Monday, September 26, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of September 26: An End to Rocks and the Revolution (But Not to Civics)

Don't tell Will, but next semester, I'm going to be upping her schoolwork load.

Twelve has been kind of a magic number for this kid. The kid who used to struggle daily, constantly, with her deep desire not to do anything that anyone else wanted her to do, nor to do anything at all tedious, is now my kid who gets all her schoolwork done every day, quickly, without prompting. She can get an entire day's schoolwork done in two hours or less if she puts her mind to it, and she usually does!

That would be just about an ideal amount of time for a younger kid, but now that Will is middle school-aged, I think she can handle more, especially since she's getting her current workload done so easily. Syd, on the other hand, is having a hard transition to ten, and the current workload is already more than she's willing to do without fuss. So after our vacation, the kids will come to the new semester with redesigned work plan templates, and they won't be completely identical.

And Will's will have more work on it. Don't tell!

Last week's school week went well, especially with that mid-week romp up to the Children's Museum to break it up. We also finished up our shark dissection, Lordy Hallelujah, played at the creek with friends, did interesting things to rocks, and Syd made us candy sushi:

The kids learned how to play lacrosse (neither of them liked it, but at least now they know!), they've both just almost got the prime numbers through 100 memorized, and I think this strategy for our American Revolution notebooks is going to work:

Books of the Day for this week include some shout-outs to current and upcoming studies (Syd loves the Goddess Girls series, and Will likes the I Survived series, which is a little hard-core for Syd). Daily work includes probably our last week of having Scratch on the work plans--Will has just about made it through Coding Games in Scratch, and Syd, who has long abandoned the book in favor of making daily cartoons in Scratch, likes it enough that I think she'll keep it in mind for her screen-time, if she can ever get over her Roblox obsession (and here I thought that I hated Minecraft. There's always something worse!!!). The kids will also be alternating their cursive/journaling with replying to pen pal letters--they need to write at least two replies this week--and are expected to each earn $50 for vacation spending money this week. I make a special list of chores and prices for vacation money-earning, including as options chores and activities like doing extra work in math or composition, and crap like finishing up craft WIPs and helping me go through their fall wardrobes, etc. And finally, Will should be finishing Wordly Wise book 6, earning herself a treat (I keep trying to remind the children that treats can also be things like a trip to the indoor trampoline park or the library or an extra hour of screen-time, but they inevitably ALWAYS choose a) doughnuts or b) ice cream. Sigh...).

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: In Math Mammoth this week, Syd is learning about ratios and Will is finishing percents. I'm pleased about this, because our math enrichment this week will fit both of them very well!

We're finishing up Song School Spanish this week. I have several Spanish curricula to explore for next semester with Syd, although fortunately over the weekend I found a couple of Mandarin texts that will work to flesh out Will's Mandarin classes. I'd hoped to start her on one of the textbooks this week, but the weekend got away from me and I forgot to include it in my lesson plans. Oh, well!

I'm excited to have finished our rocks and minerals text last week, so that this week we can move into the Syd-friendly rocks and minerals science kit that I've been looking forward to. We're starting it this week, with the plan that the kids can finish it when we come home from vacation but before we begin our new semester, and I'm really, really, REALLY hoping that it's as user-friendly and adapted for independent work as it looks.

Are you as excited about tonight's presidential debate as I am? We've got a big night planned of me and Will racing home from fencing and then all of us eating pizza in front of the TV and cheering/jeering. To that end, the kids will be reading the pages on the debates in Election 2016, and then watching clips of other debates from previous years to help them understand what they'll be looking at and should be watching for tonight.

We've got a lot of chapters in From Colonies to Country to get through this week, but they're all about the Constitution, so it should work to read/listen to them as a unit. On this day, the kids will be working on what they can complete from the Junior Ranger book for the Germantown White House in Philadelphia. Do NOT let me forget to gather up all of these half-completed Junior Ranger books and take them with us on our road trip!

TUESDAY: I LOVE the videos on Brainpop, and so do the kids! I'm surprised at how often I find relevant videos there, especially in the sciences and history. The kids really enjoy the videos, and I like that there's a quiz afterwards to confirm that they've understood the content. On this day, the kids will be watching the Brainpop video on the Constitutional Convention.

In other news, I just had a panic attack upon writing that previous sentence, when doing so reminded me that I had NOT yet reserved our tickets to tour Independence Hall!!! You will be relieved to know that I immediately went to remedy that, there were happily tickets available, and now we're all set. Now you just need to help me convince the rest of my family that we do need to go look at the Liberty Bell again, as well. They claim that we've already seen it; I claim that we're going to be just across the freaking street, People! Come ON!

Step 3 of the Cadette Finding Common Ground badge asks the Girl Scout to analyze a civil debate. Can you think of a more perfect activity to do on the day after the Clinton/Trump debate? Will loves politics, so this should be right in her wheelhouse. For the Junior Social Butterfly badge, Syd and a sister Scout are planning to host a tea party for the other Girl Scouts in our troop. I'm going to encourage her to press flowers on this day, as the girls decided they wanted to give pressed flower bookmarks out as party favors but flower season is nearly over, but I'm also planning to encourage her to search Pinterest for tea party ideas, so who knows what else she'll come up with?

WEDNESDAY: This American Revolution coloring book is actually a nice review activity for our unit, and will be pleasant for the kids to work on while we listen to our chapters in From Colonies to Country; don't you just love coloring while listening to audiobooks? I don't expect them to finish on this day, but I think that it will actually make a nice activity to work on while on our road trip.

Will is almost finished with the Finding Common Ground badge, which I've been really pleased with; it's a great one for a tween, all about how to handle conflict and work and communicate with others--can you think of someone who doesn't need more practice in that? For this activity, she has to study a historical compromise, working out why it was necessary, how it came about, and what would have happened if it hadn't. Since this is our Constitution week, I'll be limiting her to either the 3/5 Compromise or the Connecticut Compromise, either of which will add a lot of interesting insight and context to her understanding of American history.

Syd isn't particularly enthusiastic about the Inside Government badge, especially compared to how much Will loved that one at her age, but it's loo relevant to not do right now in election season, at the end of our American Revolution study, and on the cusp of our road trip to the nation's capitol. I'll leave how she interprets each step up to her, then, and see what activities she chooses to do.

THURSDAY: I am really stoked about our math enrichment for this week, and I know that the kids are going to be, too! It'll be pretty involved, but the basic concept is to both graph and record the fractions/decimals/percentages/ratios of the various colors of candies in various small bags. It will be a lot of real-world work that should make abundantly clear the relationship between all of those ways of representing amounts, and, well... candy!

FRIDAY: Yet another field trip day! We'll be attending our VERY well-loved Children's Farm Festival, which, to be fair, is by now a little young for the kids, but they adore it so much that I have to take them, at least for one more year.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet, Chinese, attending either a ballet performance or a local play (all the fun things are on the same weekend, dang it!), working on the world's most difficult to assemble tree house, and napping. Lots of napping.

What are YOU up to this week?

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