The children made a horrifying discovery yesterday. We were on our way to meet a couple of their friends at the library, when one child commented, "I didn't know [insert friend's name here] homeschooled." It was a Tuesday, morning, doncha know, and everybody knows that if you've got a Tuesday morning playdate with a friend, that you and that friend both homeschool.
"Oh," I blithely replied, "The public schools have another week of winter vacation."
Imagine for yourself the mental image of a record screeching to a halt.
In order to stave off a full-on revolt, because of course my own children had been handed their week's work plans, simply chock-full of schoolwork, approximately an hour previously, I had to remind the kids of the two-week road trip that we took in October, in the middle of the public school's fall semester.
Do NOT remind them that most of that road trip was deliberately educational.
Do NOT mention to them that for part of that time, their public schooled friends were also on fall break.
Regardless of the fact that I do kind of wish that I'd planned my own little road trip with the kids this week, especially as I'm facebook stalking other friends whose kids are, you know, at Disney World today, or on a road trip through the national parks of the south, we are, indeed, back to work. Our last school week, that of the week before Christmas, went well, with everything done except for one science demonstration that I was missing one supply for (I have it now!)--
--and although we had a very slow and inefficient start yesterday--partly because the kids were slow and inefficient, and partly because we accidentally spent four hours at the library--I *think* we're back on track for a fine week this week, too.
Books of the Day include This Book is Gay and Of Mice and Men for Will, more of the Green Knowe series and some fairy tales for Syd, and a few short non-fiction titles. Memory Work includes fraction terminology, a review of the order of operations, and more Sonnet 116. Other dailies are typing practice on Typing.com and progress in Wordly Wise or the completion of a word ladder (I'm just going to have to let Syd finish that whole dang book before I can get her to do more Wordly Wise). Will also has SAT prep on Khan Academy, and progress in an online Red Cross class as part of her daily work. I did have keyboard on the schedule, but we couldn't get the dang thing to work yesterday, even though I'm pretty sure that I put new batteries in after it stopped working before Christmas.
Did I just think that I put in new batteries, or does this spell the end of our keyboard lessons? Stay tuned!
And here's the rest of our week!
TUESDAY: We spent more of our day than I thought that we would at the library, thanks to a playdate and our homeschool playgroup both meeting there, so this day's work was primarily done in the evening. Both kids are starting a new Math Mammoth semester this week, Syd with fractions and Will with a review of the order of operations.
Analytical Grammar and Junior Analytical Grammar are going okay. Syd doesn't enjoy it, and Will fights against diagramming, but I can see that they're both absorbing the content, and that's all I need.
The kids both have an essay assignment for the next couple of weeks that will replace their daily writing assignment. On this day, I gave them each a list of the possible essay topics and had them conduct some research on each one. I'll find out today which topic they've each chosen!
I still wish we were doing more with Story of Science, and I may sit down this week and make it into more of a cross-curricular unit. For now, though, we're continuing to let the Quest Book guide us. This day's demonstration is the one assignment that we didn't get to before Christmas, so instead of continuing in Story of Science, I just have the kids doing that one demo on this day. We'll learn about the pH of air, and I'll do some thinking about cross-curricular history/science unit studies.
This week's Greek mythology topic is Athena, and for some reason, I found loads of cute little hands-on extensions for her. On this day, the kids made a paper Parthenon, and began work on their Athena trading card. I've got some more reading and viewing of the Parthenon and Ancient Athens planned for our non-school time.
The Animal Behavior MOOC is building towards a big project, the first step of which is to do some significant, extended observation of an animal or animal group. I long to buy a membership to the Indianapolis Zoo and take the kids there every day as part of this assignment, but a daily three-hour round-trip drive is so unrealistic. Thank goodness for webcams!
WEDNESDAY: We may find ourselves back at the library on this day, researching each kid's essay topic. I do have some books checked out, however, and I'm hoping that we can get away without making an extra trip, especially because we'll be spending the evening at a party at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Somehow, even without all the extracurriculars this week, we're still crazy busy!
Here, by the way, is exactly how I structure an essay-writing assignment. I even refer to this post, myself, whenever we're working on an essay.
We're going to spray paint the yard again for this day's Animal Behavior MOOC unit on how auditory signals are heard and spread. We're going to play with pitch and volume and practice calculating the radius, diameter, circumference, and area of circles while we test how well we can hear various tones in our open backyard, the woods behind our house, and inside our house from room to room.
The kids LOVE playing with Sculpey, so I'm hoping that we can set aside a leisurely hour or so to play with a new project that I found on Pinterest--basically, you take a small glass bottle, and you sculpt something cute around it. You can apparently bake it like normal, and then you have your very own special little treasure bottle! My main challenge will be convincing Syd that we should do this project AFTER math, not instead of math...
I found several projects that excited me in Greek Mythology Activities, including a set of worksheets that introduces numbers in Greek, then has some simple-ish word problems that must be answered in Greek. This is the kids' math enrichment for the week.
THURSDAY: The Animal Behavior MOOC on this day explores the concept of "dishonest" communication between animals. The lecture includes a few examples, so the children's assignment is to research their own example and explain it following the format that is used in the lectures (provide the example, then show how the example fits the definition). The kids don't know it, but lately they've been doing a LOT of point-proving using a concrete flow of logic--this is one of the main skills that I had to teach over and over and over again in my freshman comp classes, as too many 18-year-olds showed up unable to cogently explain to me how they came to a certain conclusion, or to prove a claim using evidence.
Syd is loving the Girl Scout Scribe badge, and has more work to do on it on this day, which is good, because Will is really going to need my help to hash out the agenda for her Girl Scout meeting on the following day. I'm thinking of having her narrate the lesson plans to me in outline format, so that she'll have some structure to follow during the meeting. Teaching your first class can be scary!
We've got a second day of essay research on this day--maybe this would be a better library day!
FRIDAY: The kids will outline their essays on this day, probably dictating that outline to me; they can then let it rest until next week, when they'll write, revise, and edit their essays.
If the kids have, indeed, been doing regular work on their Animal Behavior MOOC assignment, they should be well-prepared to complete the second step on this day. I'm pretty excited that the instruction for this assignment also covers the scientific method and how to conduct a good experiment--we haven't done a ton of that on our own, so it's handy that someone else is doing it for me!
The only other school "work" on this day is a fun Athena craft, because I imagine that most of this day's mental and emotional energy, at least for Will, is going to go into the Girl Scout meeting that she's hosting. It never would have occurred to me that she would want to do something as socially engaging as actually lead a Girl Scout meeting all by herself, but hey--a girl will do a lot more than that to earn a Girl Scout badge, and THIS is a special award pin, which is even better!
SATURDAY/SUNDAY: We have one more weekend's respite before all of our extracurriculars start back up! There's a children's film fest that I'm hoping to attend, a home improvement project that I'd love to get Matt interested in, and some Outlander that I really, really, REALLY need to watch. I'm in Season 2 now, so I've traded Jamie's knees in kilts for gorgeous French costumes.
I'll be okay.