Monday, March 6, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of March 06, 2017: A Screaming Thrill-Ride through the Civil War

Girl Scout cookie season is almost over, my Friends! Our dozens of cookie booths are over (with another troop mom not accidentally locking us all out of the credit card reader app until the very last booth--it's a cookie season miracle!), our entire troop cookie stock--that's 6,490 cookies, for those of you playing the home game--is sold out, and all I have to do this week is make the final deliveries, order the last cookies to meet the last orders and pick them up and deliver them, collect all of the kids' money from their personal cookie sales, deposit all of that money, organize the final payment to the council, audit our account to make sure all of that money is where it's supposed to be, and fill out and submit all of the paperwork.

That's all.

You might have noticed that I didn't write weekly work plans for the entirety of February. We dropped most of our regular units for the month--History of Science, the Animal Behavior MOOC, and even grammar--while the kids continued with math, typing, mythology (including studying for and taking the National Mythology Exam), and SAT prep for Will, and worked a lot on Girl Scout badges, did a lot of goofing around while listening to audiobooks, played outside a lot, did a lot of art (even Will!), helped me with Girl Scout cookie stuff, read a LOT of books, watched some documentaries, and completed a couple of Junior Ranger badges by mail.

We homeschool year-round, so I don't let myself stress about the times that we're less focused on academics, especially not when I can see the kids visibly growing in other ways during these times. Will had a huge leap in effort and progress in fencing last month, and Syd discovered an online math game that she happily played daily, completing math fuss-free that would give her fits when done on paper. Will voluntarily spent time focused on activities that were NOT reading or longing for screens. Syd sold 1,000 freaking boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and I can't even tell you the amount of drive and determination and stick-to-itness that requires--just imagine doing it yourself, and see how you'd feel.

We're back to weekly work plans this week, just in time to zip through an entire Civil War unit in just one week. We'll be visiting three or four Civil War battlefields on our upcoming road trip, and of course a vacation just isn't fun unless you've studied for it!

We can get away with this week-long unit because the kids have studied the Civil War before, and can certainly recall at least the basics. As we go through it again I'll expect them to pick up more details and be able to contextualize better, and, of course, they'll be learning about three or four battles in great detail at the battlefield sites. I've added in some reading comprehension to assist in focusing on those facts that are going to fly by so quickly, and on most days, some play with online interactives to make the war come alive, and a recipe to make, mainly to engage Syd.

Books of the Day this week are a hodgepodge: a couple of books of Norse mythology, because the kids were intrigued by what they read while studying for the National Mythology Exam last month; a couple of novels (The Princess Diaries for Syd, to encourage her to read a longer book, and The Things They Carried for Will, in case our Civil War study accidentally romanticizes war); a couple of books on Ancient Greece, in case I can actually figure out how to get us to Greece on vacation this year; a couple of books on the weather, because I'm still trying to get that unit going but haven't yet, and a couple of good picture books, because you should always read good picture books.

Memory Work this week is a review of "The Gettysburg Address"--

--and a list of common prepositions. Other daily work includes practice with, Will's work in the Khan Academy SAT prep program, journaling for Syd and copywork for Will (who flat-out refuses to journal, ugh), Wordly Wise for Will and a word ladder for Syd, and Analytical Grammar for Will and Junior Analytical Grammar for Syd.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: Our first day back sitting at a table all together has only been moderately rocky so far, with Syd exhibiting her typical level of distractedness and Will her typical level of surliness, but still word ladders, grammar, and math are being done... distractedly and in a surly manner, but done.

We're using History of US book 6: War, Terrible War as the spine for our Civil War unit, reading approximately 8 chapters a day. Our public library doesn't have this on audiobook, so I finally found a chance to use that free Audible trial they're always advertising to score the audiobook for free! The entire audiobook is about 4.5 hours, so that's about an hour of listening a day for Syd, and much less time reading for Will. They'll be filling in the blanks of this very thorough worksheet summary after each reading, and though the activity will be open-book, I think the experience will help cement the details into their minds.

We might spend more time on the Underground Railroad after our trip--I'd love to visit some sites, and I have it in my head that the kids and I should make a quilt--but on this day, they'll just play one of the Mission: US games that they love, this one on the Underground Railroad.

Syd especially loves to bake, and I know that all the reading in this unit is going to be pretty dry for her, so as a treat, on most days we'll also be baking a Civil War-era recipe. Today's recipe is Scotch short-cake, an 1850 recipe that would have worked well as a treat sent to the soldiers.

TUESDAY: Hardtack isn't the funnest recipe to eat, but it's a fitting recipe to make on the day that we'll be learning, in part, about the lives of soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy. Maybe I'll make chili for dinner on that day, and we can have hardtack with it instead of cornbread. The kids also have one more online activity on the Underground Railroad to complete, after the reading and worksheets.

WEDNESDAY: We're spending the day in Indianapolis! Will is serving as a page for the day in the Indiana General Assembly, and Syd and I... I don't know what we're going to do. Explore downtown, perhaps. Perhaps visit one of the museums in walking distance of downtown. Perhaps something completely different!

THURSDAY: Most of the Junior Ranger books for the battlefields that we're visiting are not online (including the Chickamauga and Chattanooga one, which I've heard is tedious and extensive, alas), but the one for Stones River National Battlefield is, so the kids can get a head start on at least that one, after doing their reading and worksheets. For a treat afterwards, we'll bake Mary Todd Lincoln's white cake... and then find something to do with six egg yolks.

FRIDAY: We'll be completing our whirlwind trip through the entirety of War, Terrible War today--feel free to heave a deep sigh with us! Brainpop has a good summary video, so the kids will watch that, pass the quiz, and do the online activities, and then I'll let them goof off on the site as long as they want. They LOVE Brainpop! Afterwards, we'll bake gingerbread loaf, a much-desired treat for wounded soldiers. We'll also clearly experiment with the oven temperature, as that wasn't a thing in the 1860s!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: On Friday night, Will has the Spring Ice Show performance that she'll have been practicing for all week, and after that--we're going to relax!

What are your plans for the week?

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