Monday, February 16, 2015

Work Plans for the Week of February 16, 2015: Mongolia and Hoosier Heroines

Half an hour into our Monday, and the schedule's already blown, thanks to a combination of snow (yay!) and car trouble (boo!). We'll actually be having a little staycation here at home today and Tuesday, and I'll just wait and see if I fill up those out-of-the-house spots with schoolwork here, or simply let them be. After all, one must have ample time for snowmen and sledding, mustn't one?

In addition to the written schedule, each day the children also have independent practice in typing, piano keyboard, and Chinese, and they each have a book assignment, ranging from Mongolian folk tales to picture books of Chinese characters to a bizarre 1950s-era children's how-to manual, which actually explains, step by step and remarkably clearly, how to do things like clean the house and write a thank-you letter and make a grilled cheese sandwich, etc. I usually just have the children talk to me about the book that they've read, but this week I'll also be asking them to write Chinese characters and make me a grilled cheese sandwich.

MONDAY: No Hub, no Girl Scout meeting. However... snow! In math, I'll be demonstrating to both children the Girl Scout cookie booth essential skill of counting back change. Next year, I'll be demonstrating this skill to all my Girl Scouts BEFORE our cookie booths! Our troop's two oldest girls (both named Willow, incidentally--it was wonderful, at our last cookie booth, to call out "Willow!" and have TWO big helpful girls at my disposal!), can handle money and make change with an adult standing at her elbow to supervise, but they both simply subtract--fine for the easy math of multiples of four, but one day out in the world the math won't be so simple.

This week's horse breed is the Abaco Barb. I'm really pleased with the infographics that the children have been producing for their horse research; I feel like this is a useful skill well learned!

Syd is starting a block of short story writing; I'd like her to produce a few written and illustrated picture books this spring. Will is engaged this week in another odd little essay prompt for a local contest--she's really improving in her ability to write to a prompt, and after this season of essay contests is over, I look forward to asking her to choose her own subjects for essays, as well.

TUESDAY: No Robotics Club. However... snow!

WEDNESDAY: YES horseback riding! You'll notice that aerial silks hasn't been on my list of weekly classes for a few weeks. At a recent Family Meeting we discussed extracurriculars; although I'm willing to enroll the children in whatever they're interested in and want to work at, I've noticed that the children lose their appreciation for these opportunities when they're signed up for more than one a day, and so I asked them to make some choices, assuring them that they could revisit these choices at the end of every session. Both children chose to drop aerial silks classes for the time being (they still spend ages of time on our at-home rig each day, and I might explore Youtube to see if there are any demonstrations or tutorials that might appeal to them), and Syd also chose to drop horseback riding. Instead, she'll be taking gymnastics on Thursdays. I found these choices so interesting because, of course, both children could have continued in horseback riding, and both children could have taken gymnastics, and in previous weeks I think they'd both have been eager to. I think they took our discussions of their schedules and their commitments to them that we'd been having in preparation for our Family Meeting to heart, however, and I could see them really thoughtfully choosing only what they really wanted to do.

For whatever reason (probably because I kept scheduling it for Fridays, which is the least productive time to put the "serious" schoolwork), we keep not listening to the Story of the World chapters on Mongolia and working on the comprehension questions. We MUST do it this week, however, as World Thinking Day is on Sunday, and my Girl Scout troop, thankfully led in this by another mom, is presenting on Mongolia. The mom has done an incredible job teaching the children about Mongolia and organizing their displays and presentation. My two need to create displays on Mongolia's map and flag this week, and I can't pass up the opportunity presented by this unit to cover those Story of the World chapters. After all, who doesn't like learning about Genghis Khan?!?

Syd's Minecraft Homeschool session is over, so while Will is working on her essay, I'm filling in Syd's extra schoolwork slot with activities that I know that she'll especially like--playing a game with me, and doing a craft project. I'll also need her help with her Trashion/Refashion garment off and on this week, so easy, fun little "assignments" like those won't interfere with any work that I need her to do on that.

THURSDAY: After the madness of the past few weeks, I'm relieved that this looks to be our only hectic day this week. Gym Day will likely include some extra World Thinking Day rehearsal, and the start of gymnastics class overlapping with a Girl Scout cookie booth will definitely require some juggling. Math Mammoth (decimals and geometry), a keyboard lesson with Hoffman Academy, and, for Will, the writing of a rough draft are the only added things to this day.

FRIDAY: I was pleased that the children rated math class as one of the extracurriculars that simply couldn't be dropped (ice skating is still also on Fridays, but only until the end of this session. Our rink is only seasonal, sigh); they love their teacher, and many of their closest friends also take the class, which devotes a full hour to board games at the end--how could that NOT be a hit?

We're still using First Language Lessons for grammar. In addition, these Word Ladders are a fun way for a kid to practice a little logical deduction and stretch her spelling skills while her sister is on the ice.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: The children love their Saturday tradition of Sydney's ballet class, something "fun" with their father (last week it was Wonderlab, and the week before I believe that it may have been a buffet restaurant), and then Chinese class. Our local indie theater is showing all the Oscar-nominated short films as a film festival this weekend, so we'll likely be attending that, and then Sunday is World Thinking Day!

And hopefully by Sunday, I'll also have this Trashion/Refashion show garment in hand...


Tina said...

It's interesting how life kinda throws monkey wrenches. I decided to pick up a babysitting gig and now find myself watching some kiddos from 5:45am to 5:30 pm (two are in school during the day). The family will only be here till May, but I warned her that if I find myself being stretched to thin, she may have to look for someone else. So far, day two seems to be going well. Emma played games and read all day to the 5 year old. I'm gonna count that as school considering she had to explain how every game worked. And, you know, reading out loud and all.

However, we will start school back up tomorrow morning while the kids are still sleeping.

julie said...

Oh, my goodness! You are a STAR!!! I have to confess that I don't enjoy babysitting. I enjoy having playdates over, I enjoy leading Girl Scout troop activities, and you'd think that "babysitting" wouldn't be that different, but for some reason that I can't wrap my head around, the concept just stresses me out.

Tina said...

Um, yeah. Especially when there are 3. But for the most part, the kids are pretty good. Had to lay down a few laws today, but the way I see it, not only will this babysitting gig be good for the piggy bank, it will be good for Emma to get lots of play time in with some other kids.

That, and the thought of the little boy having to go to something called, "Check-A-Child" makes me shudder.