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Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Three Out of Four Ain't Bad

It was a great back to school week for three out of my four kids. One, not so much.

We only had two days of book school in homeschooling this week, because we started back on Wednesday and then had Co-op today. But the two days we were home doing school were probably the best two days we have had all year! 

Dawson ~ 9th Grade

Dawson started learning about The Civil War by watching Episode 5 of America: The Story of Us. He did the episode questions and vocabulary, and then we started our current Civil War read-a-loud of The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick.

We were planning on reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, but it was another heavy reading and after Uncle Tom's Cabin, I was feeling doubtful as to Dawson's excitement level, especially when coming off a long break. I had checked it out a couple of weeks ago (it came in quicker than I thought) and it was already due to be returned the day we started back to school. There was a hold list for it so I had to return it. I was standing in the library and just happened to see the 2012 Sequoyah list. Homer Figg was one of them. It is an easyish chapter book, albiet in the children's section, but it reminded me of Huck Finn, and Dawson loved it, so I decided to allow us a little fun in our historical fiction this first time out. So far, so good!

After first semester we decided that in Algebra, Grammar and Critical thinking, I need to review his work each day and discuss it with him that day instead of letting a week (or sometimes two) go by before I review them. This way I can immediately see any concepts he still needs to master. This has worked well, and it will keep me caught up on grading.

In Biology we went back and did some additional work on photosynthesis and cellular respiration. He did sooooo great on those assignments. It was awesome to see him really getting the material, and getting into doing his work. He did an experiment on the effects of the breakdown of high energy glucose molecules on carbon dioxide and heat energy release.

One other thing that we realized is that although we have been doing lots of read-a-louds, and Dawson has been doing some leisure reading, that we were not feeling confident in the level of his study of Literature.

So, again, while standing at the library, I found a copy of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut on sale for 50 cents. I purchased it and found a literary guide for him to use. It's going to be challenging book for him, but we are determined for him to dig into this book piece-by-piece and use the literary guide to help him. I am excited to see what he thinks about it when he is done.

Dawson's attitude and work ethic was superb this week! I couldn't have been happier!

At the end of the week, he and Brynne got back into their artist studies and studied Alexander Calder. Then they each made a paper and pipe cleaner mobile. These were pretty rude examples of Calder's detailed mobiles, but they got the concept of his work.

Brynne ~ 2nd Grade

Brynne had an excellent week, as well. Next week we are starting a 4-week unit on Dogs from Amanda Bennett. Because we only had two days this week, I didn't want her to start it. So, I had downloaded a Canines unit by School Express a couple of months ago, so we completed those work pages this week. It was a good introduction to the history of Canines so she is ready to head into the Dogs unit. She loves dogs, so it's going to be really fun! We will be learning about different breeds and reading lots of books and hopefully doing some fun projects!

She got right back into Grammar, Copywork, Handwriting, Personal Reading (she has read 49 books so far this year!) and Math. Those subjects just breezed right along. She finished her first copied poem called "The Robin's Advice" by Sara Orne Jewett and then read it back to me. It then opened up a discussion about being content with who God made you to be, and not wishing you were someone else.

This week she also got her first taste of the iPad, and she liked it! She needed to look up a definition of Carnivorous and write in on her work page. We looked it up and then she was able to sit and copy it. She also did some math problems on a fun (although way-too-juvenile) math app. It is going to be a great tool for her. And, she was able to use it while Dawson was using the laptop for something else.

Eli ~ 2nd Grade

Eli cried on Wednesday when he had to go back to school. But when I picked him up in the afternoon he said he had a 'great day'. He told me that he chose his next AR (Accelerated Reader) goal and it is 12 points. That means he has to read 24 half point books. Today, however, he took an AR test on a book his teacher has been reading in class, that was worth 1.5 points, and he got a 100%! He was so excited! And this is a book that they were reading before Christmas break, so he obviously comprehended it. That's another big accomplishment for him.

We got his report card today for second quarter and he received all A's.

And he was so happy to have temps in the mid-60's this whole week (January ... in Oklahoma ... can you believe it?) He and Brynne spent some time outdoors riding their scooters. And no coats, in January!!

Kyndal ~ 11th Grade

Kyndal started her new school in Kansas City today. (If you didn't know, she made the decision before Christmas to move with her dad.) At the end of the day today, she was not very happy. She said that the school is just not the same. She didn't want to talk to me about it. I told her to just keep her chin up, and that I am sure it will get better in a couple of days. I hate it that she is having a difficult time, but there isn't anything I can do about it. New situations are always hard, so I am praying that she finds her niche and makes some good friends soon. She was certainly having more fun in Florida last week.

Our two days this week were just very packed and full of good attitudes. Our curriculum is still working great for us. I have started thinking about curriculum and possible changes for next year, and gathering some things, but will probably stay about on the same page. I think we have definitely figured out what we like and how we like to do it. Good times!

We are linking up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. Oh, Nicole, check out Cliff Notes Literature Guides ( to help Dawson out. (Not ALL books are there, but there are a good number.) Each book has summaries, character analysis, author info, some have historical stuff, and even a quiz. It might come in handy with his Literature studies.

  2. It's so nice to have a good start back after break. I'll be back to see how the literature study goes. I have an 8th grade boy that needs to start doing more in that area too.


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