Thursday, September 25, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of September 22, 2014: Belated and Badges

It occurred to me last night that I'd neglected to share our work plans at the beginning of this week, and, surely coincidentally, this week we've had a lot of trouble completing each day's plans in a timely manner. Surely coincidentally, but nevertheles...

MONDAY: I was going to move the kids' hands-on math day to Tuesdays while we're still having a day of review every week, but I had a (boring, tedious, miserable) appointment this Tuesday, necessitating the kids doing some of their school at their father's office, so I kept the review worksheets for Tuesday, and instead Syd reviewed multiplication arrays using dot markers--so easy and fun!--and Will watched this division video and then created her own stop-motion video on the ipad to illustrated a division problem--she used books, of COURSE. Syd then took the ipad from her and created a million stop-motion toy dinosaur movies, taping over her sister's movie in the process. Of COURSE.

Horseback riding lessons have commenced again for the fall session, and therefore so has the kids' weekly homework to research and report on a horse breed for their riding instructor. They use these horse/geography forms to record their research, and they switch tasks each week, with one kid researching the horse breed, the other researching the horse's geography, and then each kid teaching the other what she knows. We also usually do a Youtube search so that we can see the horse in action; this is a good one for this week's horse, the fell pony:

I gave Syd another Horse Diaries book to read this week, and I asked Will to read the rest of the ecosystem books for her Girl Scout Junior Animal Habitats badge, then write me one-sentence definitions of the ecosystems discussed in each book. She's happy to do pretty much anything that involves reading, even if it also involves writing!

At our volunteer gig, the kids did some gardening, did some playing, and then helped me run the meat counter. When the supply is low enough that I can move all of the meat to the shelves that are easy for them to reach, the kids can actually handle this counter independently--greeting shoppers, asking them their preferences, showing them their options, etc. I won't leave them alone while they do this, because I feel like meat shopping doesn't always bring out the best in people and so I want to supervise their encounters, but I do stand back and let them be in charge, and you can tell that they feel like Very Important People to have such a big responsibility.

Even though First Language Lessons Level 3 was great for a while, I'm back to feeling like it's moving too slowly. It's good enough that we won't ditch it, but we won't be moving on to Level 4 afterwards.

I'd planned on setting aside some time for memory work each day this week, and so I took cursive and states and capitals memorization off our regular schedule, assuming we'd do it during memory work time. I immediately discovered, however, that memory work is ideally done when riding in the car--the kids are contained then, and they can't escape my drills! But while this is excellent for spelling words, math facts, poetry recitation, and states and capitals, it's obviously impossible for cursive. That will have to go back on the schedule next week.

TUESDAY: Math review worksheets went really well this week, and now I'm torn between continuing to offer a day of extra practice in word problems and previously-acquired skill sets (multi-digit addition and subtraction for Syd; multi-digit multiplication and easy division for Will), which is great for building confidence and getting those feelings of mastery, or again using that day to advance in their Math Mammoth curriculum. Dang it, I want to do both! For now I'll keep deciding week by week, I guess...

For form drawing this week, we're working on the spiral, with the goals of making the flowing line steady and even and controlled (hear that, Will? CONTROLLED!).

Short story writing is still a success. Syd makes whole books out of her stories, with detailed illustrations on every page. Will's stories are still VERY short, but she does work on them with focus, and she's clearly quite proud of them when she's finished, so I'm saying nothing about it but praise.

I *think* I've now got everything unpacked that I need for us to start prepping our dino dig fossils, so I asked the kids to finish up the work for their Junior Paleontology badges this week; we'll mail them in, and they'll send the kids badges and certificates!

WEDNESDAY: I liked having Friday as our free day so much last week that I'm doing it again, which means that Wednesday was a regular work day.

The kids' Math Mammoth this week is more beginning multiplication for Syd, and more division for Will. Syd is breezing through her multiplication, since she already has most of her facts memorized, and division is slowly but steadily being driven into Will's brain, so every day it does become, thankfully, ever so slightly less miserable for her. LOTS of drill, though. LOTS of mastery experiences.

The kids love earning Junior Ranger badges so much that I've turned it into their geography study. They get to pick a National Park online (ideally one that we're unlikely to visit), print out that park's Junior Ranger badge book, and then they do all the activities at home, using the computer for research as needed. Just like with the Junior Paleontologist badge, when they're finished, we can mail the book to the park, and they'll send back the kids' badges and certificates. We can also request documentaries and books from the library to enrich each study.

Our Artifacts of Ancient China study is going well. We're revisiting the terracotta warriors this week (helps get those timeline dates stuck in the head!) by making terracotta warrior paper dolls; now that the kids know how the real terracotta warriors were painted, I think that they'll have a lot of fun making these paper doll versions really cute! I also like to have the kids watch these Crash Course World History videos, but screen them for your own kids, first, because they can be a little blue.

I'm sure you wouldn't have been able to guess it at all (ahem...) but the Minecraft lesson was by far the most popular part of Wednesday's curriculum. Syd doesn't really play computer games, and had never touched Minecraft before, but there's a mod-building workshop for Minecraft at the public library in a few weeks that I want her to take along with her sister, so I've given Will the job of teaching Syd how to play Minecraft before that date.

THURSDAY: Today is our last day of school for the week, and I am STOKED! I always stack Thursday with our quickest subjects, because our homeschool group's Park Day takes up most of the afternoon.

The kids lost touch with their pen pals over our summer hiatus, AND we moved, so I've got them renewing their correspondence today. And after some *gentle* nudging to finish things up last week, both kids are ready to choose new Girl Scout badges to start earning today--yay!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet, chess club, and a photography workshop for both kids, which means that Matt and I will get an afternoon for ourselves! I also feel like there's a laser tag certificate sitting around somewhere that might expire at the end of the month, AND an ice cream certificate that's also about to expire...

Sounds like a fine weekend to me!


Tina said...

We just started back up with Emma's school work this week. It's gone really well, but then again, we are only seriously focusing on Math Mammoth, Story of the World, and various forms of writing (NaNoWrMo, FLL, Writing with Ease, etc.) Emma works on one subject for 45 minutes then gets a 15 minute break, then we move onto the next subject.

I love the idea of doing the Jr. Ranger as part of geography. In Emma's homeschool co-op they are working on North America right now, so I might have her pick one of the parks to check out. Thanks for the idea!

Yes to the pen pals! We just got lazy over the summer. We will also be moving (finally over the tiny house and signed a lease yesterday on a bigger one), but if the girls get a letter to Emma soon, I will have her send one back a.s.a.p. with our new address.

I feel the same way the FLL. I basically just read to here from the book, then we either incorporate the activity into a different subject (like writing an adjective filled short story about what happened at Mohenjo-Daro). We will finish this book, but won't get the next level.

julie said...

I am so excited that you are moving!!! I know you've been wanting it for a while.

Is it easy to reign Emma back in after her break? It's nearly impossible to get my kids back if I let them go, although that's partly my fault--I can't bring myself to disturb them if they're playing together outside, for instance.

Tina said...

Thanks! I hate packing, but two things make it easier: 1- we've purged so much stuff over the last two years that we really don't have much and 2- I am SO EXCITED to have a bigger house. I just want to move there NOW!

I think because Emma knows she only has 15 minutes, she doesn't get too involved in her break. Also, she isn't playing with anyone else. I think she has really enjoyed the one-on-one that I have been able to spend with her on her school work, so that makes coming back to it more enjoyable for her.


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