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Week 16

December 21, 2011

I’m finally sitting down to wrap up our final week of school for 2011.  Last week was incredibly busy, and I thought this week would slow down a bit.  But here it is Wednesday and I’m finally getting around to writing up the post I should have written last Friday.  Although I should add that last Friday my parents took DH and me to dinner and then to the Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert 9which was fabulous.)  Then Saturday we had tickets to the Utah Symphony Children’s Concert and the Spanish Branch A plays the piano for invited us to their Christmas party.  Sunday night we attended my parents’ chorale concert and Monday was my grandma’s family Christmas party.  In fact, yesterday was the first time in a week that we were all home to eat dinner together.  It was really nice!  We haven’t been that busy that many nights in a row for a long time.

As far as school was concerned, I was really glad that we only had a few things that really needed to be finished.  For as soon as we put up the Christmas tree last Monday night, the excitement level in the house went up quite a few notches and the boys had trouble settling down to work.  I had trouble settling down to work!  And being gone from home practically every single night really throws me off.  That’s my preparation and/or down time.  When I don’t get it, I get a little frazzled!

We had our boys’ book club meeting on Tuesday where we shared some favorite Christmas books and had treats.  We also had history club on Wednesday which had been postponed from a previous week because of sickness.  We didn’t really have a theme this month.  One mom brought a cute little menorah craft foam project.  Another mom made treasure rocks from sand, flour, and water, which had little treasures inside for the kids to excavate.  They thought that was pretty fun.  Then we had a feast with quite a few different dishes–lentils and rice, bread, hamentashen cookies, a dish called “tzimmes” with all kinds of fruits and veggies simmered together overnight, and we brought potato latkes and snickerdoodle cookies (which D insisted on after being overruled in favor of cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies for book club the day before.)  The latkes were a complete experiment on my part, but they turned out really yummyl.  I wish I’d taken a picture of them, or alternately the kitchen, which was a complete disaster afterwards from oil spattering everywhere to remains of two cookie baking sessions by the boys.  We were also running late and we’re pretty messy cooks as it is even when not in a hurry.

Also for history, we finished up our three weeks on ancient China.  We learned about silk, pictographs, the Great Wall, the Terra-cotta warriors, and Confucius, and read lots of Chinese folk tales.  For fun we ate Chinese food one night.

The older two boys learned about key word outlines in the Institute for Excellence in Writing program and rewrote paragraphs about the terra-cotta warriors for their notebooks.  A also wrote a paragraph about Confucius (which was more a listing of facts, he really has no idea how to write a cohesive paragraph I found out.)  C and D did narration pages on the Great Wall and some lapbooklets for each of the three SOTW chapters we read.

C also made a paper model of the Great Wall.

We finished up our human anatomy study by learning about the immune system.  C and D completed their lapbooks except for the five senses booklets that I cannot lay my finger on at the moment.  A completed his work, except for the final test.  He was supposed to take a mid-unit test, but due to my misreading the schedule and going out of order, he hadn’t studied everything on it until just a few weeks ago.  We’ve been so lax at memorizing things lately that I knew he wasn’t ready for parts of both the mid-unit and the final test and wasn’t sure how to get him back up to speed.  At this point in December, I didn’t want to push a big test on him, plus we were hardly home enough to prepare for and take a test.  Is that a copout?  Should I have him study and do the test in January?  I don’t know.  Studying for cumulative tests is kind of a new thing we’ve run into this year and I’m still trying to figure out how to help him do it.  Ideas would be appreciated.

We finished our paper bodies though.  Miscellaneous parts are still floating around here and have not been attached, but we’re finished.  The boys drew their faces and D’s especially is hilarious.  The one tooth look sure fits him right now as he has no front teeth to speak of!

Besides history and science (and the everpresent piano practice and scriptures), each of the boys finished up sections of their respective math books with a review at the beginning of the week, after which we called it done.  C practiced a little more cursive, D did a few reading lessons, and A finished Latin lesson 9.  I should say he attempted the lesson 9 quiz, finally, this Monday afternoon.  Oh, Latin!  He got exactly 50%.  He couldn’t remember more than 5 of the new vocabulary words and so couldn’t do more than half of the translations.  Everything he completed he got exactly right, so it’s not the grammar, it’s the vocab memorization.  He WILL be taking this quiz again.  Flashcards are at the top of the list come January!  This is the first quiz he’s done poorly on though, so I’m not that worried.    (And who am I to talk anyway–I’m still on chapter 3.)

This week we’re moving s l o w l y!  We’ve taken our time getting up in the mornings, the boys are playing Risk a lot, we’re baking a lot, and other than that, don’t have much planned.  I spent half the afternoon today curled up on the couch with a book.  It was so nice!  My calendar says we’ll be back at it January 2, but I think we’ll be easing back into school slowly after the holidays wind down.

Here are a few last pictures:

Somebody’s menorah craft next to our nativity:

Our Christmas tree (before the almost 2-year-old started rearranging things):

Three of the boys at the Symphony on Saturday with the Chihuly sculpture (which we thought needed a good dusting–wouldn’t you hate to have that job?!):

Merry Christmas to all of our weekly report friends.  See you in 2012!

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