanted to make something with the pipe cleaners I bought last week for Jessie's DNA molecule. He made a catepillar. Violet made a flower. Jessie joined in and made a trellis with a grape vine.


Henry and I read random books this week of his choosing for the most part. I need to be a little more structured about having activities to keep him busy when he is playing along or with me. One way he entertained himself this week was by drawing. The result was a typical 2yo picture, but he told me that he drew Rabbit and honey pots. I just thought he was really cute. He's also been humming Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star all week in perfect pitch.


Faith said...

Wow, lots of good stuff going on! Looks like a great week!

Daisy said...

Do your two oldest type all their own essays/narrations? I'm just wondering what you used to teach them typing. My daughter is rather reluctant to learn typing.

Another fabulous week!

Carrie said...

Girl, you have been BUSY!!!

Sounds/looks like a fabulous week! Great job!

Kash said...

Sounds like a great week! I love all the different projects!

Kristine said...

I am in awe of your week, it sounds simply wonderful! Love all the hands-on projects & activities!

Norah said...

Wow what a busy week for you!

Smrt Mama said...

I love that edible cell! What a great idea. Maybe we'll try that when we get to life science.

Mandy in TN said...

That Thames & Kosmos Space Exploration kit looks wonderful as do your other science and history projects. WHat a great week!

Robyn said...

Wow, where do you find time to do all that? Looks like a great busy week! Love all the hands on projects!

MissMOE said...

Wow, what a full week! I love the T&K science kits.

Tina said...

Your school is awesome!