Monday, September 12, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of September 12, 2016: Civics, Art, and General Washington

Yes, it's another four-day school week in a string of four-day school weeks! (And yes, I peeped into my planner and noted that thanks to another training session at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis next week, that will be a four-day school week, too!)

Fortunately, these four-day school weeks do seem to be working well for us. I'm somehow managing to fit all of my weekly work plans into four days instead of five, and we've still had time for play groups (although, to be fair, I DID spend much of my precious mom-time at last week's playgroup planning our first shark dissection for this week...), afternoons at the beach, ice cream with Dad, long walks and short museum visits with friends, and, fine, math and science and history and vocabulary, too.

Books of the Day for this week include some leftover books for my research into next session's Greek mythology study, more novels that I think the kids might like, and a couple of books about sharks. Will liked the Mythmaker book on J.R.R. Tolkien so much (thanks for that great recommendation!) that I've given her the one on J.K. Rowling, and Syd liked the first Princess Tales book so much that I've given her the second.

Other daily work includes journaling for Syd, cursive drills for Will, work in Scratch for both, and progress in their Wordly Wise.

And here's the rest of our week!



MONDAY: I had a long weekend getting lots of things done, so today's school work is hopefully mostly stuff that the children can do independently. I sent out the assignments for the 2016 Children's Pen Pal Exchange last night (so if you registered, you should have received an email from me!), so much of the kids' work today will consist of catching up on their correspondence, if you will. Will has already written her pen pal letter, so she can finish up the last of her birthday thank-you notes while Syd writes her pen pal letter, and then they can make envelopes, stuff them, address them, and off they'll go!

Song School Spanish remains an excellent curriculum choice for this session. Will is absorbing a lot of vocabulary, thanks, as well, to the Spanish-language books that we read each Friday, and Syd is enjoying the study so much that she wants to continue to study Spanish next session (part of the reason is that she does NOT want to continue Mandarin, but I'm probably going to make her continue that, as well).

In Election 2016 on this day, the kids are going to learn about the electoral college. We've discussed it several times already, so I'm hoping that they won't find the concept as obtuse as I found it at Will's age. We'll be watching this TED-Ed video after the reading, and then playing a game in which each child will represent exactly half of the voting populace, will also be assigned half of the states, and then will vote in opposition to each other on something (something that probably involves what Will likes to refer to as "sugarnoms," on account of we love our sweets!). They'll record their states' votes on this actual electoral college voting map, and we'll see who wins!

In Math Mammoth, Will is breezing through percentages and Syd is slogging through advanced multi-digit calculations.

TUESDAY: It's Homeschool Day at the Indianapolis Museum of Art! We're going to see all the sites, take an art lesson, and play bicentennial-themed mini golf.

We're also going to get back home in time for Will and I to go to fencing that night!

WEDNESDAY: It might be overreaching to try to finish the three different civics badges that the Girl Scouts offer (Junior Inside Government, Cadette Finding Common Ground, and multi-level I Promised a Girl Scout I Would Vote) before the November election, but on the other hand, I can't imagine a better time for it, since politics is in the air! I had hoped that we could find a local mediator to help Will with the mediation activity from her badge, but we're having some communication issues (humph!), so I'll have her complete the activity in which she researches a national conflict, instead.

On our road trip, we'll be visiting Washington Crossing State Park, but on this day, we'll do some guided study on a large-format printout of the Washington Crossing the Delaware painting.

The big event of this day, however, is the beginning of our shark dissection! We'll be studying the shark's external anatomy in great detail, identifying features and observing them through our USB magnifier. I also might take samples and make microscope slides.

Mental note: I really want to buy a more powerful microscope!

THURSDAY: Well, last week's voter registration booth was an eye-opener: as Will put it, "It's like we said, 'We're doing voter registration!' and people heard, 'Tell me about your craziest political theories!'" On the ride home afterwards, the kids were consumed with wondering why one guy, in response to my telling him about a hunting/fishing amendment that would be on the ballot, said, "If I don't mind cows being electrocuted, why would I mind hunting?" (he also declined to register to vote).

"Why would he electrocute a cow?", they asked. "Does he think that they electrocute cows in slaughterhouses? I thought that they knocked cows on the head in slaughterhouses! Should we look it up?"

No, I informed them in no uncertain terms. We would NOT be Googling slaughterhouse practices. Our ready referencing does not apply to slaughterhouses.

We all have assigned ourselves the job of figuring out better ways to present our offer of voter registration this week.

Even though this is one of our most exciting weeks in our American Revolution study--all those battles!--I don't have a lot of great ideas for interactive activities to explore them more deeply. What I wouldn't give for an obsessive model-maker to make me a detailed topographic map and a bunch of intricately-painted little soldiers for us to play with!

Barring having thousands of dollars' worth of manipulatives, we'll make do with this interactive map of the Battle of Trenton.

We've played with the decanomial square before, but long enough ago that it's definitely worth revisiting. It's a great way to explore multiplication and square numbers, and hopefully the free play will encourage the kids to think more deeply about multiplication and how it's represented.

FRIDAY: We are close to being done forever with our Draw Write Now set, but every time I pull them off the shelves and think about selling them, I come across a couple of lessons that fit neatly into whatever we happen to be studying at the time. And that's why on this day, when we review History of Us and its chapters on Valley Forge and George Washington, the kids can also learn how to draw him! We'll be visiting Valley Forge on our road trip, but it shockingly does NOT offer a Junior Ranger Program. Weird, right?

We're also going to visit Mount Vernon, so we should be well-steeped in George Washington information by the time we return home.

We've got another unit on sedimentary rocks, before we move on to metamorphic rocks and then to review. LOTS of review, because I'm not sure how much of this text Syd is absorbing at all, sigh. Regardless, she'll know a lot about carbonate sedimentary rocks by the end of this day, after subjecting them to a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid, mwa-ha-ha!

We'll also do a little more with shark dissection on this day, whether it's to complete our study of the shark's external anatomy or to finally make a cut and move on to musculature. Or maybe take a sample and subject it to a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid...?

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Oh, my gosh, this weekend! Nutcracker audition. World music festival. Drive-in movie. Hopefully a day at the George Rogers Clark national park. Maybe a nap?

And then another four-day school week next week!

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