Last week, I was singing the praises of Monday holidays, not quite remembering that we had another one this week!
It wasn't a stay-at-home Monday holiday, but rather a skiing-all-day-with-our-friends Monday holiday. And it. Was. Wonderful. Can I just say again how happy it makes me that as homeschoolers, we've finally found our people?
It's a VERY good feeling.
I hope, then, that this week's short week goes as well as last week's short week. Although they take much more time, our hands-on projects, in particular, are well worth the extra effort. Just this morning, sitting and coloring their Mayflower map project while listening to Making Thirteen Colonies, Syd told me that this exact thing, listening to an audiobook while coloring, is her favorite thing to do.
Happy kid, doing her favorite activity as part of school.
Here's another favorite activity that she did for school last week:
Syd decided that her Project of the Week last week was to bake and decorate a cake. The cake is just a boxed mix, and the frosting is from a can, but look at that decoration!
I'd say she definitely has a passion for food.
Another hands-on project that turned out fabulously was this Quick Six elements game:
We cut out and colored the cards while listening to Test Tube podcasts--more coloring while listening! I changed the rules of the game by including one black and white Periodic Table; when you slap your element, you also get to color it in your color. At the end of the game, I also declared winners in random Periodic Table categories--the kid who'd colored the uppermost and lowermost elements, the kid with the most elements in a row, etc. Both kids are fascinated by the Periodic Table of Elements, so even though we're moving on to molecules this week, we'll keep playing with elements.
And finally, even though I wrote an entire post about how much we love this paper model of Jamestown, here are a couple more pictures I took when I found Syd playing with the houses again the other day:
They are absurdly cute. When we're done with the colonies, this model is totally going on the play shelves with Syd's dolls and other small toys.
Syd's Project of the Week this week is to come up with her Trashion/Refashion Show design, because yes, it's that time again. Will really just wants to play on the computer this week, so her Project of the Week is to "evaluate" the links on my Educational Links page; I'm hoping that she finds something in particular that piques her interest and inspires her to further exploration.
Books of the Week include several books on China (that's the country that my Girl Scout troop is representing next month at the Girl Scout Geography Fair), a couple of chapter books for Syd (hoping to pique HER interest!), and a couple of living books about flight for Will, to encourage her particular area of interest.
This week's sensory material is the light table. For some reason, I can't find what I did with the translucent pattern blocks after the last time that we used them, so I've been bringing out random things to play with every day--Geomags, lenses, colored sand, etc. I've been surprised to see that Will hasn't taken a ton of interest in these sensory offerings, since exposing her, in particular, to them was my primary motivation. Syd, however, does take a ton of interest, and Will does look up from her novel in hand to engage in them enough that continuing my offerings is justified. I need to sit down and make a plan, however, as scrounging around on a Sunday afternoon for sensory materials is not my favorite thing.
And here's the rest of our week!
TUESDAY: I ended up assigning too much work on this day, as I didn't anticipate that we'd spend four full hours at the rock climbing place just a day after our all-day ski trip... but we did! I did require the kids to do their math and cursive and start their history, but we're finishing that history project this morning, and we'll start working on the documentary today.
For math, Syd is still working on her Math Mammoth unit on length and measurement--there's some good calculating going on, and I'm pleased to see that it's going smoothly, which means that Syd has, indeed, mastered those skills. Yay! Will's review in Math Mammoth last week led to me actually assign her some more work on dividing fractions on this day, so she'll review some more today, and then hopefully be able to move on to geometry, where I think she'll be VERY happy to find herself.
Instead of their cursive workbooks, this week the kids will be copying a William Bradford quote every day--the bottom one here. Not only do I hope that this will cause them to naturally remember the quote, but it's also a good test of how much cursive they're retaining. Will already pitched a fit when it became clear to me that she didn't remember how to make a cursive capital B, but after much explanation that the ability to make a cursive capital B is required before she can go on to more pleasant things in life, she complied... eventually. And now she's sitting on the floor happily eating deli chicken and brie and reading, so the task didn't crush her spirit, after all.
We're also STILL working on memorizing "No Man is an Island" this week. The problem is that the children don't really like the poem, sigh. The curriculum does warn that it has a weak rhyme scheme, but I hadn't expected them to be so put off by that, and I, personally, find the last two lines of the poem powerful. We're mostly there, though, so I'm making them muscle on through, but I'll look harder at the next poem that I think about assigning them to memorize.
I also switched our days for history and home ec after I wrote these plans, because we didn't have macaroni yesterday. Now we have macaroni, so we'll cook today, as well.
WEDNESDAY: The history project that the kids are completing while listening to Making Thirteen Colonies is the Mayflower map from Interactive 3D Maps: American History. There are several interactive maps in this book that I think that we'll be doing for our American Revolution unit--I'm particularly looking forward to the map of Paul Revere's ride!
Way back in the summer, my Girl Scout troop voted for Syd's service project proposal, which was to make a documentary/commercial promoting our local Humane Society. I've pushed it to the back burner for far too long, so my two will start beta testing the project this week with what is hopefully our final evolution of the idea: short films that focus on pets adopted from the animal shelter and that include the encouragement to adopt your own pet there, as well. Will is not happy that the troop voted for her sister's plan, so she's going to practice being a sister to every Girl Scout and also work on her Cadette Digital Moviemaker badge. Syd, as well as leading the service project, will be using it to complete some of the requirements of her Junior Animal Habitats badge. The goal is that after my two have successfully completed a documentary on our own Spots and Gracie, they'll screen the documentary for the rest of the troop, then lead the other girls in making their own documentaries about other pets adopted from the shelter.
Our second lesson in the Your Kids: Cooking curriculum is macaroni and cheese--yum! Even though I *just* said that we'd do it today, just after I said that, I received a spontaneous invitation for the kids to go bouldering with a friend, so they're doing that instead. Macaroni and cheese is easily enough made on the weekend, if it doesn't get made on a Wednesday.
And so are pet documentaries, now that I think about it...
THURSDAY: I am SO excited for science today! After studying atoms and elements, the kids will be learning how they combine into molecules and create chemical reactions. We'll demonstrate this by exploring the way that H2O2 longs to break down into H20 and 0. In other words, we're going to make elephant toothpaste!!!
It's going to be AWESOME!
This NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Project lesson today may decide if we continue with the curriculum or try something else for writing. So far, the lessons have all been about identifying and evaluating novels, and the kids have completed them not at all enthusiastically, but not actually reluctantly, either. If they're willing to think about and create a main character just as willingly, with or without enthusiasm, then I'll trust that the curriculum has hooked them, and we're off to write our novels! If they balk, then we'll try out something else for composition and come back to this unit another time.
Again, though, we've also got a just-scheduled playdate on this day, so I won't be super surprised if we're too busy to finish school. Schoolwork is important, but so are friends and rock climbing and skiing and spontaneous playdates.
FRIDAY: The election unit IS a big hit, especially with Will. She has always been into politics, and she's really seeming to enjoy these assignments. This week's reading is about the products of campaigns--advertisements, endorsements, interviews, debates--so the kids will research examples of these from our current candidates.
Last week, the kids did coloring pages of the female and male reproductive anatomy while I forced them to watch the relevant Crash Course videos. The videos turned out to be way over their heads with scientific explanations, but we watched them together, anyway--I never know what will stick, especially with Will, and anyway, I wanted the information, myself. Because the videos were so difficult, however, I want one more lesson to cement the female reproductive anatomy before we move into the process of menstruation, so on this day we'll be making some festive salt dough models of the female reproductive system.
And yes, I'm super hoping that they'll be adorable.
Also on the sculpture theme, the kids have a clay building class on this day. If they're allowed to build from their imaginations, I hope that they don't choose to build female reproductive systems!
SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet, ice skating, and Mandarin on Saturday, and *maybe* we're also going to the Varsity Vocals Quarter Finals, because Will and I are major dorks who looooooove watching show choirs. There. I said it.
On Sunday, then, after such an epic week, I am fully committed to spending the day in my pajamas, and getting as much of the rest of the family as I can to go along with me on this.
As for me, this week I've got a HUGE etsy order to work on, some writing assignments to complete per usual, more Girl Scout stuff to plan and organize, the playroom to reorganize now that all the massive shelves are built--yay!--and a couple of craft books to make projects from so that I can review them.
But not on Sunday, though. Sunday I'll be in my pajamas, watching Youtube videos of all the great show choirs that I saw compete the previous night...