Monday, May 9, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of May 9, 2016: Girl Scouts and Marine Life

Oh, my goodness, that was a busy week that's behind us now! Even for a four-day school week, I for sure scheduled too much, considering that we had a big birthday party to prep and that Syd and I had hours of dress rehearsals for her ballet recital almost every day.

Since I was apparently INSANE for most of the school-week (more on that later...), I'm a little surprised that everything got accomplished, but accomplished everything did get! Mind you, Syd wrote her book review and did her last math lesson and both kids did the Spanish galleon lesson all on Sunday afternoon, but heck, even kids who got all their schoolwork done at school probably had homework over the weekend. And now that Monday has rolled around again, Syd can identify angles, Will can calculate ratios, they're both on their way to memorizing the thirteen colonies--
Here's Will putting together the pin flag map of the colonies.
 --we've looked at crystals through the microscope and identified their structure, we've built LEGO models of coastal geography and tested them with wind and water, we got the Lite Brite working--

--the kids progressed in Wordly Wise and their cursive--
Here, Syd is copying the poem from the preface of From Colonies to Country.
 --and there were finally entire days in a row of sunshine!
She's destroying my daylilies while pretending to be a cat.
They're glorying in the glory of a brand-new-to-them Giant Box!
Books of the Week this week include some factual books on crystals and ocean life, some fiction for each child that's outside of her typical range of interests, and a comic strip collection that I dearly hope that Will hasn't discovered on her own yet, because I deeply want to score the win for having introduced Will to Marlys!

There's no Project of the Week this week, as we're hosting a Girl Scout meeting on Friday that the kids need to help me prep for, and our Open-Ended Material of the Week is Sculpey, primarily because I have been DYING to make Sculpey charms with the help of YouTube tutorials, and this is as good of an excuse as any.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: Oh, my word, Syd is CRANKY this morning! I have fed her eggs and cantaloupe, watched CNN Student News with her, and yet right now she is sitting at the table next to me and outraged--outraged, I tell you!--that I would possibly expect her to actually read her math lesson in order to understand how to measure angles. Don't I understand that she can't read the math lesson? It's too hard to read it! She never reads it! Don't I understand that her measurements are not incorrect? They are clearly all correct! Also, I HAVE to tell her how to do the lesson! She does NOT have to read the lesson herself! And she will NOT learn to spell her spelling words! She has already told me that she can't spell!


IF Syd ever gets over her fit, we've also got the first chapter of From Colonies to Country to read today. It's about a landmark trial that highlights the importance of both the freedom of the press AND trial by jury, and it's based on a New York newspaper in the 1730s that pissed off the corrupt governor of New York by writing about what a corrupt governor he was.

Just for fun, I researched, found, and scanned copies of several issues of this newspaper, including articles in which, indeed, there's some trash talk concerning the governor of New York! I'm hoping the kids will have fun looking through these newspapers, and will also absorb some interesting local color of the time (one issue also includes a For Sale ad for slaves--yikes!).

Oh, Syd is also pitching a fit about the thank-you notes that I'm requiring that she and Will write today. I kind of got distracted after Pappa died and I don't think that we ever got the kids' Christmas thank-you notes out, so we're at least going to finish up the cookie season thank-you notes today, and Syd is also going to write the thank-you notes for her birthday presents, or she will never play Minecraft or watch My Little Pony again, by gawd!

Last week's unit on the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park was more fun than I thought that coastal geography and the history of shipping would be, and I think that this week's unit on the Monterey Bay Aquarium is going to be even more fun. Fortunately, the kids already did some work with the Oceans biome for Syd's Girl Scout Junior Animal Habitats badge, so we can delve more deeply into that work this week, rather than start from scratch. We've studied the Order of Classification off and on for years, covering it again every time we study a plant or animal, so I don't expect that today's project of organizing animals (Pappa gave Will a year-long subscription of Wildlife Explorer cards a few years ago, and so now she has quite a good collection of animal fact sheets) will be challenging, but I hope that it will be interesting and surprising and inspire the kids into further inquiry.

This week's cursive copywork is a list of scientist definitions from the Monterey Bay Aquarium educational materials, and a shift at our local food pantry will finish off the school day!

TUESDAY: We've got playgroup on this day, IF it stops raining for long enough, and Will and I have fencing this evening, and the kids will also be working on their Young Writer's Workbook.

This is the perfect time of year for backpacking and camping, IF it stops raining for long enough, and so I'm hoping that both kids can complete their Girl Scout badges--Camper for Syd and Trailblazing for Will--before Girl Scout day camp starts at the end of June. Technically, Syd has completed all of the activities for her Camper badge, but she's excited to learn more campfire recipes and to organize a camping trip that Matt can come along with us to, so I'll officially award her the badge after she's done those things. Will's badge work involves planning a backpacking and camping trip for likely just the three of us, likely just overnight, but nevertheless a very big adventure for us!

Syd got very into the biome brochure that we finished last week, enough that I think she'd enjoy doing something similar, and Will ... well, I learned that I need to give Will some clearer, more specific requirements, because in HER brochure, land-sharks featured prominently. We'll see if she likes making a poster better? In preparation for their Monterey Bay Aquarium field trip, I want the children to understand the basic anatomy and types of external features of fish and aquatic mammals, and I want them to be accustomed to looking for those details in the animals that they'll see there. My requirements for this poster will have them researching the anatomy and external features of a specific animal in the Oceans biome, as well as illustrating the abiotic and other biotic components of its habitat. And just for fun, we'll throw Matt's weekly drawing lesson into the mix, too!

WEDNESDAY: I'm experimenting with packing more of the hard-core academics into the first half of the week, when we all have more energy and enthusiasm. Both wane as the week goes on, so I've deliberately spiced the latter half of the week up with more craft projects and less brainy work, to see if that keeps everyone happier through to Saturday. That's why we're finishing up our Monterey Bay Aquarium unit with an ocean animal craft and some webcam watching on this day, although I expect that the kids will be working on that poster assignment throughout the rest of the week, as well.

Both kids really enjoyed applying the Elections 2016 curriculum to their own animal candidate--Will, in fact, absolutely leapt on the idea, and created a VERY specific candidate with a VERY specific campaign. This weekend, Matt even taught her how to use Photoshop, just so they could create the perfect image of her candidate.

It's a cat with Donald Trump's toupee and Adolf Hitler's mustache. Its name is HitlerTrumpCat, and you do NOT want it to win the election.

Last week, the kids created campaign posters for their candidates (yes, there IS a campaign poster for HitlerTrumpCat. Sigh...). This week, then, they'll be making actual video commercials for those candidates.

Do I already regret this?

Does HitlerTrumpCat want to build a wall around everyone and then kill them?

The answer to both questions is yes. In fact, the answer to that second question is, according to Will, HitlerTrumpCat's main campaign promise.

Last week's math enrichment was a bust, as apparently the website for Euclid: The Game went offline in the three days between when I previewed it and when I assigned it. Big bummer! This week, then, our geometry enrichment is purely hands-on: we'll be exploring stellations with our Zome Tools, and while we do, I'll be sneakily pointing out acute, obtuse, right, and complementary, angles!

THURSDAY: More mineral science! By now, the kids understand that mineral crystals have a specific atomic structure that leads to a specific geometric shape, and so this week, we'll be discussing the fact that they have a specific chemical composition, as well--good thing that we spent all that time with elements and molecules a few weeks ago! As part of this lesson, we'll be making and playing Make Five. Will LOVES the PTOE game on this same website, so I think that this one will be fun, too.

Clean water is one of Syd's interests, and since it's also a discussion in Will's Girl Scout Cadette Trailblazing badge, it's a good time to review the importance of clean water and learn how to purify it--we'll at least boil it, but we might also make a charcoal filter, depending on the kids' enthusiasm level. For now, though, the plan is to take water from the creek behind our house, look at it under the microscope and catalogue the teensy critters present, then boil the heck out of it and try again. I'll add to that a discussion of water-borne illness.

I've got a couple of books on my list of ones to review that I thought would be fun for the kids to help me out with, so that's why we'll be fabric painting on our pants on this day and fingerprinting princesses and fairies on the next. There's nothing like a good old craft project when you need a brain break!

FRIDAY: We have a short school day on this day, since most of the afternoon and evening will be taken up with a Girl Scout meeting and a campfire with friends afterwards. When we began our study on biomes, however, it occurred to me that the children have NEVER made a diorama--gasp! I'm not sure how it will go, and I'm willing to drop it if they hate the idea, but still... they know enough about biomes by now to perhaps be intrigued by the idea of creating a diorama of one. We'll see!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Syd has an archaeology program on Saturday and both kids have a gardening workshop on Sunday, but ballet is finished--yay for the extra free time! Also? I really, really, REALLY need it to stop raining so that I can get my leggy plant starts into the ground already!!!


Tina said...

We are expecting rain today and Thursday. I should have picked up the soil I need to finish my beds yesterday (when it would be dry and lighter), but my back needed a break from all the shoveling and lifting of heavy things. I suppose it isn't to big a deal, considering I haven't even started any seeds yet. Oops.

I think we will be trying out Girl Scouts next year. How did you pick a Girl Scout Troop? We went to a meeting a month or so ago, but I wasn't really impressed. What types of things should we be looking for in a troop?

So last week the kid tells me she thinks she is dumber than the kids in public school. WHAT!? We had a big discussion about it, I asked if thought she would be better off going to school (which was an big no), and on and on. We talked about revving up our school work and she agreed to it. The hubby gave her a math test for her grade level and she did amazing. The next day when I told her to get started on her math, she threw a fit. sigh. I have no patience for fits, so no school got done. Then it's been so nice outside that we have been busy trying to get our garden beds set up.

Then this morning when I tell her to get started on her math, she tells me she would rather clean the house. Really? Fine.

And now I am done complaining.

Can't wait to see the HitlerTrumpCat poster!

julie said...

I don't normally do "advice," because I fail at so many things in so many ways, but here's my one piece of homeschool advice that I think works really well: There is something fun that can be done when, and ONLY when, school is done. And it has to be something that the kid WILL want to do. The kid doesn't get her school done that day? Totes fine, but the fun thing doesn't get done, either. The next day, to do the fun thing, she has to do that day's work AND finish the previous day's work. For Syd, it's screen time, because she has some big Minecraft projects going on. For Will, it's the library. It worried me for a while that I was putting external motivations on them, but it works, and I also enjoy "rewarding" myself for getting stuff done, so... eh.

We did Juliettes for a year or so, and then were able to convince so many of the girls' friends to become Girl Scouts, too, that I was able to start my own troop! Do any of the girls in the homeschooling circles there do Girl Scouts?

Tina said...

I love advice! I don't use much of it, but I love it anyway ;0) And whenever I give advice, I usually start it as, "I don't know if this would work for you, but this is what worked for us..." Gives them an out if my ideas are a little off the wall.

With BreyerFest coming up in a few months, she is wanting to check their website every few days. So, that is working as a motivator. I think I might have to start using audiobooks. This kid can't pee without her audiobook with her. Sheesh.

Oh, and we have kid neighbors! She loves to play with the girl (she's 6 or 7), so that might end up as a motivator as well, except she isn't always available to play.

External motivators work! Otherwise there would be a lot more job vacancies.

The Girl Scout meeting that we tried out was a (not sure if there are more) homeschool group. They were a bit of a drive, so we might see what we can find closer to home. We might try again in the fall, but she may end up trying 4H again, she isn't sure yet. Her riding instructor (who is FREAKING AMAZING! Finally) was a Girl Scout, so that might sway her in that direction.