Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Back at it

After a much-needed two weeks off for Christmas break, we jumped right into our first week of 2nd semester. Attitudes were good and a lot was accomplished! I was so glad to be back to a routine.

Brynne ~ 1st Grade

I decided to have a little more structure to Brynne's curriculum for the rest of the year, since it looks like homeschooling her isn't a phase and will more than likely be a permanent thing.

The 3 R's are going great! She is just reading like a maniac, doing so awesome! In addition to work pages I have added some more hands-on math (as part of our Bird study) which she really seems to be enjoying! Writing is where I am putting in the most new emphasis. I want her to be writing every day! We even started dictation, which she took to easily.

Reading her daily Tanglewood School Curriculum Really Reading page

Egg shape matching



Addition and subtraction problem egg matching


Filling egg cartons with noodles counting by 2's, 5's and 10's

In History we have started reading Meet Josefina from the American Girl series, so our focus will be Spanish Americans living in the early 1800's, and even learning some Spanish words. She watched a video called The Spanish and Colonial Santa Fe from the Colonial Life for Children series produced by Schlessinger Media. Our public library has this series, and we have watched more than one of the videos.

For Science we are doing a Bird study called For the Birds. You can join in on the fun if you want. So far it has been really fun! I can't believe how in-tuned it has made us to the birds around us. We talk about it all the time! You can go here to read about our first week's activities and here to see what we will be doing this next week.


Doing egg identification using Bird Eggs by Helen Frost. The Barbies were helping, too.


My favorite moment from this week ~ We were reading our letter-of-the-week books, on the letter "J". In one book it explained that in Spanish the "J" sounds like an "H". Later in the week when we started reading Meet Josefina, I was pronouncing her name with a "J" sound. Brynne said, "Isn't Josefina Spanish? ... Shouldn't her name sound like 'Hosefina'?" I said, "I don't know." And in the front cover of the book it explained that her name was really pronounced 'Hosefina'. The student became the teacher.


Dawson ~ 8th Grade

Dawson is kind of in a state of flux because he is very torn about whether he wants to go back to public school next year. If you recall, homeschooling was primarily his idea in the first place. If he's going back to school, we need to make some slight adjustments to his curriculum for the remainder of this semester. I think he changes his mind every day. So, for now, we'll just keep doing what we are doing.

Our A World of Adventure curriculum has us still studying Ancient Rome. Neither Dawson nor I are really enjoying it much. It's so much like Ancient Greece, and there aren't a lot of projects to do that we haven't already done. It just seems like more of the same. The Ancient Romans were such copycats! Dawson will be doing an egg shell mosaic this week, though, so that should be cool. We are enjoying reading The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.

For Science, the focus is Earth Science. Dawson has studied rocks and minerals, and even collected some rocks from the bluff behind our house and then evaluated them using the Moh's Hardness Scale and charting luster, texture and other factors. We discussed earthquakes and volcanoes. This week we will do some experiments. I checked out a book from the library called Geology Projects for Young Scientists by Bruce Smith and David McKay that has some great hands-on projects. Dawson even gets to cook a volcano pie.


The preparations for his egg shell mosaic


Last semester Dawson completed Life of Fred: Fractions and is now about a third of the way through Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents. He still really enjoys this curriculum. By the end of the school year I want him to have completed Decimals and Percents and Pre-Algebra. I want him ready for 9th grade Algebra, in case he ultimately decides to go back to public school.

Also last semester, I basically just gave him participation points for his work in typing and Spanish. Both online curriculums do give percentage grades for work completed. Although he always does his work in both subjects without any trouble, I wanted him to really take them more seriously the rest of this school year. So, his grades will be based on the percentages given by the programs.

My favorite moment from this week ~ I had a couple, both related to reading. At the end of a chapter of The Bronze Bow, Dawson looked at me and said (with concern in his voice), "What's going to happen to Leah now?" It was the end of the chapter so I said, "We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out." He said, "Man, that stinks." And then I had checked out a novel from the library for him to read called Earthquake Terror written by Peg Kehret. He didn't want to read it. But I told him he didn't have a choice. After he read just the first two chapters he came downstairs and, with enthusiasm, told me about what had happened so far in the book. Ha! I love it when he's interested in what we are reading.

There are so many great homeschooling families out there. You can go see what some of them are doing by visiting Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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