Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly Accomplishments

So much for my plan of slowing down!  Last week was wonderfully hectic. We packed it all in, knowing that starting tomorrow our “official” slow down begins with days being posted on the calendar just for us.
Math - Grace passed her first bridge for Life of Fred.  She completed chapters six and seven.  Some other important lessons were learned though.... Life of Fred is good for her in that answers are dependent on one another.  Get the first one wrong, most likely you got the next three wrong also.  Grace is not used to this.  In school her work was mostly worksheets.  Get one wrong, no problem, just move on to the next.  She pitched quite a fit when I made her go back and redo the entire chapter.  Even though her mistake was simple, caused my incorrect addition, I would not let it slide.  I told her that her father is immersed in numbers all day.  He has made many spreadsheets, only to toss them aside, and begin all over again when the numbers did not add up to what they expected.  If you are off on your checkbook, you can’t just accept it and work with bad numbers.  When she went back, she saw her mistake, corrected it and was able to move to the next chapter.
Life of Fred is also wonderful for us because it introduces concepts but leaves it to us to teach it in detail and supplement other materials if we feel it is needed.  One question asked her to divide a circle into six pieces.  To do this correctly she had a lesson in geometry.  I taught her how many degrees are in a circle, how to divide it by the pieces you wish to have and how to use a protractor to correctly measure the degrees and draw the angles.  It was my favorite lesson of the week.  
I think we are moving past her reluctance towards math but it can still be hard at times.  Lilah is almost done with her Singapore math workbook, I hope to finish it this week!
Owl Pellets at The Audubon

History - Oh how I love history.  We are still stuck on the the Greeks.  I don’t want to move ahead from this time period in our Story of the World Text until we have finished our study of Greek mythology.  We have three copies of The Lightning Thief and we take turns reading aloud.  We finished chapter 1 and 2 this week.  We also have a stack of picture books from the library.  When we come across a mythical creature or God, we stop and research it.  The girls are also having fun reading the picture books as part of our reading time.  They summarize their myth in their journal then use the Wii microphone and pretend to give a lecture teaching us about the myth they learned.  We then take a post-it note and add the story to our wall under God, Cosmic Myth or Hero.  We have read about Zeus, Apollo, Daphne, Cupid, Minotaur, Theseus and Medusa.  I also Netflixed History Channel’s Battle of the Gods.  Unfortunately I think many of the episodes will be too mature for my girls.  Lilah wanted to watch the Minotaur but the graphics were frightening so we switched over to Zeus.  I also purchased a lapbook guide from CurrClick but we have not begun it yet.  I am not sure my girls are lapbooking girls....I may have wasted some money on that purchase.  For art, the girls made a photocopy of an illustration in a picture book they read.  They traced the picture into their sketchbook then went over it with a Sharpie Marker.  Lilah chose a simple illustration and was finished quickly.  Grace chose a detailed illustration and is taking her time adding her own designs.
Grace's Medusa

Lilah's Minotaur

Writing - the girls finished and published their stories.  Lilah blogged hers here.  Grace chose not to blog hers, which I respect.  I was thrilled that each girl has been inspired by books we are are reading.  Lilah’s main character reminds me of Zoey in A Crooked Kind of Perfect.  Her main character Scarlett, is quirky, a bit of a misfit and learns that one should never change for others but stay true to one’s self.  Grace is almost done with Ninth Ward, a book I highly recommend and will blog about at a later date.  Her plot is a girl’s (Annie) experience during Hurricane Katrina.  She researched the timeline of Katrina, wind speeds, damage records, dates and flood levels.  Her writing is a piece of historical fiction.  Her next story has the same character.  After her home is damaged from flood waters, her family relocates to be with grandparents in Kansas.  Grace has already found a tornado, the fujita scale rating, town of impact and destruction reports.  Poor Annie!
Nature Studies - We had awesome field trips this week.  One to the Audubon for owl pellets.  The other was to a local form for a lesson on Native American life in Connecticut.  Our week ended Friday with a trip to a local nature center for Lilah for a talk about bats.  Grace had her monthly astronomy class through Girl Scouts.  We have lots of writing to do this week in our nature journal!
Lilah's entry after Audubon....

Our poetry journals are filling up with our favorite poems.  This week they both chose a Jack Prelutsky poem to copy in cursive and illustrate.  I wonder which poem they will choose next.  I keep offering my Langston Hughes books and my favorite anthologies.
Saturday the girls had choir practice followed by a community service day at church.  We decorated place mats and made dessert for a local substance abuse shelter.  Our church provides dinner there once a month.  We were happy to help make the dessert.  This was a nice connection for my girls because two years ago our community service project for my religious ed class was baking desserts with family and decorating place mats in class for this same shelter.  Grace was in my class then and this project has been talked about much.  

Socially the girls were very busy this week.  Tuesday we had dinner at a friend’s house.  There is nothing better than a chilly late fall evening having a glass of wine with a friend watching our girls lounge in a hot tub at night!  The girls went skating this week with their friends.  They love having the ice to themselves and not competing for space with other people.  Wednesday was Lilah’s last cooking class of the semester.   Until the holidays are over we are not picking up any more lessons.  Friday the girls and I went to play with some dogs that arrived at a local kennel from a puppy mill in the south.  Having only been here for a week and hoping to be adopted, they need as much time with people as possible.  We were only to happy to offer our laps.  Unfortunately most were too timid and distrustful to venture very close to us.  The girls realized that the time they spent helps make the dogs more adoptable.  Hopefully they will find homes for the holidays.
we really wanted to take her home....

wouldn't you???

I am very much looking forward to this week.  A slower week.  Thanksgiving week.  A week of family, friends and fun!

our Christmas Village has never gone up before Thanksgiving!

but we had so much fun!


Theresa said...

I want that dog!! She is cute!! She reminds me of our Sydney :(

I love your art project. We REALLY want to do art, but it's always the last thing...and the girls just want to play...and I am usually tired by then... We are making December all about art and crafts and cooking and fun!

I really enjoyed Lilah's story. Scarlett is a great character. :)

It's so wonderful to see the change in Grace. She really seems to be relaxing into homeschool and enjoying all of the opportunities!

Jessica said...

If I could just get a handle on the math....things would be better. But I honestly think this is something she has to go through to learn the value of being able to apply knowledge. I am not sure that is something you can "teach". She is looking for an easy way out and I am not offering it to her.

Theresa said...

Allie's problem is that she wants me to sit with her. She can do all the work. But if I start a load of laundry, or go clean up dishes or something, I come back and she is exactly where I left her.

We had a hard time making a math program work with LoF, so I googled worksheets for areas that I felt she needed more work on. In the beginning I had her do all 5 bridges, even though she passed the first. Then, about halfway through, I started having her do the first bridge to move on and using the other 4 as additional daily work after she did the questions at the end of the chapter.

She loved the program and wants Decimals and Percents. My only complaint is that the answers at the end of the chapters is below the questions and I had to tape something over them.

Karen said...

What a great week. I think you are doing an awesome job. Math will come. You have had about 3 months to show her a different way of doing Math after 5 years of 'PS' way. :)

I can't wait to get to Greece! I love the drawings of the creatures. They did a great job!!

You know what you said about 'lapbooking girls'. Kei isn't really either which just kills me considering how many I have bought or searched for and d/led for free. But she is what she is. ;)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Check your email.

wdworkman said...

Looks like a wonderful week! I hope you slow-down goes well.
Janet W

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