Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekly Report 9/20-9/24

I was about to start off by saying, "It's felt like a crazy week." but then I realized every week is "crazy" in this homeschooling house!  I say crazy, because we are always busy.  Monday: Cub Scouts and exercise class.  Tuesday: Boy Scouts and Karate.  Wednesday: Exercise Class.  Thursday: Co-op and Park Day.  Friday: Karate and Exercise Class.  See what I mean?

This week we wrapped up Week 4 of school and we are almost done with Week 21 of TOG Yr2 U3 Puritans in New England.  We have about two more days of work on Week 21 and then we can move on to Week 22.  Noodle has more to do than Bear, but I am trying to keep them on the same week as best as I can.  I have to say I love this curriculum.  I love it because it is an awesome guide and I don't have to do it all, it is like a buffet to choose from - a little of this, a little of that and "oh, not that, we don't like that."  I have made checklists and revamped them about 4 times.  Still, I am not content with my system of planning.  I like the Sonlight style planner, but I don't like assigning dates, days of week names or numbering to things so here I am still annoyed with when and how to check things off the list.  I may have to accept that I will never find the perfect planning system and that I may not be able to keep each student's lesson plans in the same place.

We are taking approximately two weeks to complete one TOG week so far.  Bear didn't have much reading this week because we do most of the reading the first week and spend the second week wrapping up geography, art projects and writing assignments.  We chose not to use This Country of Ours that is a main suggestion for this unit and instead opted to go with a text we had on hand that TOG suggests as an alternative - an Abeka book called "Heritage of Freedom." I have always loved Abeka so it tickles me that we can use this text without really "doing Abeka."  So, this week he finished his Compare and Contrast paper on the Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies.  I love this period of history and I wish he did too, but he just wants to get through it.  For Fine Arts he is working on making a spear with an arrowhead he is fashioning out of a rock that he was thrilled about smashing up. 

Bear's unit long history project is a "Book of Colonies" so he worked on that this week by adding Massachusetts to the book.  The only reading he did this week was an article by John Winthrop and his "Church in History" readings.  For Boy Scouts he worked on Merit Badge requirements for Personal Fitness and Personal Management, and also Public Speaking.  He is taking an Introduction to Speech class at co-op that is helping to fulfill his requirements for that Merit Badge.

We watched Glenn Beck together last night - the "Founding Fridays" are always fun history supplements.  This week was about how Hitler came to power and what he did.  It had nothing to do with our current history studies, but it was interesting to watch.  I prefer when he has historians on to talk about how things really were when America was beginning and information about the lives of the founders, etc.

For Bible we are still working through the study on Spiritual Warfare.  It is very interesting!

For Science Bear wrapped up Module 2 of Physical Science and took the Module 2 test - 94% - YAY!!!! He is definitely my science geek.  This module bored me to tears, but he soaks everything up and reads additional science books "for fun."  Whatever!  He is also doing surprisingly well with Algebra so far and even said, "Mom, so far Algebra is easy."  SAY WHAT?  This child DETESTS math and not a day goes by in our homeschool experience that he hasn't whined, complained and spit venom about math - who invented it, why does he need to know this $#&#& and so on and so forth.  He made the "easy" statement while we were in the car and it was all I could do to keep from running off the road.  We'll know soon enough if he is going to eat his words.  I truly hope that something has changed and that indeed "algebra is easy" for him because after years of torture, we BOTH need this to be true!

He also did his regular work this week in English, Health and Logic.  Monday we will do our Pageant of Philosophy reading and discussion about Rene Descartes. 

Noodle continues with his daily reading lessons and he is doing much better, but still getting stuck on those /ang/, /ing/, /ong/, and /ung/ diagraphs. 

We went to a neighboring town library yesterday to get a year long membership so we can check out books on tape etc.  Our local library sadly stinks.  We found "Mr Popper's Penguins" on cd which it so happens is the read aloud we are about to start. I was so excited to find it!

For Science this week we talked about Zebras, Hippos and Foxes - more mammals.  He added them to our food chart and he knew whether they were carnivores, omnivores or herbivores  - I was very impressed because usually during science reading he is rolling around on the floor and I am never quite sure if he is listening or not.  We also did another experiment called "Runaway Pepper" and he got the giggles doing that. Basically, he put pepper in a bowl of water and then dropped in a drop of liquid soap and the pepper "ran away" from the soap.  I am not sure what it had to do with this week's science, but he enjoyed it.

Filling out the "lab report" for the Runaway Pepper experiment.

This is another small project we did for science.  We learned that Foxes have extraordinary hearing, so to simulate how foxes hear we made "cone ears."  This also gave him a case of the giggles.

Lastly for science we filled out the narration pages.  I ask him what he knows about each animal we learned about, I write down what he says and then he draws a picture of the animal.

For math we continue on daily with Abeka Arithmetic 1 and we either practice skip counting or do flash cards.  Often I ask him the problem verbally, he gives me the answer and I write it down for him.  Too much writing will burn him out so I am picking my battles carefully.  On the tests he has to do the writing himself.  He did get 100% on this week's math test. He loves to see the 100 at the top of the page. 

He's plugging along with his phonics work in Explode the Code Book 1 and we are still talking about nouns in First Language LessonsFor Bible we continue with bible stories from Rod & Staff books and practicing memory verses. 

For History we read more from If You Sailed on the Mayflower book - it is a very fun read.  It has lots of interesting information and some gross reveals that boys just seem to love.  Additionally we worked on Life In Plymouth Colony the history pockets book.  We also did readings from The New Americans.  On Monday we will read Squanto and the First Thanksgiving  and we will add to our Native American book that is Noodle's unit long history project.

From Netflix we rented Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower and it is so good! It is 2.5 hours so we haven't watched it all yet.  It is a little much for Noodle, but he watches with me and Bear anyway.

All in all I think it was a very productive week even though we didn't finish everything I wanted to.  Here are some miscellaneous pictures from life this week at WCA:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reporting In

I haven't updated recently because I have had internet access issues, but that's all cleared up now.  I have also been busy, busy, busy with life and school. 

What's new?  Noodle is now taking Karate two times a week and started Cub Scouts which is once a week.  I started a three times a week fitness class.  Bear has nothing new on his schedule - just school and Boy Scouts.

In scouting news, Bear "officially" received his 1st Class Rank even though he completed it well over 6 months ago.  He will get his "Star" Board of Review in December or January.  At last week's Court of Honor he received 10 new merit badges along with his rank advancement.  Here's some pictures.....that's me with him on stage in the first two photos. He forgot his sash so he isn't wearing it.

School is going well for all of us.  We are 4 weeks in and almost done with our 2nd week of Tapestry of Grace (TOG) week which is Year 2 Week 21.  Yes, it is taking us about 2 weeks to complete 1 week.  I don't know if this will continue indefinitely or if we will manage to speed it up.  Time will tell!  So far, I am ok with this pace since we plan on taking two years to complete American History and Government.  Additionally, we school year round so even with some brief breaks we should still be able to complete years 3 and 4 before starting Jr. Year of high school.  The plan is to spend Jr and Sr. year on Ancient and World History stopping at Yr 2 Unit 2, but if we only get through Year 1 in two years, I am OK with that since we spent ALL of last school year on the Midle Ages.

Noodle is slowly progressing with reading lessons.  We repeat lessons often.  For some reason he can't seem to retain/grasp the ang, ing, ong and ung diagraphs.  It is making me a little batty, but we are sticking with it.

We are really having fun with science and history:

Noodle watched a YouTube video about Habitats.

Then he drew some pictues of some animals and narrated to me what he knows about them.  I wrote his words next to the pictures.  (FYI- This is "Elemental Science- Biology for the Grammar Stage" )

Another day he began making a diorama of the "Arctic Habitat" which he painted all white.  More pictures of it's progress coming soon.

A couple of days ago we did an experiment to learn about how a cat's eyes reflect light.  He had great fun with that because it involved using a flashlight and going into a dark room - which in our house was the half bath with no windows.

For history we are reading some great books about the beginnings of America and making some history pockets about Plymouth.  We are also doing a lengthy Native American book this year, but I have no pictures of it yet.

Bear is working on a Unit long project, the "Book of Colonies."  Here he is making a map for the book.

Here's a fishing lure he made to go along with our studies of native americans and colonists.  He didn't really put much thought or effort into this project and in fact complained about it.  Currently he is working on making a spear and he is enjoying that one since it involves breaking a rock and carving a spear head/ arrow head out of the stone.

Noodle at Karate:

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