Monday, March 23, 2015

Work Plans for the Week of March 23: Science and Grammar (and Spring!)

Unsurprisingly, we did not complete our schoolwork last week. There were salamanders to find, hide-and-seek games to play in the woods, neighborhood cats to befriend (the kids give them their own names, and I'm pretty sure tempt them over to our house for an extra meal daily--we seem to be feeding a LOT of extra cats these days...), mudpies to bake, we kept going to the library for various programs and then staying all day, and in this, our first spring in our home, there is much yard work to be done, and my two are quite the branch-hauling, gravel-spreading, rock-moving helpers!

No worries. Little schoolwork is time-sensitive, as long as the learning continues (and when you're outdoors, with the mud and the salamanders and your toy ponies, then yes, I count you as learning), and so what wasn't completed last week has simply been moved to this week, where we'll give it another shot in between the woods exploring and the fossil collecting and the salamander spotting.

Dailies this week include Chinese language practice (which I need to monitor more closely this week, as they've got class again on Saturday after the Spring Break hiatus); typing practice (I have a couple of software programs from the library to install for them to try, now that they're bored with Dance Mat Typing); keyboard practice; cursive practice (definitely improving!); and the Book of the Day, which this week includes a couple of movies as a bit of a treat--a video on Chinese cuisine, and a documentary on Tchaikovsky--as well as books on the oviraptor, periodic table, and Lippizaner horse.

MONDAY: Hopefully, our gig at the food pantry will be less chaotic, now that Spring Break is over! For grammar, we have another First Language Lessons unit, and for math, Syd is continuing with measurement in Math Mammoth, and Will has a review of multi-digit multiplication before continuing in her current calculations unit.

The kids worked hard on interesting Girl Scouts projects last week--Syd, thanks to the Computer Expert badge, learned that she really likes to create digital art, and Will framed a dried rose from Syd's Nutcracker bouquet as a keepsake for her as part of her Flowers badge, to name just a couple of the activities that I happened to notice--so they'll continue that practice this week. They haven't, however, been working nearly as hard on their Science Fair projects as they need to, which means that they'll need to work on them every school day this week, and I'll need to monitor and guide their work more carefully.

TUESDAY: Brainpop Jr., it turns out, has short videos for exactly the capitalization and paragraph writing topics that I want to teach this week--yay! They also have printable activities that go with the Brainpop videos; the kids will be doing that activity on Friday as part of their capitalization lesson, but for this paragraph lesson, I'm giving them the movie review prompt from this Paragraph of the Week freebie. It it goes well, I might add paragraph writing as a regular component of our school week, at least for a while.

It's high time for the kids to start rehearsing for this year's Trashion/Refashion Show, so they can use some of their school day to measure and tape down a practice runway in our big family room.

Will is back at Robotics Club on this evening, so Syd and I will spend that time over at the grocery store that is hosting a field trip for my Girl Scout troop in a couple of weeks. Our topic is "Fair Trade," and as part of Syd's Game Making badge, I've asked her to put together a Fair Trade scavenger hunt that the children can complete after our lecture and tour.

WEDNESDAY: The kids really are doing well in their Hoffman Academy lessons! I know they're not receiving the constructive criticism in posture and technique that they'd get from a live teacher, but they're learning to play, and they're enjoying learning to play, and I have many, many, MANY opinions about outsider art, DIY, and the false archetype of "proper" technique that I can share with you whether you're interested or not.

The kids did read their Zoology for Kids chapter last week, but they did not do the butterfly life cycle activity that I wanted them to do, so they can do that as well as read the next chapter this week.

And there's a Girl Scout workshop on friendship bracelet making--fun with fine motor skills for the win!

THURSDAY: Free day!!! There's a park playgroup on this afternoon, and Syd has gymnastics on this evening. Otherwise, freedom!!!

FRIDAY: The kids have math class, and need to work more on their family tree project. I've been saving eggs again, too, and I know that they'll enjoy dyeing Easter eggs again with me. Maybe next week I'll teach them how to make egg salad!

As for me, I have an essay to write on crafting and fan art, and a book on knitted and crocheted hats for cats to review, and a World War II unit study to plan, so I'm pretty excited about the kids' extracurriculars and playgroups recommencing, since that's when I get a lot of my writing, and even some of my research (yay for extracurriculars with wi-fi access!!!) done. My main garden project this week is to plant spring bulbs, which will require the kids' help, of course, but won't be nearly as taxing as tearing out 30 feet of shrubbery and replacing it with a river rock bed.

At least I hope it won't. As I discovered on Sunday afternoon, swearing and sweating and hacking at a stump with a fucking AXE because the chainsaw doesn't actually work and the only part that will make it work can only be bought ONLINE and NOT at one of the FIVE hardware stores in this town, I am not great at predicting how long a specific gardening/landscaping project will take.

And yes, I eventually gave up and just guided the river rock bed around the stumps. It looks like crap, but whatever. It's done.

On to spring bulbs!!!

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