Monday, November 2, 2015

Work Plans for the Week of November 2, 2015: All the Arts!

Last week was a great school week, with a combination of wild-and-woolly hyper-elaborate projects, field trips, and just enough seat work to calm things down every now and then. Frankly, this week looks like much of the same!

Will is gearing up for another spelling bee season, so for memory work this week, Wordly Wise is on hiatus in favor of the Scripps 2015-2016 spelling list. Other memory work includes Mandarin vocabulary for Will, ballet practice for Syd, and cursive. Books of the Day include more books on World War 2, including a couple of living books, a couple of Magic Tree House fact finders, and one more book on volcanoes. I'll be refocusing on having Syd read aloud to me each day from her book, as last week's work on her History Fair project has made it clear to me that she needs my one-on-one attention to encourage correct pronunciation and complete comprehension.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: Math Mammoth is still fractions for Will and multi-digit multiplication for Syd--restful chapters, since they both feel pretty confident about the material. Our only other assignment for this day is having the kids rehearse their History Fair presentations several times, as today has both our regular volunteer gig and our homeschool History Fair! I'm really looking forward not only to my own children's presentations, but also to seeing the presentations of all the other children in our group. The kids always enjoy this, too, and it's amazing how much history content is covered, and how much children can learn when they're learning from other children.

TUESDAY: One of my favorite things about Girl Scouts is the ownership that the children have of their own fundraising money. Back in the summer, we held a Girl Scout meeting to let the children make proposals about ways to spend their Girl Scout cookie earnings; the children prepared presentations on their proposals, the other children asked thoughtful, supportive questions about each one, and then they all voted on what we should do. One of the winners was this day's field trip to a nearby children's museum, complete with the rock wall experience, and lunch spent at an indoor playground across the street from the museum. It'll be a fabulous time for all of the children, as well as sneaky STEM, creative, and gross motor enrichment. It's great to be a Girl Scout!

WEDNESDAY: The kids have a bunch of extracurriculars on this day--Magic Tree House Club, ballet class, AND LEGO Club!--so although we only have room in our school day for one additional assignment, I've made that assignment more elaborate than usual. Inspired by this hundred grid fraction art lesson, I designed my own for the children. It will incorporate symmetry and equivalent fractions, and, for Will, decimals, percentages, and simplifying fractions. It will also require close reading of the instructions, which is another thing that I want Syd to work on, and creative expression, which Will always needs more outlets for.

THURSDAY: We are in the end-game of our World War 2 unit! By this day, we'll have completed my main goals for the unit--interviewing a World War 2 veteran, visiting Pearl Harbor, and completing History Fair projects--so on this day, we'll review the entire war using Story of the World, and then all that really remains is the atom bomb, the aftermath, and a comprehensive review of the geography of the war.

There's no real academic reason for having the kids do more how-to-draw books on this day, other, of course, than what they clearly provide in terms of fine-motor skills and creative expression. The truth, though, is simply that although the children adore working from these books, they also never seem to choose any from our library shelves to do on their own. Assigning the books, then, is a sure-fire path to a happy morning.

FRIDAY: An organized rock collection is something that neither child has ever come to on her own, but it's something that I think they would both enjoy. Organizing and categorizing the rocks and coral that they collected on our Hawaii vacation, then, will be both useful and a good way for me to gauge their enthusiasm about perhaps continuing that work with the rest of their giant box of rocks. It could be the basis of an entire geology unit!

Although we've already had one Girl Scout activity this week, it also happens that both children have recently finished the badges they've been working on--Detective for Syd, and Comic Artist for Will. This means that it's time to get to work on a new badge! I do have a few more activities that I want the kids to do relating to each badge, but those are beyond the scope of the badges, themselves.

Syd is living and breathing the Nutcracker these days, of course, and has yet another practice on this day, but a few weeks ago I signed Will up for a series of girls-only podcasting workshops, and I'm thrilled at how she's taken to them. From what I can tell, the children involved in the workshop really have ownership of their work, and Will has displayed excellent teamwork, has composed original work to record for the podcast, has read the work of others ("I had to record one poem FOUR times," she told me, "because I had to work on my breathing and enunciation"), and has been learning how to use all the other audio equipment involved in this production.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Saturday has shaped up to be a day of ridiculousness this autumn. Don't tell the children, but it's 100% another school day! Syd has both her regular ballet class AND a Nutcracker rehearsal, and Will has classes in ice skating and Mandarin. Sunday, then, is our only day fully at home this week, and hopefully we'll get to spend it fully AT home. If nothing else, I need to work on some autumn landscaping, and Matt and the kids need to winterize the chicken coop!

As for me, if I want to buy the children Christmas gifts this year (and I do!), I really, really, REALLY need to spend this week adding seasonal items to my etsy shop, futzing with the SEO tags on a few of my listings, and otherwise getting my shop in shape for holiday shopping. I also, of course, have writing assignments to complete, some mending to do, and there is an absolutely massive bunch of overripe bananas on the kitchen counter that must become banana bread today, if not sooner.

It's going to be a wonderful week!

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