February 17, 2013

Week Twenty Two Wrap-Up

We hope you had a wonderful Valentines's Day! I made heart hand pies for the boys and we topped it of with coconut cream YUM! We are in the throws of preparing for our Spring Break that will last three months. We will be doing school partly on the road as we travel about seeing family and friends. When you' all take a break for summer we will be getting back to the books. So if the postings are sporadic form here on out that is why. Now about this week.

Bible: 2 Peter with Dad over breakfast.

Latin: We are into Chapter 8 in our Minimus text book. Only 4 chapters left for this year, then we do a few weeks of review of the whole year and we will be onto Secondus.

Copy work: Max is still working through the Aesop's copybook and should be finished this week, so I have begun to review cursive with the twins. We began writing in cursive due to the fact that they all needed help with the left to right orientation of our English language. Then we learned print, so for the remainder of this year they will be doing cursive practice using some copy work booklets from Westvon Publishing.

Zak chose to copy sayings from the civil war, Tj chose sayings about pets, and Max chose to work on sayings about the solar system.

Primary Language Lessons: The boys have been preparing for dictation all week. Two chose to locate hard words in each sentence and copy those each three times each, and Zak preferred to simply copy the whole passage. Then they switched and did the opposite and so after three days of reading, copying and looking at the passage they were given dictation of it and they all did well. They corrected their own mistakes with a red pencil.

Mathematics: This is the second time we have gone through the Everyday Number Stories and on this pass through the material the boys noted for themselves how much better they understand the math. Yeah!

Art: We read Drawing With Scissors, a short book report on Henry Matisse, last week and so this week have been doing some of that....drawing with scissors.

Music: The boys have been doing some music appreciation, filling in of booklets about Robert Schuman for our composer lap books and listening to his lovely music as they play quietly.

Insects: We just completed our reading of The Tale of Daddy Longlegs by Arthur Scott Bailey. Now the boys have chosen to read.....We will decide today.

Nature Notebook:

Geography: The Young Carthaginian by G. A. Henty

History of Ancient Rome: We are reading and narrating through The Story of the Romans the story by Gruber and enhanced by Christine Miller.  We are almost done making our myth pockets. This week we put together two, one for Pandora's Box and another for The Race for Atlanta.

Stories of Faith: We are listening to Ben Hur: A tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Reading Practice: Elson Reader Book three

Bed time Read Aloud: The Secret Seven Adventure Collection by Eind Blyton


February 9, 2013

Week Twenty One Wrap Up

You may observe as you read more of this post that our schedule has shifted. Last week the boys had a go at rearranging the schedule for project day and as that went so nicely and I wanted to make a change to the existing schedule I let them have a go at that as well, in their free time. We went about it the same with with slips of paper with each lesson title on it and they each fashioned what they thought was the best of schedules. Then they each took turns explaining their schedule and answering questions we each had about it. Then since they were all so similar we talked about the benefits and draw backs of each one.
After that there was a little bit of rearranging of lessons and they glued down the pieces of paper to another and turned in their ideas to me.
I changed only one thing and asked that the reading lesson be at the end of the day and they all agreed my reason for it was a good one so it was established. They all wanted to get the work done before lunch and have the afternoon to be more laid back, so I was very happy with that. They decided to split up art and music so one day we have art before lunch and the next day we have music after lunch because we usually read or listen for those lessons. When we have a work type music lesson it gets put before lunch.My ideas was to put the work t the front of the day and all the reading aloud after lunch and to the end of the day. Cool thing was that the boys all wanted to do that too. However I took the risk of letting them come up with the idea on their own. Makes the transition easier when we all want it.

Now we have a new schedule which I think works so much better than our last one and it gives us a good new feeling right in the middle of the year which refreshes us all. The new schedule is as follows...

Bible: Finished reading through 1 Peter, Next week we are on to 2 Peter. (still over breakfast with Dad)

Latin: Making paper soldiers the templates are part of the Minimus teachers manual. Most of the week was spent learning to read the dialogue in Ch. 7 called Do As You Are Told!

Aesop Copy Work: Max has just a few more pages to go before he finishes up his Aesop's copywork book, Zak and TJ are both done and enjoying some free time as a result of their hard work.

Language Arts: From Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl we practiced how to write letters. We even made our own envelopes and stationary pages.

And we had a conversation about what various animals and plants do to prepare for winter. We focus mostly in this lesson on answering orally in complete sentences.

Then the next day we did a picture study lesson and used the discussion about it as a basis for writing a story using the picture as a prompt. Below is Zak's picture and story. The picture is from Living books curriculum Primary Language lessons Workbook which we use oft and on for these language arts lessons. However I was just at their site and found it not there. Cynce's Place has also made a lovely workbook too and at a better price. It can be found here.

Math: Every Day Number Stories by Emma Serl and once a week we do The Matrix.

Art: This week we finished up our Ode the Matisse Mural... YEAH!!!! and we read Matisse Drawing With Scissors


After lunch we read the following. Subjects with and astrix * were narrated.

Music: Robert Schumann And Mascot Ziff by Opal Wheeler

Science The Study of Insects: The Tale of Daddy Long Legs by Arthur Scott Bailey*

Geography: Our Little Carthaginian Cousin From Long Ago

Ancient Greece History: D'Auliers Book of Greek Myths*

Stories of Faith: Martyrs of the Catacombs Audio (this links to a free copy)

Reading Practice: Elson Reader Book Three. When they are through with this TJ wants to read Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff, Zak wants to read Twice Freed and Max wants to read Elson reader book four.

Piano Lesson with Dad

Bed Time Read Aloud: The Secret Seven Adventure Collection by Enid Blyton

Hope you have a good week!

February 3, 2013

Week Twenty Wrap-Up

Project Day, how it came about. This is something we started new this year, it is a way to have time for projects or lessons that take more than 20-30 min. to accomplish. Last year, I noticed that in many subjects the lessons the boys would benefit most from would involve lessons that took time. Lessons that gave them the space to think, create and then execute. I was very inspired by the bloggers Kim, Sara, and Tracy over at four& twenty and how they made this extra space in  their school days for creativity. After ruminating on the ideas from their blog posts I bought Kim's book Habits of Being. Inspired more I also bought one of their literature guides for Douglas Florian's books of poems. I came up with the idea of adding a day to our 5 day school week to practice doing this type of lesson. So our sixth day of the week has been project day ever since. Recently I found this fun book called Project Based Education which I have only just begun to read through, but so far I have found it useful to provide many very practical ideas of how to implement projects in any style of homeschool of classroom setting you have. I like this idea for I think structure is important for creativity and it is often misunderstood that creativity needs no limits however the limits appropriately set will allow a young creative person to really soar. It also prepares students to develop more skills towards a self education; meaning the child does the work of learning. On our project days I am handing to them little by little the reins of structures and let them make more decisions and have more time to follow them through.

This week we spent a good twenty minutes developing the schedule for the day. I gave them the subjects, some of which they had already helped me decide on, written on strips of green paper. I described what each lesson entailed so they could see how long or short each one was. They each were given a turn to arrange the subjects how they thought the day would go best, and in an orderly fashion the other two gave feedback. Responding in an "orderly" fashion was the difficult part of the exercise. (smile) In this way we talked through the benefits and disadvantages of each schedule. I was pleased to see they were already in a habit to arrange the work so that the hard work would be done first and then the easier lessons would follow. They also already knew it was best to stagger the work with hard lesson next to easy lessons so that they did not tire before the work was done. All in all it was a good exercise for them to think it all through. Here is the schedule they came up with and followed.

In the end the day went much smoother and quicker because the boys had a mental picture of how it would go, they had a say in the plan, and they owned it. The ownership aspect for them is very motivating, and I have seen them thrive knowing they have this amount of control over their education. As they grow and use it wisely they will be given more.

Bible: We are continuing our reading from 1st Peter over breakfast.

Stories of Faith: Martyrs of the Catacombs: A Tale of Ancient Rome Audio book.

Mathematics: Everyday Number Stories by Emma Serl.

Aesop Copy Work:

Ancient Greek History: D'Aulier's Book of Greek Myths

We added Mt. Olympus (the home of the gods) to our map.

Science the Study of Insects: The Tale of Kiddie Katydid by Arthur Scott Bailey

Nature Notebook:

Ha ha, Max drew his own thumb!

Geography: Our Little Roman Cousin from Long Ago

Language Arts: We completed our dictation exercise (PLL Lesson #47) and next week we will learning how to write letter. Looks like fun!

Reading Practice: Elson Reader Book Three. As we are getting closer to the end of this reader my mind began to think about what would be next. Although we do own book four it seemed like perhaps the boys would like to pick out a real book of their own to read. I proposed this idea to them and they were very enthusiastic! yeah! So soon the boys will get to have their pick. I am so curious what they will chose. I will put a bottom limit on their choice, nothing easier than this for example but I'll let them shoot as high as they want to. TJ already has a keen interest in Rosemary Sutcliff's book Outcast because he loves the character Beric so much. He is willing to read a page a day until he finishes it. We'll see what the other two decide.

Bedtime Read Aloud: Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Latin: Chapter 7 of Minimus we are working on reading and translating the dialogue entitled "Do as You're Told!" our grammar points this chapter include the command form of verbs.

Art: Ode to Matisse Mural still in progress.

Music: We have been enjoying Opal Wheeler's book about Robert Schuman.

I hope your week was as delightful as was ours!