Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of March 24, 2014: Play

Syd spent much of last week learning how to make and break codes and edit Zoo Tycoon with Will, so whatever we didn't get to last week, I just left in place for this week!

MONDAY: Latin is one of the subjects that Will always chooses to do with Syd--somehow, those workbook pages that were such agony when required don't merit a peep of protest when they're chosen. Syd's keyboard lesson is again from Hoffman Academy, who, I am thrilled to see, has added more video lessons. I'm pretty stoked that we can learn more at home before I have to make a decision about formal classes. Syd also ADORES Mr. Hoffman and his lessons, so she loves keyboard. Will, on the other hand, hasn't picked up the recorder since the day that I stopped giving her work plans; we need to have a conversation about this, to see where she wants to go with music, because I do want her to study some instrument.

We didn't get to the skip counting board last Friday (but Syd did spend a LONG time creating and translating "secret" codes on that day, so there's her math enrichment and logic skill building), so I put it down again for Monday. I also read another Pippi book to Syd, and then had her write a letter to Pippi Longstocking, care of the theater where we saw her play a couple of weeks ago. Syd LOVED this project, and it turned out super cute, too--she asked Pippi what her real name was, told her all the things that she liked to pretend to be, described in detail her favorite part of the play (a scene that didn't actually include Pippi--oops!), and wrote the names of our three cats in every possible order for her ("My cats' names are Ballantine and Gracie and Spots or Ballantine and Spots and Gracie or Gracie and Ballantine and Spots or...). I'm curious to see if the theater passes the letter on to the actress and if she writes back--hopefully she's not *too* overwhelmed with fan mail?

Both kids also seriously worked their butts off at our volunteer gig on Monday--I have NEVER seen them work so hard! They stocked cans and granola bars and frozen meat and milk and yogurt and produce, including a ton of really heavy stuff. They helped repackage pasta (some stuff comes in giant bulk bags, and we split it into smaller portions to serve more people). They organized their bookshelf and stocked more books (someone brought in even more books last week!). Syd read to a little boy. They normally do all that, but with plenty of time spent reading quietly or coloring or playing together, but yesterday they hardly even took a break. It was wonderful to watch them so dedicated and focused, and I felt really proud of them.

TUESDAY: The kids have a playdate for this entire morning (right now they're playing hide-and-seek downstairs, with a gentleman's agreement that no one will hide in the closet where we keep the litterbox), so nothing will get accomplished until afternoon, but then we've got First Language Lessons, which both kids LOVE, and math, which Syd is fine with and Will tolerates much better these days (even though she IS spending the week doing the long-threatened Kumon multiplication drill workbook), and that documentary on natural Indiana that's been on the work plans for weeks--surprising, since the kids usually adore documentaries, and I actually want to add more of them to our days, but they've been so involved in active play and their own busy plans recently that I just don't think they want to sit down long enough to watch this. It's also snowing right now, which means that we're not going to make casts of animal tracks today, either, but on a family hike this weekend--without the supplies to make casts, of COURSE--we saw some good animal tracks, so on the first nice day this week we'll head back there, plaster of Paris in our backpacks, and finally make that project happen.

One thing that I like about homeschooling is that I get to put what are essentially chores on the schoolwork plans, instead of rushing to try to do them after school and extracurriculars, so today I also want the kids to figure out their birthday presents for a buddy's birthday party this weekend. I have kind of strict rules for birthday party presents--You can either make your friend a gift, buy your friend a gift with your own money, or give your friend something of your own--so making/buying/figuring out what to sacrifice does take enough time and effort to justify being a "work" for the day.

WEDNESDAY: Horseback riding lessons begin again! The kids couldn't be more stoked. I also *may* put Will back in aerial silks class, because she says her thumb isn't sore anymore, but I'm terrified that she'll accidentally rip off a big scab or her entire thumbnail during class and cause an "incident," so we'll see...

THURSDAY: Oh, my goodness, this last Girl Scout Birthday Week project seems like it will never get done! I may have to wave the Birthday Week patches temptingly in front of the children on this day, because I know they want them deeply. To be fair, Will worked on other Girl Scout badges for I can't even tell you how many hours last week--she's simultaneously earning her Animal Tracks, Detective, Inside Government, and Geocaching badges--and Syd worked on her Potter badge, so Girl Scouts is still leading them into some really enriching, engaging learning experiences, but I know that regular sense of completion and accomplishment goes a long way towards making it as fun as they find it to be.

Since we just had a Bible chapter in The Story of the World, and since Easter and Passover are coming up, I thought we'd spend some time in the next few weeks exploring some myths from world religions. We're reading about Creation myths this week, and then we might focus in on Jewish and Christian myths related to the upcoming holidays. I'll tell you one thing about children's religious education: it includes a LOT of crafts! Fortunately, Syd enjoys crafting, so I think this will be a lot of fun for her. Will doesn't always enjoy crafting, so I think she'll appreciate the ability to choose her own level of participation.

FRIDAY: Last Friday was a beautiful day, so the kids just played and played and we didn't get much of our formal schoolwork accomplished. This Friday may end up being just as beautiful, especially after being so chilly earlier in the week, so we'll just see what ends up getting done. I'd like us to begin Indiana history, after spending some time studying natural Indiana, so we're starting A History of US, which I'm pretty excited about. I "think" I'm going to skip around to the chapters that relate directly to Indiana, but if we like the book as much as I hope we're going to, I may just add it wholemeal to our curriculum. Anyway, on this day we begin with the Bering Land Bridge, and we'll be using a cool ipad app that allows us to see historical geography to research what the Bering Land Bridge actually must have looked like.

For our regular history, we'll be doing the mapwork in The Story of the World Activity Book for chapter seven, but we've actually spent so much time exploring Mesopotamia in earlier chapters that I'm already researching for chapter eight. Perhaps this is how we'll eventually begin to move faster through the book--we'll just, at some point, have done all the cool projects that there are to do! Math class is back this week, and the couple of leftover assignments from last Friday should finish off our day... if I can get the kids to come inside long enough to do them, which I'm not counting on.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: It's going to be a busy Saturday, with an all-day nature class for the kids followed immediately by a birthday party for a buddy. So even though I'd like to plan hiking or rock climbing or some such family adventure on Sunday, we may just goof around and play at home, with a few breaks for enforced yardwork.


Tina said...

I really hope that "Pippi" writes back! One thing I dislike about Emma wanting to write to authors and such is that she isn't likely to get a letter back. So far, of the three (or four) famous people she has written to, she has never received anything back.

Do you print off the work list for Syd to check off as she finishes tasks?

I bought, in impulse, 'The Kingfisher Atlas of World History' and I really love it! The maps are so much larger (so easier to put into context) than the maps in the Usborne History Encyclopedia and the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (though I do enjoy the more in depth info from the two encyclopedias).

You know, I really can't wait till I am done my college classes so I can focus more on the fun learning that I get to do with Emma! There are a lot of things I would love to add to her school day, but I don't have the time for the research/planning or for helping her if she needs it. Oh well, one more year.

julie said...

Now I kind of want to imagine some author spending an hour every day responding to every fan letter in the order in which it was received. In 14 years or so, it will be Emma's turn!

I do print off the work list, because Syd LOVES checking things off a list (she comes by that honestly!), but last week she actually misplaced her list mid-week, so I just loaded it onto the ipad. Checking off works better for us, though, because sometimes a Monday work might not be done until Friday, for example, so it's useful to be able to look at the sheet and see what's still left.

Okay, I'm totally going to go check out that atlas! We've got the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, but we just don't use it very much. One day...

One more year, and you are going to have so much fun! The thing about homeschooling, though--it sucks up every single minute of time you have available to put into it. I am constantly doing lesson plans and curriculum research and unit study set-up, and I still feel like I could be doing more. The kids, though, who are right now happily sitting on the floor together working a dinosaur puzzle (Syd's feeling a little better!), I guarantee wouldn't mind if I didn't do so much planning.

Tina said...

14 years later, she would probably still be thrilled :0)

Actually, up until this past year, Mo Willems responded to each letter he received (with the help of his wife and daughter). We were so sad to read that he no longer planned to respond to letters. Big bummer, but I get it. One of the reasons I have no desire to become famous. I'd miss all the "little" people.

I might eventually go digital with our list, but for now I really enjoy handwriting everything (that way I can add something later in the week and Emma will have no idea!).

I can see your point about homeschooling sucking up all the available time. Pretty much the only thing I did on my last week off from school was get Emma's school stuff planned out.

Then again, if I wasn't starting mostly from scratch, it would have been quicker.

But then again, again, if it weren't for you and your awesome hard work and the fact that you share your knowledge, it would have taken even longer!

I am glad to hear Syd is feeling better.


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