Monday, March 27, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of March 27, 2017: Science and Scouts

We took last week easy, decompressing as we finished up some school projects and kept up with some individual work--

While the kids worked on Girl Scout badges and personal projects (see all those peg people watching Syd do her math? The unicorn next to her? She sure knows how to keep herself busy!) and getting the garden going, I took some time to plan out our next semester of study. One big advantage to a road trip is that the kids are all trapped in the car with me, and can be forced to discuss their goals and desires for their continuing education. Will was not enthusiastic about much of it, as she claims to dislike music, art, grammar, home ec, and composition, but Syd, at least, likes art, home ec, and composition, and Will seemed a little more excited about history and science, and has a plan of attack for her SAT prep studies.

Our work plans for the next couple of weeks, then, will be gradually adding in the new studies that we've decided upon, and dropping some studies. I'd like for Will, at least, to finish up the MENSA reading list suggested for grades 4-6, so she can get into the meatier readings of the middle school list, so instead of a Book of the Day this week, I'm encouraging the kids to work on that list. We're gradually getting back into memory work, so will review prepositions and helping verbs. Typing on continues, and I've added a very short piece of cursive copywork (this week's copywork is from this site) to each day, just to keep the kids' skills up. Will continues SAT prep with Khan Academy, although I'm currently researching textbooks to add into her schedule in the next couple of weeks. And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: We're still just getting started on this day, as we had a Girl Scout meeting this morning. The girls are using part of their cookie profits to plan a party for a local preschool that serves children experiencing homelessness and/or poverty, and part to go on a big camping trip--all next month! So this morning they had a presentation on the camping experience from an older brother who's a Boy Scout, and then another mom mediated the party planning brainstorming and helped the children form committees. Syd is in charge of the Story and Sensory committees (she's also working on this as part of her Junior Agent of Change Journey, and so has added responsibilities) and also on the Snacks committee, and Will is on the Music/Physical Activity and Crafts/Decorations committees.  They'll be working on their committee responsibilities every school day this week.

In Math Mammoth this week, Will is studying rational numbers and Syd is calculating fractions. Will had a lot of trouble with multiplying and dividing fractions at her age, but Syd seems to be handling it well--I'll just go ahead and pat myself on the back for all of those hands-on fractions lessons we have! Speaking of hands-on math... our enrichment lesson this week isn't really "hands-on," but is a game that will help the kids review multiplying fractions and encourage them to memorize some common fractions of groups. I don't usually make games and flash cards anymore, as the effort that I put into make most of that was almost always WAY more than the use the kids got out of it, but this game looks easy to put together, so we'll give it a whirl.

Will was really excited to almost be finished with the first season of Analytical Grammar, as I told her that we would take a break from the book when she had. She lost all of that enthusiasm when I excitedly showed her the Review and Reinforcement workbook that she'd be doing, instead, bless her heart. At least those worksheets will only be 2-3 times a week, not the daily work of Analytical Grammar, but still... not exactly the vacation that I'd advertised. Syd is still slogging very slowly through Junior Analytical Grammar, as she sneaks out of doing it whenever I'm not looking right at her. If she's not careful, she won't have any break between Junior Analytical Grammar and Analytical Grammar, which I'll expect her to start in the next grade (I was buying these books directly from the Analytical Grammar website, but I just discovered that I could buy them with free shipping from Homeschool Buyers Co-op--here's their affiliate link, because there's some more stuff that I want to buy from them).

Syd is still wriggling out of her Wordly Wise by completing a daily word ladder, but since the word ladder book only goes up through grade six, and since there are only so many word ladders left, I'm letting her go. Will, though, completes one chapter of Wordly Wise per week, and Syd will, too, once she's got word ladders out of her system.

We've dropped the idea of a MOOC for the coming semester, and the kids finished their Animal Behavior MOOC last week, so this leaves us with enough time for me to make the Story of Science unit more immersive--which was my dream, so yay! On this day, the kids will read the chapter and complete the reading comprehension activities for it in their quest guide. And then we'll move on to the fun stuff!

I know that we work on a lot of Girl Scout badges during school time, but that's because they're educational! On this day, Syd's Gardener badge is actually science, as she sets up an experiment on seeds and plans to monitor it all week. Will's Woodworker badge is woodshop and practical life, as she learns how to use tools and makes plans to build Luna a dog house as her final project for the badge.

Syd is neutral about learning an instrument, while Will is stoutly against the plan. Nevertheless, they're going to continue Hoffman Academy, which is free, so that I at least don't have to spend money on their ambivalence. Will likes to blow through the video lessons without retaining much, so I'll have to monitor the children more closely this semester. I'll practice that during this week's review week.

I am SUPER bummed that Will wants to take a break from fencing this session, as it's been my favorite thing from the beginning. I could continue on my own, but... eh. Fencing with my kid has been my favorite thing, and the idea of going without her, partnering with another of the sea of teenagers, has much less shine on it. So I'm going to take a break, too, and if I miss it too much I can pick it up again next session, with or without her. That being said, we DO have a much easier weekly schedule without four hours of fencing in it. This evening's only activity is Syd's ballet class. Why, we can actually eat dinner tonight! We haven't managed a Monday or Tuesday dinner in a year and a half!

TUESDAY: Our Story of Science chapter this week covers Democritus and the atom. Even though we completed an entire Greek mythology unit, we didn't spend as much time as I wanted on the map of Ancient Greece, so this is a great time to explore it more deeply. The kids adore cookie maps, so I'm thinking we'll make a big one of Ancient Greece, possibly with a few batches of blue Jello under it so that we can figure out the islands, and then decorate and label it.

WEDNESDAY: One of the semester projects that I think we'll be doing is trying to complete a new Junior Ranger badge by mail every week. The kids did one on the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site last week, and I was surprised, as I am every time, by how into it they got, and how they still talk about Jimmy Carter and his peanuts. Will actually made a "Jimmy Who?" joke last night, and for real wants to go to his church in Georgia and hear him preach. It's on our someday to-do list! On this day, the kids will be finishing the Junior Archaeologist badge books that they picked up at Fort Frederica a couple of weeks ago, and I've got a different Junior Archaeologist badge book they they can complete to earn a different badge, as well.

THURSDAY: The cookie map of Ancient Greece has been made (and possibly consumed!) by this time, so now it's time to study atoms! The kids have studied atoms before, but I don't think we've previously gotten into electron shells, for instance, so we'll have a more detailed lesson on atoms, with the help of Bill Nye and Youtube, and then the kids will complete this Bohr model of the atom worksheet, choosing their own elements to model.

Will was not excited about home ec, but Syd loves it, and is actually planning to do both a cooking and a baking project every week (normally, I'll let her choose her own baking project, but for this week, working on the cookie map of Ancient Greece is plenty). We'll be using Your Kids: Cooking for the weekly cooking assignment, with some leeway for Syd to choose what recipe or lesson she wants to do. Since Will has a horseback riding lesson on this evening, I imagine that the kids will either make their penne with bacon and peas for lunch, or that Syd will make the dinner herself and Will will make the puppy chow. We do tend to eat late dinners, though, mostly because we have a lot of trouble getting our act together in the evening, so no, I wouldn't be surprised if the kids chose to start this at 8 pm and we ate it at 9...

FRIDAY: Of course, once you understand atoms, the periodic table of the elements is next! Again, we've studied the periodic table before, but after the previous day's activity, the kids will have even more context to understand this day's lesson on how to read it. I may plug in an activity or game, but it's also going to be Friday, when we're all a little tired, and we'll have a playdate that day, etc., so I may also not.

One of the national parks that we visited on our Spring Break trip was Ocmulgee National Monument, where the kids learned more about the Native Americans and their history and culture. One of the interesting skills that the site spent a lot of time telling us about was their pottery making, coil pots with stamped patterns. Matt bought a small bag of clay from the area, so this day's craft is just a fun little activity making and patterning coil pots. Super simple, but something that I know they're eager to do after that visit.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet! Chinese class! Trashion/Refashion Show rehearsal for me and Syd! A potluck party for Girl Scouts and their families at our house! And therefore... cleaning the house!!!

What are YOUR plans for the week?

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