Weekly Wrap-Up, March 25

03.25.2011 | 4:50 pm | Homeschooling

Just a regular week, mostly, thank goodness! A couple of doctor’s appointments crammed in with all the schoolwork, but we worked around them. For instance, while I was getting my blood drawn on Tuesday morning, G sat outside in the grass & shade outside the medical park while P gave him his math & memory tests, and while D played nearby. Homeschoolers just make things work.

This week in math, G learned to divide by fours, which is easy once a child knows how to multiply by fours. He also learned the concept of estimation, which allows him to quickly add large numbers in his head and get an estimated sum to work with.

In language, we’re wrapping up our unit on nouns & verbs, with lots of review work.
For his reading, G worked on his second Henry Huggins book most of the week. Otherwise, he’s still doing a lot of reading in both his real Bible and also in his Picture Bible. He’s been toting the Picture Bible around with him all week, reading intently. I totally understand. ;)

History lessons were fun this week, as we branched out into the world a bit and studied Pythagorus, Confucius, and then Kings Belshazzar and Cyrus the Great. In studying Confucius, G learned that our elders are to be honored and respected, and decided to write a note to Gram, telling her he loved her and her quilts (something he appreciated about her). It was a nice little activity for him and I’m glad it came up in our lesson.

Writing With Ease was the usual. He summarized excerpts and practiced dictation. Stories read from were The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks and The Elephant’s Child. We both enjoyed these two excerpts. G actually complained at the end of the first one, because he wanted to know what happened after the excerpt ended—guess we’ll have to track down that book and hopefully find it at the library!

G is still spending a lot of time drawing & sketching in that big sketchbook I mentioned last week. His drawings are still cracking me up; he is so creative and funny!

I spent most mornings outside this week, working on getting my plants pruned for the season, and doing some yardwork and planting. I planted 2 crape myrtles and an orange tree. I also did a lot of weeding in the yard; we have a yardful of weeds every spring, and I get rid of them the old-fashioned way (no poison): I pull them up by the roots. I had the boys come outside with me, and G was my pick-up man. I pulled weeds, and he carried a 5-gallon bucket, putting all the discarded weeds into it and then dumping it out into the woods whenever we filled it up. It’s great character-building for him (learning to work hard), and it was nice to be outside in the cool, fresh spring air together each morning! We finished up at lunchtime each day, and then went inside to eat and do our schoolwork. Again, homeschoolers just make schedules work with our needs—all while being with our kids throughout each day. We’re blessed beyond measure in choosing this lifestyle.

G made an exciting discovery this week. Back before Christmas, he’d gathered up acorns and planted quite a few of them out in the far end of the back yard, near his swingset. He was sure he’d get oak trees in return for his hard work. I wasn’t as optimistic. Who was right? Well, there are now quite a few tiny little oaks sprouting down there! He is over the moon about it. You can even see little half-acorns under the dirt, from where the tiny oaks sprouted.

In other news, I’m in the middle of a neat project that I came up with for displaying the boys’ art and schoolwork in our dining/homeschool area. I hope to be finished with it this weekend and will be sure to post pics in the next update.

In closing, I’ll share a picture of our Wisteria tree with this year’s blooms. It is flourishing more than it ever has, which is cool since we transplanted it from our old yard, when we moved into this house two years ago. For those who don’t know, it’s the boys’ very own bush, and it’s a placenta tree. It’s buried over D’s placenta, as well as the placenta & body of the little 11-weeks’ gestation baby we lost in November ’06. It is also G’s tree, because it was first planted in our old yard in March 2003, just as G was conceived. I have no doubt that the placentas are part of the reason the bush has grown and bloomed better than ever since we planted it over them.

Two Weekly Wrap-Ups, with an Emergency Hospitalization in Between :(

03.18.2011 | 12:53 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Most of you reading already know about my terrifying health issue that went down last Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Last Thursday morning, my very first ambulance ride whisked me away for an ER trip and a subsequent four-day stay in the hospital, with various doctors, nurses, techs, and every kind of employee in between telling me that I came very close to dying. I don’t doubt it, with the way I felt when Philip decided to call the ambulance. Thankfully though, God was with me, I got help in time, and, FIVE blood transfusions later, I left the hospital and came home on Sunday.

I have many complaints about our local hospital on one hand, but one thing I can say for sure: they knew what they were doing in the ER. I came in with life-threatening symptoms, near death, and with no real idea what was wrong. They set right to work and within an hour, they knew exactly what the problem was and were working on getting it fixed. It was amazing, and I was so grateful. If you don’t know the details but would like to know, just ask and I’ll share via comment email.

I’ve been weak and trying to build up my strength all week, but even so, we still managed to get in an entire week of school, plus make-up work for last Thursday & Friday’s missed days while I was hospitalized. We just did everything while sitting on the couch or loveseat in the living room. I didn’t have the strength to sit up at the table, but am hoping that next week we can be back to normal for our lessons.
I’m just going to combine last week’s work with this week’s, as one big wrap-up.

G’s math consisted of more practice of the “three” times tables, and the introduction of the “four” times table. He also learned how to make change with money, how to round to ten, and how to divide by twos and threes, as well as a few other smaller functions. Everything went smoothly and he’s moving right along.

During G’s language lessons we finished up with nouns, and we moved on to verbs. This week has focused almost entirely on verbs. He’s enjoyed the lessons and has a good grasp on these parts of speech. I’m still very pleased with this curriculum.

G’s Writing With Ease lessons consisted of me reading aloud excerpts from several stories, and him answering questions about what he heard, and then summarizing each passage on paper in his own words. He’s doing wonderfully with this skill! He also did several dictation exercises (where I read out loud a particular sentence, and he wrote it down word for word, by memory). The stories we read exerpts from were: The Hare That Ran Away, Little Women, The Invincible Louisa, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks.

History lessons were mostly Biblical-based, with a couple of interesting exceptions. We covered King Nebuchadnezzar & the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abed-Nego, Ezekiel, Aesop, and Buddha. Did you know that Aesop lived in Greece during the same years Daniel was captive & prophesying in Babylonia? And that Buddha was a young man in India during these years, searching for truth (and did NOT like being called a god)? I love this History course! Everything is taught chronologically, lining up world events and people with Biblical history. It’s fascinating.

For his reading, G has still been in Ramona Quimby’s world. He read Ramona and Her Mother and Ramona and Her Father, and this week has started Henry Huggins (who was a friend of Ramona’s). He’s also still reading a good bit of his Bible every day, usually in the mornings when he wakes up, before the rest of us are up. He’s up to the Chronicles right now, and he is learning. The other night he surprised me by asking me if I wanted to hear a chronological list of all the main characters of the Bible, up until Solomon. He proceeded to give me an exhaustive, yet accurate listing, from Adam all the way to Solomon—by memory. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful the Adventure Bible is for stimulating interest, but even moreso, The Picture Bible. I may post about it on its own later, but for now, I can say that it’s an incredible tool for interesting a child in the Bible and for teaching detailed accounts of every Bible story imaginable, in a way that kids retain and remember. I should know, because I had a copy as a child, and I devoured it. I received it for my 8th birthday, and I read it over & over & over, for years. I attribute my extensive detailed knowledge of Bible stories & characters to this book. I remember in Sunday School, I knew all the answers, all the characters, all the details of all the stories, because of what I read over & over in The Picture Bible. When I read or hear about Bible stories today, I still picture every character and scene just as they were pictured in The Picture Bible. Nothing had a greater impact on me, Biblically, while growing up. It seems the same thing is happening with G as he reads his copy over & over & over. If your child doesn’t have The Picture Bible, check it out, and get a copy in his or her hands as soon as possible. It is an amazing companion to the Bible!

G spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the Spring weather, both during my stay in the hospital, and this week since I’ve been home. The days are sunny and warm, everything is blooming and growing now, and the bees & wasps are everywhere. He spent one morning observing ants carrying tiny pieces of paper on their backs. That’s science if I’ve ever seen it. ;-) He also observed the carpenter bees that are hovering all around his swingset. He told me he’d even made a treaty with the bees, that he would leave them alone, if they wouldn’t sting him. I told him we’ll see how that works out. ;-) He’s also picked lots of flowers, meticulously arranging them in a vase he got out for me and set up on the coffee table in the living room. There’s nothing like a vaseful of wildflowers, picked for you by your sweet little boy.
We haven’t done any official art in a while, but G has spent an enormous amount of time doing artwork over the past couple of weeks. Philip gave him an old sketchpad that he didn’t need anymore, and this inspired something major in G’s inner-artist. He’s nearly filled up every page with various drawings and sketches, both realistic and cartooned. Some of them are really quite good. Most of them are funny—he has a slightly “off” sense of humor that will serve him well (and I can’t imagine where he got it from), and these little drawings display that talent quite nicely. I will scan some, soon.

Speaking of artwork, when I came home from my follow-up doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, G had this message waiting for me in the kitchen:

He’s a sweetie! I missed my boys so much while I was in the hospital. I pray I never have to go back again. Here’s hoping next week is a much better week, but at least we got all our schoolwork done this week!

Weekly Wrap-Up, March 4

03.4.2011 | 5:38 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we were bu-sy!

We spent all five days this week doing schoolwork; usually we do four school days and take Fridays off. But this week there was still much to get done playing catch-up after our sickness, so we had another week of doubling up on lessons.

We dove back into math this week, and G learned the “3” multiplication table. He tried to pull it off without spending time memorizing, but after the second day where he couldn’t answer the drills, I told him he was going to have to stay in his room with his “3x” study card until he could come out and answer all the various combinations without hesitation. Some say that’s mean, but I say it’s good parenting. ;-) And imagine this: it worked. That very day, he spent a chunk of his quiet time in his room studying the card & memorizing the facts, and now he knows the “3” table. It’s the first time he’s ever had to work at anything in math, and I think he’s proud of himself for making the effort to learn something that was a little more difficult.
In learning the 3 multiplication table, we’ve also covered the concept of 1/3, since obviously it’s related.

Language was fun for G this week, as we studied nouns! He’s enjoying the lessons and I have to say I’m quite pleased with Rod & Staff’s Building Christian English. It’s very thorough. It seems to me like it would be a bit boring to a kid, but G hasn’t found it that way (yet), mainly because he loves getting to work out of a textbook, copying answers and sentences into a notebook.

Writing With Ease lessons were doubled up again. I read to him excerpts from several stories: Alexander the Great, Nurse Matilda, and The Horse that Aroused the Town, and he worked to summarize what happened in each excerpt in his own words. He’s really come a long way with this skill since we started this unique writing program; at first he couldn’t summarize very well at all, but after several lessons, his summary skills improved greatly. He’s now quite adept at pulling out the main details and constructing two or three sentences that summarize the story.

History lessons covered the destruction of Ninevah, the prophet Habakkuk, and the Babylonian defeat of the kingdom of Judah. G declared history to be his favorite subject this week, as on top of our regular studies, we did an entire semester review. For two days, I went through our 50+ memory cards that cover each lesson all the way back to the beginning of time/Creation. The boy knows his history; I don’t know where he stores all those facts, but he is retaining them amazingly well—better than I have, actually. Today I gave him the semester exam, and he made a 95! He got one answer wrong.

G read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 during his reading time. He thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it quickly—he even read it outside his assigned reading time and finished it up one morning before getting out of bed for the day. We only own three of the Ramona books: this one, as well as Ramona and Her Father and Ramona and Her Mother. He was excited to know there was even more Ramona reading available, so he’s now a few chapters into Ramona and her Father. I wish we had them all! Our library is terribly hit or miss, so I won’t count on them having any of the others, but I’m going to check.

We started a new Bible study this week. I’m using a book he got for Christmas called Journey to the Cross, which is a daily lesson about Jesus’…journey to the cross, lasting up until Easter.
And speaking of our Bible lessons, it’s been weeks since he’s had a memory verse to learn. Why? Because I decided to break from that for a while in order to teach him the books of the Bible in order. We’ve worked for weeks, him learning 3-4 more books from the Old Testament each week. We finally finished this week—G now knows every book of the Old Testament, in order! We’re starting the New Testament next week and I hope to have him knowing them all by the time we wrap this year up in June.

Spring is blooming here, with flowers and leaf buds all over the place (as well as loads of pollen). G spent lots of time outside playing this week once his studies were done, enjoying the warm, breezy weather.
This may be my most boring wrap-up yet. Hope it’s useful to someone out there.

Tonight we’re watching The Neverending Story, which is an incredible kids’ film from the 80s. It blew my mind back when I was young, and I’m guessing G is going to love it, also. Highly recommended if you or your kids haven’t seen it!

Weekly Wrap Up – Feb 25 Edition

02.25.2011 | 1:31 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we played catch-up.

After taking most of last week and the beginning of this week off for sickness, I threw us back into schoolwork on Tuesday. We were way behind on our history and Writing With Ease lessons, so that’s where I decided to focus. Math and Language lessons were ignored this week because we’re either on schedule or, in the case of math, way ahead of schedule (we’re due to finish 2nd grade math in about 6 weeks!). However, I had him do supplemental math worksheets every day, to keep him from getting rusty.

We covered six history lessons this week, double what we normally do. I just wanted to get us as caught up as possible. Many of the lessons, like last week, were about Biblical events and people, since we’re still covering world events in the 700s B.C. We covered prophets like Jeremiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah. We studied the Judean kings Manasseh and Josiah. We also learned about the Assyrian empire (very, very brutal!), the Babylonians, and the Greek city-states of Sparta and Athens. And lastly, there was one lesson thrown in about what was going on on the other side of the world during that century—the ancient Native American people, such as the Adenas and the Hopewells. Both of us devour these history lessons, and I highly recomment The Mystery of History for everyone—it has lesson plans for all three classical age groups.

We covered six Writing With Ease lessons as well, also double the usual weekly number of lessons. The first story excerpt I read out loud to him from was Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. He practiced some dictation and then wrote two separate summaries of the excerpts in his own words. I loved this story excerpt because it covered some true history of our country’s fight for liberty and freedom, and G seemed to enjoy it, also, because he paid close attention and did well at pulling out all the details when he wrote about it.
The second story we worked on was from The Five Children and It. This was a strange story that neither of us enjoyed very much. The writing was poor in my opinion, and didn’t make sense. G had a hard time summarizing the passages in his own words, because the passages were so weird and hard for him to understand. I’m glad it’s behind us and look forward to next week’s passages!

G did a lot of reading on his own this week, and it was all from his Bible—his request, and who am I to deny that kind of reading request? :) He’s been reading straight through the Bible ever since we bought him his Adventure Bible, and he’s up to I Kings! He totally gets what he’s reading, too. I think it’s amazing, and probably God-inspired.
During his Bible-reading, he came across an activity suggestion, which was to make a model Ark of the Covenant. He was set on doing this, so it became his art (and history, and Bible) project of the week. He found a small rectangular box and painted it gold, affixed two cherubim on the top, and then decorated it with gold glitter and paint. He worked on it for a couple of days and put a lot of effort into it for a 7-year old boy. Here is the finished product:

G spent a lot of time playing outside this week, making up for his sick time last week. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for it, too! The big event that could be classified as science is that he dug up some of the acorns he’d planted a couple of months ago, and found some roots coming from them. Oh, he was excited. He re-buried them. I wonder if any of them will become trees? It will be amazing if he gets a tree out of his determined sowing.

Speaking of the gorgeous weather, we had our windows open all week to let the pleasant 70-degree, low-humidity air into the house. Esmeralda loved the opportunity to perch up on the windowsill, and so did G:

Next week, we’re back to the usual schedule, I hope. This week was pretty fun, though, enjoyably low-key as we got back on track.

Weekly Wrap-Up Feb 18 Edition

02.18.2011 | 5:56 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

The one where we all contracted the bubonic plague.
Not really. But a nasty chest cold hit both the boys starting on Monday morning, and hasn’t let go yet. Fevers, deep chest coughing, stuffy and snotty. G spent Tuesday through Thursday in bed most of the time; he felt that awful. Only today has he ventured out and played a bit, though he still has a low-grade temp and terrible chest cough. Both their coughs sound absolutely horrendous today as well, so deep and nasty, but both of them have progressed to only low-grade fevers (they had been 101-102) and they’re generally at least feeling a little better today.
Me, however, not so well. I started feeling a scratchy throat Tuesday, but didn’t really come down sick until Thursday evening. Today I’m officially sick. Low-grade fever, crappy feeling, and terrible scratchy throat with a cough. So far, it is not in my chest, and I hope it will stay that way. I’m terrified of chest colds after my experience two years ago with what can happen when your chest gets infected. I did get a pneumonia vaccination after all that (and I avoid vaccinations, so that tells you how much I fear the pneumonia), so maybe that gives me some protection. That and lots of prayer.

So all that said, we didn’t do much schoolwork this week. Monday was our only full day of it, and I can’t even remember much of what we did. On Tuesday, when G was obviously feeling miserable, I skipped math and just did easy lessons from the couch. I also realize I didn’t do the Weekly Wrap-Up last Friday, so I’ll add in the one or two interesting points from that here in this week’s Wrap-Up.

While we skipped most math and most English, we did do our Writing With Ease lessons, which consisted of me reading out loud from the poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. He answered listening questions and then summarized the poem in his own words. We enjoyed this poem!

History consisted of all Biblical subjects this week and last week. We’re up to the 700s B.C., so that explains the heavy focus on the events of the Bible—lots happened during that century. The lessons mostly centered around the conquering of Israel and the attempted conquering of Judah by the Assyrians, and the prophets who spoke to these nations during those years. One lesson was on the city of Rome and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Some of the details go over G’s head, but that’s the intent, and the beauty, of classical education: during the primary years, students are merely exposed to the subjects and gain a basic understanding, and then later, during the Logic (middle) and then Rhetoric (high school) years, each subject is revisited and is learned about more deeply. The exposure received in the primary years is built upon year after year.

I exempted G from reading out loud this week, as he felt awful and was coughing too much, anyway. But all the lying around feeling bad was a great opportunity for him to do a lot of reading on his own. He read most of the day, each day, when he wasn’t sleeping. He read through a huge stack of Nat’l Geographic World magazines from the 80s—mine that I saved. He loves them, and I love giggling at some of the incredibly outdated articles, especially the ones about “cutting edge” computers. Most of the articles, however, are timeless, aside from what people are wearing in the photographs.
He also read a short chapter book, which I can’t remember the title of. It’s something I picked up at a thrift store, about a mystery centering around a teacher in a school classroom. He enjoyed it!

Last week, he finished the lonnng chapter book, Dewey the Library Cat. He enjoyed it, though he said it was sad at the end. Dewey, at age 19 I believe, died from cancer. He was later replaced by another stray cat that they named Page Turner. I asked G if he cried when he read about Dewey dying. He said he didn’t cry, but that it was sad. Later that night, just after the boys went to bed, I was watching Twilight (not my dvd, though- it came on the Movie Channel so of course I had to watch it for the 487th time–and no, that number is not much of an exaggeration, I’m afraid). Do bear with me; this has a point. ;)

The next morning, G told Philip that last night after he’d gone to bed, he could hear Twilight on the TV from his bedroom. It came to the part where Edward was playing the piano for Bella (Bella’s Lullaby- so hauntingly beautiful). G said, “as I listened to Edward’s piano playing, I started thinking about Dewey and how sad I was that he died. And I don’t know why, but I started crying a little.” Aww! Philip told him that’s totally normal, because poor G seemed so perplexed by his crying over it. He told him sometimes, stories in books, true or not, make us cry. It just means the story or character means a lot to you. And sometimes hearing “sad” music will also make you cry, especially if you’re thinking of someone or something that makes you sad at the same time. G felt better hearing that. I guess it was one of his first experiences with deep emotion, or something like that. ;)

And that’s it for this week. And last week too, since I never did that update. I hope and pray that we’re all well next week, and that we have a full, uninterrupted week of schoolwork to report on by next Friday. Please pray with me that that will be the case, because after what I went through two years ago, being sick with anything chesty scares me.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Feb 4 Edition

02.4.2011 | 6:53 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Another routine week is under our belt, and here I am again to share.

Math was busy as we reviewed and practiced the multiplication tables G learned recently, as well as introduced…division. G learned to divide by one, which is very easy, but in doing so, he learned to grasp the concept of division. He also learned subtraction with borrowing when there are several zeros in the top number. It was funny because he had no problem picking right up on it, but when I checked his work later that day, I told him he got two of the problems wrong; he looked over them and insisted that he did, indeed, have them right. I called P in to check, and sure enough, G had them right—I had gotten them wrong. I never was a fan of subtraction with borrowing! ;) We also covered metric measurements of weight: grams and kilograms, as they relate to ounces and pounds.

We started his Language/English curriculum this week! We’re using Rod & Staff’s Building Christian English. It’s a textbook format where he copies his work onto paper from his textbook, rather than doing worksheets like he did in phonics. Much like I was as a student, he absolutely loves the idea of working from a textbook and writing down his work in a brand-new, cool notebook. He was so excited that he actually got sad on the one day he didn’t have any textbook work to do.
The curriculum starts out slow and easy. The entire first unit is on how to write sentences, with every lesson being something he either already knows and has covered before in his phonics curriculum. So I’m breezing through the lessons two or three at a time, using it as a review before we dive into unit two, which will begin introducing the specific parts of speech. We should be there in a couple of weeks. So far, it’s a hit with G, and he dubs it to be “easy!”. Hmm, we’ll see if it continues to be “easy!”. ;)

Writing With Ease was even more enjoyable this week because I read excerpts to G from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, a story I read and loved when I was in the 2nd grade. He worked on summarizing each passage into a few sentences, using his own words. He also did dictation work from those excerpts, and was even inspired to draw a picture of Mrs. Frisby’s cinderblock home and all of her little baby mice.

Our history lessons spanned the world this week, as we studied India and Hinduism, The Olympic Games in ancient Greece, and the prophets Jonah and Amos.

G’s reading on his own was, as last week, from Dewey the Library Cat. It’s a long book for a 7 year old, so he’s still working on it. He’s still enjoying it, still giggling in his room while reading it, and is apparently inspired by it— he has begun to write and illustrate his own book about our cat, Esmeralda. While this is not official schoolwork, it still counts as both writing and art! A typical benefit of homeschooling—learning while not meaning to or even realizing it, and it happens daily.
His daily reading aloud is still from the Abeka reader I mentioned last week. Kinda boring, but we’re getting through it.

Science was experienced through daily life, as usual. He did a lot of leisure-reading in his various books on science-related topics, built several cool machines with Legos, assessed the level of damage we got from a rough windstorm that blew down a tree and many huge limbs all around our yard (as well as gathered up what limbs he could haul and piled them), inspected the level of rottenness of his halloween pumpkin (which he smashed finally), did an archaeological dig in the back yard, collected more rocks, and observed some amazing little caterpillars who took up residence in our kitchen. Those are just the things off the top of my head that I remember him doing. No doubt there are even more things I didn’t catch (and probably some I’m glad I didn’t).

On a random but somewhat related note, Philip has begun reading aloud to both boys (and me!) each night from The Lord of the Rings. The boys rarely watch TV, and on top of that, we never watch TV “as a family” in the evenings, so this doesn’t replace any “bad” habits. It’s just another way to spend family time together, during a part of the evening after dinner when we’re all usually doing our own things. It feels like old-fashioned entertainment, and like something to do as a family that has lasting value. I’m really glad P started doing it and I hope it becomes a nightly routine in our home.

Hope this is of interest to someone out there! It was a good week. Nothing out of the ordinary, but that’s the way I like it. Have a great week next week!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Jan 28 Edition

01.28.2011 | 11:20 am | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

I enjoyed doing this last week, so here I am again. We’re wrapping up a rather routine week. No glitches or bumps in the road, nor anything extremely exciting, but it was a fine week nonetheless.

G’s math mostly consisted of more work on multiplication. No new tables, just working on building up the facts he learned last week. Lots of practice and oral drills. Lots of written practice with borrowing using 3- & 4- digit numbers. He learned about how pounds measure weight as opposed to volume, and how 16 ounces make up a pound. We used the kitchen scale to weigh just about everything in the kitchen. :D He was quite into that activity. He learned that pound is abbreviated “lb” because of the latin word for pound, “libra”. He likes finding out the “whys” behind the work he does.

We wrapped up his 2nd grade Phonics course this week. It’s kind of bittersweet; we’ve worked on phonics for 1 1/2 years together, and it was fun (but tedious). Now he’s graduated.
I went through my guide and used it to give him a thorough review of all the main sounds and concepts. He knows every diagraph and blend, and never falters. He has mastered all the tedious suffix-adding rules and processes. He knows his contractions and all the different ways words are used and spelled. He’s mastered phonics, and so we move on. That is the beauty of homeschooling—he doesn’t have to sit through the rest of the school year, bored by something he’s already mastered and wasting time that he could be using to learn something new.
So next week, we start Language. We’re both excited; I hope we both stay that way. ;)

For Writing (Writing With Ease curriculum), I read to him from The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and he practiced summarizing the passages into his own words. He enjoyed the excerpts from this story and has declared that it’s the next book he wants to read. We have that one in our collection.
He did his daily journaling as usual.

Our reading aloud this week was simply stories out of an Abeka reader I picked up at a thrift store. I don’t use readers very much, but since I had this and since it’s on his level, we’re going to use it. He read a couple of stories/articles out loud from that each day. I like the stories & articles they use because they all have a strong moral and/or historical content, so it’s reading that feeds his soul as well as his mind.
His reading on his own was solely from Dewey the Library Cat, a book he received for Christmas which he’s thoroughly enjoying. It’s a true story of a cat, Dewey, who was adopted by the staff at a small-town public libary, and it’s full of little memoirs of his many antics there. Being a new fan of cats, G is loving this book. I’ve heard him laughing out loud in his room during the afternoons while he’s reading it, and he’ll often come out and read to me a funny part he’s just read.

History lessons were, once again, mainly Biblical this week. We’re in a time period that coincides with lots of things going on during Old Testament times, so that’s why (see our curriculum, The Mystery of History, if you’re curious about what we use. I posted about it back in August). We studied Elisha, the prophets Joel and Obadiah, and the greek bard Homer. G thought it was so funny that his name was Homer, thanks to his knowledge of The Simpsons. We touched on Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, both of which G expressed an interest in learning more about. He loved studying about the Trojan Horse a couple of months back, so now he wants to read these two epics. We have The Odyssey here somewhere; I picked up a child-friendly version at the thrift store somewhere along the line, so when I find it, we might read a bit together.

This is a pic Philip snapped of us doing our Homer lesson; Little D had scooched up on the loveseat to learn with us.

Science was, as usual, experienced through daily life. With him, half of his playtime is science. For instance, yesterday, he gathered up all our fans and set them up behind a kitchen chair to make a rocket. The fans were the rocket’s exhaust system. He had flashlights set up in strategic places, as well as a few other implements that served as various rocket parts.

The rocket:

Another large chunk of his playtime is typically heavily based on art of some kind or another. So I don’t focus on using a curriculum for these subjects…yet. One thing he did this week was get inspired to create ads, just like his dad. He made several professional-looking ads using our big sketch pad. The companies were some of the same companies that are P’s clients. They were pretty cool ads!

So that wraps up another exciting week in the Ms.Understood household (and how that fits—our family is becoming just as misunderstood as I always have been! Not sure if that’s even remotely a bad thing, either).

Weekly Wrap-Up

01.21.2011 | 11:34 pm | Homeschooling, Uncategorized

It’s my first time participating in this, but I’ve been meaning to for such a long time. This was our second week back to schoolwork after our long winter break. We’re back into our routine by now, so here goes our very first Weekly Wrap-Up.

We conquered a lot of new material in math this week, mainly multiplication—the official version. For about a year now, G’s curriculum has been teaching basic concepts of multiplication from time to time, but this week we finally began putting all that conceptual dabbling to work when he was introduced to his very first multiplication tables. First we learned the x1 table, then the x0, and finally the x2. He grasps the concept well and took to it with ease. He’s been multiplying on his own in his daily life for a long while now, anyway. He is just a really mathematical thinker. It will serve him well in life. Other things we covered were some new Roman numerals (L, C, D, and M), and slightly more complicated borrowing in subtraction (3-digit borrowing when there are zeros). Again, all easy for him, an ability which I envy. I have to say that in teaching him these concepts, I’ve gained a very good understanding of them myself along the way—another of my favorite things about homeschooling. I get to re-learn the things I missed in my schooling. ;-) And I’ve found that I’m not as bad at math as I always thought. I just needed (and still need) to learn the “whys” behind some those treacherous functions.

In Phonics, the news is that G has finished Phonics! We did the last lesson yesterday. Next week I’m going to go back through my guide and spend the entire week reviewing the most important things he learned, and after that, we’re moving on to Language lessons. I’m using Rod & Staff’s English curriculum and it will intensely cover all the parts of speech, teaching him how to properly build and write sentences. I can’t wait to start it and see how he does. I’ll continue to review Phonics for the rest of his 2nd grade year, by touching on the important factors once a week, and by a once- or twice-weekly phonics worksheet. He has a strong knowledge of it all, but I want to keep drilling it in for a while so he doesn’t forget.

For Writing this week (Writing With Ease), I read to him from “The Borrowers” and he practiced summarizing the passages in his own words, and a little bit of dictation work. I wasn’t too fond of this story, and I don’t think it was his favorite, either. He also wrote in his journal each day, as usual.

This week’s history lessons were mostly biblical. We studied the Phoenicians one day, the divided kingdom of Israel the next, and we ended the week with Elijah, the fiery prophet. G got a kick out of how the our modern-day “phonics” comes from the Phoenicians.

For his read-aloud, he continued reading from “Socks”, by Beverly Cleary, and finished it this week (we’d been reading it before our winter break and picked it back up last week. He reads one half to one chapter per day out loud). G was sad to see it end; he really enjoyed this book, especially now that we have our own cat in the house. He giggled through so many parts.

G’s reading on his own this week was entirely the Magic Treehouse books. He received the first 12 for Christmas, and has absolutely devoured them. They’re the first chapter books that he’s really looked forward to reading. There are so few quality chapter books for boys out there that are on his maturity level. The reading market is so girl-geared anyway (actually I find most everything for kids these days is incredibly girl-centric. Ugh!), but G sorely dislikes reading anything that is written for or about girls. He’s even gone so far as to make any girl characters he reads about into boys— changing every pronoun along the way to make the character a boy. The world needs more adventure books for younger male readers! Maybe I should get on that. ;-P

Science was infused throughout daily life as usual, as well as art— he worked throughout the week on his latest art project: his cartoon strip about a silly, sarcastic camel and his adventures.

And that’s our wrap-up for the week! Can’t see how it’s anything but boring to anyone besides us, but then again, I tend to love reading about other homeschoolers’ days, and I learn a lot from them. So perhaps our week is meaningful beyond our little world, as well. I hope to do this again next Friday!

« Previous Page     Next Entries »