Monday, October 31, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of October 31, 2016: Handwritten and Handmade!

In the three weeks since we've returned from our American Revolution road trip, we've been between semesters in some ways. We finished our American Revolution unit study and Song School Spanish--
Back to the library for these books!

--as well as our sharks and rocks/minerals studies, and hadn't started (until this week!) our Greek/Roman mythology studies, nor our formal grammar book, nor typing instruction, or our animal behavior MOOC, or Will's SAT exam prep. 

What we did do in those three weeks was continue with Math Mammoth, cursive and journaling, letter writing, Books of the Day, with lots of fun projects, games--

--Girl Scout badge work, and, yes, helping me in the house and yard. Those black walnuts and persimmons aren't going to harvest themselves!

We're back on our official schedule this week, with work plans written by the week and including several units of study that I've written more detailed lesson plans for. Books of the Day this week include some leftovers from our completed rocks and minerals unit, a few civics selections, and a couple of readings inspired by our road trip. Memory work includes continuing "Paul Revere's Ride," identifying and characterizing quadrilaterals, and lots of review of previously studied facts.

And here's the rest of our week, handwritten (on pages from this really cool bullet journal) as I continue to try to figure out how I want to redesign our work plan template:


MONDAY: I may be shooting myself in the foot here a little, beginning our new semester on Halloween AND on a day when we had to bustle out of the house early for dentist appointments, but after the dentist (no cavities for either!), I treated the kids to breakfast and here we sit afterwards, Will working on grammar and Syd on math.

In Math Mammoth this week, Syd is working on calculating with decimals and Will is working with quadrilaterals. She's forgotten the names and characteristics of many quadrilaterals, so we've added that to our daily Memory Work and we'll be playing more with quadrilaterals later this week, to reinforce the facts.

Will finished her Wordly Wise last semester, and I haven't bought her the Grade 7 book yet, so while Syd works on Wordly Wise every day this week, Will gets to do a Word Ladder (which means that Syd gets to do a Word Ladder, as well, since as soon as Will finished hers this morning, Syd snatched the book and insisted on completing two puzzles before she'd work on her math). The Word Ladders are too easy for Will, alas, and the set doesn't go any higher, so when I pick up her new Wordly Wise, I think I'll add this book of mind benders for her new quick and easy logic work (and probably the next younger book for Syd, too).

Analytical Grammar for Will and Junior Analytical Grammar for Syd are new curricula for us this semester. For my own pedagogical reasons, I've deliberately kept formal grammar study to a minimum thus far. Both kids, though, have an intrinsic knowledge of correct grammar and punctuation and are confident creative writers--they're ready for a grammar curriculum that will give them labels and guidelines. I sprang for the student and teacher books for both sets, although I wish now that I'd just purchased the student books, as the teacher books are really just answer keys, and I don't think I'll need them. Oh, well! Regardless, both books look well-suited to the kid in question, and will make for one more daily work this semester.

We got off track with "A Year of Living Poetically" last semester, but it is something that I'd like to continue; I think that we can get by with doing one poem a month, then adding that poem to our Memory Work to keep it fresh. In at least one of the remaining three-ish weeks every month, I'd like to have the kids work more consciously through their MENSA reading lists, and the other weeks I can toy with poetry composition, book reports, or simply work in different subjects.

The kids have both mastered cursive, but still struggle with writing long passages--they know they want to type their work, but their prior keyboarding lessons haven't stuck. Well, we're going to fix that this semester! I've played with other typing instruction resources in the past several years, but I'm hoping that typing.com is going to be the end-all, be-all solution for us. Here's hoping!

We all loved our sharks MOOC so much that we're doing another one this semester, this time on animal behavior. Although we ended up actually doing our sharks MOOC twice--once along with the class, and then another time on our own with enrichment work that I assigned--I'm planning to do this archived animal behavior class just once, with enrichment activities a combination of my own assignments and class assignments. We've actually did Wednesday's assignment of visiting the animal shelter to interact with companion animals today--we witnessed two dog/cat tests, one pass and one fail, and filled out an application to hopefully adopt Jacob, a one-year-old black lab/Newfoundland. That means that on Wednesday we'll do the nature hike/wild animal observation that was technically today's assignment, and that should work out fine.

TUESDAY: Inspired by her obsessive love of the Percy Jackson series, Syd requested a Greek mythology study for this semester. I signed the kids up for the National Mythology Exam, and am using their bibliography as our spine for this study. The basic lesson plans consist of studying one god/goddess per lesson, using the assigned reading (Will has more assigned reading than Syd), and completing one enrichment activity. This week's activities will be reading the introduction and labeling a map of Ancient Greece, then studying Gaia and her family tree prior to Zeus and beginning a unit-long family tree of the gods and goddesses. The kids will also learn how to write each god/goddess name in Greek, and I'm seriously considering studying Song School Greek concurrently, maybe beginning next week.

Neither kid is enthusiastic about learning an instrument, but I feel like I have to make them give it a try just one more time before I give up on it forever. Syd did enjoy Hoffman Academy for a while, and I do have all of their written materials, so we're going to review that for a bit and see if it sticks this time. This week, it's lesson 1!

WEDNESDAY: Will needs some more reinforcement in identifying quadrilaterals, so it's time to once again bring out the pattern blocks! We'll be challenging ourselves to build similar figures with the various pieces. Good times will ensue.

THURSDAY: I normally have the kids work together on larger projects, but I think that I'll have them each do their own family tree for their Greek mythology study. Syd might want to make hers more decorative, and I can make Will put more information on hers.

FRIDAY: We've got a Girl Scout meeting to earn the first aid badge on this morning, and then I'll be staying afterwards to complete my CPR/first aid certification.

The lesson in this day's Animal Behavior MOOC concerns the importance of observation in studying animal behavior, so the kids will practice that with an animal of their own. I'm sure many new discoveries will be made about chickens and cats on this day!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet class, Mandarin class, Nutcracker rehearsal! We may actually finish the tree house this year, if we can just get a couple more good weekends like this one is supposed to be. Or maybe we'll go to the apple orchard instead!

What are your plans for the week?

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