Monday, April 10, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of April 10, 2017: The Three-Day School Week

School last week went well, although it felt really busy--well, it WAS really busy. Syd prepped daily for the Trashion/Refashion Show, which was last night. It was perfect, we had an awesome time, and Syd's garment and modeling were a hit! I'll talk more about it another time, after I've caught my breath (and caught up on my sleep!), but here's a little preview of Syd's original design, Supergirl of the Night:

The other activity that the kids worked on ALL last week was preparing for the party that our Girl Scout troop threw for a preschool class--this morning! This was the Take Action Project for Syd's Junior Agent of Change Journey, so she had an especial lot of work to do, including sewing the favor bags for each of the small guests, but both kids were on numerous committees and had several jobs that took the entire week to complete. I think the whole troop was a little nervous about this party, but they did amazing work, the preschoolers loved it, and I think that all of our Girl Scouts came away with that awesome feeling that you get when you work hard for someone else and are surprised by how great the experience turned out to be for you, as well.

All of that on top of a full academic schedule made for a very busy school week! The kids' favorite subject turned out to be our Story of Science curriculum--building the Platonic solids did not go so well, as dang, those nets are tricky to put together, but drawing models of the celestial spheres turned out to be a HUGE hit:

The kids loved the silliness of the concept of the celestial spheres, but I think they really took to heart the understanding that without experimentation to draw from, observation and logic were really all the tools that the Ancient Greeks had to help them understand how the universe works. Without science, logic and observation can get you many places, but they cannot get you everywhere, including to an accurate model of our Solar System.

We're taking this week a little easier, as thankfully we have nothing to frantically work towards for this weekend. That will change next week, when we need to start preparing for a Girl Scout camping trip the next weekend, but for this week--easy does it!

I've taken advantage of our three-day school week (the kids have an all-day nature class on Friday) to skip our more consuming subjects, our history and science curricula. We'll hit them again next week, when we're fresh.

Daily work this week includes journaling or writing from a creative prompt for ten minutes (I've finally gotten Will to agree to do this--woo-hoo!), typing practice on, more reading from their MENSA reading lists (Syd generally reads a chapter from her current book, while Will often reads an entire book in one sitting), Wordly Wise for Will and a word ladder for Syd, SAT prep on Khan Academy for Will, and cursive copywork for both kids.

Books of the Day this week include some selections that I'm really excited about--Kids of Kabul for Will, a re-read of Marvelous Math for Syd, a book of folk tales from Iraq for both kids, and The Tail of Emily Windsnap for Syd.

And here's the rest of our week!

TUESDAY: Math Mammoth this week is more fraction calculation for Syd and more solving equations for Will. Each kid hit a bit of a wall with their respective units last week, so we may have to take some more time with them if it's not feeling any clearer this week.

Poor Syd also loathes Junior Analytical Grammar, perhaps because, for us, each exercise is a multi-step process. She parses the sentences in the exercise, then hands it to me so that I can mark the words that are incorrectly parsed, then tries those words again, then gets my okay to diagram the sentences, then hands it to me so I can mark the parts of the diagram that are incorrect, then tries those parts again, etc. It's nearly impossible to get every single word and every single diagram correct on the first go, and if there ever was a person who hates to get even a single, tiny thing incorrect, that person is Syd! Nevertheless, the kids are learning English grammar, so there you go. Will follows the same procedure for her Review and Reinforcement worksheets, and although she doesn't love them, either, she is more resigned than Syd and more willing to muscle through to the other side.

This day is Home Ec day, which means that I won't have to make dinner! We're using Your Kids: Cooking, which I'm happy with even if I don't always love the recipes (Matt theorizes that this is because the books author is an educator, not a chef). The kids ARE learning how to cook independently, and they seem happy with how their food tastes, and that's enough for me.

The first school day of the week, the kids take a new keyboard lesson from Hoffman Academy. Will LOATHES these lessons, but since she's already admitted to me that she only wants to learn history and science in our homeschool, I'm neither surprised, nor do I care other than about how annoying it is to make sure she puts in her five minutes of half-hearted practice each day. But when she's grown, I want her to say not "My Mom didn't bother to give me music lessons," but "My Mom got me music lessons and I blew it." Syd enjoys the keyboard much more, but insists that she does not want "real" lessons; she likes the low-effort, low-expectation, fun-for-her system that we've got in place.

After starting her dog house this weekend, Will should, with daily work, be able to finish it this week and earn her Girl Scout Cadette Woodworker badge. And when she's finished this dog house, she should be able to build anything! Syd, as well, should be able to finish up her Junior Gardener badge. She's tried the step that requires her to complete a seed-related science experiment numerous times, until I finally decided that it's the experiment that's at fault, and not my kid, and planned out a different one for her to do. That experiment, plus regular work setting up her sister's old bee and butterfly garden for the season, will complete her badge work.

In math enrichment this week, I'm going to show the kids how to key the decanomial square to symbols so that you can use it for algebraic reasoning. They don't love the decanomial square, although I find it fascinating, so every time we pull it out is another chance for me to share my love of it.

WEDNESDAY: The kids have really been enjoying working on a new Junior Ranger badge by mail every week, and they're getting a lot out of the experience, as they always do with Junior Ranger programs. This week, they'll be doing the Hot Springs National Park badge--my entire childhood, I lived less than three hours from there, and yet I've never been--and I've also found a documentary of the park to show them.

At Syd's request, she works on a new baking project every week. Sometimes she looks up recipes and sometimes she makes them up, and sometimes, as in this week, she doesn't actually bake at all. Will's grandmother gave her a cotton candy maker for her last birthday, and Syd wants to use that appliance to make cotton candy out of Jolly Ranchers, and perhaps also pop rocks. We'll see how that goes!

Surprisingly, Will is interested in earning the Cadette Budgeting badge. It seems like a dry badge to me, but I guess tweens and teens are naturally interested in learning more about money. Unfortunately, Will rarely has any (by her own accord--I have plenty of lists around the house of ways that an enterprising tween might earn herself some pocket money), so I've had to modify some of this badge's requirements. For instance, instead of tracking her own spending for a week, and coming up with one dollar spent on a candy bar from the vending machine at the library, beginning on this day and carrying on until next Wednesday, Matt and I are going to hand her the receipt for every single thing that we buy (must remember to do the Easter Bunny purchasing before Wednesday!). Will is going to be responsible for logging these expenditures, tallying them, organizing them into categories, and then evaluating them. We'll discuss her findings with her next Wednesday.

THURSDAY: Will has been complaining lately that she doesn't understand Biblical references.  Shame on me for that, but at least it's easily remedied, especially this week, when there are so many seasonal celebrations to enjoy. Sometime this week during our family time, I'll read them the story of Moses and we can watch Prince of Egypt on Netflix, and on this day I'll read them the story of Jesus and we will analyze Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper, then make a model of it with an egg carton, of all things. We may also have a feast, since it will be Holy Thursday, after all. I'll have to plan for a more comprehensive Bible study for next semester, though if Will was just a couple of years younger, I could have gotten away with just enrolling the kids in Sunday school, dang it! That's where I got all of MY Biblical references, as well as learned some pretty terrific songs and did some frankly astonishing craft projects.

Syd is just almost done with the Girl Scout Junior Scribe badge--as always happens, she's completed the fun activities, and now has just the couple of ones left that don't sound so fun. She does love creative writing in general, though, so I think this spot on the work plans will be enough to encourage her to push through.

Syd covers vocabulary and logic with her word ladders, so Will and I do a mind bender once a week. I loved these at her age, but I've either forgotten how tricky they are, or this is exactly the kind of mental stimulation that my poor, aging brain needs. Last week I even had to cheat by peeking at the solution!

FRIDAY: The kids have an all-day nature class that they are LOVING, and I get to spend five hours getting tons of stuff done!

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Ballet for one. Chinese for the other. Will has a Girl Scout program with the fire department, and I think it's going to be freaking incredible. Both kids have been invited to what sounds like an epic Easter egg hunt sponsored by the church that a couple of their friends attend--can you believe that my kids have never gone to an Easter egg hunt?!? They have only done hunts at home, the poor lambs. They're going to have a fabulous time.

And then on Sunday, there will be the traditional Easter Bunny clue hunt (our Easter Bunny makes the kids solve riddles and run all over our property and the drive-in to find their Easter baskets), ham and yeast rolls, maybe some sweet potatoes, and lots and LOTS of chocolate.

What are YOUR plans for the week?


Tina said...

Syd's outfit is great! I love seeing what she will come up with each year.

Ok, so I have to tell you that Emma actually thanked me for getting her the Wordly Wise workbook. She really loves it! So, thank YOU for sharing it here!

The Mensa reading list looks cool! Emma has read most of the books already, but I am going to have her start them all again. Actually, I think I am going to read most of the K-3rd grade list with/to her! We stopped reading together at bedtime a while ago because we ended up arguing every night before she'd go to sleep and I hated it. But... maybe if I read to her while she eats breakfast...

julie said...

Isn't it funny how much they can love Wordly Wise? Syd hates it, and I think it's pretty dry, but Will loves it, too! She's almost finished with the Grade 7 book, so right now I'm trying to decide if I should give her a month off and then start on the Grade 8 book, or give her the summer off and start the Grade 8 book in the fall.

This week, I've been calling the kids to me at random times and reading them a picture book. They seem to like it so far. We used to read a chapter of a long book as a family almost every night before bed, but we may have stopped that after the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Someone would fall asleep and miss the action, or the balky tween would be balky, etc.