Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of September 6, 2016: Sharks, Patriots, and Getting Out the Vote

I could get used to these four-day school weeks! We crammed a lot into last week's four-day week, and it still felt great because it was only four days for all of the brain hat making, Scratch coding--

--human eye diagramming, Spanish learning, and math doing.

Well, maybe math didn't feel great for one of us:
The kid hates math because she loves mastery, and in math, as soon as she's mastered something, I make her move on. I should probably break down her Math Mammoth curriculum to make room for more review, but that would take more time than just mindlessly handing her the next lesson in the series every day, sigh.
And then we had a three-day weekend to refresh us (indoor trampoline park! Cupcakes! Drive-in movies! Tree house! Friends!), and now we have another short, four-day school week to zip through before there's yet another delightful weekend. Daily work this week includes progress in each kid's Wordly Wise, work on Scratch (Will still uses Coding Games in Scratch, but Syd has fallen in love with animation, and instead makes a new cartoon every day), and one journal entry (well, Syd journals, but I've given up on Will and this week will instead require her to do a page a day in the last half of Syd's abandoned cursive handwriting workbook). Books of the Day are a couple of novels, a couple of books about sharks, and this LEGO Shakespeare.

And here's the rest of our week!

TUESDAY: Will is finishing up her Math Mammoth unit this week and moving to the next, and although Syd is reviewing multiplication and division algorithms, she didn't correctly reproduce the algorithm to multiply multi-digit numbers during our chalk in the driveway activity, so I've paused her for some more review drills before she continues.

The lesson on sharks in aquariums, however, went AMAZINGLY well! The kids both dove in and put a ton of effort into researching aquariums that have sharks. Will even found an aquarium that I didn't know about, close enough that we can actually make a day trip to visit it this winter--how's that for a successful research project?

We've also learned that we need to save all of our money so that we can go swim with whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium.

Spanish vocab on this day was all animals--easy-peasy, after last week's Bill Martin, Jr. books in Spanish!

WEDNESDAY: Our From Colonies to Country chapters this week cover the ordinary people from the American Revolution, the soldiers and citizens. On this day, I want the kids to put themselves in the place of an average citizen and take a stand on the Revolution. If either kid really gets into the idea, we can copy out the letters on nice paper, age them, and even send them to someone--California grandparents, perhaps? Either way, it will be excellent practice writing a persuasive essay.

The multi-level Girl Scout badge, I Promised a Girl Scout I Would Vote, is a terrific civics unit, and I recommend it to you even if you don't have a Girl Scout. On this day, the kids will complete the activity that asks them to research and identify every one of their elected representatives, from the president of the United States all the way down to the mayor. I'm requiring that the kids fill out this form in their best handwriting, so that we can take it with us on Thursday to our volunteer gig taking voter registrations!

In a little bit, though, we're going to grab our swim gear and inner tubes and head off for an afternoon at the lakeshore, where we're going to take sand samples for Thursday's geology activity and practice how to be shark safe in the water for today's sharks unit. Next week, we begin our dissection of the dogfish shark!

THURSDAY: When a kid completes her Math Mammoth unit, she gets a day off of math and a small celebration of her choice. On this day, Will wants ice cream!

Before Pony Club but perhaps after ice cream, we'll be manning a voter registration table at our local food pantry, helping people get registered, checking their registrations, and helping them sign up for absentee voting, if they wish. The kids aren't super excited about it, but it's just one hour once a week for the rest of September, and it's going to be a valuable experience in real-life civic responsibility.

I do not actually know who Thaddeus Koscuisko was, except that he was a guy in the American Revolution and his house has a Junior Ranger badge, which the kids will earn when we're in Philadelphia. I guess the kids can tell me what he did that was so great!

We are now studying sedimentary rocks, and on this day, we'll be examining sand from a few different places, to study how it can be sorted and categorized based on the rounding of the grains. We just have a couple more weeks with this particular text, and then we'll move into some ones that are more Syd-friendly for review.

FRIDAY: In order to make the similarities and differences between the British and American soldiers clearer, the kids will be exploring this website, although I think this comic really illustrates everything that you need to know. I SUPER want to make these cute clothespin dolls, so I might make that a family craft project on another day.

Have you added your kids to my 2016 Children's Pen Pal Exchange? If not, you should totally do it--the deadline is Friday! On this day, Will is going to write her introductory letter for the exchange, while Syd continues to work on her Making Friends badge--she's completing it mostly independently, although she's going to get together with a friend to plan the party that she wants to be the culmination of her badge work.

The kids are going to be doing another infographic for their shark lesson on this day, both as a review of infographic composition and as a science/geography study of one threatened shark species. This is the last review activity for our sharks MOOC, which was one of the most successful things that we've done in our homeschool. After our road trip, we're absolutely going to be doing another animal science-themed MOOC.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: We are 100% back in the swing of children's extracurriculars, so there's Pony Club and ballet to transport the young ones to and from, and otherwise... I'm hoping for the farmer's market. Some yardwork. For Matt and the kids to put a few more boards on the tree house. Maybe a good movie at the drive-in? Maybe another afternoon at the lakeshore?

What are YOU up to this week?

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