Weekly . . . no, make that monthly report
I hate Fridays! I need time after we’re done with school for the week to relax a little, put things away, process what we’ve accomplished and look ahead to the next week, and I just never seem to get that! We finish school (or just call it a day) and go, go, go for the rest of the weekend. Except for last Saturday, which had absolutely nothing on the calendar (so I did absolutely nothing that day!) our weekends for at least the last six have been packed! It’s nice to be busy, but I’d really like to get off this roller coaster (which shows no sign of stopping for at least two more weeks!)
I thought I’d better take a chance to write down some of what we’ve accomplished lately before I forget it entirely. We’re fighting spring fever around here and more often than not, are counting down the minutes until we’re free to head outside. There’s been a whole lot of biking, scootering, and hard playing going on in the lovely spring weather we’ve been having.
This week we also babysit an almost 4-year-old and an 17-month-old three mornings which totally wiped me out! The hardest thing was trying to keep two toddlers happy when one was definitely not happy to be sharing his toys, his bowls, his spoons, his cups, his mommy. You get the picture. There was hitting on all sides, although by Wednesday the 17-month-old just decided he’d squeal loudly if E got within two feet of him! Needless to say, school was disrupted! We watched more videos than we usually do though and really enjoyed David Macaulay’s Roman City after looking through the book. We also got a chance to meet my friend’s new dog that the boys are going to be taking for walks starting soon.
Here’s a rather wordy rundown of just how schoolwork has been going since the end of March (!) when I wrote my last report:
Reading with D is going just fine, but even after all these many months of reading, he still forgets the sound ‘i’ makes more often than not. We’ve covered all the silent letters (G before N, K before N, D before GE, L, B, H, U after G, GH, W) and have finally hit the R-changed vowels. I can finally see two-syllable words on the horizon!
Grammar: D is on track to finish First Language Lessons 1 and has been learning about abbreviations this month and is also working on memorizing the poem “Mr. Nobody.” C is working hard on First Language Lessons 3 and is more than half-way through, which is great, considering we didn’t start it until after Christmas. Right now he’s working on the preposition lessons, and recently learned how to diagram questions and commands. This optional assignment to draw prepositions was right up my little artist’s alley!
A continues to do the 4-step analysis of sentences in Practice Town (right now focusing on phrases) and is still working through Paragraph Town, although we don’t do half of the writing assignments. He has enough other writing that it’s kind of overkill, but I do like the book and it has given him some good things to think about when writing paragraphs.
Speaking of writing, C finished Writing with Ease 2! I feel like we’ve been stuck in that book forever! He’s done really well with the dictation assignments, but still has a hard time with spelling despite all the reading he is constantly doing. A is like me. He sees a word and remembers how to spell it. C’s brain just doesn’t work that way and we’ve kind of neglected spelling this year, but that is going to change. Here are his final two dictations:
D is on week 27 in Writing with Ease 1 and won’t quite finish before we’re done for the year, unless we speed things up a bit which is probably doable if I’d just sit down and put our plan into writing. A, on the other hand, is struggling with Writing with Skill. He’s only up to week 16 or so. We really like the assignments, but he is a reluctant writer and many of them take more than one day to accomplish (more than two days sometimes!) Our current plan is to set a timer for 30 minutes and he writes as much as he can, then picks it up again the next day. He has been incorporating some of the skills he’s learning in the writing he does for history though, so I do see some progress.
On the other hand, he’s excelling at Latin, which he mostly does on his own. He got 100% on a recent quiz:
C is also moving ahead in Latin. Last fall I tried to teach him about conjugating verbs, but it just wasn’t clicking, so we just worked on memorizing the vocabulary and chants instead. About a month ago, I could see that that was no longer enough, so we went back to the beginning of Latina Christiana and added all the conjugations and translations (declensions are coming up soon!) back in and he gets it! He even enjoys the Ludere Latine games and puzzles and I throw in extra practice sheets from the Memoria Press website. That was such a good idea. I struggle to teach him sometimes besides he’s such a different kind of learner from A. It’s fun to find something that works and that helps him feel like he is accomplishing something big.
Math is going great for A. He’s cruising along through Singapore 5B and seems to understand it all. Lately he’s been working on percents, ratio, and rate. C and D both took a break from Singapore in April to work on learning multiplication facts with the help of Memorize in Minutes: The Times Tables. It’s full of (honestly, really dumb) little stories to help you memorize the facts. We read the story, look at the picture, and it’s a visual reminder of what the answer is. Though some of the stories are kind of inane, it really works! It just drives me crazy because it’s an extra step before coming up with the answer, but we were having no success simply memorizing the facts. The boys like it though. I think one more week reviewing all the facts and we should move back into their regular books.
Science is once again the subject most likely to fall by the wayside (well, there’s art but it’s so far off the path we’ve completely forgotten about it whereas we at least try to do science.) A is working on invertebrates and in the whole month of April, C and D have only read about dolphins, whales, and farm animals for their lapbooks.
History is, of course, our favorite subject still. We’ve been reading about Ancient Rome for the past 6 weeks or so, although we don’t seem to do as much reading together as we used to. A and C take the library books I check out and kind of devour them on their own, and occasionally read to D. Here are a bunch of books they’ve been enjoying lately:
We’ve been reading about the Punic Wars, Julius Caesar, and Augustus Caesar most recently. A has had various writing assignments and is currently working on a biography of Julius Caesar. He also really loves doing mapwork.
C and D, not so much. We’ve done more mapwork orally after I look at directions which say something like, “Look at the map of Italy. Find Sicily and color it yellow” and decide it’s not worth two pieces of paper for that. We’ll just point to Sicily and call it good. They have colored pages though, done some mazes, given me some narrations, and made some more booklets for their lapbooks. (I figured I should show some of their work or one day they’ll ask why I never blogged about their work, when A’s 1st grade year had a weekly report with pictures every single week.)
We also made this awesome model of the Colosseum.
At history club they made mosaics. D made Hannibal’s elephant which he can’t find anymore (it’s a wonder I can ever find anything of his to document, we really need lessons on putting things where they belong!) C drew a Roman centurion but got caught up in drawing too many details to glue the mosaic pieces in place, and A did a mosaic of a Star Wars fighter. I think.
Because we had just talked about Hannibal, we made elephant ears (scones rolled in cinnamon and sugar) as a treat to take.
I can’t believe we only have 4 chapters left in Story of the World! We have 5 weeks of school plus a few more days to wrap things up before we call this year done! Amazing.