Monday, May 8, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of May 8, 2017: King Arthur, Telling Temperature, and the Authentic Greek Experience

Last week was probably the last week of busy prep for kid events that we'll have for a while. Because now that Girl Scout cookie season, the Trashion/Refashion Show, Syd's birthday party, AND her ballet recital are complete, we can relax until my Junior Girl Scouts begin to ramp up their work to earn the Bronze Award.

That should give me a few weeks, at least, to kick back and get some stuff done for ME!!!

After getting too stressed with this prep work plus a heavy school load the week before last, school the last week was more manageable, as I made a point to communicate more with both kids, asking their opinions and getting their buy-in, making sure they knew that they could tell me if they simply wanted to skip an assignment, and enforcing the rule that on a school day, Syd is done with schoolwork after three hours, and Will after four. That's how the kids finally admitted that they simply didn't want to make the next project in their cooking curriculum, so we're taking a break from that this week to make a traditional Greek breakfast instead, and how they exhibited so much enthusiasm during our futhorc lesson about the thought of engraving runes--possibly even making words!!!--that I separated the activity out into its own lesson for this week. I need to buy more rocks, for one thing, and perhaps cut wood slices and ask for my wood burner back from the friend who's borrowing it.

This week, I'm keeping our school load fairly light. I, for one, would like some time to rest from birthday party prep and driving a kid back and forth to hours of ballet rehearsals every night, and I'm sure the kids won't say no to extra free time! We've got three more weeks after this one to get more academics done before the summer activities start.

Books of the Day for this week include Norse myths, this novel for Will, a couple of leftover books on the Civil War, and a couple of books about the Girl Scouts and Juliette Gordon Low. Memory work for the week includes reviews of Sonnet 116, helping verbs, the Greek alphabet, and the Platonic Solids, and more work on the most common prepositions, the Pythagorean Triplets, and the first eleven lines of Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon. Other daily work consists of ten minutes of journaling for Syd and some cursive copywork for Will (who has once again decided that she's done with creative writing, sigh...), typing practice on, SAT prep on Khan Academy for Will, Wordly Wise for Will and a word ladder for Syd, and progress on the kids' MENSA reading lists.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: In Math Mammoth this week, Will is graphing equations, and Syd is doing more with fractions--converting them to decimals, exploring ratios, etc. We had to bring out the Cuisenaire rods last week to help her understand dividing fractions, but now that she's got that figured out the rest should follow more easily.

Syd is almost done with Junior Analytical Grammar, and doesn't always complete an entire lesson a day, because she sometimes gets VERY frustrated with that parsing and diagramming. Will is still between Seasons in Analytical Grammar, and so on this day she's working a mind bender for a little logic reinforcement. I'm going to give her a mind bender from the middle of the book today, and if that one is too easy for her, too, I'll have to buy her the next book up, dang it.

On this day, as well, the kids are expected to take a new music lesson from Hoffman Academy. Syd is fairly into the keyboard, and sometimes even spends her time trying to learn a pop song or composing, but Will is the most reluctant pianist who ever half-heartedly tickled the keys. She and I were goofing around and exploring the buildings on our university campus this weekend, when we came across a piano and I asked her to play her most recent song. Here you go!

Two years of learning keyboard, and she can half-heartedly, and without musicality, pick out "Hot Cross Buns." She claims that she's willing to continue her Hoffman Academy lessons, but you can believe I'm glad that I haven't been shelling out real money for lessons from a real human!

We're learning about the physics of temperature and temperature change this week, and the Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin scales, but as we'll be doing plenty of hands-on experimentation with temperature in the next few weeks, I also want to make absolutely certain that both kids can read a thermometer with complete accuracy, so I'm having them make a model thermometer today, using a clear straw, pipe cleaner, and thermometer printable, so that I can test them.

We're still catching up on the history of Ancient Greece with Story of the World before we pick back up with Story of Science. We'll move through this more quickly starting next week, but for this week,  we're just going to cover the exit of the Mycenaeans and the Dark Ages, reinforcing the lesson with the quiz questions from the Activity Book and the mapwork, done on the actual map of Greece that we'll be taking with us TO Greece! Although we could take a deeper look at Homer here, we studied Homer for the National Mythology Exam, and considering that both kids bombed that section in the exam, those poems are still too complicated for them--might as well save the fun for later, when they can really enjoy the literature.

For fun this morning, when both kids get up (it's already after 9:00, but my post-birthday and post-ballet girl is sleeping in!) we're going to prepare and eat a traditional Greek breakfast of yogurt, fruit, walnuts, and honey. I was supposed to start bread dough last night so that we could also have fresh bread, but oops! Perhaps tomorrow...

The kids are working faster on their Greek language practice than our family can take Greek language lessons from our curriculum (Matt is the weak link!), so for their daily Greek practice they can choose to work ahead in the online tutor, or work on workbook or Greek handwriting pages, or watch some of these Greek alphabet pronunciation videos. I'd also love to find some live-action children's programming in Greek on YouTube, if any of you have any suggestions.

As part of her Girl Scout Junior Scribe badge, last week Syd set up a SurveyMonkey survey to interview her friends. This week, she needs to write a newspaper-style article on the information from this survey in order to complete her badge. She'd rather start her Art in 3D retired badge, because girls would always rather do the first two fun activities of a badge than the last two not-as-fun activities, so I'll see if I have the energy to redirect her, or if I'll just let her go. I'm feeling a little draggy this morning, myself.

TUESDAY: For the culminating activity of Will's Budgeting badge, we played around a bit with the idea of asking her to create a budget for saving for Greece, but as I was, in my own free time, playing around with the necessity of creating a budget for usefully utilizing our Girl Scout troop's cookie profits, I had the epiphany that the Girl Scout who's meant to be becoming proficient in budgeting should of COURSE create her Girl Scout troop's budget! So this week I'm now playing around with how much assistance she'll need--I'm going to see how it goes to ask her to independently obtain the skills in Microsoft Excel to create a simple budget that calculates percentages. This is how adults manage--we figure out what we need to do, figure out how to get the skills we need to do it, then get the skills, then do the thing--so I want her to try, but if she struggles, then I'll mentor her more next week.

Since Will is between Seasons in Analytical Grammar, she's also working through the first season's review work in her Review and Reinforcement book by completing two review lessons a week. They're going smoothly, and introducing her to some good books that she hasn't yet read, so it's a success all around.

For the next couple of weekends in their art classes, Matt is going to be exploring the art of Ancient Greek vases with the kids, and in conjunction with that, the kids and I are going to be making model Greek vases out of air-dry terracotta clay. A lot of projects have the children make mock vases out of papier mache, because it's challenging to make a larger clay coil vase, but we're at least going to try, because both kids love working with clay. We can always resort to making the papier mache models or two-dimensional mock-ups when it comes  time for the kids to place their designs.

Although Will doesn't usually love baking, she's enthusiastic about this project of baking dog treats. I've never baked animal treats before, so I'm curious to see how they turn out--they're made of wholesome, real food ingredients, so I'm also curious to see if *we* like them!

On this evening, Syd has a webinar that should teach her how to go about earning the Bronze award. She has some preparation for that, and the webinar itself will be another new experience for her.

WEDNESDAY: The kids are both really excited about making moveable alphabets for the futhorc. As part of our lesson on the futhorc last week, I also showed them how some people use the runes to pretend to tell fortunes, and we watched a few YouTube videos on the subject with much entertainment, so that may be part of their enthusiasm. I'll talk more about pronunciation of the runes as we work, and show them some more works that are written in runes.

We can't leave the Anglo-Saxon period without discussing King Arthur! The kids are familiar with his legends, and we've even listened to one of my favorite books, The Once and Future King, years ago, so all we really need to do on this day is discuss him further and place his mythology into geohistorical context. I'll also remind the kids of contemporary works that we've explored that deal with Arthurian legend, The Dark is Rising series being the most recent.

THURSDAY: As part of our explorations of the physics of temperature, I'm going to show the children how to make a working model of a thermometer on this day. We'll use it in the coming weeks as the kids begin to take their own temperature readings and come to their own conclusions.

Syd has her baking project on this day, as well. I don't yet know what she'll create, although she's required to figure it out by early in the day on the day before, so that we can buy any needed ingredients. Last week, she made us blueberry scones, the last of which I ate this morning with my coffee. They were absolutely delicious!

FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY: On Friday, the kids have their all-day nature class that means that I can get some real work done while they're gone. On Saturday, the only one of us with an extracurricular is this girl--

--whom Will and Matt are taking to her first day of obedience school. Sunday is Mother's Day, and although we usually just celebrate it with breakfast in bed, a couple of presents, and a day in the garden, if you don't hear from me next week it means that my family has instead decided to surprise me with a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

A girl can dream!


Unknown said...

Have you read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders yet? It might be a little much for Willow, but you should read it while you're still thinking about the Civil War. It's the most beautiful piece about the Lincolns I have ever encountered--wonderfully written, and an incredibly creative use of primary sources.

julie said...

Ooh, I'm on the waiting list for this at my library, and I'm SUPER excited to finally get it in my hands someday! I heard about it on the What Should I Read Next? podcast, so I'm glad to also get an opinion from a "real" person that it's going to be good.