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Weekly Report 9, 10

November 9, 2010

Amidst Halloween craziness and general life stress the past few weeks, we have actually been doing some good schoolwork.  But if I wait another week to write it all out, I’ll never remember it all.  So here is what we’ve been up to the past two weeks.

Highlights:  C finished Writing with Ease 1! He passed the end evaluation just fine, but in looking at vol. 2, I’m not sure he’s ready for the dictation in it.  His copywork is beautiful and he has no problems narrating, I’m just worried about dictation with this child.

Highlight for D: After finishing the first Explode the Code primer two weeks ago, he just finished the second and third ones!  In only two weeks!  Something clicked in his brain finally and he sped right through them.  That was the first thing he sat down to every morning whether I asked him to or not.  Reading is coming along swimmingly as well.  He loves to play his phonics concentration game, although he always rigs it so he can spell the words mom and dad first of all.

Highlight for E: He turned 10 months old last week and finally mastered crawling up on his hands and knees (as opposed to the low belly army crawl.)  Although that skill is rather superfluous now since he also mastered cruising around the furniture last week.  He knows where he wants to go and can get there fast!  I can barely keep up.

I don’t know that there were necessarily any highlights for A, he continues to be a great student and is quick to learn and do what I ask.  He enjoyed coming to my orchestra concert last Saturday and loves his piano lessons.  He is filling in at Primary for prelude music as the Primary pianist is also the ward organist and can’t get down to Primary early.  He defines his responsibility as “helping everyone be more reverent.”  He received his science belt loop at cub scouts and is this close to receiving his Bear.

Other schoolwork:

History: Oh, we covered a lot of information.  We’re going through Story of the World and the new Time Traveler CD that covers American history from the transcontinental railroad through the Great Depression.  So in the past two weeks we’ve read about France’s political history in the 1800s, the Second Reich, Prussia, Bismarck, and Wilhem II (now I finally know why the Third Reich was the third reich!), the transcontinental railroad, Seward’s Folly, the great Chicago Fire, and the Chicago world’s fair.  We did the SOTW mapwork and made two little books about Alaska and the railroad for a new extended lapbook project.

Math: We’ve taken a break from formal math for a few weeks.  The boys have been working on math fact drills every day and before Halloween they did a variety of math worksheets for a change in pace: number sequencing, find the missing digits, magic squares, and Halloween story problems and patterns.

Language Arts: We are loving our new language arts curriculum.  I’ll have to write a separate post about that some time.  We’ve finished the grammar book and A has moved on to the sentence analysis book.  I think it’s a little over C’s head so he’ll probably repeat Grammar Island next year.  For now we do the vocabulary and poetry books together.  In vocabulary, we learned the RE- stem and they’ve been noticing many re- words everywhere lately.  We also learned about similes.

We remembered to do spelling again.  A is up to day 55 in Sequential Spelling.  I tried the same book with C, but he needs something easier.  He is a fantastic reader, but the opposite skill of spelling the words himself is really throwing him for a loop.  I need to ponder my options here.

Latin: We haven’t done much Latin lately.  C has been reviewing the vocabulary from the first five lessons, and A finally finished lesson 11 and has yet to start 12.

Science: We talked about transition metals, copper specifically, and (of course!)went to the world’s largest open pit copper mine for a field trip. It was great. It was freezing!  But we had a good time.  They especially loved the big tire that is from one of the dump trucks used in the mine.

We tried a copper plating experiment with lemon juice, a nail, and pennies, but it didn’t turn out quite like we’d hoped.

Five in a Row: We (finally!) finished rowing Warm as Wool. I felt like we never got around to doing it, but in checking back in the manual, we’ve talked about every subject.  The conversational aspect is one thing I love about FIAR.  The boys have learned so much just from talking about the books we read.  So we learned about book jackets, title pages, similes, log cabins, pioneer life, sheep, covered wagons, and banjo music (and listened to some great clips on YouTube.)  D copied the title and made a little cardboard log cabin from our church history unit.

***Imagine a photo of all the great books we read here.***

(I swear I photographed them before they went back to the library!)

Memory: We were working on “Oh Captain, My Captain” which we’ve decided is really hard.  We’ve finally gotten the first stanza memorized but I think we’re going to move on now.

Literature: We are listening to Heidi right now and the boys love it!  I wasn’t sure they’d like a “girl” book, but they ask for it the second we start up the car.


I’m really glad I wrote that all out.  When it feels like things have been crazy and not very productive, it’s really nice to see what did get accomplished aside from cub scout pack meeting, my students’ cello recital, my orchestra concert (and all attendant rehearsals and late-night practices), a family party, a trunk-or-treat, trick-or-treating at DH’s work, another family party: “Thanksgiving dinner on Halloween,” a (still) clogged bathroom sink and potential major pipe replacement, a dead car battery, a few (20?) new gray hairs, and oh, let’s see what else have we been up to?

Pumpkin carving:

They were ready to tackle this completely on their own, which I was more than happy to see except that it involved sharp objects and lots of pumpkin goo that they didn’t want to touch.  So I was deeply involved in that little activity after their initial enthusiasm.

I think it was make a funny face with your pumpkin day.

And last, but not least we had a broadcast Stake conference in the conference center downtown.  I love these as they’re the only time our entire family can go to the conference center.  (General Conference is for 8 years old and up only.)  It was a lot noisier that way, but it was nice to be there as a family.

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