Monday, September 15, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of September 15, 2014: Extracurriculars and Extra Badges

MONDAY: I just realized that this day is stacked with our quickest, easiest subjects; if I'd noticed as I was planning yesterday, I would have switched one of these subjects with Wednesday's history assignment, but oh, well--more time for chores today, then!

First Language Lessons continues. The kids are memorizing William Makepeace Thackeray's "A Tragic Story" as part of their current lessons; it's not my favorite poem, but they like it.

The kids are also still working on states and capitals memorization, and reading L is for Lincoln just for fun. I'm eager to have this memorization accomplished, because I've finally figured out what I'd really like the kids to do for geography next, and I'm excited to present it to them! I think that next week I'll revisit daily "memory work"; it got out of hand when we last had it regularly scheduled, so this time I'll likely also institute a time limit.

Matt sat both the kids down last week and actually made them study their spelling words instead of just goofing around on Spelling City (another reason for a daily memory work time), so they both aced their tests and have all new lists this week! I give Will 20 words at a time, and Syd 15; as they memorize words, I'll take them off of their lists, and when they're down to five or fewer words, I restock their list. I've still got the kids using Spelling City, however, goofing around or not; perhaps when we're doing daily memory work, I'll delete spelling as a discrete subject and simply have spelling words as part of the memory work.

Will is still working on division in Math Mammoth, and still fighting all the computation involved in long division, so later I'm going to take her out to the driveway, write long division problems in huge script on our driveway, and then literally walk her through them. Syd is starting multiplication in her Math Mammoth, a unit that should go well since I had her memorize facts along with Will last year; today we'll review them while playing Roll-n-Multiply--she LOVES this game!

I've started recording the kids' hours that we spend volunteering at the food pantry on Mondays; apparently, the mayor's office offers a service award to children, evaluated solely on volunteer hours, that the children will certainly be eligible for at the end of my twelve-month recording period.

TUESDAY: Lately, Math Mammoth has been moving both kids along a little too quickly, which means that not only do they not get to feel a sense of mastery over any particular math concept, but they also feel frustrated at daily having to slog through a new concept, and not remembering how to deal with previously-taught concepts. This day's math, then, is a review of the previous week, using worksheets found online and in our Kumon drill books. Syd has Roman numerals, the order of operations, and graphs, and Will has word problems, multi-digit multiplication, and division. If they need review again next week, I'll switch this to Monday and put the hands-on enrichment for the coming week on Tuesday.

Every week I tell myself that next week I should push cursive more. Every week I have more interesting things that I want to schedule instead.

Although I usually give the kids free reign over their Girl Scout badges, I'm going to encourage Syd to tackle the reading list for her Bugs badge (because those books are going to be due back at the library soon) and Will to make 3D glasses with me (because I want to write the project up as a tute for CAGW). We'll see how this goes over!

Horseback riding lessons start again this week, and the kids are SO excited to get back to their horses! The fall show is coming up next month, so I imagine they'll be doing a lot of work on the drill team performance that they'd like to perform at the show.

Will also has a robotics workshop that she attends on alternate Tuesdays; the kids are learning to program and problem-solve using LEGO Mindstorms. I'm planning an at-home robotics unit to accompany these sessions, but don't have it prepared yet.

Because Syd's not old enough for the robotics workshop, she has reading as her final school slot on this day. I'm asking her to read me the first chapter of Island Horse, then to finish reading it on her own this week.

WEDNESDAY: This is usually our weekly free day, but I'm experimenting with moving the free day around to take advantage of days when we don't have scheduled extracurriculars; this week, that's Friday! I'm playing around with how I want to go about scheduling weekly writing, so since last week I had the kids write essays, and book reports the week before, on this day I'm asking them to write a short story.

The kids are looking forward to starting the Great Wall of China diorama that I've assigned them on this day. I've got enough styrofoam blocks for one diorama, so I'll have them work together; hopefully, there won't be too much conflict between Syd's perfectionism and Will's disdain for creating visual art. We're exploring Ancient China through the lens of its artifacts, so there will be a lot of these projects involved in our study.

I've discovered that there are also Junior Ranger badges that are focused on subject, rather than the parks, and this Junior Paleontologist badge is one of them. I need to order some more supplies before I can get the kids to work preparing and displaying their own fossils from the dino dig, so hopefully this self-directed unit will buy me the time that I need.

Will is getting frustrated because she thinks she's advancing too slowly at aerial silks (mind you, the classes were on hiatus this summer, and the first day back was necessarily a review, but Will doesn't want to perfect skills that she's already learned--she wants to learn NEW skills!), and asked me to sign her up for two classes this week, so I signed both kids up for two out of convenience.

THURSDAY: I added a book to this day's math, just for fun. I like to have a book or video as part of each day's schoolwork, because the kids enjoy them and because they seem to absorb information well from those outlets.

Grammar and spelling are repeats from Monday. I would have liked to have a second slot for cursive this week, and a slot for art, but the kids have an unusual amount of extracurriculars this week. I count extracurriculars as slots in our school day to make sure that I'm leaving enough free time in the children's schedules. I know that most kids who go to school have extracurriculars on top of school and then homework on top of that, but my kids' free time is precious to them--and to me!--and it's really important to me that it be preserved.

That being said, the kids have two scheduled activities on this day, which I also try not to do. At least one of the activities, our homeschool group's Park Day, is just free play.

FRIDAY: Free day! The kids have a buddy coming over to play in the afternoon, and there's a craft project that I'd like to interest them in, but otherwise, their time is their own.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: This weekend is unusually scheduled, as well. Not only does Syd have her regular ballet class on Saturday morning, but in the afternoon she has an audition for the university's yearly production of The Nutcracker. On Sunday, Matt's taking the kids to the Hoosier Outdoor Experience while I stay at home and work my butt off.

Surely by the end of the weekend, my study will be unpacked? That would certainly be a sanity-booster!

2 comments:

Tina said...

We are doing a little bot of school work here and there, mostly trying to get through last years Math Mammoth (I probably shouldn't have started it half-way through the year) and SOTW. Next week the hubby goes back to work so the kiddo and I will buckle down and plow through some of her school stuff before my classes start back up.

I need to check out the Junior Rangers website more.

And yay for horse lessons! We have some tonight after a few weeks of due to weather and the flu (not us thankfully).

julie said...

I don't know if it's the pacing of Math Mammoth or the pacing of my kid, but right before we hit the long slog of multiplication for Syd and division for Will, it seemed like Math Mammoth was just flying through topics, and I had to incorporate regular review or the kids would learn a skill one day, and then not see it again for a month. Now it's probably going a little slow for Syd, but it's just right for Will

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