Monday, April 17, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of April 17, 2017: Climate, the Celts, and CAMPING!!!

We had just the kind of school week that we'd all been needing last week--a relaxed one! I'd planned on a three-day school week, but that evolved into a two-day week after some friends came around one day to hang out with us; the kids played freeze tag and did whatever else kids do, while the moms dug saplings out of my side garden (I know! What kind of friend just picks up a shovel and helps someone dig up saplings for an hour?!? A GOOD one!) and then bummed around the old dump out in the back of my woods looking for vintage bottles.

And then we ate cookie dough. Which my friend ALSO brought. You want her phone number now, don't you?

We also had a super relaxing Easter holiday, with, yes, the epic Easter clue hunt that the Easter bunny always sends the kids on (this year, they had a Caesar cipher to solve, and one of the clues was separated into five different eggs, all of which they had to find to solve it--mwa-ha-ha!), bunny-shaped cinnamon rolls for breakfast, egg-dyeing--

Have you ever drawn on hot eggs with crayons? It's really awesome, and easy to do when you've only just boiled your eggs because you're not prepared.




--cheese and crackers served picnic-style on our bed for lunch while we watched the black-and-white King Kong, during which I fell asleep and napped for two hours!!! (this is a huge accomplishment, because the sleep log in my Fitbit is normally a tragedy), some dad and daughter time working on Will's dog house, and then a kid and mom made Easter dinner--

These bunny rolls would have looked "better" if an adult had made them, but I wouldn't trade kid-made bunny rolls for the world!
Matt made us this cocktail, which was only okay--it would have been yummier with a frozen banana tossed in, I say!

--after which we all lay on my bed like slowly digesting slugs and watched the new Doctor Who.

So yes, it was a relaxing day!

So what if a few things that I'd wanted to do last week didn't get done. We're starting this week feeling relaxed and refreshed (at least I am!), and that's way better for our productivity... and, fine, our mental health... than getting all the things done last week would have been.

I do plan to get all the things done this week, even though it's also just a four-day school week, as on Friday, the kids and I will embark on a camping trip with our Girl Scout troop, leaving poor Matt home alone to walk the dog and work on the tree house, but mostly to play video games and eat giant sandwiches all weekend.

Our memory work for the week is the dreadfully slow-going list of common prepositions (these just will NOT stick in the children's heads!), the also slow-going and non-sticky list of helping verbs (although Syd has used this memorized knowledge recently, so I know it's sticking somewhat), the names of the Platonic solids, the names of Jesus' twelve apostles from the Christian Bible, and a review of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.

Books of Day are mostly books on the Ancient Celts, fairy tales and a couple of factual books and one graphic novel retelling of Beowulf. Other daily work consists of one lesson a day in Junior Analytical Grammar for Syd, ten minutes a day journaling or writing from a story starter prompt (I'm going to see if the kids will actually write this in cursive for a change, to save them having to do cursive copywork separately, but if they "forget," then cursive copywork it will be!), typing practice on Typing.com,  progress on their MENSA reading lists (Will generally reads an entire book, while Syd usually reads a chapter in her current one), Wordly Wise 7 for Will and a word ladder for Syd, a Hoffman Academy lesson or keyboard practice for both kids, and for Will, SAT prep through Khan Academy.

And here's the rest of our week!



MONDAY: Story of Science this week is again on Aristotle--he's quite the important guy! On this day, the kids will read the chapter in their textbook and answer the reading comprehension questions in their Quest Guide. We'll also be stargazing for 30 minutes every clear night this week, an activity that I bet we can also manage to do on our camping trip!

Will doesn't have grammar daily for a while, as she's finished her first season of Analytical Grammar and is instead working through 2-3 lessons a week in the Review and Reinforcement workbook. Once a week, then, I've been giving her the quick-and-easy logic reinforcement of a mind bender to complete. I do them with her, and Syd has been asking to do one, too, so I've been giving her one from the lower level book.

The table of symbols for the decanomial square is one activity that we played with friends last week instead of doing, so we'll do that today, instead. I'm eager to show the kids how to use the table, with the decanomial square manipulatives as illustrations, to make equations. I think this will make Will's Math Mammoth units this week on solving two-part equations make much more sense. Syd is still working on fraction calculations in her Math Mammoth, so I might have to pause her lessons for a more hands-on look at dividing fractions--I remember that I had to spend a long time on that unit with Will.

There is SO much to do to prepare for our weekend camping trip, from practicing with the tents (as this is a Girl Scout trip, the girls will be expected to do most of the jobs) to figuring out a group menu and buying the supplies and reminding myself how to work the EZ-Up that I'm going to use instead of a dining fly to printing out the Junior Ranger books that we'll be working on there to give the kids a head start. And I haven't even mentioned packing! We definitely need to be working on getting ready every day this week!

TUESDAY: The kids' request to study Medieval history is about to get a little more complicated, as Matt and I just this weekend re-ran the numbers for the billionth time, re-re-re-reviewed our budget, and then booked our summer vacation to Greece!!!!!!!!!!! MUCH more on that later,  but if you know me at all you know that I am physically incapable of taking my children on a vacation without making them study for it first, so next week will commence a unit study on Greece, whose history will have to play nicely with both the non-Greek bits of Story of Science but also ALL the Medieval bits of our medieval history study. I'm not willing to ditch a subject that the children requested, however, and Will has said that history and science are the *only* school subjects that she likes (sigh...), so they WILL place nicely together. I will MAKE them play nicely together.

That being said, we are going to do the Medieval history study a LOT more slowly than I had previously thought we would. I'd assumed we'd do a chapter a week in Story of the World volume 2, with a hands-on activity or project every day, likely, but this week we're only studying one third of chapter 2, specifically the material on the Ancient Celts. Even so, we're managing to spend three days of our four-day school week on the Celts, and we may do more with them next week. The Ancient Celts are just too interesting to zip past! On this day, the kids will read/listen to chapter 2 of Story of the World volume 2, and then do the reading comprehension questions from the activity book. We may or may not actually do the mapwork that covers the entire chapter--I've got more specific mapwork in mind for the Anglo-Saxons that we'll meet later in this chapter.

Even in this four-day school week, I can no longer put off the second science unit that the kids wanted to study, so we'll move slowly through that one, too. The text that we'll be starting with, Explore Weather and Climate, is a little simple, but I can increase the level of instruction during our lessons and with supplemental reading and viewing and projects. While the kids work on this fruit pizza climate zone map, for instance, we'll actually also be reviewing biomes, which we studied last summer. The further activities that we'll do next week will include more hands-on hard science.

WEDNESDAY: We HAVE to get this darn chili recipe made--for one thing, the meat that I've set aside for it will go bad if we don't! This is another Tuesday project from last week that hopefully will finally get done.

Perhaps it can be our celebratory dinner after we spend the evening LARPing. The kids LOVE it when we LARP for school--the best was World War 1 trench warfare, but we also made up an amazing Escape from Alcatraz game last summer during our California unit study. I forgot to blog about it because I didn't have any photos from this night-time game, but it was ridiculously fun, and terrifyingly nerve-wracking, so I'll tell you about it sometime if you're interested. Anyway, I wanted to think up some game of Ancient Celts vs. Roman soldiers, but couldn't come up with anything great that involved just four players (other than Capture the Flag, maybe, but the point of the activity is that the Roman soldiers should have too much territory to defend and the Celts should just be invaders, so Capture the Flag doesn't automatically work), so I've decided to make the kids do the planning instead of me. They'll have to come up with a LARP game whose rules fit with what we know happened between the Romans and Celts, and then, because neither of them would agree to being stripped to the waist, painted in woad (or blue clown makeup...), and having their hair gelled up in frightful spikes, I'll just let them do it to Daddy! He'll be a wonderful Celtic warrior! Of course, they'll have to do battle while wearing tunics, so they'll look pretty cute, too...

Syd has yet to research her baking project for the week, so I don't yet know what that's going to entail. Last week, she wanted to make Jolly Rancher cotton candy using her sister's cotton candy maker. Um... Jolly Rancher cotton candy is DELICIOUS!!!!!!! I'm pretty excited to see what we're going to get to taste this week.

Today is the day that Will is going to go over our week's expenses and tell us what we're doing wrong with our lives. The Budgeting badge seems so dry to me, but she's really seeming to enjoy it.

THURSDAY: One of the celestial phenomenon that Aristotle had to work REALLY hard to explain with his celestial spheres model is retrograde motion, the weird backwards jog that planets appear to take when Earth passes them in its orbit. This can be an extremely hard concept to visualize--unless you go out on the driveway and visualize it! We'll be doing a live model demonstration as well as watching a couple of videos that I think make the concept very clear.

All the stargazing this week (assuming that the nights are clear) are premised on both this study of the planets in Story of Science and the Celts in Story of the World. Story of the World doesn't cover Stonehenge, which was already long built by the time we enter the story, but we're going to study Stonehenge, because 1) it's valuable background information to the religion and lifestyle of the Iron Age Celts, and 2) it's freaking awesome! I don't have all of the resources pulled for this lesson yet, but I do know that we'll be building some models. I mean, how could you not?!?

Syd is still working on the Scribe badge, and I'm hoping to compile her writings into a book that we can have printed for her. This kid has such a creative mind!

FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Camping camping camping!!! While Matt holds down the home fort, our Girl Scouts are going to have the time of their lives, spending part of their Girl Scout cookie sale profits on this trip that they've been looking forward to for nearly a year. We'll get home on Sunday night--will we see a completed tree house upon our arrival? Will Matt have finally repaired my treadmill? Will the side yard be free of saplings?--and then take Monday off so that I, for one, can finally get some sleep. And then we'll be back at work on Tuesday!

What are YOUR plans for the week?

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