Monday, November 7, 2016

Work Plans for the Week of November 7: Geometry, Lightning Bolts, and a Presidential Election

Last week started strong but ended a little rough, when on Thursday we went back to the Humane Society (our second time that week) to meet a couple of new dogs whose descriptions Will had liked, and came home with Luna!

I was a bit overwhelmed that they sent her home with us right away, as we'd previously filled out an application on another dog, Jacob, and had to wait a couple of days to hear that someone else had adopted him. In an also overwhelming plot twist, when I went to the front desk to ask for an application for Luna, the woman at the desk told me that she was just about to call me because the people who had adopted Jacob had returned him after two days and we could have him, as well. So poor Will had to decide right then between Jacob and Luna, both of whom she'd fallen in love with. It wasn't until she had agonized and agonized and decided on Luna and I'd asked for all of Luna's info and had a conversation about her and filled out her application and had it accepted on the spot and was standing at the desk filling out more paperwork that I learned that Luna actually had more medical problems than I'd been told when I had asked for all of her information. Not only had she been treated for heartworms, as I'd been told, but she was also on "cage-rest" for another month, which I was first told meant that she literally had to stay in a cage for a month, but then, after some back and forth, it was decided that Luna could walk around and play gently, but just couldn't get her heart rate up. Oh, and she has a skin condition and needs medicated shampoo. 

At this point I was just like "fine, whatever. We'll figure it out," and made the desk person help me make a list of everything that I'd need to go buy for a dog. Which we then did, dog in tow, leaving her in the car with Will because the humane society sent us away with what they called a "slip leash" but was more like a piece of rope with an o-ring at the end. You threaded the other end of the rope through the o-ring and were left with a rope and a loop that tightened dangerously around your dog's throat when she pulled, and slackened completely when she was still. It was... not optimal.

So obviously Syd and I spent over a hundred bucks in the pet store and still came away with a collar and harness that didn't end up fitting, so Matt and Will had to go back to the store after horseback riding class and came away with a collar that still didn't fit, but a harness that did, so she's wearing her harness now, although I don't think we put it on correctly.

Anyway, Luna is home with us now, playing gently and walking around and not getting her heart rate up and laying in laps and napping on the couch and having her ears scritched and her belly rubbed. We call her our "awkward houseguest," because when no one is paying attention to her she'll stand in the middle of the living room floor, looking awkward and uncomfortable and wagging her tail hopefully every now and then, poor puppy. 

That being said, the kids still did amazing with most of their week. Our Greek mythology study is a hit, with the kids working for hours longer than I thought they would on their Greek god/goddess family trees, Syd even doing research to get more details than were provided in her reference book:

She KNEW those titans all had names, and was NOT going to settle with simply calling them "Titan 1," Titan 2," etc.

Also new last week were Analytical Grammar (for Will) and Junior Analytical Grammar (for Syd), and memory work for Sonnet 116, whose meaning is kind of obtuse to the kids, but they're muscling through:

The only new study that we have this week is SAT prep for Will, although I did order student books for this Story of Science book, so we can begin that next week. I've deliberately got more open-and-go curriculum choices this semester, mostly because Will is so much more capable of working independently these days, and takes pleasure in getting her work done. Syd is a little sneakier, and I have to keep an eye on her or she'll slyly simply not do her work. I've had to write down specific lessons in Math Mammoth on this week's work plans to keep Syd from muddling up, "losing," and essentially just not doing her math.

Books of the Day this week include some fiction that I'd picked out for the kids, a couple of interesting graphic novels that I thought they'd like, and another Dear America for Syd to try out--she loved the one that we listened to in the car, but some of them are a little dense for her independent reading. This week's memory work includes Sonnet 116, labeling and defining quadrilaterals, and continuation of "Paul Revere's Ride"--we're almost a third of the way through! Other daily work consists of Wordly Wise for Syd, and word ladders for Will until her own Wordly Wise comes in; keyboard practice using Hoffman Academy; and either 10 minutes of journaling or writing from a list of story starters and journal prompts that I've written (this is my newest attempted solution to Will's deliberate attempt to put as little effort as possible into her journaling), or answering a pen pal letter.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: Will and I are at the walk-in vet right now for Luna's free check-up; so far she's finished her Analytical Grammar assignment (pronouns) and is now working on calculating the area of polygons. Syd is home with a highlighted list of independent work that she was instructed to have finished by the time we get home--we'll see how that goes! 

Daily work on is going okay--Syd is working hard, although getting hugely frustrated and throwing fits and insisting on practicing each day until she's received a perfect score, while I have to either sit at Will's elbow or pop by at random, frequent intervals to keep her from just hunting and pecking her way through the exercises, sigh.

A new work for Will this week is SAT prep. I looked through a bunch of SAT prep books to find one that I like, and throughout the next couple of weeks, Will is going to read the introduction and test tips and then take the diagnostic tests untimed. If she does very well on the verbal portions and not execrable on the math, we'll spend this semester working more formally through SAT prep and then have her take the SAT for real next semester. If she does okay on the verbal and execrable on the math, I'll drop the SAT  idea and instead start researching a different diagnostic test for her. My goal is simply to have a record of a very high test score from a nationally recognized test to use in applications for whatever programs for high-ability young learners might come her way. 

The kids worked through the reading comprehension activities for "Sonnet 116" last week, so this week it moves to daily memory work, and they'll spend a week focusing on their MENSA for Kids reading list. Usually they'll get interested enough in some of the books from the list that they'll knock out several before they set the list aside again for a bit. They'll have several to write down first thing this week, though, as we've listened to almost the entire Dark is Rising series in the car over the past couple of months--it's very weird!

Our Animal Behavior MOOC was what mostly got sacrificed to the chaos of the latter part of the week. We did the hike for the kids' animal observation, but they didn't write it up, and they didn't even start the next assignment's animal observation. We'll pick it up again this week, hopefully more attentively. 

The kids are LOVING their Greek mythology study. Will's extra reading is pretty dense, and I'd been worried that she wouldn't enjoy it, but she seems to be really into it so far. I've got a couple of fun enrichment activities planned for the study, but the kids' main project is going to be making a trading card for each mythical character, with a name (Greek, Roman, and English) and hand-drawn image on the front, and facts on the back. This day's reading is all about Zeus. 

TUESDAY: Math Mammoth this week is still geometry for Will and decimals for Syd, and most of the other assignments for this day are continuations from Monday. One special thing for this day, however, is the final assignment for our elections unit! I was dying to vote early so that I could stop paying attention to election coverage, but one of the activities for the kids' Girl Scout voter badge is to visit a polling place on election day, so there you go. The kids have a final reading from Election 2016, and we're also all going to stay up late on this night, of COURSE, to color in electoral college maps and watch the circus. I'm actually a little bummed that Will and I have fencing on this night, because I'll be missing two entire hours of coverage!!!1!!!

I want the kids to read each passage in the Greek mythology texts at least twice, in preparation for the National Mythology Exam, and it won't hurt to have the extra time to work on each trading card, as well. That way they can get some artistic consultation and help from Matt in the evenings.

Election Day is a school holiday in our district, so the public library is holding a Harry Potter party to keep the kids entertained. You know we're going to be there with our Hogwarts robes on!

WEDNESDAY: The Animal Behavior MOOC's assignment for this day is the other one that got left behind last week, so the kids can complete it on this day, and then, hopefully, we'll be back on track and won't get behind again. I'd like to finish this class during our three-month semester, and then, if we're still liking MOOC's, I have another one on my list to try!

Lightning bolt cookies are just for fun, and as a substitute for the cooking curriculum that I'll likely start back up with next week. The first aid kits should be fun, too, but will also fulfill a requirement for each kid's Girl Scout First Aid badge. 

THURSDAY: The Animal Behavior MOOC's assignment on this day is to observe a wild animal for at least ten minutes, then write an observational essay. I considered taking the kids to the zoo and making a day of it, but honestly, I'm still feeling a little run-down from our vacation and Halloween and insomnia and blah, blah, blah--I'll try to get back to our weekly day trip next week, but for this week, well, the instructor also gave the students a list of webcams and said that using a webcam is acceptable, so webcam it is!

Our Greek mythology study moves from Zeus to Hera on this day; the kids will read the text a couple of times and make a trading card for her.

FRIDAY: We'll have to get busting on school on this day, as Syd's school day will end in the early afternoon, when she heads off to a sleepover birthday party--crap, I just remembered that she has, as usual, planned an elaborate homemade gift, WHICH SHE HAS NOT YET BEGUN!!! I guess I know what we'll be doing in our free time this week!

Will has a little more time for school on this day, so she'll be taking another SAT diagnostic test, but both kids will be doing a geoboard project with me. I've long wanted to make a really large-format geoboard for the kids, and I wish I'd done it when I first wanted to, back when the kids were preschoolers, because I'm going to do it this week, anyway. As the kids get older, I realize more and more how many of the manipulatives that you make or buy for little ones remain useful even through the middle grades, at least. A geoboard for a preschooler is great for fine motor skills, shape recognition, patter making, studying symmetry and design, and just for creativity, but a geoboard for an older kid is great for studying polygons, area and perimeter, Pythagorean theorem and the study of triangles, and, if I have time to make the second geoboard that I want to make, even the geometry of circles. I can't wait to get started!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet, Mandarin, more ballet! I need to spend more lesson plan time adding in our Story of Science and Spanish studies. I need to get my family to the apple orchard. 

Mostly, though, I need to take a nap!

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