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Week 19 and 20: Polar opposites, those two…

January 29, 2012

Last week was horrible.  Nothing went right.  I was stressed out.  Except for a good day on Tuesday, it was just one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weeks!

Then this week was amazing!  We checked almost everything off our lists.  Everybody worked hard and we saw results!  It was great!  It was actually the most productive week of school since I don’t know when–October?  Plus the house is clean!  (Well…cluttered, but clean.)

And both weeks were concert weeks, which meant I was gone three nights each week with rehearsals and concerts. So I can’t explain what the difference was.  I always expect a few bad days here and there, but I don’t think I’ve ever had two such opposite weeks in a row.  I just hope this next week isn’t a letdown!

History (as usual) was the highlight.  I’ve noticed that I haven’t been doing nearly as many projects as I did the first time we went through ancient history, probably because most of them feel like repeats for A and C, plus I’m putting a bigger emphasis on reading and writing this time around.  But we’ve been reading about the Minoans and the story of Theseus and the Minotaur this week, so I let them build a labyrinth from the blocks and bricks.  They had hours of fun with that thing!  I think all of our animals counters made their way through the maze at some point.

Last week we went out of chronological order a bit and read the Story of the World chapter about the Nazca and the Olmecs before we went to history club.  We watched some short videos online about both and then for an art project, we drew lines like the Nazca with white crayon on white paper (so we couldn’t see the picture during the process, just like the Nazca could never see the huge line drawings they made in the earth) and then they painted over it in watercolors, revealing their pictures.  Of course, they didn’t draw anything remotely resembling the Nazca drawings.  A drew a cruise ship and C drew a battleship in stormy waters.  I’m not sure what D actually drew, he was having a bad attitude about the whole thing.

Aside from the usual mapwork, timeline, and reading, A also did a keyword outline paragraph about the Minoans.  We also read part of a book about the mystery of Atlantis.  C and D completed a Theseus maze for their lapbook and watched a cartoon version of the story.  I think we forgot the lapbook part for the ancient Americas last week (among other things we never got to.)

History club was kind of a Chinese New Year celebration, even though we talked about India and America too.  After our presentations, the kids painted Chinese characters, did some origami, ate with chopsticks, and got bamboo plants to bring home.

For science, A covered reptiles and birds.  For his experiment this week, he had lots of fun trying out different beaks (pliers, eye dropper, tweezers, chopsticks) with different foods (seeds, raisins, bread, peanuts, sugar water, gummy worms.)  He also labelled a sketch of a bird skeleton and one of reptile scales.

We’ve completely neglected the memory work for this science unit, but everything else is getting done and I think this is probably the first time we haven’t been woefully behind on science at this point in the school year!  So I’m not stressing about memory work that’s not happening.

C and D are still learning about mammals for their science lapbook.  We’ve covered foxes, giraffes, and camels recently.  We watched some fun videos at National Geographic about giraffes and also read a fabulous book called Chee-Lin about a giraffe in the 1400s who ended up in China.  And we learned that llamas and camels are related.  I never knew that!

Some of the recent books and videos:

Math: A has been doing some sections in Challenging Word Problems 4 for a change of pace, but as they no longer line up with his regular book, today he went back to Singapore 5A for the ratio section.  C is finishing up the final review in the 2B textbook and does really well as long as you sit next to him and redirect his attention to his work.  He’s a daydreamer, especially when it comes to math.  D is working on the money section in 2B.

Latin: C is memorizing words from lesson 11 and A took his lesson 10 quiz today and got 100%.

Language Arts: All three boys did a full week’s work in either Writing with Ease or Writing with Skill.  A did some sentence analysis in Practice Town and we read through another lesson in Paragraph Town and even read the next lesson in Caesar’s English, which we have neglected for the past several months.  We didn’t get to poetry however, as DH got the afternoon off today and Daddy time was more important than poetry.

C began First Language Lessons 3 with me last week and is up to lesson 8 and so far we both like it.  A did Growing with Grammar in 3rd grade which was very independent and workbooky, but he liked it and seemed to retain it well.  C is a different creature however, and needs the repetition of FLL.  This week we’ve been memorizing the pronouns.  D has also been learning pronouns in First Language Lessons 1 and is almost halfway through the book.  He’s also moving along in his reading book.

We also have a copywork project going that both A and C worked on this week.  C has also been working on letter P in cursive.

And we did art!  We never do art and we did two projects this week!  Besides the Nazca lines piece, I also started using Evan Moor’s How to Teach Art to Children and we learned about horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines in the first quick little lesson on Monday.  I’ve wanted this book forever and finally just bought it.  And I like it!  I’m excited for the lessons coming up.  Art may happen from now on.  I also ordered another art/music/architecture/drama curriculum.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.  I don’t know what’s up with all the art curriculum lately.  Maybe I’m really feeling guilty about the lack of it in our lives the past couple of years or something!

And music too!  D started his final semester of Kindermusik this week and got out the recorder to add to his glockenspiel and dulcimer.  I can’t believe it’s his last semester.  Well, mostly I’m still having a hard time believing he’s already seven!  It also means next fall will be the first time in 6 years I won’t have to drive out to a late afternoon lesson!  Now that’s exciting.  I hate driving in rush hour traffic, even if only once a week for that class.  A and C missed out on piano because their teacher is on a cruise to the Panama Canal right now.  But all four boys came to my orchestra’s children’s concert last week and then A and C came again tonight when we accompanied some local concerto competition winners.

We’re behind on our literature lists, but A did read Middleworld this week which had some ties to ancient America.  We’ve been listening to How to Train Your Dragon books in the car and need to start The Invention of Hugo Cabret for our next book club meeting in a few weeks.

I feel sure I’m missing something very important here, but this is more than wordy enough, so I’ll just say, “Happy Weekend!”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2012 8:04 pm

    Yah! for the good week. I think the good weeks help us along through the bad ones. Your Minoan maze looks like lots of fun. And your history club sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. January 30, 2012 9:02 am

    I always feel satisfied with our week when we’re able to get music and art done on top of all the other things. Sounds like you had a great week where you accomplished a lot!

  3. Emily S. permalink
    January 31, 2012 10:30 pm

    I have no idea how you get it all done! You’re amazing!

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