Monday, January 12, 2015

Work Plans for the Week of January 12, 2015: Personal Narrative, Minecraft Homeschool, and Girl Scout Cookies

Our first week back to a full schedule went well, I thought. I'm usually pretty insistent that the children finish their work plans each day, but I made a point to be more relaxed about that last week, and indeed, Syd did not complete her endangered species project, and neither kid completed her grammar or attended Magic Tree House Club. They worked hard, however, Syd got oriented to her Minecraft Homeschool class, they spent a lot of time working on Girl Scout badges, they spent a lot of time playing with friends, and it was overall a very successful week.

My plan is to try to stay that relaxed throughout the next couple of weeks, as the children's extracurriculars gradually ramp back up to their full schedule. If there are any more permanent changes that need to be made, hopefully I'll be able to more easily spot them that way.

MONDAY: The children enjoy their daily book assignment--more so, I think, because the selection often isn't relevant to their current studies, but is just a book that I thought they should read or that should be interesting to them. I'll continue that this week; in fact, I have today's books sitting next to me on my desk right now, waiting for the children to wake up, eat breakfast, and then come ask for them. Will has this chaptered biography--Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A National Hero--and Syd has this non-fiction picture book: Secrets of the Seasons: Orbiting the Sun in Our Backyard.

Will's next couple of Math Mammoth lessons on area should come quite easily to her, and so I'm sending her on ahead, but I discovered last week during a Math Mammoth review that Syd has completely forgotten how to subtract multi-digit numbers when borrowing across zeroes is required. I spent a math lesson last week reviewing this with Syd using actual Base Ten blocks, and today I'll have her review again using this subtraction tool online. I'll be asking her to complete the algorithm on paper as she works the problems with the online manipulatives, and hopefully that will be enough reinforcement that she can successfully complete a review worksheet tomorrow. Oh, how our Syd loves to be successful!

The kids had a lot of fun working on Girl Scout badges last week--Syd made some recipes for her Snacks badge, and Will completed several activities for her Cookie CEO badge. She also asked me how she could tour a small business, also for her Cookie CEO badge, so I set up a field trip in February for her and some of our other Girl Scout friends to a business owned by a couple of friends of mine. The children would like to learn about accounting, and marketing, and customer service, and I think it's going to be fabulous.

Would The Green Nursery also like to have Girl Scouts sell cookies outside their store sometime in February? We'll see!

The children's Hoffman Academy lessons continue this week. They enjoy them, they do them, they practice--yay!

Now that Will has some ideas about the topic of the personal narrative that I'd like her to write, I plan to spend some time today talking with the children about personal narratives in general. Yesterday, when I dropped the children off at the library to attend a program on Japanese music, I handed them this list of mentor texts and asked them to bring home to me as many as they could find--they brought six, so today we'll be reading a couple of those out loud together. We'll be talking about the tendency of a personal narrative to have a Big Idea as a lens through which the narrative is written, and the children will assist me as I fill out this worksheet on theme. Next, we'll talk about the way that characters are fleshed out in narrative, and the children will assist me as I fill out this worksheet on characterization. Finally, I'll have the children fill out worksheets of their own--Will about her own personal narrative, to help her in its planning, and Syd about another one of the mentor texts that she can choose.

Oh, and we've got our weekly volunteer gig today! I should get dressed for that sometime! On the way home, we're going to stop by a florist and see if I can wrangle up some white carnations that Will's wanting for an activity for her Flowers badge.

TUESDAY: Free day! Syd will want to get started on her Minecraft Homeschool class (if she doesn't start it today), and the kids may have a friend over, but otherwise, their time is their own.

WEDNESDAY: Song School Spanish remains a good vocabulary study. Ideally, the children should be learning a second language from a native speaker, but as I've had many conversations with local friends about the shocking inaccessibility of children's language classes in this university town, my problem is at least not an isolated one.

Will should write the outline for her personal narrative today. I imagine that we'll butt heads about this, as I imagine that she'll want her outline to read something like "Pappa took me fishing. I caught a fish. The end," and I'll want her to unpack her narrative into a longer, more detailed sequence of events that expands this small moment, but she promised me last week that she would not throw a[nother] fit about writing this personal narrative. We'll see...

Horseback riding starts back up today, and I'll probably sign the kids up for an aerial silks class on this day, as well. Making the crystallizing watercolors is just a fun little science-y project that can be deleted if we're too busy, but that I think everyone will enjoy, based on how much fun the kids had doing the other sensory and art projects from this book.

THURSDAY: Will hasn't had as much prior experience with volume as she has with area and perimeter, so this project, using the basic technique that makes these newspaper constructions, will be a useful one--and I think it'll be fun!

Since we had so much trouble getting grammar and science done last Thursday, I'll be especially watchful with how it goes this Thursday--should I move some subjects around? Make Thursday a shorter day or a free day? We'll see!

Will's hatred of the fine motor skill of handwriting is such a detriment to her that I permit her to dictate her essays to me. I did, however, check out several typing instruction software programs from the library, and I've already blocked out some time next week for the children to install them and experiment.

FRIDAY: The editing and revising of Will's personal narrative will probably take the entire weekend, as I'll be asking her to read it out loud to a few people--grandparents, perhaps?--and make edits after each, and, of course, I'll be showing her how essays are best left to sit for a while, so that you can come back to them to revise and edit with fresh eyes.

Dyeing beans is just a fun little activity that can be deleted if the kids need more time with Girl Scouts, Minecraft Homeschool, or personal narrative. They also do really enjoy sensory play still, so it also might be just the thing to help them wind down from the week.

We're continuing our Georgie O'Keeffe study this week by reading biographies and reporting on them. There are several to choose from, so I may just lay them all out and let the children select. Field trips to Indy are always weather-dependent this time of year, but I'm anticipating a visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art for their Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition sooner rather than later!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY/MONDAY: The children have a Girl Scout workshop on Saturday and a couple of events on Monday to celebrate MLK Day, but otherwise we're free to play. Should we go to the art museum? Watch Krrish 3? Go swimming?

We'll see!


Tina said...

Did I miss where you explain their daily book assignment thing? Emma wakes up and reads in bed for 30-60 minutes each morning and also reads for 30-60 minutes at bedtime. I think having something school related in one of those reading periods might be a good idea.

So, do the Girl Scouts sell any gluten or dairy free cookies?

julie said...

I mostly use the book assignment to help us get through our MANY shelves of library books--I choose one for each kid to read at her leisure during that day, and they just need to come to me and tell me about it when they've finished. And then they put the book in our return crate!

Let's see... Thin Mints are vegan this year, which is super exciting, and beginning in February, Toffee-tastic will be available--that one's gluten-free! Here is its list of ingredients:

Tina said...

That's exciting about the Thin Mints!

That's awesome that the Toffee-tastics are gluten free. I could eat them, but Emma couldn't :0`

Thanks for sending the info!

Tina said...

So, random question. Do you guys have any magazine subscriptions? I am tempted to get National Geographic, but I'm cheap and we move so freaking much that I hate the thought of having to call and change my address at yet one more place.

But, I like the idea an educational spark of interest appearing in our mailbox monthly.

julie said...

We get Smithsonian and Ranger Rick, but Will reads National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, and Muse at the library. I bet a subscription would be so cool!


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