Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Work Plans for the Week of October 6, 2014: Fall Break (for the other Kids)

The Box embed is being a jerk (that's a technical term) this morning, and I just can't deal, so here's the link to this week's work plans, if you can't see them above.

MONDAY: The public schools in our district have a week-long fall break this week, which means that lots of local places are offering school-age programming. Yay! On this day, I actually sent the kids away to the day camp that our local parks and recreation department offers. It's your pretty basic, run-of-the-mill day camp, but the counselors are all college students who seem to have endless amounts of patience and enthusiasm, and it's based in an elementary school, so the kids eat in the cafeteria and play on the playground, stand in line, wait their turn, etc. They also go on field trips, play group games, complete bizarre craft projects, and do just about a million other things between the hours of 8 and 5. I absolutely count this as a school day.

TUESDAY: Today was a little more hectic than it appears, since we spent much of the morning at the free morning of a HUGE book sale that our local chapter of the Red Cross does ever year. Seriously, it's an Event! And there are so many books there--like, two warehouse's worth--that even on the free morning, there are fabulous books that have just been... overlooked. This morning I found, among many other wonderful treasures, four volumes of the A History of US set that I've been using as a US history spine. I mean, seriously yay!

Considering that there was also a magic/juggling/ventriloquism show at the library that the kids were practically vibrating with excitement about, I purposefully made the schoolwork for this day more efficient than usual. Will is still practicing long division in Math Mammoth--she keeps putting the second digit of the quotient in the wrong place, then shouting "I don't understand this!"--and Syd, thanks to the fact that I forced her to memorize her multiplication facts last year since I was already bullying Will through them, is breezing through her multiplication unit, also in Math Mammoth.

We didn't have internet at home on Tuesday, so the kids didn't actually do their Spelling City, but they did both do an excellent job copying their spelling words into cursive--the kids practice spelling every day as part of their memory work, but spelling words also make for good cursive practice.

Syd worked more on her City of Rocks Junior Ranger badge, and may have finished it. Will spent that whole time being pissed off at long division, so she'll work on her Redwoods State and National Parks Junior Ranger badge another time.

Will did take a break from long division so that we could all read the farming chapter from Ancient China, then Syd set up our mini rice farm in a bucket. That night, we went to our natural foods co-op for their freshest, wholest-looking rice, and then Will planted it! The kids are memorizing the dates of early farming in Ancient China (aproximately 8000-2205 BCE, if you're curious), to go along with this. I've really loved this study of Ancient China through the lens of its artifacts, by the way--perfect combo of history, timeline memorization, and hands-on projects!

WEDNESDAY: We woke up at 6:00 am to bundle up, drag a bunch of blankets over to the drive-in, and lay and watch the lunar eclipse--we also saw two meteors, two artificial satellites, and many, many constellations! I've been waiting for years for the kids to show enough interest in astronomy to support a science unit; since we've also got a partial solar eclipse in our area in a couple of weeks, it may be time to finish up paleontology and jump on astronomy while it's hot!

Our current Girl Scout Co-op unit is Dance, and another mom is having the kids over on this morning to learn historical fad dances. Can you imagine anything any more fun than that? I'm pretty excited to see what they'll cover.

We've finished our Oregon Trail/pioneer history unit, but there are still a dozen or so library books on our shelves. It's mostly housecleaning to have the kids look through that remainder, but I know that they'll enjoy the chance to just lounge about and read and call it school.

THURSDAY: For years, I've wanted to show the kids how amazing it is to simply fill a pumpkin with potting soil, water it, and then watch the pumpkin seeds sprout. I don't know if it'll actually work at this time of year, or if I'll just be hosting a moldy, dirt-filled pumpkin on top of my chest freezer, but we'll see, I suppose! It makes a fun little segue so that we can briefly review some botany, anyway--I've got a Girl Scout Co-op unit on Flowers to arrange in just a couple of weeks!

Gawd, I'm starting to hate First Language Lessons. I think I'm just going to skip the rest of the MANY chapters on the uses of adverbs--seriously, the kids get it!--and see if that makes me want to bang my head against the wall a little less.

The university program that I had intended for my children to take language classes through had their funding delayed, and their class schedule is still not up, sigh. I hadn't intended to take this long of a hiatus from foreign language study. I've checked out the other titles in the Song School series from the library, and I've decided that for the time being, we'll review the Song School Latin vocab, and then study Song School Spanish and Song School Greek to learn the same vocabulary in those languages. That, at least, will be an excellent spine for future foreign language study.

I've signed the children up to take the AMC 8 exam next month. It's vastly too advanced for them, of course, but it will be excellent practice for future years, when they'll be more competitive, and it will also be excellent practice for taking standardized exams. Nevertheless, the kids should each be able to handle a problem or two, and make a good stab at some others, so I've set aside a spot each week to go over a couple of problems from past exams with them and demonstrate how to solve them using models. As an aside, I've inter-library loaned much of the Beast Academy series through our university library, and I'm eager to peruse it.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY: I cherish our free day each week, and I usually try not to have any extracurriculars or outside activities on that day, but this is just a busy week, and this week's free Friday will be broken up by an assessment for the kids' upcoming ice skating classes.

On Saturday, Matt will be taking both kids to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a Girl Scout event--they're going to get to ride their bikes AROUND THE TRACK! How cool is that!?! I'm torn, because I kind of want to call and see if I can still sign up to attend, too, but I can also get a lot done during an entire day home alone, and I feel better about getting stuff done if I know that the kids are doing something fun and engaging elsewhere. So, yeah... we'll see.

Chess club is the only scheduled activity for Sunday, but we've also got to get our chicken coop insulated before the cold weather really hits, so the rest of the day may likely involve much woodwork, some swears, many trips to the hardware store, etc.

You're not going to believe it, but next week is even busier!

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