Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WW: Favorite Christmas Photos

Henry was more excited about baby Jesus appearing in the manger under the tree than his stocking and decided to give him a ride in the new sleds.

I knew this would be the perfect gift for Jessie, and the smile says it all.

I loved seeing my kids excited by simple gifts like a bag of S'mores ingredients.

These gifts for the boys I saved until last because I had a feeling they might get immediate use.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 18: A Little Bit of This and That

I finally finished up my Christmas shopping. I have a few gifts left to bake and a little to wrap tomorrow. We did squeeze in some school this week. Here's a brief look at what we accomplished.

Jessie finished up the IP section on speed this week, so we'll be ready to start fresh after break.
Violet learned about perpendicular and parallel lines.
Benny did a little more measuring in Miquon and finished up all of the addition keys on his own this week.


Jessie completed lesson 35 in SWO H this week. One review lesson to go. YEAH!! In grammar, she did a couple of days of grammar and a lesson on friendly letters. We made a deal that she didn't have to do any written work for the letter lesson this week. Instead, she can wait until after Christmas and count her thank you letters instead. We finished up the last of level 9 in CW Homer using the model "The Night Before Christmas" for analysis and rewriting an old piece on Circe. She also decided to memorize the poem on her own and finished the whole things. For literature, she read Otto of the Silverhand and wrote her book report on The Red Keep.

Violet finished another spelling lesson and a unit on grammar. For copywork, she finished up copying "The Night Before Christmas". She also completed the section with Father Christmas in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for dictation. For CW, she edited her Robin Hood story, which was quite good. She got the week off from literature.
Benny finished the last pages of Phonics Pathways covering r modified vowels and started working on vowel digraphs covering ai and ay this week. Throwing in a little Christmas themed copywork and his normal 2 pages per day in ETC 2, leaves just one more accomplishment.
He was most proud this week that he finished reading The Cat in the Hat.

We just did some vocabulary and chant review.


Since history was one of the last subjects we started this year, I wanted to get one more week under our belts before Christmas break.
Jessie read about Marco Polo in FMMA and outline the chapter. Then she read chapters from The Story of the Middle Ages covering Edward I, Edward II, and Robert the Bruce.
Violet and Benny completed two more chapters in SOTW covering the Mongols and Marco Polo.
We did summaries for all 4 sections of the reading as well as the associated map work.

We also spent two days with hands on.
First up, Violet and Benny made Chinese paper lanterns (although both were disappointed when I told them we were not putting candles in the middle.
Thursday, we made Chinese farmer hats. They really need some card stock or poster board for support because they keep sliding off.

ART The older kids spent part of their afternoon free time this week doing some watercolor painting.

It's been so long since they did any painting that I had no idea they still had anything left to paint.
Benny might have gotten a little carried away.


We finally brought up the presents to put under the tree this week, so Henry spent a lot of time looking at the presents, asking which ones were his, and telling me he wanted to open them.
Tuesday we kept him entertained for a while with a ball of string while Violet and Benny were making their paper lanterns. He spent probably 15 minutes of so cutting off pieces of various length. Once he decided that he had enough pieces, he started wrapping them around his fingers...
or making silly faces for the camera.

He also spent a good bit of time this week playing his"drum" set that Jessie created for him. The older kids all took turns in the fun a few times as well. Needless to say, between that and the Little People Nativity set that plays "Away in a Manger", it has not been very quiet around here for several days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Week 17: Chugging along at half speed

Whew!! I thought this report would never get done! I've never before had so many problems with Blogger. While the actual writing of the report was extremely frustrating, the week was great. We didn't do much in the way of science because I needed to afternoons finish up some Christmas stuff at the beginning of the week (I'm not usually this late mailing Christmas cards). Then I scrapped my plans to double up at the end of the week and instead sent the kids out to enjoy the snow while it lasts. Here's our week....


Jessie was thrilled to be finished with the IP section on percentages and to start a new much easier section on speed in the textbook and workbook. She was even happier on Friday when she finished her last CWP problem on percentages.

Violet spent the week working on the IP section on angles. She is getting much better at using the protractor to measure and draw angles. She also did some more calculating of angles either along a straight line or in the corner of a rectangle where the angle is divided into 2 or 3 parts. Somehow I missed getting a picture of her math this week.

Benny finished up the last pages in his 1A IP book this week. He's DONE with the 1A level!!! YEAH!!! We're very close to finishing up the Miquon Orange book as well, so we'll probably double up some lessons next week to get it done before break. That's easy enough to do since the measurement pages are really short. Since we had some extra time Friday during math, I pulled out the addition wrap-up keys; and we worked together on the +1 key so he could start getting an idea of how they work.


Jessie completed unit 5 in R&S 6 as well as lesson 34 in SWO H. She's very excited about being close to finishing her last spelling book. For literature, she completed a book report on last week's selection, The Lost Baron by French and read The Red Keep by French. For CW, we're counting down the weeks until completion already. We're only have 5 to go before we move on to the poetry books. This week, I selected her last version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" for the writing portion.

Violet completed reading The Hidden Treasure of Glaston for literature this week. For her copywork, she requested "The Night Before Christmas". Keeping with the Christmas theme, we jumped ahead to the section of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where they meet Father Christmas and receive their gifts. In CW, she began analyzing and rewriting a model called "The Story of Robin Hood". This is the first of several longer models that we'll be doing for most of the remainder of the year that we'll spread out over two weeks. For analysis, we continue to focus on description by reviewing adjectives and beginning to look for adverbs. She also doubled up and zipped through several lessons in R&S 4 this week.

Benny finished up with double consonant beginnings and moved on to the r controlled vowel sounds in Phonics Pathways. In ETC 2, he started lesson 8 which has double consonant endings. We also began reading The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, but since the pages have a lot more words per page, we're spreading the book over two weeks this time. For copywork, he copied his Sunday school Bible verse and then started working on the first verse of "Joy to the World". We haven't done a lot of read-alouds this week, but did manage to start The Blue Bay Mystery by Warner and The Minstrel in the Tower by Skurzynski.


Jessie and Violet both completed lesson 15 in their respective LfC programs. Jessie completed lesson 10 in EG1 which introduced some basic translation work.


This week in history, I had Jessie covering several smaller topics, which gave her a break from the normal Thursday essay.
She wrote summaries about King Rudolf of Germany and Henry III of England and outlined the chapters of The Story of the Middle Ages covering Saint Francis and the events in Germany and Switzerland after the death of King Rudolf including the story of William Tell. She also read Cathedral by Macaulay and Medieval Cathedral: The Inside Story by MacDonald, but I thought she had done enough writing so I didn't assign any for the books.
With the younger 2 this week, there wasn't really a good line up of topics. Since they are going to learn about the Mongols and Marco Polo next week, I decided this would be a good week to go back and cover the chapters on China and Japan in SOTW 2. We learned about Yang Chien uniting China, the building of the Grand Canal, and the Tang Dynasty. Benny found it a little on the boring side, but the mention of gunpowder being invented did catch his attention.
Then we read about the Yamato clan uniting Japan and how Japan was influenced by China and Korea.
Our first hands on project of the week was string block printing. They drew their designs and traced them with glue, and I added the yarn.
They could hardly wait for the blocks to dry so they could try them out.

I poured the paint and told them to use them like stamps. Then they were off.

The kids both tried to fit as many stamps on the page as possible.
Our second activity of the week was playing Kai-awase. We didn't bother making our own sets of shells. I simply explained to the kids how the Japanese used shells to play a game similar to Memory, and then we got out our Memory cards and played a couple of rounds.
I won the first game, and Benny won the second. Violet was up for a third, but Benny wanted to get outside in the snow before lunch.


Not a lot of science went on this week. Jessie did finish lesson 11 and complete her vocabulary crossword. We took the week off from our earth science book so I could use the time to wrap and ship out Christmas presents and send off Christmas cards.


Henry has been his usual curious, energetic self. Here's just one example of his ingenuity for the week. Normally, we keep his extra pacifiers on top of the television cabinet. Since my Christmas village is up there, I moved them down to the top shelf instead. Henry figured out how to knock his spare pacifiers down using his fishing rod. We call it "baba fishing". Now I just have to figure out where they all went. I know we have about a half dozen somewhere around here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fun in the First Winter Snow

Making snow angels blissfully unaware that I'm taking pictures...
Benny just busted me.

RUN!! Mom's got the camera!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WW: Christmas pictures

Our advent wreath
Our Christmas Tree

Mom's helpers who did a lot more of the decorating work than I did this year

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week 16: Getting Along on Our Own

We had a bit of chaotic week. DH was out of town on a fishing trip most of the week. I've been trying to finish up Christmas shopping for my side of the family, so I can get the presents mailed off. Jessie and Violet finished putting the lights on the Christmas tree for me one morning. They're still waiting for me to get around to putting the ribbon on so we can put up the ornaments. Here's our school week...


Jessie finally finished up with the IP section on percentages this week. YEAH!! She spent the remainder of the week working on review exercises in the textbook. In the CWP book, she's reached the challenging section of problems. Some problems like the one on the left we've been figuring out the diagram together, and then I have her finish the problem. She doing really well for the most part. She still gets messed up sometimes when the problems are talking about cost, profit, and price but it's definitely getting better.

Violet finished the IP section on tables and bar graphs in the 4A book this week. She spent a couple of days on review exercises before beginning a new unit on angles in the textbook and workbook. So far she has measured angles using a protractor drawn on the page, measured a few more with a regular protractor, and draw a few angles of her own.

Benny finished a lot this week. We completed the last IP unit on weight. Then we spent a couple of days working on the final two review exercises in the 1A workbook, which is now COMPLETE!! That just leaves the final review in the IP for next week. In Miquon, he finished covering comparing number, did a bit of skip counting with number lines, and a few lessons on shapes. He also finished up his Building Thinking Skills Primary this week.


Jessie scored a 100% on her spelling test this week. In grammar, she learned a little about active versus passive voice and spent several days making an outline from notes to use to write a rough draft and final draft on the topic of alligators. She also decided to help me out one day by grading her own grammar worksheet. The picture you see is what I found when I went to grade her paper. For CW, we continued to work on concision using an old rewrite of "The Cyclops" from last year. In this case, we actually ended up with a longer final draft since her original had been very sparse on detail. Her literature book for the week was The Lost Baron by French.

Violet completed another week of spelling and dictation. In grammar, she worked on identifying and diagramming direct objects and predicate nominatives. For literature, she began The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Jewett. In CW, she rewrote a slightly longer selection called "The Sons of William the Conqueror".

Benny finished up with words beginning with double consonants in Phonics Pathways this week and began learning words were the vowel is followed by r and makes a different sound like are, war, and torn. He read Green Eggs and Ham aloud, completed 10 more ETC 2 pages, and finished copying the first verse of "Away in the Manger" for copywork. For literature, we finally manage to read Castle Diary by Platt.


This week in history, Jessie broke from the normal TruthQuest order and covered chapters 77, 82-83, and 90-99 in The Story of the Middle Ages. For once it just didn't make sense to break the last block chapters up and rearrange them in the order listed in TruthQuest. It would have put various Crusades out of order and reference from one chapter to the next just wouldn't have made sense.

Jessie covered Conrad, Frederick Barbarossa, Heinrich VI and Frederick II in Germany; King John and the Magna Charta in England, and the French kings from Philip Augustus through Louis VIII to Louis IX. Since it was such a broad swath of topics, she did a combination of outlines and shorter summaries for the week instead of a larger essay. Violet and Benny were focused on England this week. We read about King Richard and mapped his route from the England to Palestine and back.
We also read about King John and the Magna Charta. Then we skipped the SOTW section on Robin Hood and read The Adventures of Robin Hood by Williams instead. It's written cartoon style, but I like the fact that it includes all the main stories from Robin becoming an outlaw to his death. I confess to being a bit disappointed by the suggested activities in the SOTW activity guide this week. Some were similar to projects we had already done, and other weren't really projects the kids could do themselves so...
in the spirit of Robin Hood, we held our own archery contest. The first objective was simply to hit the target. (The girls hadn't practiced in a while so I thought that would be enough difficulty.)
All three managed to hit the target. (Benny was quick to point out that his arrow was the closest to the center. Probably because he actually practices fairly regularly.)

For our second event, we decided to see who could shoot the arrow the farthest. I had the kids shooting over the target toward the woods thinking they probably wouldn't shoot past the first line of trees. Boy was I wrong! The girls arrows landed in the grass. Benny's arrow went about 20 feet into the woods.


This week in anatomy, Jessie began working on the chapter covering the senses. She did her normal outlining, summarizing, and vocabulary cards. She did the activities independently, so I really have no idea what all was included.
As a group, all three started God's Design: Our Planet Earth this week. We covered what earth science and geology are, the history of the earth, and the great flood.
As with the last book, I have the girls giving written answers to the questions from each chapter, while Benny and I are making booklets with his questions. I have him answer the question aloud, and then I write down his answer leaving out one or two keys words for him to fill in himself. For our activities this week, we did a geology scavenger hunt for common items like hollow wooden tubes filled with graphite. Some the kids got right away. Some required hints, and a couple we had to look up in the teacher's guide.
This is one of our experiments on the second law of thermodynamics. We started swinging the ball from a fixed point and observed how each time the ball swung a little bit less. Jack was very interested as well since we were borrowing his tennis ball for the experiment. We ended up with a combination of science and dog training.

We also took a quart jar added sand, dirt, pebbles, rocks, and water and shook it all up.

Then we watched the different layers settle out and discussed how the flood would change the landscape of the Earth.


Henry's been fairly quiet this week (at least by his standard). He's played a lot with Jack and been downstairs riding either a tricycle, bike, or tractor. Jessie's been reading to him for their play together time.