Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Dogs, Dogs, DNA, more Dogs, and the Heartland

This was the first "normal" week of school that we have had in a while. That means that we were home doing school Monday through Thursday, and had our regular Co-op activities on Friday. It was a productive week, and I am ready for the weekend. We have nothing planned this weekend, other than church on Sunday, and I couldn't be happier. I'm tired! In fact, I've been on the couch since about 1 p.m.

Regular studies (and when I say "regular studies" I mean grammar, copywork, handwriting, math/algebra, critical thinking, and literature) are all progressing at a good speed. I am happy where both of the kids are at, both in how well they are doing with the material and in how far they are along in the number of completed lessons. All of these regular studies are moving along easily. Both kids know what is expected of them in these courses and do them each day with ease and independently, for the most part.

I do have to add that for Brynne, I am loving Mathematics Enhancement Programme that we decided to do this year. It is a completely free and downloadable program with daily practice pages, oral lessons, full teachers guides, and copy master (if needed).

"Much of the material developed for this initiative is based on a Hungarian Series, edited by Professor Sándor Hajdu at the Petö Institute in Budapest, and published by Müszaki Könyvkiadó. This has been adapted and modified for UK schools with the help of Professor Tibor Szalontai and Rita Szalontai." ~ from the website (FYI, Hungary is ranked 6th in the world in mathematics.)

What I really like is that most of the math is done in a problem solving fashion and, most often, in the form of "puzzles". Brynne is doing double digit math, but doing it in her head instead of in the form of math facts. She loves it and I love it. I feel like she is very advanced in math. She is doing full-out second grade work as a 6 year old. If you are looking for something a little different, I highly recommend it.

Math is one of those subjects that you HAVE to find the way that your child learns best! Brynne is learning math the MEP way. Dawson is learning Algebra the Life of Fred way. They are extremely different ways of learning, but both highly effective for my particular students.

Brynne has continued her in-depth study of dogs. We moved on to learning about Dog anatomy this week. And, she even get in on some DNA studies of Dogs with Dawson and I. (More on that in a bit.) She has learned about the following breeds: Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Weimaraners, Alaskan Malamutes, Scottish Terriers, Beagles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Poodles, in the past two weeks. She has also learned about sled dogs and therapy dogs.

Here are two carousels showing the materials she has used in the past two weeks.

Dawson started two new units this week.

In American History, we started learning about the moves westward and the settlements in the Heartland. He started his week watching Episode 6 of "America: The Story of Us" and working on the vocabulary and discussion questions. Then we spent a couple of days doing a Map Study of the states and government territories, and Document Analyses of "The Homestead Act" and the "Pacific Railway Act".

My Favorite Resource this week was DoodleBuddy on my iPad. Dawson was able to save a photo of a States and Territory map of 1860 and download it onto DoodleBuddy. Then he was able to draw on it as we did our map study, much like you are able to use a SmartBoard. It is an incredibly useful App.

In Biology, we started our unit on DNA and Heredity. I had a Favorite Resource in this area, as well. The University of Utah has an entire Teach.Genetics site, and I was able to pull out a couple of great activities.

First, Dawson extracted DNA from spinach in this cool experiment.

See the DNA rising?

The DNA of the Spinach is the white vertical blob.

Then on another day, Dawson and Brynne both were able to participate in "A Recipe for Traits ~ Dog DNA". They drew DNA strips out of an envelope for eight traits for their dog and taped them together to form their DNA strand.

Then they found the corresponding trait on a Legend and highlighted which DNA strip they drew.

Then they sketched and colored their Dog according to the particular DNA strips they each drew out of the envelope.

As you can see, random drawing of DNA produced two very different dogs. (I think this would be a super fun activity to do in a classroom with several students to see if ANY two dogs ended up alike.)

Finally, yesterday, Dawson did a "Generation of Traits ~ Gingerbread People" by using colored pompons. It was another demonstration of how random drawing of traits from family members produces very different people in a family.

These were all great activities. They weren't overly complicated, but they took the complicated text that Dawson was reading in The Way Life Works and gave him visuals to use with it.

Today we had PE and Choir at Co-op, and I had the chance to sit and talk with one my very good friends and review a curriculum that she uses with her girls. I am leaning toward using it next year for Eli and Brynne.

It was a great week!!

As always, I am linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Susan at Learning All the Time.


  1. Sounds like you have found some great resources! Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Do you use any other Math curriculum with Brynne? I bookmarked the link to look more closely at.

  3. You always have the best science eperiments!! Thank you for sharing about MEP sounds like a math program my two children might enjoy.

  4. Just when I think I know all there is on the market for the core subjects I have more to learn. Clicked on your link to check out MEP. Thanks for sharing. I'm visiting from the blog hop.

  5. Thanks so much for linking up these resources with Favorite Resources! These look great, and I will be following up on them :)

    It looks like you all had a really good week, filled with fun learning!!

  6. I forgot to say, we have Doodle Buddy on my husband's and my iPhones, but I didn't realize that you could load your own picture into it to draw on! My girls really enjoy Doodle Buddy just to play around with.

  7. Wow wow wow - what a great-looking week!

    Thanks especially for the MEP information - I keep hearing about it of the CM forums but haven't had the courage to try it out. After seeing this, I think I'll go look further.


We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!