Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 7: Catching Up

Jessie's 8th Grade
  • Math went a bit more smoothly for Jessie this week. We spent a few days manipulating and solving equations. There was one long day when all of the problems required rounding to two decimal places, but she did very well on her quiz on Friday.
  • Her R&S book had some punctuation review during the first half of the week.  Then we spent two days on a writing lesson which discussed different paragraph types and had her write a description, an exposition, and an argument.  In CW, we finally finished her first writing project and continued to work on the encomium paragraph in her regular work.  After a week of review, we completed our 6th vocabulary lesson in Word Within the Word 1.  In literature, we continue to make progress in Pilgrim's Progress.  I had her take a couple of days to make some revisions to her Rob Roy paper at the beginning of the week.  Then she read the introductory information and began Ivanhoe by Scott on Friday.
  • Jessie finished her 5th Latin Alive lesson again scoring very well on her quiz.  We began working on the first chapter reading on Friday by trying to identify different uses of Latin nouns in the model.  In Greek, she began learning about the 3rd declension. 
Violet's 6th Grade
  • Violet spent to entire week on review exercises and word problems in Singapore.
  • In grammar, she's been working with nouns reviewing common vs. proper and the formation of regular and irregular plural nouns.  She also completed her 7th spelling lesson.
  • For CW, I chose the model "The Fifth Labor of Hercules".  The picture on the left shows Friday's analysis assignment where she paraphrased one of the paragraphs from the model using a combination of the techniques that she has learned so far.  She wrote a brief plot summary of Lassie Come Home after we discussed the book and made a story chart on Monday.  On Wednesday, she began reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  • She completed her first review lesson in LfC C and finished her Greek Alphabet Code Cracker as well.

Benny's 3rd Grade
  • Benny has been working on multiplication in his Singapore text and division in Miquon.
  • He did very well on his first grammar test at the beginning of the week.  We spent the remainder of the week reviewing the definition of a noun, identifying nouns, and differentiating between common and proper nouns.
  • In addition to his regular spelling lesson and copywork, we analyzed "Androcles and the Lion" in CW Aesop and added in some additional dictation whose main purpose is to help him remember not to capitalize random letters when he is writing. 
  • In literature, he completed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and began Dolphin Treasure as independent reading.  We  continuing to practice not skipping words when reading aloud using the 2nd grade McGruffrey reader and also enjoyed five more chapters of The Rescuers as our read aloud.

This week's focus was on movements towards reform and mission in the mid-19th century.  The girls read about Louis Braille, William Carey, Dorotha Dix, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Talyor, and William Wilberforce.  They each read and summarized Touch of Light by Neimark for Braille and a chapter from Trial and Triumph for Carey.  Wednesday, they read Dorothea L. Dix: Hospital Founder by Malone and portions of Hero Tales I by Jackson for Judson and Taylor.  Jessie chose to write about Dix, and Violet chose to write about Judson.  Thursday, they each outlined a chapter from Our Island Story which covered Wilberforce.  For map work, I gave them each a blank world map to mark the locations of each of the individuals.

Benny and I read A Picture Book of Louis Braille by Adler as well as the portions of the Jackson book on Judson and Taylor.  Benny gave me oral narrations for all three.  Our fun project for the week was candle making.  I gave them a choice of dipping their candles or using a paper cup as a mold.  Benny and I had a try a dipping, but he quickly decided that it would take too long.

 In the end they were both happy with the results after we removed the paper cup.

Jessie is still struggling with her BJU Physical Science.  Wednesday, I could tell she wasn't understanding the material when she couldn't answer the section review questions.  So we took an  extra 30 minutes, and I quickly went over the main concepts in the chapter:  scalar versus vector quantities, definitions of velocity and accelerations, and calculations involving velocity and acceleration.  We worked through the lab together, which was basically a very long word problem on the distance required for braking safely versus traveling through a yellow light based on the speed of the vehicle.  In the end, she still scored an 80 on the chapter test, but she got everything correct that I went over with her.  I think for chapter 5, we'll try doing a brief science lesson each morning before she reads the material.  I'm going to look ahead over the weekend to make sure I do a more thorough job of presenting the material and hopefully we'll see an improvement.

Violet and Benny and I learned about ceramics and completed our 3rd quiz in science this week.  I have the clay for them to make their own creations, but they haven't had a chance to make anything as yet.
In unit 4, we began learning about chemical reactions and made a fire extinguisher in a jar.  The jar has play dough, vinegar, and a lighted birthday candle.  When Benny added the baking soda, the carbon dioxide released by the reaction displaced the oxygen causing the flame to go out.
We also learned about chemical equations and practiced writing 3 equations using the pictures on the worksheet as a guide.


Art lessons as always are in the previous post.  No music this week again.  In geography, Jessie is still working on Europe while Violet finished up the US states.  Benny completed his Arkansas booklet and the first two-thirds of his California booklet.  We also began learning Spanish this week as a family.  This week we focused on basic informal and formal greetings. 


I rearranged our book schedule and made it apple week for Henry.  We read How Do Apples Grow? by Maestro, Johnny Appleseed by Lindbergh, Apple Cider Making Days by Purmell, and a version of Snow White.  At Benny's request, we added the letter Mm to our refrigerator since he already knew it from McDonalds and the m's on M&M candies.

Instead of art, we took a field trip to one of the local apple orchards and picked some golden delicious apples.
Henry was thrilled that we went early enough this year that we were able to find several trees with apples that he could reach either on his own or with a quick lift from me.  He's going to help me make some applesauce over the weekend.
He's also been in a puzzle making mood this week and did a great job of staying focused while working with me to finish our 48 piece floor puzzle.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creative Corner: Hogwart's Crest and a Fall Tree

This is our second Harry Potter themed art lesson for the year.  The girls and I drew a Hogwart's crest based on an image that I found online.  

Here is Jessie's finished project.
Violet was very excited by the project and did a great job.
Benny completed a drawing of a fall tree using oil pastels based on these lessons from our favorite online blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WW: Preschool Creativity

I did suggest it would be easier if he took the gloves off, but apparently he liked the challenge.
This is Henry's first Tinkertoy creation.
He also decided to build a "boat" out of some scrap wood.  He told me the nails in the long board were Captain Hook and his crew.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 6: A Long Week

It has been a very long week here.  We finished most of our work, but I will probably spend some time over the weekend evaluating our schedule and Jessie's workload.

Jessie's 8th Grade
  • Algebra took forever this week.  All of the exercises entailed identifying which axiom, property, or definition was being illustrated in the problem.  On the bright side, after 2 hours she scored a 96% on her chapter test, and next week we can move onto something new (and hopefully less time consuming).
  • In vocabulary, we did our first cumulative review week ending with an oral quiz of all 250 roots learned thus far, and Jessie scored a 99% missing only two.  She also finished up her second grammar unit  after spending a few days working on paragraph unity and coherence.
  • We completed our discussion of the first half of Pilgrim's Progress and began the second half this week.  We also discussed Rob Roy and filled out one of the story charts from Teaching the Classics.  Jessie then completed a plot summary of the book with a brief ending paragraph of her opinion a la the logic stage WTM directions for literature.
  • CW has also been a struggle this week.  Jessie was supposed to have finished her first writing assignment on Tuesday; however, it would seem that she had completely forgotten how to write up the various progymnasmata paragraphs.  It is currently still bouncing back and forth between us for editing.
  • She completed her 4th chapter of Latin Alive working with 5th declension nouns, uses of the ablative, and a selection on Caesar Augustus.  In EG 3, she review prepositions and conjunctions.
  • She's switched back to the online geography site to continue working on the countries of Europe at a more challenging level.  In memory work, she began a new poem "Kind Words" by Longfellow.

Violet's 6th Grade
  • Violet spent the entire week completing the IP section on ratios as well as working on some review pages in her textbook this week. 
  • She did very well on her second grammar test on Monday, spent two days reviewing nouns, and two days on paragraphs and topic sentences.  She also completed her first review lesson in SWO H.
  • For literature, she finished reading Lassie Come Home by Knight on Friday, so we'll discuss it on Monday and she'll have a day or two to write about the book before moving on to the next selection.  She completed writing her second story written backwards in CW using a model of "Little Red Riding Hood".
  • Her Latin focus this week was 1-termination third declension adjectives.  In Greek, she learned about breathing marks and vowel diphthongs.
  • In geography, she did very well on the last US states level, so I will most likely move her on to a new topic next week.
Benny's 3rd Grade
  • Benny completed his IP section on addition and subtraction this week and began a new unit on multiplication in Singapore.  He is doing very well, but I can see that I need to start putting more emphasis on having his math facts memorized to increase his computation speed.  In Miquon, he worked with fractions.  Several of these pages we worked through together because he hadn't seen the topics previously.
  • Benny breezed through his spelling lesson covering "oo" words and moved on to the "igh" and "ough" words.  His grammar had a lesson on spelling which we skipped and then some review lessons before the end of the first unit.
  • He is nearly finished reading Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory independently.  As a read-aloud, we finished Understood Betsy this week and moved on to The Rescuers which so far is nothing like the Disney movie and much more interesting to Benny.  In CW, he completed a narration of "The Crow and the Pitcher".  We've been using his new poem "The Gift" by Rosetti for cursive copywork.
  • We didn't get to geography every day this week.  This is my fault for not looking at the written schedule and forgetting it a couple of days.  He did complete his booklet on Arizona this week.

The girls spent much of their week focused on the presidencies of the 6th-9th presidents.  They outlined a chapter from Marshall's This Country of Ours regarding John Q. Adams, summarized the information on Andrew Jackson's presidency in Guerber's The Great Republic, and also used the Guerber book to list the events of the presidencies of Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison.  They also read the TruthQuest commentary covering the changes in Britain, the impact of humanism, and the Irish potato famine.
Benny and I learned a little about John Q. Adams from The Great Republic, spent two days reading What Do You Mean? by Ferris about Noah Webster, and enjoyed Quackenbush's Who Let Muddy Boots Into the White House? from which he completed an oral narration of Andrew Jackson.
We were suppose to make candles this week all together, but by the time Jessie was finished each day, there was simply not enough time.


Jessie completed her third chapter in BJU's Physical Science text.  She did complete a lab on Monday where she calculated the volume of a fishing weight based on water displacement.  She also used our balance to measure its mass so that she could calculate it's density.  Unfortunately, I missed getting any pictures.

 Violet and Benny learned about metallic bonding on Monday and made beryllium atoms from marshmallows with the electrons being unattached to specific nuclei as a model.  On Tuesday, we discussed different methods for purifying metals as well as the benefits of alloys.
 After reading about Charles Martin Hall on Wednesday, we moved on to crystals.  Each received a geode to crack open.
 Benny especially enjoyed this activity.
We also dissolved table salt and Epsom salt in water, poured the solution on black construction paper, and are waiting for the water to evaporate so we can compare the resulting crystals.


We did manage art this week.  (See the Thursday post.)  Music fell by the wayside, so we'll double up next week.


It was tractor week for Henry and I.  We read The Rusty Trusty Tractor by Cowley, Tractor by Brown, Driving My Tractor by Dobbins, and Tractor Day by Ransom.  We spent the week reviewing our current letters and numbers without adding any new ones. 
Henry had a lot of fun making tractor tracks in some playdough
over and over again.
We also caught up on some of our activities like shaking up some whipping cream
to make more butter,
and then mixing the remaining cream with some almond milk, sugar, and vanilla

to make what everyone agreed was some delicious ice cream.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Creative Corner: Abtract flowers, overlapping snakes, and scribbles

This week we worked with warm and cool colors to make an abstract flower drawing.

(Don't ask me about the face, I have no idea except that she thought it was funny.)
Benny had a try at adding a bit of depth to a picture with the overlap in this over and under snake.
Henry didn't want to be left out while everyone else was coloring, so he made this drawing on one of our dry erase boards.  I think it started out as a snake like Benny's drawing, but it reminds me more of an anchor or a bow and arrow in its finished form.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Middle School Mondays - Poetry

I've been a bit slow in getting around to memory work for the current school year, but I finally managed to put together the following poems for the girls to memorize this year.  I'm only listing 7 poems at this point to give the girls the opportunity to make some of their own selections in the spring when they'll reach the poetry section of their grammar books and move into the poetry books for Classical Writing as well.

1.  Kind Words
by Longfellow

Kind hearts are the gardens
Kind thought are the roots
Kind words are the flowers,
Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of the gardens,
And keep them from weeds,
Fill, fill them with flowers,
Kind words and kind deeds.

2.  Faithfulness
-author unknown

Though a task may seem quite small,
Hardly worth your time at all,
Do it promptly, do it well;
Who is watching, none can tell.
Faithfulness in little things.
Sure promotion with it brings.

3.  Morning Thoughts
by A. Amstutz

I went outside this morning
And touched the morning air.
Its fragrance spread around me
Like flowers blooming fair.

It gently rose about me,
And sunlight sifted through;
I felt its arms surround me-
It brought me life anew.

God's promises are with me,
Just like the golden air.
I only need to grasp them
In simple, fervent prayer.

4.  Helpfulness
-author unknown

Watch for ways to help another
Father, Mother, Sister, Brother;
Loads that hardly one can bear
Grow much lighter when we share.

5.  Hope
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

6.  Little Things
by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

7.  Step by Step
by James Dillet Freeman

A hill is not too hard to climb,
When taken one step at a time.
One step is not too much to take,
One try is not too much to make.
One step, one try, one song, one smile
Will shortly stretch into a mile.
And everything worthwhile was done
By small steps taken one by one.
To reach each goal you've started for,
Just take one step- then one step more.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Understood Betsy - Book 23 of 52 in 52

Understood Betsy by Fisher tells the tale of the small, timid Elizabeth Ann, who grows up in the home of two older aunts.  When one of her aunts becomes ill, Elizabeth Ann finds herself sent to the dreaded Putney cousins on their farm in Vermont.  Betsy soon discovers that helping around the farm isn't nearly as dreadful as her aunt made it sound, and her confidence grows along with her abilities and her love of her new home. 

A delightful tale for girls in the 8-12 range, I would place the reading level somewhere around the 3rd grade.  It would also make an excellent read aloud for a slightly younger group.

Rob Roy - Book 22, 52 in 52

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott is a fascinating and complex classic set in the 18th century England and Scotland.  Against this vivid historic backdrop, Frank Osbaldistone, the son of a merchant, falls out of favor with his father and is sent to his uncle's home on the border of Scotland.  Here he encounters the boisterous company of his uncle and 3 older sons, the intriguing beauty and mystery of the young Diana Vernon, and the cunning and ill wishes of his final cousin Rashleigh.  After a time, Frank receives a letter from his father's partner entreating him to go at once to Scotland to find Rashleigh, who has vanished with a large number of the firm's assets during the absence of his father and left the firm in dire straits.  Diana entrusts him with a letter with which he might receive some assistance in the recovery of the assets if his own efforts are insufficient for the available time.  This brings him back into contact with the enigmatic outlaw Rob Roy, who bids him to come up into the Highlands to meet with him concerning the matter and promises to render him what aid he is able.  Several chance twists of fate intercede in these plans to produce an engrossing tale of adventure and intrigue.

Jessie and I both struggled a bit with all the Scottish dialect written in the dialogue of the book making it a very slow read.  The Signet Classic version that I read did contain a glossary for the more difficult terms, which was very helpful.  Despite the struggle, I thoroughly enjoyed the story; and the richness of detail into the sights, struggles, and lives of the Scottish Highlands of the times.  Overall, it was well worth the effort, and I look forward to reading it again with my other children.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Week 5: Moving Along

Jessie's 8th Grade
  • Jessie spent the week working with the commutative, associative, and distributive properties as well as using factoring to simplify expressions in Foerster's.
  • She scored another 100% on her vocabulary.  In grammar, she worked with complex sentences, compound-complex sentences, and sentence structure.  She began her first writing project in CW Diogenes Chreia, finished her contextual research for Rob Roy, and continued reading Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan.
  • Jessie scored very well on her chapter 3 Latin quiz and moved on to a review of fourth declension nouns, uses of the ablative case, and the function of the vocative case in Latin Alive 2.  Her EG 3 chapter was a review of prepositions.
  • She continued to work on the countries of Europe for geography and completed her logic assignments.
Violet's 6th Grade
  • Violet completed her 3rd section of math in her textbook and workbook at the beginning of the week and spent the remainder of her time completing the corresponding IP section.
  • She completed her 5th spelling lesson and spent most of her time in grammar focused on coherence on paragraphs.  For writing, she made her first attempt at writing a story in reverse using the first chapter of Genesis as her model.  She continued her reading and narrating of Lassie Come Home by .
  • In LfC C, she worked with three termination adjectives, mastered her new vocabulary words, and completed her regular translation work.  In the Greek Code Cracker, she learned the final letters of the Greek alphabet.
  • Her geography focus continues to be the US states, but she is on the final software level at this point.  We continued working on chapter 2 of Critical Thinking Book 1.

Benny's Third Grade
  • Benny completed his Singapore textbook/workbook section on addition and subtraction with numbers in the thousands and moved on to the corresponding IP section this week as well. In Miquon, he has been working with fractions using number lines to add, subtract, or multiply and learning how to identify equivalent fractions of 1.
  • He worked with punctuation of quotations, apostrophes, and reviewed the rules of capitalization in R&S 3.  We analyzed "The Crow and the Pitcher" for CW Aesop.  In literature we continued with the same books as last week with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for independent reading, McGuffey's second reader for reading aloud, and Understood Betsy as our read aloud.  He also completed his regular spelling and copywork.
  • This was our first week working on state booklets for our US geography lapbook.  He completed the Alabama booklet and 2/3 of the Alaska booklet.  The picture above shows his MindBenders puzzle for the week.  He also did his assigned riddles and Building Thinking Skills exercises.

The girls read about Noah Webster this week in What Do You Mean by Ferris.  They learned about sectionalism, mapped the Missouri Compromise, and summarized the section of SOTW 3 covering Nat Turner's Revolt.  Jessie read Freedom's Sons:  True Story of the Amistad Mutiny by Jurmain while Violet read Amistad Rising by Chambers.  Each completed a longer summary of these events.  
Benny and I learned about James Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine reading James Monroe by Bains.  We read the same SOTW section on Nat Turner's revolt as the girls and then used the TruthQuest commentary on slavery as the basis for our discussion of the topic.  We did read the same book as Violet on the Amistad mutiny, and Benny enjoyed listening to an audio version of Uncle Remus stories.  For hands on this week, we chose another pioneer craft and dried apple slices. 

Jessie continued working on chapter 3 this week on measurement covering topics such as accuracy versus precision, the use of scientific notation, and conversion of units.  We also caught up on our lab work.
We looked at two chemical reactions, burning sugar and mixing vinegar and baking soda,

and compared them to two physical reactions, dissolving salt and creating heat by stretching a rubber band.
We also did some measuring and she learned to use our digital balance.  (She's trying to hide the bubble wrap in her hands which seems to have been just as interesting as the balance.)
Violet and Benny learned about oxygen and watched the candle flame slowly decrease and then go out inside of a jar.  They both did very well with their 2nd quiz.
Then we moved on to bonding and made marshmallow models of lithium and chlorine to illustrate ionic bonding
as well as hydrogen and oxygen to illustrate covalent bonding in water.


For art see the previous post.  For music, Benny listened to a CD of Handel's music.  The girls began learning about the Baroque period of music and added to their lapbooks.


Henry and I read about cows and goats this week with the following selection of books:  Beatrice's Goat by McBrier, The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Armold, The Milk Makers by Gibbons, Blossom Comes Home by Herriot, The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down by Johnson, and Moo Who? by Graves.  We also sang "Hey Diddle Diddle" a time or two.  On the academic side, we continued to practice counting to 20, identifying the numbers 0-7, and added the letters Jj and Xx to our list of recognized letters.  (The latter was Henry's idea.  I guess we've played enough tic-tac-toe for him to remember it.)

On the fun side, we did some Kumon cutting and pasting and made a cow puppet out of a paper bag, which is in the previous post.  I'm still planning to make butter and ice cream with him, but our days ran so long this week that we'll do those activities over the weekend.