Monday, May 2, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of May 2, 2016: Minecraft, Ballet, and the Bay

For all the griping that I did about the fact that last week was soooooo busy, you'd think that I'd have learned my lesson this week.

But nope. We're busy this week, too. Or, at least, one little kid in particular is very, very, VERY busy this week, and the rest of us are simply going to be pulled along in her wake. Our Syd, you see, has a big ballet recital this weekend, which means that she has big ballet rehearsals almost every night this week. Our Syd also has a big birthday this week--double digits!

And our Syd ALSO has a big birthday PARTY this week!!!

Fortunately, as busy as we were last week, we also had a fine time together, getting all the scheduled schoolwork done, having plenty of time to relax and play, and getting plenty of play-time with friends in. The kids really embraced their Projects of the Week (Syd worked hard on a painting of a horse, and Will drew a different dragon every single day--I think they're liking their weekend art lessons with their father!)--

--they made a quiche that nobody would eat but the chickens (have to try that particular cooking lesson again...), they made some pretty great paper models of crystal formations, we completed our unit on Alcatraz so that we're ready to start learning about the California coastline this week (also? Our Escape from Alcatraz LARPing was awesome!!!), and we finished Making Thirteen Colonies (below, Syd is making a map of the slave trade route)--

--so that this week, we are officially beginning the Revolutionary War part of our Revolutionary War study.

Instead of a Project of the Week, I'll be asking the kids to help me get ready for Syd's birthday party every day--there's so much to be done, from making the pinata and the cake to tidying up the yard to inventing some party games to setting up the crafts to making party favors. The Open-Ended Play Material of the Week last week, the Lite Brite, had a missing bulb, so we're trying that again this week, now that it's nice and bright again. Books of the Week include some colonial and Revolutionary War-era fiction, a couple of books about monuments we'll likely see in Washington, DC, and a couple of books on California, which the kids are visiting this summer but I'm not, and Alaska, which I'm visiting this summer but they're not! In particular, Syd really likes A-Z Mysteries, so I was excited to assign her Operation Orca, which takes place in Alaska.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: Will blew through the end of her Math Mammoth unit last week, so this week she's starting ratios. Syd, although she had mastered all of the work in her Math Mammoth unit, totally bombed the review, mostly because if she couldn't remember right away how to work a particular problem, rather than think about it she instead pitched an hour-long fit. So she's got a couple of drill worksheets on the Order of Operations on this day, to help her remember that it's NOT "multiplication and addition, then division and subtraction."

I don't know exactly what the kids will see and do in California, but we're making a list together of all the things that they'd like to see and do--the list, of course, is FAR longer than they can ever possibly complete while there--and on that list is the Junior Ranger badges for all the national parks within driving distance of their grandparents' home. I've developed week-long studies for each site, and as part of the national park studies, I'm having the kids complete what they can of each Junior Ranger book at home. They'll bring the half-completed books with them to California, and complete them at any national parks that they visit. What they don't complete, they can bring home, finish using the national parks' websites, and then mail in. On this day, then, they're working on the Junior Ranger books for the San Francisco Maritime National Park.

We're finally starting our Revolutionary War textbook spine this week! The kids still haven't completely memorized the thirteen original colonies, so we'll read just the preface to From Colonies to Country on this day, and then I expect them to get those darn colonies down! Also in the preface is an allegorical poem about the Boston Tea Party, and copying that poem every day is both kids' cursive work for the week, with a small cash prize for also memorizing the poem.

At our volunteer gig at the local food pantry today, do not let me forget to scavenge ALL THE BOXES! We've still got to make a Minecraft pinata, AND the Minecraft swords for the sword-painting station, and surely something else--you can never have enough cardboard at a birthday party!

I lost track last week with the kids' Wordly Wise, so I'm not sure who needs to spend another week on spelling, and who's ready to move on to the next chapter. I'll figure that out on this day, and then a library workshop and an evening ballet rehearsal complete the day!

TUESDAY: I couldn't find any good worksheets for drilling fractional parts problems for Syd, so I made one for her. Will, though, will be tooling along as usual in Math Mammoth. In the biome brochure project, though, it's Syd who's flying through and Will who's struggling, primarily because she doesn't see art as her strong suit, so she'd like to do a half-assed job and then get back to her book. The kids worked on their brochures some over the weekend, as part of their art lesson with Matt, so really just need to add some more research and a few final touches on this day. And Will needs to maybe delete the parts that she put in about "land sharks" on her Ocean biome brochure. I say maybe, though, because the land shark parts are funny!

Both kids read SO much, but Will, especially, rarely discusses the books that she reads with me. She flies through them, piles them up, and flies through some more, all in a single day, so much so that I can tell where she's been by the piles of books that she leaves behind her like scat in the woods. On this day, then, I'm going to pry out of her a detailed review of at least one book that she's read lately! The plan is to let the kids watch some episodes of Reading Rainbow (or at least Syd, since I think she's the one who's really going to enjoy that), and then have them compose a book review of their own. The emphasis is on composition, here, so they can choose to dictate the review to me, if they wish.

I am REALLY excited about our California coastline lesson on this day! All of the lessons in this week's unit are adapted from the curriculum materials on the site. We'll be reading and discussing the various geographical features of a coastline, and then the kids will be researching, writing definitions for, and modeling four of those geographical features. They're going to model them using LEGOs, and on Wednesday, we're going to put the models into water and explore how sailors might have experienced them. In other words, we're going to float corks, make waves, and blow on the water through straws. It's going to be a good time for all.

Our homeschool group's playgroup on this day, and ballet rehearsal for Syd, and fencing class for me and Will should round things out nicely. Oh, and I have to vote!

WEDNESDAY: The poll that the kids administered for their election unit ("What's your favorite animal?") went so well that I'm going to go back and have the kids review our previous lessons using this topic. We've already explored campaign advertisements, so on this day, the kids will create some campaign advertisements for their preferred animal. Campaign posters first, and then we might do video ads in a couple of weeks, as there will be a bit of a lag in our election study after all the primaries are finished.

Syd is starting a geometry unit on this day, and although Euclid: The Game might be too hard for her, she often surprises me with her engineer's mind. Hopefully, Will will take to it, as well--if they both do, they'll have quite the geometry education under their belts before they know it!

Syd and I BOTH have ballet rehearsal on this night--Syd for herself, of course, but me as a parent volunteer for the littlest dancers. Syd has already informed me that they are "very naughty," sigh...

THURSDAY: I'd thought that we would examine and classify our completed crystals last week, but the paper models took a really long time for the kids to construct, so we'll be examining them on this day, instead. And I might have us spend another couple of weeks on mineral crystals, as well, before we move on, just because now that we're finally in the rocks and minerals part of our rocks and minerals unit, might as well stay here and enjoy ourselves, you know?

The kids seem to be more into the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Notebook these days, or at least they both completed the next lesson without complaint, and Will even happily shared hers with me. Their stories are shaping up to be VERY creative!

Our last lesson for our San Francisco Maritime National Park unit is the anatomy of the Spanish galleon. The curriculum materials include a pretty detailed illustration of a Spanish galleon that I'm going to print onto cardstock, then have the kids color, assemble, and label. We'll discuss it, and likely watch some Youtube videos of galleons in action. The kids will see more, of course, if they get to the park during their California trip. We haven't *really* explored the history of shipping and sailing on its own, but thanks to our study of Columbus and his ships in the fall, after this lesson we'll know about Spanish caravels, carracks, AND galleons! And I know that we'll be studying more ships for our New England trip this fall, as well.

FRIDAY: This day is Syd's birthday! Normally, the birthday kid gets to plan all of our meals and activities for the day, but since Syd's birthday party is also on this day, we'll of course have to curtail that somewhat in order to prepare for the party. Mean, sneaky Momma to get all this birthday business out of the way all in a single day, mwa-ha-ha!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Our weekend is mostly ballet-centric, culminating in Syd's big spring ballet recital on Sunday. And after that, our most time-intensive extracurricular will be over until September!!!!!!! Now we can start planning some weekend camping trips!

What do YOU have planned for this week?


Unknown said...

If the order of operations are still trouble to remember and your kids are a little devious, they might enjoy the memory trick that I learned from a friend's naughty older sibling and never once forgot: People Everywhere Must Die And Suffer (Of course, the first letter of each word stands for parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction!).

julie said...

Oh, my goodness, that is BRILLIANT! My kids are going to love it. And I bet they'll say it all the time. And when chastised, they'll protest, "I'm just studying my math!"