Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekly Accomplishments - Let the learning begin!

It has been one amazing week.  This week has been the fulfillment of my wishes for our homeschooling journey.  I wrote earlier this week about the changes I have made in my life that have attributed to the successes we experienced.  As as result the quantity and the quality of the work we have done this week improved greatly.
Math:  Grace spend the first part of the week with the Aleks 48 hour trial.  She found that working on a laptop caused the screen to “jump”.  It gave her a headache.  When we switched to the PC, the screen no longer jumped and she was better able to work with the format of the program. I hope we have found our golden ticket.  Level 5 was the appropriate fit for her.  She loves the pie chart and loves the ability to choose what concept she wants to work on given her mood and desire.  Today we purchased 6 months worth of the program.  We were pleased that although she began a new assessment, the time that she spent on the trial was counted in her total minutes for the week.  Grace hates to do something for “nothing”.  Lilah continued to work on her Singapore books, both the workbook and the word problems.  I was hoping to finish 2A this week and she may have to do some work over the weekend so that we can begin 2B on Monday.
Language Arts:  Both girls continued their stories with characters from previous stories.  Lilah is writing about an enchanted forest where faeries abound.  Grace is 3/4 of the way finished with her piece about an actual F3 tornado that took place in 2004 in Kansas.  What impacted me the most was that she came to me and said that she did not like part of her story.  I asked her why and she said it did not “flow”.  We conferenced about it.  I felt like the character lost her voice.  Perhaps she was distracted when she was writing?  I suggested she rewrite that part of the story and try to capture the main characters thoughts and feelings.  To my surprise she did!  I did not have to critique her results, she was pleased with herself and her writing.  It was a great moment.    In poetry Lilah continued to copy her Christmas poem in cursive.  She chose a long poem and was a bit frustrated by the time it took.  It is not finished but should be next week. Grace chose a shorter poem by a Japanese poet.  I decided that I would become more involved in their lessons.  I am now keeping my own journal.  I chose a Christina Rosetti poem and added an illustration.  We returned to First Language Lessons, a favorite of Lilahs that was let go this fall.  The focus was on sentences and fragments.

my first journal entry

Science:  Botany!  The girls and I are loving our new science unit.  We began by reading part of Chapter 1.  We discussed taxonomy and why Latin is used since it is a dead language.  Each girl highlighted what they found interesting in the text and began to copy their notes into their journal.  Thursday we met with 4 of our friends, whom we are partnering with on this science study, to learn about taxonomy hands-on.  Using stuffed animals, the girls sorted them into kingdoms and families.  It was harder than they expected.  Lessons were learned about working in a group and validating other’s opinions and feelings.  After the animals were sorted, they gathered at the table to decorate their botany or nature journals.  Again, I will be keeping a botany journal and recording my learning alongside my girls.

Lilah's Botany Journal

History:  Ah.....we returned to SOTW.  It felt so good.  We are still continuing to learn about the Greeks and Greek Mythology as we are only on chapter 10 of The Lightning Thief.  However, it was time to forge ahead in the text.  We learned about Cyrus, his story of survival, of conquest and the upcoming battle with the Greeks.  They completed their mapwork.  I also used a site that is new to me, consisting of multiple choice quizzes for each chapter.  Each girl took their own “test”.  Lilah scored higher than Grace which made Grace more determined to be a better listener for the next chapter.  I am also considering making my own worksheet for each chapter.  I would like them to illustrate three items from the text, write 5 facts, print out a picture of one historical figure and write a short biography and paste the mapwork to it.  Then they would have a summary of each chapter.  I might give it a try with an open mind and if it does not go over well, let it go.  I am happy with our Book of Centuries for historical figures, they do complete the mapwork for every chapter and we spend a great deal of time talking about the people we are learning about.

we admired the gift Mother Nature gave us this week.

Reading:  Grace completed Hour of the Olympics from The Magic Tree House Series. She began reading The Spiderwick Chronicles aloud to me and she is half way through the American Girl book: The Guide to Internet Safety.  Lilah is reading a Judy Moody holiday book and the second Emily Windsnap
Outside Lessons/Interests:  Grace is preparing for her flute concert Monday.  We let her teacher know she will not be continuing on for the next semester as she will be focusing on piano.  We can no longer justify the cost of carrying two lessons in an instrument she never touches.  Piano continues to be something that she loves.  Given the opportunity to have her teacher do home lessons, Grace chose to remain at the school for now since she enjoys partnering with another student to work on duets.  Lilah has begun to construct her quilt in her sewing class.  I am stunned by the complexity of the pattern and the depth of the color pairings.  Cookie sales have begun in Girl Scouts.  This year rather than have Greg simply sell the cookies at work, the girls are going to create a sign up form to hang in his office and they will go to his office to deliver the cookies in their vests.  We also continue to skate weekly at the open skate.  Grace is rediscovering her joy on the ice and Lilah continues to strengthen her skating skills.  We also made the time to bake - double chocolate gluten free muffins.  Very yummy!  We closed our our week by writing the first of many letters to the child we sponsored through Save the Children.
ready for the post office

I feel like this was our best week as a threesome.  Amazingly it is about 5 months since we tried to begin homeschooling with two children.  Grace is in 5th grade.  I guess that myth about the de-schooling process taking a month for every year the child is in school has some truth to it!  
Let the learning begin!


Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

Wow, you got a lot done this week!! My oldest tried the Aleks but didn't really like doing the work on the computer which really shocked me, I thought he would love it. I purchased something else today, and I am praying its the thing that gets him back on track! Hope you have many more great weeks to come.

Theresa said...

I gave the girls an open book quiz on Story of the World this week, which reminds me that I didn't put that in my update. Anyway, they did okay on it, but I am thinking that I would like to do something so that I know they are getting something from this. What was the testing site you used?

Jessica said...

Jen - I hope the math program works for your son!
Theres - I emailed you the link!!

Karen said...

What a great week you had! I am truly impressed. I love the fact that you are doing things along with them. I really think that makes a huge difference.

We are SNOWED in. I know you are used to it but oh my gosh, it has been a treat. :)

Post a Comment

Don't You Just Stay Home All Day?

It’s funny because last night at youth group some of the kids friends were discussing homeschooling and really truly felt that we stay home...