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Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Van Gogh-ing Full Speed Ahead!

What a full and exciting week (and exhausting ... whew! In fact, it's 4:30 p.m. right now and I am laying in bed writing this post. I am whooped!) We have completed our first full week of the 2011-2012 school year and it was a good one.

I must say that some tweaking has already had to be done .. like a change in Brynne's history curriculum and changes to our schedule. But overall it has all gone well.

I'll start with the highlight of our week .. Art! This year I purchased The Usborne Art Treasury. It is such a cool book and just might be the best homeschooling find ever! It has twenty-some chapters, each one showcasing a different artist (some historic, some current-ish). The chapter shows a piece of that artist's work, gives a short biographical section, and then gives a step-by-step of how to do a similar piece of art based on the artist's work.

This week it was Van Gogh. I read the biographical information while Dawson and Brynne completed a notebooking page. Brynne just used the information I read to her from the book. Dawson grabbed the computer and started looking up facts. Then they printed off a picture of Van Gogh and three pieces of his art and glued them to their page.

The next day we did a Van Gogh painting. It was fun and they turned out amazing! I cannot wait to build their portfolios this year!

What else did we do?

Dawson ~ 9th Grade

Dawson had a very busy week. I warned him that this year would be jam-packed. We are working on his schedule since he has such heavy hitting subjects this year. He is trying to figure out when in the day to do each subject so that his mind is not mush when he gets to them.

Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 has been a huge hit! He said that the instructor's voice is one that just makes you want to listen. The new version does the grading for you which is awesome!! He can see immediately when he misses a problem and then re-work it and even watch a step-by-step. I can see that this is going to be the perfect curriculum for him in his math studies. (Praise God!)

In Apologia Biology we skipped to Module 14 because it is a leaf study and I wanted to make sure we actually had leaves to study. He has said a couple of times, "Why is it that every year I have to study leaves?" And then in the next breath he will say, "Did you know that .....?" And it's something that he had just learned. Although the "On Your Own" questions are haaaaaarrrrd, I have loved the experiments so far and the hands-on application about what is being learned. He is currently collecting leaves and identifying their venation, shape, margin, what tree they come from, etc. Application! Good stuff.

In U.S. History he has been studying the 13 Colonies, the meaning of Thanksgiving, and about the Powhawtans. We are reading Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone which has been a good historical novel. More on that on my Study America Saturday post tomorrow. (Link up with your American History studies, if you want! Please!)

IEW has been going great, too, and he has been working on two poems this week about Native Americans and the Early Explorers. I just read them a little while ago and they are so good! The rest of his time has been spent on his grammar lessons, typing, Spanish, and personal reading.

Brynne ~ 2nd Grade

Brynne has also had a full week. In fact, it was so full I changed her history curriculum to make it more fun. She was having that exhausted look in her eyes, and I just don't want that for her. We have decided to do a U.S. States study instead, including a coloring page, notebooking page, license plate map, books, and cooking. It will be fun and I can't wait for her to build her notebook. THANK YOU for all of the great suggestions I have received!

Her favorite subject (which surprises me), is Math!! She is love, love, loving MEP! And so am I! We end our day with it and it's her favorite thing to do. I cannot recommend that program enough. And, it's FREE! Then yesterday we did "Living Math" and did some hands on greater than and less than lessons with an alligator and some playing cards. I will have a full post on that on Monday.

In Science we have been learning about bones. We read a couple of books, watched "Dem Bones" on Youtube, added q-tip philanges to our life-size Brynne, did ball joint and synovial fluid experiments, and made "hands" with bones and without. I will have a full Science post on Sunday.

Handwriting, copywork, and grammar have taken her longer to do this week than I anticipated. But, that is sit-down work (and she's not too into sitting). It's something she'll have to get used to.

This morning we went with our Co-op friends to a semi-local playground and splash pad for some fun. It was nice for Brynne to just run around, and for me to gab with the moms. And, it was only in the high 80's, so wasn't blistering hot! In fact, it was almost nice under the shaded awning.

As you can see, we are at Full Speed Ahead!

How was your week? Head over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to share it with others.


  1. First off, the paintings are gorgeous!! Great job! :)

    Second - we used many of the same things for 9th grade that you are! Good stuff, huh!! :)

    Sounds like great stuff going on! :)

  2. Youre right, their art did come out beautiful!

  3. What a GREAT job they did on their Van Goghs! Beautiful! And where did you find their Art notebooking pages? (I've used some from Harmony Art Mom I like too.)

    You are going full steam ahead! LOL But it looks like a wonderful week of fun learning!

    I'll link up to your American History linky when we're back to school! (Starting 9/6!)

  4. Great job on the art lesson. I just saw that
    Barbie celebrating art history Walmart had a
    Van gogh inspired barbie with a dress on that looks like Starry night. I also saw a Mona Lisa Barbie. Anyway your post made me think of those. I thought I may use them with my 5 year old to help remember the artist and do a study around it.

  5. We just finished week #1 as well. I am now off to learn more about the Usborne art book you mentioned. It looks and sounds amazing!

  6. Where did you get the Notebooking page from?

  7. I have had a couple of people ask me where I got the Van Gogh notebooking page. The blank notebooking page came from the Advanced U.S. History notebooking page cd I purchased from Hold that Thought! The kids cut out a photo of Van Gogh and printed off pics of his work to add to the page.

  8. I was going to inquire about the notebooking pages too, lol! Thanks for sharing.

    I love the paintings. We will begin our US studies soon; we'll come back & join your link-up.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. Thanks for the recommendation on the Usborne Art Treasury. We learned about O'Keeffe last week, but it took some research for me to piece together a unit. I would love the treasury.

    Looks like you had a great, productive week!

  10. Even though you had to do some changes last week, it look like it's working for you. Looks like you found a great resource for Van Gogh. I am going to have to check on that book.


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