Monday, April 3, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of April 3, 2017: Party Planning and the Platonic Solids

Call it a boon for our first week of the new semester, but last week's school went quite well. The kids have a little more daily work than they did last semester, with the accompanying daily reminder to work efficiently and the daily threat, also accompanying, that I am only available to help them until a certain hour each day, and if they still have tasks remaining that require me after that hour, then they cannot finish their schoolwork for the day--and therefore cannot have their hour of screens! The horror!

Schoolwork, then, although it hasn't been completed as efficiently as I'd desire, has been completed efficiently enough to avoid this terrible fate. And the kids still have had time to wander around outside, cut stuff with their pocket knives, bake elaborate and decadent concoctions, such as tie-dyed cupcakes, from scratch--


--go to the mall with friends, read a metric ton of books, and, yes, zone out with Minecraft and Dragon Quest and My Little Pony.

Syd also had a sick day last week, with some mysterious bug that's going around our town--one-by-one, people are struck down for 1-2 days with a fever, and when that finally breaks they're left with a cough and a runny nose. It may be Will's turn this week, or it may hit the adults, sigh. The only work from that sick day that we really have to make up, however,  is Home Ec, because I sure as heck wasn't going to let any kid cook me penne when she'd just been sick!

Daily work this week includes our ten minutes of memory work during the first car ride that we take (if we don't go anywhere in the car that day, we don't do memory work, but still--that adds up to 50-60 minutes of memory work every week!), more progress on the kids' MENSA reading lists in lieu of a Book of the Day (I lagged a bit in picking up library hold requests, so the kids didn't work on this as much as they could have last week if I'd supported them better), journaling or writing to a story starter prompt for ten minutes, Wordly Wise for Will (if she continues at her current pace, she'll finish the book in six or so weeks and then will take a good, long break from it), a word ladder for Syd, SAT prep on Khan Academy for Will, Junior Analytical Grammar for Syd, typing on Typing.com for both kids, and cursive copywork, also for both kids. For cursive this week, they'll be pulling quotes from Aristotle from their Story of Science book, just one quote a day, just enough to keep them in practice as neither of them choose to write in cursive at any other time, sigh.

And here's the rest of our week!



MONDAY: In Math Mammoth, Syd is still multiplying fractions and decimals, and Will is starting two-step equations. Will also has three days of work from Analytical Grammar's Review and Reinforcement workbook this week; that should give her a little over a month before she starts the next season of Analytical Grammar, but I may cut the work down to two worksheets a week and give her longer between seasons.

Chapter 11 of Story of Science concerns Aristotle and Plato and their different ways of thinking about the the world. The kids have reading comprehension questions in their quest guides, and they will mark all the locations in Ancient Greece mentioned in this chapter on their maps of Ancient Greece as a review.

Ugh, how many times will the kid have to repeat this Gardener badge experiment before she remembers to attend it daily?!? Hopefully just this one last time! Will has decided to make Luna a dog house as the culminating project for her Woodworker badge; I'll be curious to see exactly how much I have to help with that--she's growing up to be so capable!

The kids reviewed their Hoffman Academy lessons last week (although Will, the most unenthusiastic piano player who ever tickled the keys, somehow managed to do this without once tickling the keys), so this week they will watch a new lesson. I'm limiting them to one lesson a week, with practice on the other days, as Will otherwise tries to blow through a lesson a day in the hopes that when she's finished them all I'll let her stop.

Decorating Easter eggs is one holiday activity that the kids never seem to get too old for! I bought a nice stash of wooden eggs last year, so we have several to try some fun new techniques on today.

Syd has a couple of extra daily activities that Will doesn't this week. The Trashion/Refashion Show is on Sunday, so she needs to practice her runway routine daily, as well as finish up a couple of final bits of her garment. I also have to allow her plenty of time to make the present for a friend's birthday sleepover this weekend, as her favorite thing is to reach beyond her grasp, fail, get frustrated, and sulk. Good times.

TUESDAY: Nobody has any extracurriculars today, other than our regular playgroup, so we should be able to block out plenty of time for the kids to make their baked penne, with puppy chow for dessert. I love a school assignment that requires me to NOT make dinner!

Our Girl Scout troop is throwing a party for a local preschool--next week! The project is entirely girl-led, with the girls deciding on the theme and the activities, then breaking into committees and figuring out books to read, crafts and songs, a snack, and favor bags. Now each of the kids has plenty of assignments, so they'll have plenty to do working on this every day for the rest of the week.

Syd's word ladders work for vocabulary and logic, so until she's completed that book, I've added in a simple weekly logic activity for Will. I LOVED mind benders when I was her age, so I'm eager to see if she likes them as much as I did. If so, this series has two more levels of books to work from.

WEDNESDAY: Now that we've established geohistorical context for Aristotle and Plato, the kids will complete a couple of hands-on enrichment assignments to help them remember a key concept for each. On this day, they'll work together to assemble the Platonic solids from nets. I think that we'll use colorful paper, just as this tute shows, and then hang them in the playroom to look pretty. This will also serve as a review of their identifications.

We're adding in a new unit this week--the kids requested Medieval history, so we're starting volume 2 of Story of the World. On this day, we'll just read/listen to the chapter, then go over the reading comprehension questions in the activity book.

Syd's special unit this semester is cooking and baking. This week, she wants to bake the cinnamon rolls from the Nerdy Nummies cookbook--to say that I'm excited is an understatement! I hope she succeeds, as I've actually tried cinnamon rolls from scratch two different times, and I've not been happy with either batch.

THURSDAY: Today's Story of Science enrichment is Aristotle's celestial spheres. I want the kids to understand what the great minds of the ancient civilizations thought of our universe, and Aristotle's concept is one of the most beautiful of concepts--totally wrong, of course, but beautiful. I'll give the kids the option of making either a two-dimensional model of the celestial spheres on poster board, using a compass, or a three-dimensional model with Sculpey. I'll be curious to see who chooses what.

The Story of the World mapwork takes just a few minutes, although it is parent-directed. To make it a little more sophisticated, I'll likely ask the children to also mark the important Greek cities on the map.

FRIDAY: Syd is learning how to multiply fractions in her current math unit, and Will could always use a review, as she struggled with remembering the algorithm a little during her rational numbers unit. I caught her inverting as if she was dividing a couple of times, which tells me that she doesn't yet truly understand the concept of what she's doing. So on this day, the kids will make some models of multiplying with fractions on transparencies or cellophane, and we'll put them in the window to look pretty and to serve as a reminder of what multiplying a fraction really looks like. The idea is that if you can visualize what 1/3 times 1/3 should look like, you're unlikely to tell me that the answer is 1.

This week's SOTW chapter is really just a background on the fall of the Roman Empire, so the only enrichment that the kids are going to do is to play around on the BBC site for Ancient Rome. I imagine that there will be more hands-on assignments in future weeks.

The Junior Underwater Explorer badge is another book that the kids picked up during our road trip, so they should have already started on it. I really like this book because it includes some hands-on activities--those red-boxed ones that I told the children that they had to do. They should be able to complete them all independently, which is the gold standard for Friday work--by Friday, I'm tired!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: The kids have their regular Saturday extracurriculars, and Syd has a sleepover, which means special time with Will. That will flip the next day, as Syd and I will spend nearly the entire day prepping for that evening's Trashion/Refashion Show, where Supergirl of the Night will make her debut. Afterwards, it'll have to be straight to bed, because the next day these girls are throwing a party for some very, very, VERY excited little preschoolers!

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