Thursday, February 27, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of February 24, 2014: Workbooks and Water

With two full-day field trips this week, daily Spring Ice Show rehearsals for Will, and several imminent work and academic deadlines looming, I gave the kids responsibility for their own school this week. I told them that I expect them to each put in a full two-hour work period every day, INDEPENDENTLY--asking to play board games with Momma doesn't count!

As a matter of fact, I *really* only had to completely ignore them on Tuesday, when I spent a good ten hours creating Syd's fashion show pants out of prom dresses and stress (Matt made us a celebratory pitcher of frozen margaritas after I was finished and the kids were in bed--those two Game of Thrones episodes that we watched afterwards were totally wasted on me), but to my surprise, the kids have taken off with this responsibility, and have spent the majority of their days in academic pursuits.

Their inspiration? Workbooks, of all things. I have a large collection of workbooks that we don't often use (they're a crutch for weeks like these!), so on Monday night, after our day-long ski trip and Will's evening Ice Show rehearsal, yawn, and before we all crashed out early--seriously, I accidentally fell asleep at 9 pm while Matt was trying to have a conversation with me about what we should eat for dinner--I dragged out all our workbooks of math drills, geography, puzzles, mazes, and cursive, etc., and laid them out on the coffee table. It turns out that the kids were happy to do pages and pages of math drills, as long as they got to choose what math to do; Will loves word problems, and Syd feels like a real ace at multi-digit addition.

Each kid has also been doing a lot of math puzzles--Syd likes this number cross puzzles book, and Will likes this book of easy sudoku, and they both love an old daily calendar of tangrams that I bought them from Goodwill many years ago--and coloring books of things like artworks and tesselations, and Will has spent hours poring over this art history sticker book, but the most fun that they've had has been inspired by a workbook of science experiments that their grandmother once gave them. Matt bought Will a package of gummy bears so that she could follow the workbook's instructions to measure it, immerse it in water, and measure it again later, and their fascination with how the gummy bear expanded in the glass of water reminded me of our collections of super-absorbent polymer--we've got spheres, cubes, and crystal shapes, and the kids were thrilled with them all.

The polymers are easy to dye in colored water, so of course we then had to get out the color-mixing tablets, and one entire day was spent in color mixing and pouring, baths in colored bathwater, growing polymer shapes and dyeing them and mashing them and playing with them:

In the process, Syd made another VERY interesting discovery:

How cool is that?!? Time for a mini-unit on optics!


Tina said...

Love it! Weeks like these seem to be the most fun.

Emma has been digging the "Who Is/Was" biography series lately. She read about Jane Goodall, William Shakespeare, and Roald Dahl. We even printed out a funky book report sheet from Super Teacher Worksheets that she enjoys filling out (until I tell her to fill the entire thing out!).

Next week we will start working on her Junior Master Horseman curriculum with her friend (that also loves horses). I'm pretty excited about that!

julie said...

Okay, I'm going to see if I can interlibrary loan that Junior Master Horseman book right this second! You'll have to keep me updated with how you like it.


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