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!