Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ No Clownin' Around!

Well, this week went soooooo much better! Our curriculum changes were exactly what we needed! We are back to our kind of groove now.

Dawson ~ 9th Grade

Let's start with Biology. There was an instant difference when we changed to studying The Way Life Works. On the very first day, Dawson read about the similarities of different animals. He went to a recommended website to just explore for a bit and look at some of the similarities. I decided not to give him any guidance, but to just let him dig and follow his own path.

He came upon a portion of the website that had different animal sounds. When he got to the coyote calls, he started to notice some reactions out of Crusoe, his dog. When he pulled up a sound bit of coyotes whining, Crusoe got really upset and starting whining, too. Dawson was fascinated with it. He then pulled up sounds of birds. Although Crusoe obviously heard the sounds, he didn't react the way he did when the coyotes whined. He pulled up the coyote sounds again, and Crusoe started whining and then barking and then howling and got frantic and wanted to go outside. The other dogs followed suit and within seconds they were all running and barking and howling.


On the second day of Biology, he read two pages and said, "this is really cool ....". It was something said by a real scientist. I told Dawson we would be reading essays from famous scientists. He liked that idea.

On the second and third days of Biology, Dawson did some virtual cell activities, answered a worksheet and sketched animal and plant cells. He said cells are boring. So next week he is going to make a cell in the shape of a pizza (either animal or plant) and the other in the shape of a chocolate chip cookie. He did his shopping today for his ingredients for his edible cells. His worksheet he did this week was done completely with well-thought out answers AND he took two days to do it and did it right. I even gave him an extra day to do it because he asked for more time. It must not have been that boring!)

Dawson also started back with Life of Fred  for Algebra. **Smile**. Easy going. Stress free. And confidence was built.

Guitar lessons resumed on Monday. Several times this week I would hear him upstairs practicing his guitar. I have never had to ask him to practice.

I'm just loving how things are going. Because we are now not using any scheduled texts, we have the freedom to work at Dawson's desired pace and allow him to explore and dig as deeply as he wants into his subjects. More than once this week we extended lessons an additional day so that the full extent and intent of the material could be absorbed.

He has followed my Schedule all week, for the most part, instead of doing all of his easy work in the mornings and saving all his heavy-headed subjects for the end of the day. I told him it would be a little experiment. And he's been completely done with school by 2:00 or 2:30 p.m. every day this week, and starting right at 9:00 a.m. With a lunch break, he's working hard and getting everything done in about 4 to 4 1/2 hours.


Brynne ~ 2nd Grade

Another great week for Brynne! This week we needed to get caught up on some Science, so I didn't plan any states studies. At the beginning of the week, Brynne asked, "What state are we learning about this week?" I told her we weren't doing any this week. She said, "Oh, man!"
Well, our states study is apparently working!

In Science, we had fun! We concentrated on the Circulatory and Digestive systems. Brynne sewed a heart to add to her life-size Brynne. She got in some fine motor skills, home economics, and science, all in one lesson.


When we were adding blood vessels to her life-size Brynne (and she was specifically adding some small ones to the fingers), she said, "If I didn't have phalanges, I wouldn't be able to pick anything up." My husband said he doesn't think he really knew what phalanges were until he was in college. I think maybe I really learned about them when I was preparing these lessons for her.

Something really fun we did in our study of the Digestive System was to use our Digestor Inspector. You'll have to check back on Sunday to find out what that is all about. Ooooooooh! Grooooooosssss!

Her reading ability astonishes me! She is reading small chapter books now, and really getting into the plots. Sometimes I hear her giggling from the other room when she is reading. And I find her looking like this ...


Additionally Brynne played lots of Old Maid, did some really good nature drawings of weeds, and learned about measurement in math.



And, of course, we did some awesome art out of The Usborne Treasury of Art. This week Dawson and Brynne learned about Picasso and made clown collages with a cubism look to them.

Dawson's collage. The background was painted the day before.

Brynne did her painting all by herself, and chose all of her papers and fabric for her collage. But when it was time to cut and paste, she had one of her frequent bloody noses. So, I helped her finish.

Today we ended our week with our weekly Co-op activities. Brynne had Zumbatonic and Choir. Dawson and I taught our Continent Crossers class (a class of ten kids who are 6th grade and older). We then went grocery shopping. I told Dawson that, although, he typically does not do book school on Fridays, he has FTA (Future Teachers of America .. our version) and Life Skills class. He gets a huge education with me while we are at Co-op and running errands.  How many teenage boys are doing that kind of thing with their mom these days?

See what other exciting things home educated families are doing by visiting Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

5 comments:

  1. I adore the artwork - great idea. I am glad to hear that you found a Biology curriculum that works well for you. My husband and my teenage son do the bulk of the grocery shopping - I think it's good for teenage boys to do that sort of thing! Have a great next week!

    Samantha

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  2. I am so glad to hear Dawson had a breakthrough with Biology! Awesome art work too :)

    I love the story about the dogs whining. My boys like to make our dogs go crazy by....... MEOWING!! LOL

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  3. I love reading your wrap-ups. I like seeing how you fit their schooling to their needs but still expecting high quality of work from them. I especially love their art work and the nature journal page. Thanks for taking the time to show us your corner of the world.

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  4. Nice job on the heart, Brynne!

    It sounds like you all had a great week. We had coyotes close by in the woods at the cottage this year and our dogs' reactions were a) growling at the door, and b) whimpering, depending on whether the coyotes were just howling, or yipping in hunting mode. It was really interesting!

    Here's hoping for another great week next week. :)

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  5. Fascinating fun with the dogs! I think all of us would have gotten a kick out of that. I hope you post some pics of those cells too.

    And, I adore the heart idea for her life size. You have such great ideas.

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