Did you hear that? That was me, heaving a huge sigh of relief that as of 1:15 Friday afternoon, we have officially finished six weeks of school. Actually, adding in the extra days we did in July, we have forty days of school under our belts. And with that, we begin our six weeks break! We’re trying something different this year–we’re taking a week off every six weeks or so, to give us time to catch our collective breath and work on some around-the-house projects. I usually get a little antsy when we go for too long without a schedule, but I’m hoping that one week will be just the right amount of time to let me do some of those little things that keep nagging at me, like cleaning out the refrigerator.
In my life this week… I’m still working on figuring out how to balance it all. 😉 I mentioned in last week’s post that things are changing around here, and that the change will have a huge effect on our schedule. Last weekend I started a new job that took me out of the house all weekend. I’m working in one of the libraries at my university alma mater. I’m thankful for a job working in a library again, and to have a job that (so far!) melds with our family schedule. But like I said, I’m still working on balancing it all. . .
In our homeschool this week…
Circle time: We finished learning, more or less, Psalm 1 (KJV) and the hymn “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want.” (True confession: I’ve never been so glad to be finished wtih a hymn! Now we just have to sing it to review. . . ) Lulu has “Some One” by Walter De La Mare tucked into her memory, and Louise knows “The Months” by Christina Rossetti almost perfectly. We’ll start on new selections after our break. During circle time this week we read the following books, all of which related to our history studies:
Language & writing: Lulu’s language lessons this week have been about linking verbs. She enjoyed making sentences with them. Another true confession: I’m a little embarrassed to admit how much basic grammar I’ve forgotten (and yes, I used to teach English for a living). It’s true–use it or lose it. Ah, I’m glad I’m getting to use it again! 🙂
Lulu finished week three of Writing With Ease level two. Both girls also began making a copywork booklet using Rossetti’s “The Months” (instead of the adapted poem assigned in First Language Lessons).
Math: Lulu completed lessons 19-22 in RightStart level B. She has worked on mentally adding two digit numbers and solving some puzzles requiring mathematical thinking. She completed timed addition practices on several days, and over all her time improves with each practice! We played a math game every day this week (or at least I think we did), mostly skip counting memory. We’ve abandoned Math Mammoth, it seems, for the time being, because Lulu simply could not do the time-telling exercises independently, and I haven’t the time to sit with her and do it, so it has been shelved. I’ve seen a thread or two over at WTM forums in which MM users have discussed the difficulty of the clock problems, so I might just skip over those since my main goal for using MM is independent reinforcement.
Louise completed lessons 57-59 in RightStart level A, as well as a couple of addition pages in Math Mammoth. We’ve finally begun calling the teens their regular names, instead of their math/Asian names and Louise is very, very glad. 🙂 Things are going along swimmingly for Louise in math. The hardest thing she had to do this week is figure out what number is next in a series of numbers. This still gave her problems, even after I explained it to her, but I know enough about RS math now to know that it’s something she will see again and again and again. We’re also beginning to see the benefit of using the same program for both girls–Louise has been exposed to the RS math games enough now that she’s picking up on things that are really over her head in terms of her age. She played skip counting memory with Lulu at the end of week. She used a set of cards that she knows already (tens, I think), while Lulu worked on something a little trickier (sevens or nines). It will be a great day when they can play games like this together consistently!
History: We covered all of chapter six and most of chapter seven in SotW volume two this week. I usually shoot for one chapter a week, but since we’re breaking after this week and both chapter six and seven are about Islam, I wanted to lump them together. The girls did narrations and most days, which I took dictation on and they filed in their history notebooks. (I should clarify that I only require Lulu, resident second grader, to do a formal narration. I take one from Louise if she wants to give one, and I always give her the option of simply drawing a picture, especially because she LOVES to draw.) The girls also did one map and one activity page from the activity guide. I also made a little progress in getting our timeline up on the wall: currently we have a long line of red paper strips, attached end-to-end, and a picture of Muhammed. That’s it. If you have pictures of timelines, links to resources, or any timeline hints, please, do share! At the rate I’m going, we’ll be working on modern history by the time I get our timeline up.
Handwriting: Both girls worked on pages in their Getty-Dubay handwriting books, and toward the end of the week they both did copywork in the aforementioned poetry book. Lulu, of course, does more writing because she also does dictation with WWE, and when she finishes a new-to-her chapter book, she adds it to her booklog. (This week she was all about re-reading old favorites, so I think it was Saturday morning before she added anything to her log.)
Louise completed lessons 84-86 in OPGTTR this week, which begins a new section in the book. She’s working on learning that ai and ay make the long-a vowel sound, and while the reading is hard work for her, she perseveres and is so pleased with herself when we conquer another lesson. I tend to make this the last thing we do each day, when she would probably be better served if we did it first. I need to think about that.
I had Lulu read aloud several Aesop’s Fables this week, and she worked on things like slowing down, pronouncing her words clearly, and reading every word (which she tends not to do in her haste). She’s working her way (reluctantly, I might add) through The Door in the Wall, and she has expressed her distaste for it often enough that I began to wonder if perhaps it is too difficult for her, so I had her read sections of it aloud to me. Her ability to do this well and the oral narrations I’ve required of her have convinced me that yes, she understands it fine, and no, I don’t need to ditch the assignment for something easier. She just has to buckle down and do it. 🙂
This week’s Fun Friday was a Fine Arts & Nature Study Friday. Oh, and we finished Hans Brinker! Actually, I was determined to finish Hans Brinker, and if we got nothing else done on Friday, I would’ve been satisfied! (Come back on Read Aloud Thursday this coming week to read my thoughts about this classic piece of children’s literature.) Our nature study consisted of looking for leaf-miners and leaf-rollers around our neighborhood, which I’ll report on in an upcoming Outdoor Hour Challenge post, so stay tuned. The girls made paintings for their nature journals while we listened to one of Vivaldi’s oboe concerto. They also played a game of skip counting memory (together! –see above). I had hoped to get to a little artist study, too, but alas, Hans Brinker took too long. We ended the afternoon with rest time (of course!) that was shortened by a visit from my mom and nephew, who was anxious to show the girls his newly acquired musical instrument–the tuba, which he’s playing for his first year in middle school band. 🙂 After a trip to the local high school’s homecoming parade to watch my other nephew march with the middle school marching band, our weekend had officially begun.
Places we’re going …
Both girls started ballet this week. This means that we have out-of-the-house activities three consecutive days each week. I think I might be at my limit. 🙂
We also made a trip to two different libraries, which is truly one of my favorite things to do. I love that the girls go right in, pick up a book, and start reading. One of the libraries even has all kinds of technological gadgetry for the kids to use–video games and whatnot–and my girls still head for the books. I think this is a testimony to the enduring allure of books and the effects of a steady diet of good literature, and it makes me very, very happy.
My favorite thing this week was… Finishing Hans Brinker (!!!) and witnessing my girls’ excitement over ballet.
We’re reading… I finished (and LOVED) So Brave, Young, and Handsome, so be looking for a review of it soon. I’m currently reading Noel Streatfield’s Thursday’s Child, but I have Brian Selznick’s new book, Wonderstruck, waiting in the wings. I’ve read nothing but rave reviews about it, so I’m eager to start it.
I’m undecided about what our next read-aloud chapter book will be. I ordered Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace to have it to read for this year’s challenge, so I might just go ahead with it.
As I mentioned earlier, Lulu has been re-reading old favorites this week. She has read several My America books, one of the Tumtum and Nutmeg stories, and I’m not really sure what else. After our library visit on Friday, she completed a new Boxcar Children book–The Hockey Mystery. After reading this post of Stephanie’s, I’ve planted some Dick King-Smith books and a Nancy Drew mystery in our library basket in hopes of introducing and hooking her on some new authors for her free-time reading.
What’s working/not working for us… Fitting in exercise (for me and them). We took walks after piano practice but before starting school two mornings this week, and while I love doing that and recognize its value, it also frustrates me to not begin school on time. Short of surviving on less sleep, I don’t know how to remedy this situation. How do you do it?
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have… Spelling and science (and Latin, too, but it’s barely on my radar right now) still haven’t made the lineup, but I plan to start with them when we resume school after our break. Most days are full with what we already do, so I’m a little concerned about what this is going to do to our already busy schedule.
I’m also not feeling the love for history right now. Maybe it’s the subject matter, but I’m feeling the need to make history more hands-on somehow. The best part of history, at least from my perspective, is the picture books and chapter books we read during circle time or for our read-alouds, not the formal history we do. Sometimes I wonder if I should just ditch it for a while and follow the girls’ interests more. Coming up on Thanksgiving and Christmas always makes me want to do fun stuff, something sort of unit study-ish. Really, how can I go wrong, with the girls as young as they are?
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