Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 1: Getting started, part 2

The girls had several long days this week as they tried to adjust to school and an increase in expectations this week.  This is the first time in several years that we've jumped in nearly full steam.  Overall, they have worked very hard this week, and I'm proud of both of their efforts.


Jessie start NEM 1 this week.  It has been a large jump in difficulty from the Primary series.  We covered order of operation, prime numbers, prime factorization, and highest common multiple.  After the normal start of the year, you have to read the directions carefully reminders and a few discussions about the importance of showing your work.  She seems to have adjusted to the new level expected (although I keep hearing sporadic comments about having to think too hard.)

Violet began her Singapore Primary 5A series with an easy topic of numbers to a million.  We reviewed place value up to ten thousands, learned the hundred thousands and millions places, practiced some rounding, and worked on estimating.  After the same discussions about reading directions carefully, she did very well overall.  Estimating with division was the only tricky part for her since the number is rounded based on the nearest multiple and not the normal rounding rules.  She also picked back up with her CWP 4 book and began working through the final two review sections.

Jessie has moved into R&S 7 for grammar this year.  This week was mostly review of sentence parts (subject, predicate, direct object, and indirect object) with a little bit of diagramming and a character sketch thrown in to the mix.  Jessie chose to write about how friendly Henry is.  It was a sweet paragraph to read.  For Classical Writing Diogenes Maxim, we set up her commonplace book, discussed the definition of a maxim, the types of maxims, and worked with each type.  We didn't purchase the student book for this level, so I just have her completing the exercises on notebook paper and keeping them in the back of her commonplace book for now.  For vocabulary, we spent the week reviewing the stems and words from last year before continuing through the last few lessons of Caesar's English I next week.  We also started our first week of Omnibus II.  We managed to stay on schedule with 5 sessions of The Church History by Eusebius and three sessions of The Hobbit by Tolkien.  I had her write up the answers to two of the Summa questions (Who is Christ? and What is the Canon?) in paragraph form.  We didn't have the most profound discussions in the world, but I felt like we got off to a good start.

Violet began R&S 5 with a review of sentence parts similar to Jessie, although at a slower pace.  We focused on subjects and predicates (complete and simple).  For CW Homer, we did analysis and rewriting of the fable "Hercules and the Waggoner".  She successfully completed her first lesson in SWO G and began reading Swiss Family Robinson by Wyss and The Sign of the Beaver by
Speare.  Right now, she is narrating both stories to me, but I plan to switch over to just having her narrate the literature selection and to complete book reports on the historical fiction in the next few weeks.  We still need to add in dictation next week to round out her language arts.
Jessie completed lesson 1 of Latin Alive and began lesson 2.  She reviewed her Greek vocabulary and grammar from last year.  Violet spent the week reviewing her Latin voacabulary and grammar from last year and will begin Latin for Chidren B next week.


 This week in history we covered two topics in TruthQuest Age of Revolution 1 with the girls:  King James I of England and  the Separatists in England.  Both girls started out Monday with a list of questions to accompany the commentary in sections 1 and 2 of the guide.  We focused on the two big belief of the Renaissance and Reformation, the difference of the basis of human worth between the two, and the considered King James claim of the "Biblical" right of succession to see if it was actually based on scripture.
 Each had a section of the reading relating to the King James Bible to outline after a brief review of how to outline.  Jessie's outline being two levels, and Violet's one.  The each read the first 15 pages of The Landing of the Pilgrims by Daugherty and wrote 1 paragraph summaries of the Pilgrims in England and their move to Holland.
After reading several chapters from The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation, I discussed King James separately with each of them.  (Violet had been given some questions to get started.)  I gave Jessie a set of parameters for what to write and talked through the writing process with Violet creating a brief outline to get her started.  They also did some corresponding mapwork and added King James and Guy Fawkes to their timeline notebooks. 

Jessie is studying Life Science this year using BJU's 7th grade program.  This week we covered and tested chapter one which was a very basic introduction to science, worldview, and the scientific method.  I had her complete a portion of the lab on measuring and gave her some class data so she could work through the questions.  Then for lab 1D I introduced the basics of writing a lab report.
 The lab itself was designed to practice using the scientific method.  We sorted some multicolored popcorn, and Jessie wrote a hypothesis about what color she believed the popcorn would be once it was popped.
Afterwards, we popped enough additional popcorn for the afternoon snack.

Violet is using God's Design for the Physical World this year and completed the first 5 lessons in the Heat and Energy text.  She learned about the different forms of energy, mechanical energy, chemical energy, nuclear energy, and nuclear weapons.  Most of the labs were worksheets except for Tuesday.
She rolled a marble down the ramp at several different heights and compared the distances that it traveled from the ramp.

For art this week, I gave Jessie an illustration from one of Henry's Usborne books and asked her to drawing just the edges of the picture.
Violet learned about the five elements of shape and filled in each section of the maple leaf with different elements.  I gave her a lot of leeway in the project.  She chose to use colored pencils and make her leaf symmetrical instead of making each individual section unique.

We'll start up music next week.

Week 1: Getting started, part 1

Benny has done a phenomenal job this week.  Last year we did all of his subjects together.  This year I switched to having him complete his math, spelling, and critical thinking independently because I needed to free up time to spend with Henry as well.  He's taken the changes in stride and really done an excellent job this week.

In math, he's been working with numbers to 1000 for the start of Singapore 2A.  We reviewed place value, did a small amount of addition and subtraction, and compared numbers using the appropriate symbols.  I did skip the portion asking him to right the numbers out as words because I really didn't think it was necessary at this point.  In Miquon blue, he's been working with odd and even numbers and patterns like odd plus odd equals even.


In place of phonics, Benny has been reading aloud to me for a few minutes each day.  This week he read from Days with Frog and Toad by Lobel.  He's had a tremendous increase in fluency over the summer,  so we're going to try increasing the difficulty level slightly next week.  Together we're reading aloud The Wheel on the School by DeJong, which loosely connects to our history since it is set in Holland.  For copywork, we reviewed the alphabet, so I could note any letters that were not being formed correctly.  He also copied the definition of a noun and his name and initials for his grammar lessons.  Using FLL, we talked about what a noun is and the different between common and proper nouns for grammar.  He also completed lesson 1 of SWO B and began lesson 2 this week.


Benny learned about James I using Story of the World 3 on Monday.  Tuesday and Wednesday, we read about the Separatists in England and their escape to Holland using Stories of the Pilgrims by Pumphrey (available free online).  Rather than use the corresponding SOTW map, I selected a different map from the activity guide to mark the countries under James I and the route of the Pilgrims.  Thursday we read Don Quixote and the Windmills by Kimmel to get a taste of the classic.
We used the recipe from the activity guide to make parkin on Tuesday.  Benny requested we add icing, so I made up some chocolate icing to go with it.  It was a little on the chewy side, but the kids liked it.  (DH, however, had enough after just one bite.  I don't think he liked the molasses.)


Benny requested to study ocean animals this year for science, so we're using Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: The Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day by Fulbright since I already had it on hand.

We discussed aquatic animals and lined Benny's ocean box with leftover bulletin board paper that I saved from VBS decorations early in the summer.

We learned about different types of mobility and sorted a few animal pictures into the different categories of mobility.  He also drew a quick sketch of a plankton after reading that section for the final page of the booklet using 1-2-3 Draw Ocean Life by Levin. 

Finally, we learned about surface ocean currents and tried to create a model gyre with some floating cheerios to see the circular motion.


We discussed the 5 elements of shape using Drawing With Children by Brookes and practiced using the different shapes in a maple leaf outline based on these directions although I let him use whatever colors of markers he desired.

We'll add in music, picture study, and begin piano next week.


Yes, it's official.  This year Henry gets his own block of Mommy time, which he is very excited about.  He's been pulling books out of the library crate every morning this week after Curious George ends, asking "Mommy, are you going to come read to me now?" , and waiting very patiently for me to finish Violet and Benny's math lessons before it's his time.  I'm basing part of our lessons on this online curriculum, but changing book of the week to theme of the week.

Our Bible lesson for the week was the first 5 days of creation.  We read the first 2 pages of A Child's First Bible by Taylor.  We also did the creation fingerplay, learned Genesis 1:1, and sang "This is the Day" and "Do You Know Who Made the World?" from the curriculum page.  I added two books What God Made by Zobel-Nolan which has puzzle pieces to move during the story and a small flap book called All Things Bright and Beautiful with the lyrics of the first verse.  Henry had fun adding stars stickers for his craft on Thursday.
Our theme for the week was ducks.  We read Five Little Ducks by Raffi, Angus and the Ducks by Flack, I am a Little Duck by Crozat, Have You Seen My Duckling by Tafuri, Do Like a Duck Does by Hindley, and Little Quack by Thompson.  We also made the cute paper plate duck with the handprint tale feathers.
Our colors for the week were white, black, and blue.  We started our colorful catepillar, ate Oreos for black and white colors, and ran around the house with a flashlight looking for blue items to shine the light on.
 Then for a special treat on Friday, we mixed up some colorful (non-dairy) ice cream
with mini chocolate chips and a topping of blue M&Ms.  Henry named all three colors with ease! 
Our number for the week was 0.  We wrote some zeros on the dry erase board one day.  We also starting learning a little song for the days of the week.
Henry's favorite activity for the week was playing put the fire out.  We drew a chalk ladder and fire on the sidewalk.
He soaked his sponge in water, ran done to the fire, and squeezed the water out.  This game was repeated multiple times with various siblings at Henry's request.  By the end, I had a very clean sidewalk.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WW: Crazy Boys

 "Look, I'm a dog."  (I'm just glad he didn't use the actual dog's water bowl.)
 Henry's version of a headstand with no hands
Benny's creative party hat with built in balloon

Monday, August 22, 2011

And we're off...

The summer has flown by with the help of a bumper crop from the garden.  (I've lost count of how many jars of spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, and diced tomatoes I've canned now in addition to the crop of green beans.)  I had originally hoped to start last week but bumped the date back since my Mom came for a visit.  I still had lots of planning to complete anyway.  It's still not all complete (actually I think my project for tomorrow will be to make a list of what still needs to be done for which subject) but I decided to begin today anyway.

We started today with a FULL schedule, and I actually survived with my sanity still intact.  We're not completely done as of this post.  Jessie is finishing up Latin and science.  I have a science project to complete with Benny and a painting project for Henry.  Overall though, it's been a great start.