Monday, December 14, 2015

Work Plans for the Week of December 14: 2015: Christmas and the News

Christmas is coming a little too fast this year, or maybe I just need to settle down and focus on it. We haven't yet done most of our Christmas traditions--no hot apple cider and hot chocolate and popcorn while watching Christmas movies (Nightmare before Christmas 100% counts as a Christmas movie!), no cinnamon dough decoration making, no driving around to look at Christmas lights. Hell, the kids haven't even visited with Santa yet!

To that end, I am officially declaring that Christmas traditions begin NOW. I swear to god, my family WILL spend quality time together celebrating the festivities of the season!!! So you'll notice, then, that schoolwork is a little light this week. The kids' newspaper is taking a lot more time than I'd estimated, so I did carve away plenty of work time for them to hopefully finish it this week, but I've also carved away plenty of secret time for "spontaneous" Christmas activities. I've got a couple of the more academic pursuits on our work plans--there's no way that Will would write a letter to Santa just for "fun"--but I've also got all the ingredients for cinnamon applesauce dough at hand, and tomorrow my etsy shop closes for the season and we can focus on gift-making for family and friends, and Wednesday night, after we've spent the day at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis (conveniently visiting with Santa while we're there!) would be the perfect Family Movie Night, and Thursday might just turn out to be a great day to bake some Christmas treats, and... you get the idea.

Daily memory work for the week is also on the light side, consisting of just a page of cursive daily (I am thrilled to report that both children's handwriting is improving massively!), spelling, and our traditional review of "'Twas the Night before Christmas." I doubt that there is anything in this world cuter than four-year-old Syd's recitation of "'Twas the Night before Christmas"--

--but I'm eager to convince her that I should also videotape her nine-year-old version. Many mommy sniffles ahead!

Books of the Week are still very World War 2 heavy, although there are also a couple of picture books about Martin Luther King, Jr., in there, one random book on the ecosystem of the Himalayas, and Syd, who was asking last week about why people can't just purify seawater to have clean water, has A Thirst for Home. This isn't the first time that Syd has asked about clean water, or the first time that we've explored the issue, so I may try to research out a couple of hands-on projects for the kids about it. Maybe for a Girl Scout service project?

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: Considering that right now Will is outside and Syd is sitting on the couch playing with a Christmas sticker book (festive!), today's plans remain just plans, but at some point we'll kick it into gear and get going!

For math, the kids each have one more day of drill with worksheets from this site to cement the concepts that they both worked SO hard to master last week. I mentioned to you that I was making my own math lessons for them? Well, it took forever and I had to learn how to use an entirely new graphic design program to do it, but it was 100% successful:

Y'all, I actually made the concept of multiplying a fraction by a fraction CLEAR! I made MODELS for it! I am now officially a genius and a hero.

Over the weekend, Syd expressed some anxiety that she hadn't yet gotten around to writing a letter to Santa this year, so we'll be relieving her stress and getting in some lovely handwriting and composition practice with that. Because you know that Santa likes to see a child's best handwriting when they write to him!

Last night, Matt sat down with the kids and showed them how to use the graphic design program that he thought would work best for their newspaper, so I'm hoping that they can buckle down and get the project completed this week. Although I am requiring that they write an article on their interview of the newspaper reporter who came to interview us last week (a little meta, I know, but just go with it), I'm sorry to say that most of the rest of the newspaper is turning into rather a lampoon edition. I tried to convince the kids that it would be fun to write REAL stories about events like the great Rainbow Tag game that got played at play group last week or all the eggs that were donated to the food pantry where we volunteer, and real reviews of some of their Books of the Day, and maybe a real editorial, but they're mostly interested in locking each other in the closet and then writing stories entitled "Sister Locked in Closet!" Ah, well... Plenty of time for hard-hitting exposes when they're older.

Later today, we also have our two-hour volunteer gig with the food pantry. Will there be more egg donations? Stay tuned to find out!

TUESDAY: Our homeschool group is going bowling on this day. Syd is super excited about it, but Will is not, and I am not going to deal with her attitude in yet another bowling alley, so I'm foisting Syd off with another family. She can bowl, and Will can get her math done.

The kids are both back in Math Mammoth on this day. Now that they've gotten the basic concepts in their units down, hopefully the other lessons, which are mostly extensions of those concepts, will be self-explanatory. If not, however, I now know how to make both fraction models AND full-scale Cuisenaire rod models in Adobe InDesign!

We finished our last culminating activity of World War 2 last week, with a giant chalk paint world map on the driveway--

--as the stage for a complete retelling of World War 2, but I mentioned before, I think, that we still have a few random activities to finish up, including cooking this World War 2 recipe that Will chose from a cookbook at the Clabber Girl Museum. I'm hoping that we can successfully substitute cooked ground beef for the "finely chopped cold meat" that the recipe calls for. Otherwise--barf, right?

WEDNESDAY: Field trip to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis! We'll visit Santa, of course, but otherwise I think the children will enjoy an entire day at the museum with no further obligations of volunteering the Paleo Prep Lab or taking a class, for a change. Our membership runs out at the end of this month, as well, and I *might* take that opportunity to switch it out with an Indianapolis Zoo membership for next year, so I want to get in at least one more full day at the museum just in case.

THURSDAY: The Christmas card exercise is really just an excuse for us to play with these geometrical Christmas cards. Seriously, how cool are those, right?!? If they turn out to be impossibly frustrating for the kids, I can just invite them to punch out other lovely designs to then stitch while I sit and obsessively make many of these cards by myself.

FRIDAY: Will loves the series of girls-only podcasting workshops that the library has been hosting this semester. I'm hoping that after this newspaper project is complete, the children might want to try making their own podcast next--I think Will now has all the skills to do it!

Okay, she says she doesn't. Fortunately, she has more workshops that she can attend!

On this day, however, I'm most excited about going to see a local theater production of Mary Poppins with our homeschool group. They brought in a flying rig, and apparently Bert is really going to dance on the ceiling. Super excited.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Our only commitment is Will's last ice skating class of the semester, and then we're on Christmas break! 

Well, maaaaaybe we're on Christmas break. My workaholic husband is still debating his willingness to accede to my request that he simply take off next Monday, the ONE day that he's scheduled to work next week. Don't you think that would give us so much more family vacation bang for his family vacation buck? Anyway, if he takes that day off, then we'll definitely be living in Family Vacation Time, but if he insists on going in, then I'll probably make the rest of us do a day's schoolwork, too, just so we can complain to him about it and tell him that it's his fault.

As for me, this week I am living in Homemade Gift Land. I don't tend to give homemade gifts to Matt and the kids, since I make handmade stuff for them so often that store-bought gifts are actually the novelty, but I really like giving homemade gifts to everyone else. I also have several writing assignments to complete, the kids' wardrobe to go through yet again (Will will NOT stop growing! Last month none of her pants fit, and now all of her T-shirts are too short!!! ARGH!), and, most importantly of all, many Christmas festivities to force upon my unsuspecting family.

It's going to be a wonderful week!


Tina said...

I can't even wrap my head around the fact that it's already the 14th of December. I really feel like Christmas (and Emma's birthday) are going to kinda get lost in the moving prep.

We are pretty Bah Humbug about Christmas, but the kiddo loves it. She get's that from her Gramma. She decorated a shelf and hung the stockings. Now that I think of it, she has never had a real cut Christmas tree. We've done the small potted tree (that we kill every year), but never a big one. Hmm. Bad form!

I love the traditions you have set up. I was just thinking that I need to track down that Christmas movie where the homeless kid helps Santa deliver the presents. And yes, Nightmare Before Christmas is totally a Christmas movie!

julie said...

And NOW I can't wrap my head around the fact that it's Christmas Eve! We did NOT get to Nightmare before Christmas or cinnamon applesauce dough ornaments, but we did do gingerbread houses and decorated Christmas cookies, and saw the most lavishly decorated house in Arkansas. Tonight we're watching the NORAD Santa Tracker (do you guys do that? I love it!) and making cookies for Santa, and then I will take a deep breath, pour some wine, and relax in the comfort of knowing that I did all the Christmas magic that I could possibly stand to do this year.

Tina said...

Tracking Santa sounds cool, but we have not tried it.

Someone this year mentioned that there are printable (or we could make our own) scavenger hunts specifically for Christmas lights. We might give that a try next year.