Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of April 24, 2017: The Sun and Stars and Seasons

We had an unexpectedly relaxing week and weekend, as a severe weather forecast caused us to cancel our weekend Girl Scout camping trip, sigh... Ah, well. My Girl Scouts instead spent Friday hiking locally, and came over Friday night to roast hot dogs and s'mores around our backyard campfire in the drizzle, so their little hearts felt satisfied, I think.

And since much of our week was intended to be spent prepping for that camping trip, and much of our weekend camping, we enjoyed light work and much free time. There was a lot of coloring and imaginative play, the children sculpted Stonehenge out of air dry clay, they painted their parents in woad--

--and then we had a battle. We're a competitive people and we play really rough, so you will not be surprised that at one point, I found myself flat on my back on top of Will, who was wrapped around me like Yoda on Luke and attempting to wrestle me over, and with one hand tight around the ankle of Syd, who was attempting to kick me off. I was also, I should say, screaming at Matt to hurry and grab all of the sheep and run.

The kids won when it was their turn to play the Celts, although it was a close call. Will tackled Matt and wrestled him into submission before stealing all of our sheep, and I could not help because I was currently sitting on Syd and mushing her face into the ground to keep her from getting enough leverage to buck me off.

It was a fabulous game, although I must also probably mention that thanks to that game, plus spending 30 minutes earlier that day stirring 9 pounds of play dough with a wooden spoon, plus getting shoved into a wall by an escaping Luna the next day, I spent the entire weekend not really able to move my right shoulder. Probably a good thing that we're skipping fencing this session...

Anyway, this week happens to have a LOT more academics in it, so it's good that we're nice and rested up! Our Memory Work this week consists of review of Sonnet 116 and the helping verbs list, more work on the list of commonly used prepositions, Pythagorean triples, Jesus' disciples, and Platonic solids, and later this week we'll begin to memorize the first eleven lines of Beowulf--in Old English!

Books of the Day are mostly some leftover texts on the Civil War that are interesting, but not interesting enough to have been included in our short review unit, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, Girls Who Rocked the World, and The Road to There for Will, although I might give Girls Who Rocked the World to Syd next week, as it fits well with the work she's been doing for her Girl Scout Junior Agent of Change Journey.

Other daily work consists of at least ten minutes of creative writing (and don't worry--Will times it!), typing practice on Typing.com, progress in their MENSA reading lists (Syd usually reads a chapter from her latest book, and Will usually reads an entire book), Worldly Wise book 7 for Will and a word ladder for Syd, SAT prep through Khan Academy for Will, and keyboard lessons through Hoffman Academy for both, then practice for the rest of the week. It was overcast all last week, so we're going to continue trying to stargaze for at least 30 minutes each night--just give us a couple of clear nights, please, Mother Nature!

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: We unexpectedly spent most of the day at a nearby state park today. It went like this: I started this post, decided that I'd share with you that beautiful picture of Matt and I painted in woad, and hopped up to fetch my camera. Hmm, it was not in the backpack that I'd taken on Friday's hike, which was the last place I had it. That backpack, actually, was Syd's responsibility to pack up at the park and bring to the car, as I ran ahead to give some supplies to another Girl Scout who needed to leave...

These nice people later picked my camera up from that picnic shelter--

They're just kidding about the ransom.
--and brought it to the park office, where we drove over to get it today, staying to hike and do schoolwork all afternoon, since we were already there.

This good dog is hanging out with me while her girls explore a cave. I explored this cave already on Friday with seven Girl Scouts and two cell phones for light, only one of which actually had a flashlight app installed. Today we brought an actual flashlight!
And yes, she fell asleep in the sun, surround by schoolwork.
So... yeah. The good Samaritans totally saw some very weird woad-painting pics on my camera, as well as what I now recognize are too many photos of this cat:

Whatever. Thanks for turning in my camera, Kind Strangers!

In Math Mammoth this week, Will is finishing up a graphing unit, then reviewing a semester's worth of work, and Syd is now dividing fractions. Syd has Junior Analytical Grammar daily still, although Will is just doing two days a week of the Reinforcement and Review workbook. On this day, then, instead of grammar, Will has a mind bender as a fun logic exercise.

In Story of Science, the Greeks have finally admitted that our Solar System is heliocentric. Yay, Aristarchus! This is a great time to wedge in some context for our upcoming summer astronomy unit, and so you'll see that we're spending quite a bit of time studying how the tilt of Earth's axis causes seasons and affects climate and temperatures worldwide--we also need to cover this for our weather unit, so we're being quite cross-curricular this week! The kids will answer the reading comprehension questions from their Story of Science chapter in their Quest Guides, but will also have a review with me of the major lines of latitude and longitude. Will has some extra reading on the subject of map projections, and will be outlining the pros and cons of the major map projections (I'm a fan of the Winkel tripel projection, myself). I'll also expect the kids to use latitude and longitude to describe the five locations whose temperatures they'll be tracking and graphing this week.  With ten total locations tracked this week, we should get some good data to compare!

I think I've found a modern Greek curriculum to purchase, but it's spendy so I'm still on the fence. Until then, I'm having the children slowly move through the Greek alphabet, just the way a small Greek child would--with tracing and writing, saying the letter sounds, and singing the alphabet song. It gives them something to get started on, at least, until I finally bite the bullet, spend the cash, and have Level One of Greek123 in hand.

TUESDAY: Using the decanomial square to write equations went well last week, but we didn't do a lot of simplifying the equations. This week, when we use the decanomial square to explore binomial squares, we'll be able to do a LOT of simplifying!

Now that we're for sure going to Greece this summer, it's time to put up a wall map so we can visualize all of the places we're studying--and the places we're going to see! We're AAA members, so Matt swung by their office and got us a map of Greece that the kids will help me mount. I've made them a list of the Greek scientists and mathematicians whom we've studied so far, so they can mark their birthplaces, I'm thinking with washi tape so I can peel it off when we're ready to pack the map for our trip. If the kids seem inspired, I'm also prepared to pull up Google Earth on their computer and show them how to find the major sites--I just managed to distract myself for half an hour by browsing the street view of Athens while testing this, so I'd say it's pretty fun!

We're still in chapter 2 of Story of the World v. 2, although really it's just our spine, as I've added so many additional resources and activities to up the rigor. On this day, the kids will re-read the chapter, review the quiz questions, and then color in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from this map, using the greedy algorithm of map coloring that we learned a while ago.

WEDNESDAY: The activity in the Story of Science Quest Guide asks kids to use a pre-printed sunrise table as their data source, but I'll have my two figure out how to obtain the real information. Thank goodness for the internet! As part of our lesson, I'll also be showing them this interactive online demonstration of the Earth's rotation.

We'll have an actual dinner today, not sandwiches or macaroni and cheese from a box, on account of part of the kids' schoolwork on this day is to cook it! The recipe includes a made-from-scratch pie crust, and I'll be very interested to see how that turns out.

I don't know if you've done a lot of research on the BBC Schools website, but they have some amazing resources, especially for periods like World War 2 and the Anglo-Saxons. I mean, obviously! The kids will love the fact that playing around on this site is their schoolwork for the day, but there's also such great information on the site that it's totally worth it.

I'm not 100% positive that Dinosaur National Monument accepts Junior Ranger badges by mail, but their Junior Ranger book is downloadable from their website and kids are able to complete it using close reading and/or online research, so we're giving it a shot.

THURSDAY: The Brainpop video on the seasons is geared more towards Syd's grade level, but Will still loves Brainpop, and there's no harm in not challenging your brain every single second of the school day. The videos are at a great level for Syd, though, as are the quizzes and activities.

I am SO excited to be sharing Beowulf with the kids! I have actually translated the entire thing myself for a class, and I'm thinking that it's challenging, but do-able, for Will to try to do the first eleven lines. I mean, she already knows the gist of what they should say quite well, thanks to her nerdy mum quoting it. We'll have a lesson on Beowulf, and then watch parts of the BEST performance of Beowulf that you can possibly see, that done by Benjamin Bagby. If you ever get a chance to see him live, as I did in grad school, do it! The kids don't know it yet, but they're also going to take on learning those first eleven lines by heart.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY: The kids have an all-day wilderness class on Friday, so I can finally get some work done. Saturday brings ballet, then the kids and I will head off to an overnight event for Girl Scout leaders and their daughters. We'll come home on Sunday and I'll probably go back to bed, because I can barely manage to sleep the night through at home in my own bed, much less in a platform tent with a bunch of giggling little girls all around me.

What are YOUR plans for the week?

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