Over our extra-long break, I did require the kids to work on their Math Mammoth regularly, and Will to continue memorizing her spelling words (she has a spelling bee this weekend!), and the kids managed to earn TWO new Junior Ranger badges (Syd chose to re-earn a third one!) and visit a new-to-us science and history museum. Nevertheless, I'm happy today to be back on a regular schedule.
Well, I *say* I'm happy, but Syd didn't wake up until 10:00, primarily because I kept them both up until 11:30 last night to watch the new Sherlock episode, so we'll see if I'm still happy when we're doing most of today's schoolwork tonight.
You'll notice that I reworked our work plans over the break. I had been giving out a second sheet just for the kids' chore list, but two sheets are easier to lose and more inefficient and wasteful than one sheet, so I figured out how to squeeze everything onto one page. Now the kids' daily chores are listed in their plans to check off along with their schoolwork--
|This is what unloading the dishwasher looks like--they never *quite* put the dishes away where I want them to.|
I also have been wanting, for a while now, to encourage the children to do more independent studying in projects of their choosing, so I've tentatively incorporated a Project of the Week for this semester. The idea is that over the weekend, the kids, with my help, each choose a project or area of study or activity that they'd like to work on independently over the week. I then have time set aside every day that week for work on that project. This first week, Syd decided that she wants to create three of the recipes from The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook, which I have checked out from the library. She and her dad bought the ingredients for all the recipes last night, and she'll make them this week, probably with adult help. Will's project is to research the perfect flight simulator computer game to buy with the money that her Uncle Chad gave her for Christmas, then to learn how to play it using the joystick that he also gave her--this is a handy way to work around the fact that she's grounded from all non-school screens until Friday, on account of she pitched the world's most ridiculous fit about modeling fraction division with Cuisenaire rods last Friday. We'll see how these projects go!
Books of the Week include a couple more biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr., a couple more books about World War 2, and a few random books that I thought the kids would like--Amelia Bedelia for Syd, horses for Will, etc.
And here's the rest of our week!
MONDAY: Syd is in another time unit in Math Mammoth, while Will is finishing up dividing fractions. I have been surprisingly disappointed with the calculating fraction lessons in Math Mammoth--I feel like I have had to extensively supplement every single one, including making my own lessons in Adobe InDesign that model the calculations in understandable ways. I put so much work into these that I may put them up on Teachers Pay Teachers, so stay tuned!
We do a lot of writing, but I thought that it might be nice to try a more guided unit, so I'm going to experiment with the NaNoWriMo's Young Writers program--unseasonably, of course, but who says that you only have to write your novels in November? Lesson 1, which we'll do today, covers the definition of a novel, asks the kids to describe the characteristics of some of their favorite novels based on this definition, and then has the kids create an ad for one of those favorite novels. I'm curious to see if my two will want to videotape or write our their ads.
We're also going to spend one week a month using the MENSA A Year of Living Poetically curriculum, primarily because I like that the vocabulary and comprehension components of each poem are included. I'll introduce the kids to the poem today, then give them the rest of the week to complete the packet and memorize the poem.
Other work on this day includes our volunteer gig at the local food pantry, studying the spelling lists from the Scripps 2015/2016 spelling bee study guide, and a page from each kid's cursive workbook. We've also got a snowy playdate with a friend at the park this afternoon, and there will 100% be the selling of some Girl Scout cookies at some point. My kids are serious about their cookie goals this year!
TUESDAY: I'll likely be combining geography and history quite a bit during our American Revolution unit study, so before we even begin the history component, I'm having the kids simply memorize the states that were once our 13 original colonies, along with their capitals and geographic locations. I think this will add valuable context to our history studies right from the beginning.
Finally, both children are old enough to compete in the many essay contests that rule our winters--mwa-ha-ha! Happily, one of the possible topics for this particular Black History Month essay contest is the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Can you guess what city we drove through to and from my hometown last week? Little Rock! Can you guess where one of the places that the kids earned a Junior Ranger badge is? The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site! We discussed the questions posed by the essay promote both before and after our visit, and so I think they'll be well-prepared to write this essay.
We've got a sledding playdate today, and I wouldn't be surprised if our homeschool group's playgroup on this day also involves sledding!
WEDNESDAY: I had a little time over the break to do some Girl Scout badge research, and so I have a plan to do some badges together as a family, sneaking in yet more academic enrichment as we do so--don't tell! The first badge we're doing together is the Animal Habitats badge for Juniors and the Animal Helpers badge for Cadettes, combining them so that each project that the kids do will count for each badge. On this particular day, we'll be watching episodes from PBS' Nature series (to meet a requirement for the Animal Helpers badge that asks children to research animal/human interactions), and then filling out this animal habitat form for three different animals found in the series (to meet a requirement for the Animal Habitats badge that asks children to research animal habitats).
I am REALLY excited about our cooking lessons! I was given a free copy of Your Kids: Cooking to review, and on this day we start with lesson one, French toast. There's a DVD tutorial that kids can follow along, and extension recipes that kids can cook afterwards that build on the specific French toast skills. Frankly, this book is going to teach me how to cook, too!
Following my essay-writing plan, this is the day that the kids will each write the rough draft of their Little Rock Central High essays.
THURSDAY: Will wants to study rocks and minerals, so I found a 9th grade science textbook that we'll be using for this study. I chose this particular textbook because it begins with a chapter on atoms and elements, and then moves on to chapters on minerals, sedimentary, and igneous rocks. I'd been wanting to cover atoms and elements with the kids, so I'm happy that I don't have to wait for a unit on chemistry to do it. Some of the information in the textbook will be over Syd's head, particularly, but I can help her distill the most important facts while Will absorbs more of the material. As part of this chapter, we'll be making atom models for various elements using beads and wires (and perhaps also using them to explore isotopes and electron energy levels), and the chapter's experiment on isolating the iron from fortified cereal for our STEM lesson on this day. The kids will enjoy picking out some sugar cereal from the grocery store!
FRIDAY: I am VERY excited to study the 2016 election with the kids, especially as Will is super into politics and government. We'll be using Election 2016: A Guide for Young People as our spine, but with a LOT of supplementing. For instance, after reading about all the candidates on this day, I'll be having the kids research each candidate online, finding their photo and main stances, perhaps watching a campaign ad, then making an infographic about each one that will allow us to track their progress throughout the year.
We need to study health this semester, particularly women's health, and most particularly puberty, so on this day the kids will be making a kid-sized model of the human body, complete with organs, just so we know where everything goes.
SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ice skating, a spelling bee for Will, and rock climbing for our Girl Scout troop! Also hot chocolate, I think. Maybe a Family Movie Night. Definitely a lot of reading on the couch. Brownies? Perhaps...
As for me, I'll be spending the week working on that health unit, making a couple of etsy orders, dyeing wooden beads for atomic models, doing TONS of Girl Scout cookie sales prep, and rethinking the bedroom nook where the children have their bunk bed. After all, Will needs a place to store her sword collection AND her dragon collection, don't you know?