Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 7, part 2: Keeping a Toddler Busy

Henry's Corner

One of the most challenging aspects of homeschooling is keeping Henry occupied. Around here everyone pitches in to help. This week he...enjoyed looking at pictures while Jessie was reading for history,

played with his camel cracker

until he made it jump into his mouth,

loved playing with some dry rice, (one minute of sweeping is definitely worth 30 minutes of entertainment),
practiced his demolition skills,

did some strength training exercises with Benny,
and dropped some marbles in a cup (which eventually turned into rolling them all over the floor so I actually recommend clothespins for this activity instead.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 6: A Dash of Chaos

It's been a bit of a chaotic week, which is normal when I'm tired and don't stay on top of what's going on in the house. I have managed to start a preliminary plan for the next three weeks, so I can focus next week on planning out some more history and science. We have a couple of things left to finish up this afternoon, but here's a look at our week.


Jessie finished up the textbook and workbook lessons on ratios and began the corresponding section in the IP book this week. I honestly don't know exactly what was covered because she's been reading the textbook lessons for herself this week. The workbook pages continued to be short and sweet, which gave her plenty of extra time for her hands on science work and a bit of free reading time. She also continues to work on the first section in the CWP 6 book and is doing very well with the problems.

Violet had a couple of review pages in the textbook and workbook this week before beginning the multiplication and division section of the IP book. Can I just say AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! Her careless errors drove me bonkers, but she did eventually get the problems correct. I haven't decided whether to continue on to fractions or do some more review next week. I guess I will most likely wait to see how she does with the word problems on Monday before making a final decision.
Benny finished the IP section on subtraction this week, began and completed the textbook and workbook section on ordinal numbers, and began the corresponding IP section on Friday. We also covered 6 more pages in his Miquon Orange book.
Jessie finished up unit 2 in R&S 6 on Monday, spent two on nouns, and finished off with two days on paragraph development. She completed a review lesson in SWO H and finished reading The Sword and the Stone by White. We still need to complete our story chart and have our discussion, but I wanted to get this post done while Henry was asleep. In CW, she rewrote the story of the fall from Genesis backwards. I personally thought that there was a large block of chronological actions that could have been broken up, but she put a lot more effort into her draft this week than last so I kept my comments to myself this time. The picture on the right is one of her sentence shuffles for the week.

Violet has been covering sentence types and how to diagram them in R&S 4. She completed lesson 5 in SWO F. Her fable for the week was "The Ant and the Grasshopper". We switched our focus in CW this week to dialogue, which she did very well. In literature, she spent the week reading Augustine Came to Kent by Willard while we continued using The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for dictation and her memory work for cursive copywork.

Benny has nearly finished up the lessons covering long vowel sounds in Phonics Pathway. After reading the first two Bob books in the B series, I decided to switch to Pyramids for a few weeks because we were encountering too many words that he hadn't learned the rules for yet. He also completed another 10 pages in ETC 1. In copywork, he copied verse 3 of Psalm 23 and began copying the poem, "The Caterpillar" by Rosetti, which I introduce for memory work as well. We finished up the first half of Little Pilgrim's Progress covering Christian's journey and began the second half about Christiana while continue to work our way through The Happy Hollisters.

Jessie's reading this week included chapters from The Story of the Middle Ages and Trial and Triumph as well as Life in a Medieval Monastery by Cels. Instead of one longer writing project this week, we focused on well-formed paragraphs and did several shorter assignments covering Gregory, Augustine, Boniface, and monastic life. She also outlined one chapter which covered several other monks.
Violet, Benny, and I read chapter 3 in SOTW, which covers Pope Gregory sending Augustine to Briton, monasteries, and book making. Violet also read the chapter on Gregory from FMMA. We finished off Peril & Peace, by reading about Benedict. In Monks & Mystics, we read a chapter on Gregory at the time he became pope and another on how the pope got his name. We mapped the different routes that Augustine could have taken and completed a coloring page from the AG.
Additional books for the week covered Columba (Across a Dark and Wild Sea by Brown), Brendan (Brendan the Navigator by Fritz), and more detail on monastic life (Life in a Medieval Monastery by Cels). Benny's narrations covered just the material in SOTW, while Violet's included information from her FMMA reading and some additional information from the Cels book.
I wasn't too excited about the project ideas for the week, so we made having a monastery inspired supper into one big project. First, the kids and I went down to the grape arbor and picked as many grapes as we could find without getting stung by all the bees. We sorted out the good grapes, put them into the food mill my mil loaned us, and turned them into grape juice to drink.

Violet and Benny also helped me measure ingredients into our bread machine to make homemade bread. (It was just too hot to make it by hand and have to bake it in the oven.) For simple fruit and vegetables, we made apple slices and cucumber wedges. Then, since no one in my house would have eaten either of the soup choices in the activity guide, we decided to substitute scrambled eggs and just say that it was a holiday meal.
The grape juice turned out a little sour, but overall everyone enjoyed the meal.


Jessie finished up lesson 4 on the digestive and renal systems this week. She did the usual combination of outlining and summarizing, labeled a diagram of the digestive system, and completed her vocabulary review crossword and test.
Her hands on for the week consisted of adding the digestive and renal systems to her skeleton (who has now been named Mr. Bones). Jessie and I were very proud of the effort, but Violet and Benny thought Mr. Bones looked gross with all of those organs.
In astronomy this week we finished up unit 3 on the sun and the moon by learning about the different phases of the moon and discussing the origin of the moon. Benny finished up his moon facts booklet and made a booklet of moon phases. The girls had a worksheet for the moon phases. We tried to spin a top representing the moon to a designated place next to the earth to illustrate one of the problems with the capture theory. Using our T&K kit, we assembled a flip book of the moon's phases. We were also supposed to illustrate how gravity holds the moon in place, but the kids apparently lost a piece from the kit last week when we made our model solar system.
For art this week, I decided I needed to simplify things for Benny. Friday's lesson discussed different types of lines (vertical, horizontal, thick, thin, solid, dashed, intersecting, and angled). For our project, I took this idea from Art Projects for Kids, but I didn't limit the kids to patterns. The only rule was to use straight lines. (There were a couple of curved lines and dots in the final project, but overall I think it went very well.)


Henry has been into everything this week from minor mischief like scribbling on unattended school work or disassembling his fishing rod to major messes like a living room floor covered in too many toys to walk or a broken canning jar downstairs. Needless to say, one thing that I have to do this week is sit down with the older kids and go back over some basic rules of playing with Henry and keeping him out of mischief. I think we'll also switch back to Mom assigning the toys so there is a little more variety to keep his interest. Of course it wasn't total chaos. He and Benny played tug-o-war with a jump rope one day. Jessie took him outside a couple of days, and there have been more train tracks built this week than I can remember. Still we'll need to work on some improvements for next week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Week 5:

It's been a long week for us with DH working late on Tuesday and Thursday, but it's been a good week. We've accomplished all of our school work except for geography, which I think I'll change up a bit for next week anyway. Here's our week.


Jessie has been working all week with ratios and proportions mostly in the form of word problems. It's been a really easy week for her since a lot of the workbook exercises were very short, and she's enjoyed finishing early and having extra time early in the morning.

Violet, on the other hand, has had a rough week in math. We were working on double digit multiplication with a little bit of estimating thrown in, and she had completely forgotten how to do the multiplication part. So I had to go back and reteach double digit multiplication, which means we only actually accomplished three lessons this week. She was doing the working on a dry erase board and just writing down the answers, but I finally said that she had to show her work because she was making too many careless errors.

Benny finished up the textbook and workbook section on subtraction and began the corresponding section in the IP book. The picture on the left is actually one of the few pages that I had him write this week. Most of the work he has been doing mentally so I just let him give me the answers orally. In Miquon, we began a new section which has a combination of addition and subtraction problems on the page. He's doing an excellent job with these as well.


Jessie continues to breeze through the lessons in SWO H, completing lesson 23 this week. In R&S 6, she's been working on paragraphs. Her new literature selection is The Sword in the Stone by White. We've also started a new section in CW Homer. The writing assignment this week was to take the model, which was the text of Genesis 1, and write the story backwards. Jessie declared it to be much worse than even starting in the middle, but I think she managed a decent first attempt anyway.

Violet has worked on diagramming statements and questions this week in R&S 4. She completed her spelling and finished reading her second literature book, Heidi. For dictation, we've switched to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and worked on the introduction scene and the one in which they first find the wardrobe. She is doing much better with dictation now. There are fewer spelling mistakes, although she does still leave out or change words here and there. For CW Aesop, she rewrote the fable "The Boy Bathing" and did very well with the dialogue.
Benny has continued to work on long vowel sounds (mostly o and u) this week in Phonics Pathways. He has finished the 2nd set of level A Bob books and started into the 6th lesson in his ETC book. For copywork, we're writing the 23rd Psalm since that is his current memory work as well. For literature, we're almost halfway through Little Pilgrim's Progress. We finished up Mystery Ranch and began reading The Happy Hollisters.

Jessie and Violet both completed the 4th lesson in LfC C and A respectively. Jessie has started working on diphthongs in The Greek Code Cracker.


In history, this week we covered Clovis and the Franks and Justinian and the Byzantine Empire. Jessie wrote a summary of Clovis and outlined the chapter on Justinian in The Story of the Middle Ages. I had her read portions of The Byzantine Empire by Nardo and The Byzantine Empire by Marston. She made a chart of the Byzantine classes and a couple of paragraphs on life in the Byzantine Empire in addition to maps of both kingdoms.
Violet, Benny, and I read mostly from SOTW this week since we covered both chapters 11 and 4. Violet also read the chapters on Clovis and Justinian in FMMA and the first chapter of Monks and Mystics. We mapped the two kingdoms, made paper dolls of Justinian and Theodora, and colored in a picture of the Hagia Sophia. We also did a last minute activity of making some mosaic inspired cupcakes which I wrote about in more detail in the previous post.


This week in anatomy Jessie finished up lesson 3 on the muscular system by learning about cardiac muscle and smooth muscle. She completed her vocabulary crossword and scored a 92 on her test. On Wednesday, she started lesson 4 on the digestive system, summarize why it is important to brush your teeth and what happens to food after it enters your mouth, completed a maze identifying the different types of teeth, and put together a booklet of a model tooth.
Here she's demonstrating what happens to food in the stomach by putting a piece of bread and some water inside of two ziploc bags and mashing the contents.
She also put together a layered booklet of the stomach and outline the related section in the text.

In astronomy this week, we learned about the different layers of the sun, solar power, the types of eclipses, and the surface of the moon. In addition to the regular questions, I added diagrams of solar and lunar eclipses for the girls to label. Benny made a sun facts petal book. For eclipses we stapled the sun, earth, and moon in the appropriate order for each eclipse. I have a moon shaped booklet started, which we'll finish on Monday. For constellations, we learned Lyra, Corona Borealis, Bootes, and Hercules.

We haven't done Monday's lab of charting the sun's course by tracing shadows throughout the day. I forgot at the beginning of the week, and then it's been too cloudy. Below is our solar power lab. We put ice cubes on white, green, and black paper and watched to see which would melt first. We were supposed to measure the temperature of the two glasses of water but decided to just do them by feel instead. We also used our T&K kit to model the different eclipses.

I found a great website with art projects online while reading another mom's weekly report last week. This week I decided we try the draw a cat project. Violet and Jessie enjoyed it. Benny got a little frustrated because it didn't look exactly like he wanted, so he ended up drawing two. The project calls for using oil pastels, but Violet was the only one who wanted to color her cat. She just used regular colored pencils.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

M&M Fun

We normally don't have a lot of dessert in our house. I figured after jello with a candy cell model, Roman cookie pillars to support our graham cracker roof, and edible sword in the stone models it would be a good week to take off from edible creations. Then on Wednesday, I hear...

Violet: I can't wait until tomorrow's history lesson.
Me: Tomorrow?!?
Violet: You know. We're making medieval churches out of M&Ms.
Me: No we're not. Where did you get that idea?
Violet: It's right here on my check sheet. See. M&M Medieval Church.
Me: M&M means Monks & Mystics not the candy. We're going to read the first chapter in the book which is titled "The Medieval Church".

Needless to say, Violet was crestfallen, so I started thinking. We are studying the Byzantine Empire. They did have a lot of mosaics. If we make them out of M&Ms and use icing to hold them in place, it will make a lot less mess than the plaster mosaic in the activity guide I didn't want to do. I have a cake mix and can of icing already, so we put them on cupcakes then they could make several small ones. DH is teaching tomorrow so we could do it after dinner. Then Jessie and Henry could make some too. This really isn't helping my diet, but at least Target had the M&Ms on sale and I had a coupon too.;)

Here are the finished mosaic inspired cupcakes...

Jessie completed 5 mosaics total.A person, the sky and grass, a burning log, Jack's face, and a kite.

Violet and Benny each made three mosaics and loaded two other cupcakes with as many M&Ms as they could hold.

Violet's smiley face, Cassiopeia constellation, and what I believe is a bear.

Benny made a fish and cross. I'm not sure what the third one is.

Henry placed the 5 of the 6 M&Ms that I gave him carefully on his cupcake while he slowly ate the 6th.

Then carefully pulled the M&Ms back off the icing one by one to eat them.

Everyone enjoyed the tasty results. (I just wasn't fast enough with the camera to get pictures of the girls eating also.) It was great to have an activity that all four kids could participate in.