Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week of February 8, 2013

In My Home This Week:  We are hunkered down riding out the blizzard of 2013, just like we did a few months ago with Superstorm Sandy.  This time there were no trips to the beach and no sandbagging.  Greg worked from home in anticipation that the trains would be either running slow or ending service early ensuring a nightmare commute.  We stocked up on more water and non-perishables and made sure our flashlights have batteries and our wood is dry.  I am crossing my fingers that we do not lose electricity.  Three days in October was a long time and those days were warm.  50 degrees versus 20 degrees makes a huge difference in how much “fun” life without electricity can be.  And the generator I swore I was going to buy?  Never did get around to that.......

In My Homeschool This Week:  Monday we took a trip to Barnes and Noble to look for a new math curriculum for Grace.  Before she starts pre-algebra I want to make sure she has a solid understanding of the basics and that there are no gaps in her understanding.  I was disappointed that their curriculum only goes to 6th grade but then I thought to check the test prep area for high school.  I found Barrons E-Z math books: Math, Arithmetic and Pre-Algebra.   They are concise, offer a style of instruction that is easy to understand and meant for a self-taught learner.  Grace completed all of chapter 1 and most of chapter 2 this week in the Math book.  Lilah is working away on Life of Fred Edgewood and covered geometry this week.  She made pages in her math journal defining a rhombus, trapezoid and concurrent lines.  She made a bar graph and learned how to find the median.  She noticed that this book is more challenging than the previous ones and she actually commented that she does not know what she would do if we did not find this series for her!

We learned about Genghis and Kublai Khan in Story of the World.  It struck us how many of the characters in Night at the Museum we have learned about.  We have covered Easter Island, the Roman Emperors, westward expansion, Jedediah Smith (in US history this fall), the birth of the railroad (from Little House on the Prairie), Sacajawea (from US History) and now the Khans.  We were wondering if there are more that we just can’t think of and we plan to watch the movie again soon.  We got caught up on narrations and I printed out the review questions for the previous two chapters for the girls to write the answers to.  We are almost finished with Catherine Called Birdy, on the final disc, and we will be sad to see this story end.  I am definitely counting this part of our Story of the World study since it gave us an understanding of what daily life was like for families in the 1200s in England.

Our electronics class did not meet this week, but the girls have been working on their homework.  To summarize what they have done so far: they have inventoried the parts to a motor provided in the kit Kinetic Creatures.  Using a light box, tracing paper and a copier, they made a copy of each part to be used in the event of a broken or missing piece.  The assembled the motor and then assembled the creature.  Right now the rhino and the giraffe walk by the use of a simple machine; a crank, but once the motor is installed, they will move unassisted!  The installation of the motor is scheduled for next week.  Another part of their homework was to watch a TED video on why kids should code.

Just this week at Grace’s internship the director asked if she has any programming experience (which she does not).  He thought it could come in useful in her internship.  How beneficial that we just watched this video and now have access to Scratch, a free instructional software program to teach beginning coding!  Grace has great plans for how this could be used in some of the projects she will be working on for meteorology.  There is another site which provides lessons, or tutorials on how to learn Scratch.  She is working her way through those before her next visit to the university.

This internship is providing Grace with an interesting experience.....homework.  We don’t do homework.  There is no reason for it when you learn at home.  This week she came home with a bag filled with dvds, lesson plans, activity books and needed to sort through the material and organize it.    Now she has a checklist of what must be done.  Next she must organize her time to complete the work before Wednesday.  It will take hours.  It cannot all be left for Monday and Tuesday or the stress of procrastination will overwhelm her.  She is going to have to work on the weekend to move through the material, plan a PowerPoint presentation, and prepare information to be given to the middle school students.  This is real life learning at its finest.  I hope she will rise to the occasion and make herself and her director proud.

Places We Are Going and People We Are Seeing:  We have logged more miles on the odometer this week than we have in a long time!  We visited our friends at their farm while Grace was in her internship and had the pleasure of sharing a meal with them.  We were invited to other friends for the very first time.  There we sampled cupcakes from a new gluten free - vegan bakery that opened in their town and decided that LCC’s cupcakes are marketable.  Their cupcakes are every bit as good as those from a bakery. They just need to perfect their frosting!  The girls had basketball practice, but no games due to the snow.  They had piano, but guitar and writing group was cancelled (again the snow).  They went to their dog walking job and used the money to buy new Calico Critters which they have been sewing bedding and constructing furniture for.  

What We Are Reading:
Lilah and I have finished Wonder.  Lilah said it was the best book she has ever read.  Grace is almost 1/2 was through.....we have several events coming up in March based on this book.  I hope Greg will read it on the train once Grace is done because he will be coming with us to at least one of the events!

...and Grace finished her pajama pants!

Homegrown Learners


Karen said...

Another great week. I just imagine you all, hunkered down, with a roaring fire and all that snow. I hope you don't lose power either! I downloaded Wonder and was thinking of doing it for our read aloud. I am interested in what projects you have coming up for it?

The Kinetic creatures are so impressive. And Scratch! Keilee loves that and has used it for a few years. I love that Grace is doing so well in her internship and Lilah with her cupcakes. Isn't homeschooling just lovely? Stay warm friend!

Jessica said...

Did Keilee do the online tutorials to learn the program? Grace thinks it would be awesome to animate a tornado and have it teach about severe weather preparation......

The library is hosting several events for Wonder. They are having the author visit but I waited too long to sign up and am on the wait list. They are also doing readers theater and acting out the book. They are having a teen/tween book club on the book as well and an Instagram contest. I really enjoyed the book but Lilah enjoyed it more than I did.

We still have more clean up to do tomorrow..........

Jenn said...

Sounds like a wonderful week (as long as your power stays on;)We are enjoying your weather updates on Instagram. We've never seen such snow!

Love that your girls are such self starters and so passionate about following their interests:)

I need to check Wonder out from the library...thanks for the recommendation.

Jessica said...

They are not always such great self starters. I am going to have to push to get this work done even though it is her passion. She would like to do her internship and have fun hanging out with other people who love weather as much as she does but she would prefer it not being tied to "homework"!

We are thankful for the electricity, especially since it is going to be close to zero degrees tonight. But once the plows come through we are going to have even more work to do.....trying to stay positive though! At least our sidewalks and stairs are clear!

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