Friday, September 13, 2013

School Week 2

Although our days are not always filled with J.O.Y., we are doing well, learning lots and mostly enjoying school time.

This week we focused in on some topics in Rome during the first century.  The big boys got to pick a couple topics they were interested in...I put on my teacher hat and devised an assignment and rubric (by which to grade the assignment)-then I put my mom hat on and helped them find some material by which to learn these materials.  They will be actually filling out the assignment with less of my help.  I found an awesome website for kids about Rome and they were able to find the topics they wanted to study.   They found a game called "Fling the Teacher" where by answering correctly question about Rome, they can build a trebuchet to "fling the teacher"  (It isn't just a clever name).  This was the best and most fun we've had with History in our homeschool career-please please please let it continue.  Here are pics of their completed projects.

In science this week, we started our "ocean boxes" which are long term dioramas we will add to as we learn more about the oceans of the world.  Each child has their own in a medium flat rate box from the post office.  I hope we don't wish we'd done one big "classroom" one.  We were supposed to do an experiment but I didn't have any food coloring (nasty stuff) so we'll do it on monday after I've made a trip to the store.

A is doing US geography (my plan was to do it with both older boys but it is too much for M) and A did a great job looking up the info he needed to find for the 2 states we're covering this week...Maine and Massachusetts.   He says this is his favorite subject!  YAY! I am proud of his willingness to work independently this year.....and it gives me hope for the others.  I'm guessing M (and the others) will be more interested when we "eat" our way thru some of the states.  :)

G is plugging away at reading still.  He is my first to really struggle with reading.  We've switched programs and are trying "Hooked on Phonics"  We'll see how it goes long term.  So far so good.  He is also learning about tally marks and, although he can count them, was having trouble making them and keeping it neat enough to keep track of what he'd done.  So, we busted out some tooth picks and he is doing it that way.  Works great!  And since we are having such difficulty with reversals (d/b mostly) we got out some rice to practice writing letters in....and his handwriting is improving as well.  SCORE!  I'm doing some more research on how to work with reversals with young kids.  It is perfectly normal but he gets frustrated and if we can find a way to make it easier then lets get on it.  :)

M has been very stressed about school work this week.  One morning while getting ready to start keyboarding he started saying he was dizzy and his eyes kinda got funny looking.  He was so anxious about it I think he was hyperventilating and gonna pass out.  As soon as I said "forget it, no more keyboarding till at least after Christmas at the very soonest," he was fine!  He is clearly not yet ready for keyboarding (I thought he would like it cause he HATES writing things out and holds the pencil SO tight that his hands hurt but he is only in 2nd grade so it most definitely NOT necessary).

L is going to be a READER!  She wants me to read books ALL the time.  I read to her at least an hour a day (broken up into 15-20 minute slots).  We read at school time, before nap time, and before bed time almost every day.  And sometimes she gets the boys to read to her too.  During school time she has been a bit of a handful but she is learning the routine.  She plays with rice, or with blocks, and loves to cut and color.  We have to sweep after school every single day....and sometimes midway thru too.  But she is happy, learning, and messes can always be cleaned up.  :)

We also started our extra-curriculars this week.  (Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers do not lack socialization if you mean the opportunity to socialize with others-hopping off soap box).

We are all (except the Princess who is not big enough) taking Tai Kwan Do at a local community college.  Our teacher is great and it is a very traditional approach.  Respect for teacher and others in authority.  We will not do weapon training and won't start breaking boards till red belt level.  He does not create fighting machines.  I am thrilled with his approach to teaching martial arts (although I have nothing else to compare to).  He was great with the kids.  Instead of registering them in the kids only class, we all registered for the kids/adult class and they will get to interact with kids around their ages (or slightly older in G's case) AND the adults in the class (the adults were much more friendly to tell the truth).  It was great fun and we can't wait to go back next week.  Maybe after a few weeks the "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" will carry over into home.  (a homeschool mom can dream right?)  (no pics cause I was in class too).

A and I started drum and guitar lessons (respectively) this week as well.  A totally ROCKED it.  I was so impressed.  He got the both hands and his foot going and all on the right beat.  However, it is going to be VERY hard for him to practice on his practice pad....anybody got a small (and cheap) drum set they wanna get rid of???   I am going to really like guitar although I had a harder time than he did (oh learn while young and its easy people).  I learned all the chords for one song and am practicing them.  But the biggest challenge I think is going to be building up the callouses so my fingers don't feel like they have blisters on them.  But I'll get there.  I like it.

Now for pictures.

A needs to really master his multiplication tables (up to where he is now) before we move on.  He is practicing with wrap ups to get faster.

G is using toothpicks to practice tally marks and counting by fives.

L reading another book

A gets to use the ipad to look up his geography information....maybe this is why its his favorite subject :)

Since G is having trouble with letters....we are practicing them in rice with his finger, and then with a pencil eraser.  It is helping.  woot woot

Making our ocean boxes.

Working on column addition with double digits.  I think we had a lightbulb moment.  YAY!  I love being able to hold up when a child is struggling and find a "non-traditional" way to help him get it.  So much fun to be a part of the lightbulb moment.

Busted out the projector  to make our Roman Soldier  posters.  We projected them on to the paper and and traced the outline and then used it to label and define all his armor.
Finished Roman Soldier Art.  You can't see the labels but all the armor is labeled.  They did a GREAT job!  So proud!

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