Monday, June 5, 2017

Work Plans for the Week of June 5, 2017: Homeschooling 1.5 Kids

Our summer homeschool schedule is in full swing! Last week we completed not just a three-day school week, but also a full-day field trip to the zoo and another whole afternoon at the local swimming pool with friends, and we spent part of the weekend showing this suddenly practically grown up kid how to navigate our local university's campus to find her biology class that begins this week.

Even on a Sunday, the campus was crawling with freshmen being oriented with their families, marveling at the sites and doing scavenger hunts on their smartphones and asking us for directions, and taking lots and lots and lots of photos of their soon-to-be freshmen all over campus.

Since we had Luna with us, we decided that Luna, too, was a soon-to-be freshman having her freshman orientation, and so with great excitement, we posed her all over campus and took her photo at all the iconic spots:

Syd was also super busy this weekend--her dream was to run a bake stand near the entrance to the drive-in and before its weekend movies. She baked all day on Friday, and ran her stand both Friday and Saturday evenings:

It was a modest success and a huge learning experience, but enough work that Syd is still debating if she wants to try it again.

This week, thanks to her adventures in biology, Will is really only going to be homeschooling with us for two full days. I'm looking forward to the chance to spend some one-on-one time with Syd, both so that I can give her more encouragement to focus on the book work that she likes to sneak away from when I'm distracted by Will, and so that we can spend more time doing the hands-on projects that she loves so much.

Our memory work for the week is really just measurement conversions--how fun to be on the verge of wrapping up another semester!--and Books of the Day this week are mostly books about Greece (of course!), but also a selection or two on the Celts, whom the kids remain in love with. Of course!

Other daily work includes typing practice with, keyboard lessons and practice with Hoffman Academy, progress on their MENSA reading lists, creative writing for Syd and cursive copywork for Will (next semester I'm going to have to create or buy a rhetoric program for Will, since she refuses to write regularly), and SAT prep through Khan Academy for Will.

And here's the rest of our week!

MONDAY: In Math Mammoth this week, Syd is still doing geometry and Will is still reviewing percents. She'll be finishing pre-algebra this summer so that she can start Algebra 1 in the fall, and that's the main reason why I'm asking her to keep plugging away in her math even on her biology class days. Math, SAT prep, Greek review, and her Book of the Day shouldn't take her more than an hour or so to finish, though, so she should be able to manage it all without feeling overworked, especially if she gets off her butt and does it this morning like I'm asking her to, instead of waiting until she comes home tonight hungry and tired and done with interacting with other humans.

Syd has a full schedule on this day, including the rest of her daily work and a new curriculum of Greek and Latin roots that I'm borrowing from the university library to try out while Will is between Wordly Wise books (she's finished Book 7, and I won't assign Book 8 until next semester). At a glance, I doubt that it's something that we'd use consistently, but it looks like it might be a workable pick-up-and-go solution that I can turn to when we're between semesters, or in gap weeks.

We're still using Greek123 for Greek, although I need to add in much more alphabet recognition and phonics drills in the next few weeks, because my goal is that we should at least be able to sound out Greek words while we're in Greece, and our curriculum is introducing letters so slowly that we won't have covered the full alphabet with it alone before we leave. For alphabet practice, I like these worksheets, and for phonics, we watch these videos over and over again.

In Girl Scouts, Syd will be bridging to Cadette in the fall, and, as always, there are still so many things that she wants to do as a Junior first! We've also recently learned that Girl Scouts can earn retired badges, which brings the possible badges to explore and try up to... oh, infinity? On this day, Syd can plan what activities she wants to complete to earn the retired Outdoor Cook badge. She enjoys cooking enough that she'll likely want to do the actual activities in her free time--hopefully at dinnertime, so that I don't have to cook!

Playing with Perler beads is just a chance for Syd and I to sit down and hang out together. I know that as homeschoolers, we're together more than most eleven-year-olds and their mothers, but I still feel like it's easy to slip into each of us doing our own thing in different parts of the house or yard, coming together mainly when I want her to help me with a chore or do her schoolwork or eat a meal or watch a video with me. So I'm deliberately making time to do stuff that Syd likes when it's just us together.

That is, if she still wants to hang out with me when she knows that I'm also going to make her go through all of her clothes with me today, too!

TUESDAY: Will doesn't have class on this day, so this is my chance to get through the material that I want to cover with both kids this week.

The kids have been working on this Junior Archaeologist badge for a couple of weeks already, but it's a lot more rigorous than most Junior Ranger badges, and calls for several hands-on activities--in particular, an excavating exercise that requires each child to excavate one of our trash bins and make some educated guesses about the society that produced this trash. The kids have been putting off that one, I'm sure you can guess why, so I believe that it's now the only activity left in their book. Guess that they'll have to do it on this day, then!

I LOVE the Greco-Persian Wars, and I'm SUPER excited that we're covering it this week! On our trip, we'll be near Marathon but likely won't go there, but there's a slim chance that we could visit Thermopylae on our driving tour, and anyway, the wars are fascinating and awesome. On this day, the kids will read the account of the wars in Story of the World volume 1, answer the reading comprehension questions, complete the mapwork on our road map of Greece, and add the timeline figures to the timeline that we made last week. I'll show you that timeline another day, but I'll just tell you right now that I love it.

Our extra math on this day isn't really hands-on, but it is an interesting exploration of pi in geo-historical context. The idea is that the kids calculate the ratios that were used for pi by various societies over time, and evaluate them based on their accuracy. It's also related to our Greek and History of Science studies, as we've previously studied--and tried for ourselves!--Archimedes method of finding pi using polygons.

WEDNESDAY: The entire family is planning a remodel of the children's bedroom, the bulk of which Matt and I will do while the kids are at sleepaway camp later this summer, but the kids are helping where they can. We've got some cute things that we'll be hanging in their windows, and I'll be sewing them some new curtains, so on this day Syd can help me wash their filthy windows, so that all of their new window treatments will look nice.

Syd and I have also been wanting to make the original Girl Scout cookie recipe for a while, AND I bought us a trefoil cookie cutter when we were in Savannah, so while Will is studying biology, Syd and I can bake cookies! While they're baking, we can hang out and Syd can finish the weaving that is one of her projects for the prehistory unit of our history of fashion study. I actually forced Will to finish up the UFO on our other peg loom this weekend, because I've been wanting to try my hand at small scale yarn weaving, too!

THURSDAY: I have a lot of books and videos that I want to show the kids to flesh out the Greco-Persian Wars, but this online timeline is the best that I've seen for making sense of a battle. Reading carefully through it and exploring the links should give them an excellent feel for what took place.

Our whole family still loves the working thermometer that the kids made, so I'm looking forward to adding a working barometer to our homemade meteorological tools, now that we've studied and modeled air pressure. And just in case you thought that I might gloss over the Byzantine Empire in our Medieval history study, because the kids are so interested in European history, you should know that 1) of course I'm not and 2) the monastery that we'll be visiting in Greece is an Eastern Orthodox one and so of COURSE I'm not going to gloss over the Byzantine Empire! We'll learn more about it and its religion on this day, and then the kids can try their hands at the most complicated mosaic-making that we've done so far.

Because Byzantine mosaics are complicated, y'all.

FRIDAY: Syd will have her spelling and vocabulary tests today (Will has hers on Thursday), but otherwise I'm hoping that we'll have a leisurely day, with just her daily work to attend to. Last Friday she spent the ENTIRE day working on her bake stand, so much so that she had to do Friday's school on the weekend, so if she wants to run her bake stand again, that will be her Friday again this week. If she doesn't, though, we can just finish up school, and then spend the afternoon however we wish.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Obedience school and Pony Club take up all of Saturday morning, which means that once again I'm not going to make it to the farmer's market, sigh. We could make it to the u-pick strawberry farm, though, and to the huge outdoor experiences festival that the kids look forward to every year. Syd may or may not be running a bake stand. Matt and I may or may not be building shelves for record albums or lofting the kids' bunk beds to make storage space underneath. The wall behind their bed used to be a closet, and so that's also a mess, uneven and mismatched to the rest of the room, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to even it out so that I can do something with it.

Maybe I'll just sit and stare at it all day on Sunday until something comes to me.

What are YOUR plans for the week?

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