I LOVE Monday holidays! You get that three-day weekend to look forward to the entire week before, then you get a three-day weekend, and THEN you get a short work week! It's like a bonus holiday!
And that's why I'm pretty stoked to be starting this week already at Tuesday. Last week's school week was a little hairy; the kids had been away from a regular school schedule for quite a while, and I'm definitely putting more work on their schedules now than I was in the last couple of weeks before that break. I know that it's an appropriate amount of work for them IF they focus, but wow, did they struggle with focus last week! We didn't actually get everything from last week's work plan finished until yesterday, so this week's goal is for sure to get all their daily work finished on the day that it is assigned. If nothing else, their Momma needs a homework-free weekend to recover!
Books of the Day this week include a few living picture books about the Jewish experience of the Holocaust (Will has a field trip coming up to hear from a Holocaust survivor, so I'm trying to prepare her for this), a couple of books on habitats and ecosystems (Syd is working on her Animal Habitats Girl Scout badge), a Cynthia Rylant novel for Syd and a Dolores Huerta biography for Will, and a couple of collections of comic strips that hopefully will expand the children's horizons beyond the VERY well-worn, Garfield, Foxtrot, and Calvin and Hobbes.
Syd's Project of the Week is to do more baking (or, rather, to do more decorating, as it's pretty clear that covering sweet treats with icing and candy is her real goal). Will's Project of the Week is to finish setting up her online Girl Scout cookie store (she can ship across the US! And take donations of Girl Scout cookies for US soldiers! Message me with your email address if you'd like her to add you to her invitation list!), and to explore more marketing opportunities for her cookies. She actually checked out a couple of business books from the library this weekend, and initiated a conversation with me about how she could "empower" Syd to sell more cookies--clearly she's also reading those books!
I may have mentioned last week that in these dark winter days, I'm feeling the need to add more sensory experiences to the children's environment, so last week I got out the kinetic sand and left it enticingly on the table:
I'm still vacuuming kinetic sand off the floor, however, so this week I'm simply setting out our Mason jar of homemade waxed yarn. Maybe I'll keep alternating a week of a messy sensory experience with a week of a non-messy one?
And here's the rest of our week!
TUESDAY: Will just has a little more fraction conversion work to do in her Math Mammoth before she can review and move on, while Syd will spend the week measuring length in her Math Mammoth. Usually, I like to spend the first lesson of the week with some hands-on math enrichment, but first I need the kids to get back into the habit of working well on their math curriculum without all the stalling and complaints and plain-old tantrums that I got last week, ugh.
I'm attempting to guide each kid through earning a Girl Scout badge each month--they're both WAY into earning Girl Scout badges, but still need some mentoring to help them finish badge work. This month, we're working on the Junior Animal Habitats badge and the Cadette Animal Helpers badge. For the Animal Helpers badge, we'll be watching the PBS Nature series that explores the evolution of the dog as a human companion, and for the Animal Habitats badge, the children will be making a to-do list of everything that they need to do to make an appropriate habitat for a pet dog.
Yes, Friends, this *may* be the Year of the Pet Dog!
The kids both loved the first lesson in the Your Kids: Cooking curriculum that we started last week. The Your Kids: Cooking website has a set of free extension recipes for this lesson, so the kids can choose some of them to create this week. We'll be eating blintzes and Monte Cristos for dinner all week, hopefully--yum!
Today, we have both our weekly homeschool group's playgroup, AND Will and I have our first fencing class! I didn't make room for it in our weekly work plans the way that I usually do, because taking Monday off means that the rest of our week's schedule needs to be somewhat strict, but I feel that the rest of our day is light enough that the children should still have plenty of free time.
Daily work this week includes a page of cursive, daily review of "No Man is an Island," with the goal of finishing its memorization this week, and daily chores. We've been busy enough that I deleted any "special" chores this week; I'd forgotten, when I wrote last week's work plans, that the kids are also spending a good hour every day selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door. I just need to resign myself to the fact that our house will be made of chaos until cookie season is finished.
WEDNESDAY: I've decided to use Joy Hakim's History of Us as a spine for our American Revolution unit. It not only covers the American Revolution in excellent detail, but, by moving more quickly through the books that come immediately before and after the one on American Revolution, we'll also be able to put the war into historical context. So, for now, we're moving quickly through Making Thirteen Colonies, reading the first four chapters on this day, and then zooming in on the makeup of a colonial town. We won't be visiting Jamestown on our American Revolution road trip this summer, alas, as I don't think that we'll be going as far south as Virginia, but there's both an online game and a free downloadable paper model that should give the kids a good idea of what it, and a typical town of the era, looked like.
Syd's ballet starts up again on this evening--she's thrilled to get back on the dance floor! Mental note to myself: is her uniform clean? Surely not...
THURSDAY: Although we really are just studying this particular chapter of our science textbook in order to get the background information about atoms and molecules that the kids will need to understand the molecular structure of rocks and minerals, I'm going to devote one more week to the atoms and elements lesson. Last week, we studied atoms, and this week, we'll study the Periodic Table of Elements. I want the children to be able to read and decipher the table, so we'll be playing this free downloadable card game, with a couple of modifications, to help them become more familiar with it.
Instead of a STEM activity at home, on this afternoon I'll be giving the kids the run of our local hands-on museum. They can explore and learn, my friend and I can chit-chat--win and WIN!
I've been thinking for a while now that Will would LOVE to join our local chapter of Pony Club, but a kid can only have so many extracurriculars, you know? Nevertheless, this semester may finally be the semester, even if she has to drop Mandarin class for it, sigh. Either way, I'll at least send her to the planning meeting to suss it out.
FRIDAY: Will, at least, really loves our study of the 2016 presidential election. She is interested in all things government and politics, and has already expressed the desire to be a lawyer (Matt and I think that her real dream job is dictator to a small island nation, but you almost have to be born into that job). On this day, the kids will continue their reading to learn about what makes a politician liberal and conservative, and then they'll have to research each of the presidential candidates to discover which are which. They'll also have to point to primary source evidence--not just a third person's opinion!--to prove each evaluation.
I think that I have just about completed my lesson plans for our female reproductive system study! On this day, we'll be memorizing the anatomy of the female and female reproductive systems, both with diagrams that are also coloring pages, and by watching the Crash Course episodes on the female reproductive system and the male reproductive system. I previewed both videos, of course, and while there are a couple of visuals that are *maybe* a little bluer than I'd prefer, the information in these videos is by far the most thorough.
FYI: Every time that I say that we're reading something or watching something for our lesson, you can assume that there's also a lecture/discussion on that material. A discussion requires that the children engage with the material in a way that reading or watching doesn't, and a lecture, even if it's just me explaining the same concept in different words, will always inspire the kids to ask questions and become curious about things that they simply don't when only watching or reading.
Finally, on this day we'll be completing the second lesson in the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program. I still don't totally know if I'll actually have the children write "novels," but this lesson requires a child to form opinions, backed up with textual evidence, about books that they've read, and that's a great skill to master!
SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet, ice skating, chess club, shilling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door. Playing in the snow, if the forecast is correct. Watching The Martian on DVD and eating pizza, if I have my way!
As for me, I'll spend this week organizing a LOT of Girl Scout stuff--it's a busy season for Girl Scouts!--completing a few writing assignments, working on a quilt, and seriously contemplating moving my work bench and circular saw indoors so that I can make some shelves. Is that crazy? All the sawdust!