Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Week in Review, 8/30-9/4

School has been a little hit-or-miss this week due to some health issues.  Still, we got at least four days worth of the basics done, so I'm calling it good!

Math: Still working on adding 10 and 100 to a number (RightStart B, lessons 51 and 52).  He gets the concept, and it's been a really good reminder of place values.  He's still struggling a bit if there's a 9 in the place value that he's adding with (i.e., 294 + 10).  He can do it just fine with the abacus, and he's beginning to recognize that there's something different with 9's, so I think we're on the right track.

Reading: This week he read and narrated The Story of Ping by Marjorie Flack to go along with our study of ancient China in history.  I read out loud one of the stories from the book Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman, and we'll read another one sometime this weekend.  We also started reading and narrating The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson.  It was illustrated by Garth Williams, who seems to be popping up everywhere these days--he also illustrated The Story of Ping, Five Chinese Brothers (which we read last week), and Little House in the Big Woods, which we finished reading aloud the other day.

History:  We finished ancient China this week.  We're working on making Ming bowls--the clay is still drying, so it'll be a few days before we get them done, but the reading, narrations, and mapwork are done.  There were three sections to this chapter, and the second section was about the pictogram writing developed by the ancient Chinese.  He was pretty fascinated with the ones in the book, so we copied them and then he made up his own pictograms to write a sentence: "The horse saw two bears in the woods and ran back to the barn."

It was only with difficulty that I managed to remind him that these were pictograms--otherwise he would have filled the whole page!

Science: We had some hands-on experience to go with our study of frogs today: they caught a toad outside!  He's a fat little thing, and Connor named him Spikey.  Spikey was less than thrilled with the arrangements (and escaped a little while later, saving me from having to be the bad guy and making them let him go), but the boys were fascinated.

Connor volunteered the info that Spikey is cold-blooded and is an amphibian, which he remembered means that he has lived part of his life in water and part on land.  Earlier in the week we learned about the life cycle of a frog and did a cut-and-paste activity where he had to glue the stages in order (he really likes poison dart frogs, hence the bright colors!).
So then we talked about where Spikey was born and how he had changed to the adult toad he is now.  Perfect timing!  And speaking of perfect timing, we've been learning about Moses this week in Bible, and the lesson on the 10 plagues coincided nicely with science since one of the plagues was frogs!  So we made a double-duty craft: rock frogs.

Grammar:  FLL 47 and 48 this week--more on pronouns.  He's recognizing pronouns in books and conversations, which is neat to see, except when the conversation is discipline-related and he constantly interrupts with, "Mommy!  You just said a pronoun!  So did I!!"  Well, at least he's getting it!  He really seems to like reciting the pronoun list.  He definitely seems to be cut out for the grammar stage memorization of the classical education method!

Latin: We began SSL chapter 14, which is animal names.  He's thrilled to be able to say cat, dog, horse, and  fish in Latin, and he's excited to get to the next lesson with more animals (like lions!)

Bible:  We're continuing Moses.  This week we talked about the burning bush and God's call for Moses.  We made burning bushes by dripping and using straws to blow yellow, orange, and red paint (watered down) on pictures of a bush, which was a lot of fun.  Connor was very enthusiastic (meaning, he TRIED to blow the paint off the paper.  Stinker!)

Brennan was a little more laid back:

We also covered the 10 plagues (including frogs, as mentioned) and the Israelites leaving Egypt, talking about God's protection and how we need to follow and obey Him.

Oh, yeah.  Did I mention that George Washington came to visit this week?

Math: He finished lessons 9, 10, and 11 in RightStart A this week.  He's getting really good at recognizing quantities 1-10 without counting.  He also had a lot of fun creating squares and rectangles on the geoboard, but I didn't think to get any pictures!

Handwriting: He continues to pester me for handwriting sheets, even if it's not school time!  We did several new letters this week, including "P."  I'm not surprised at how quickly he's picking it up, but I *am* surprised that he's not giving me a hard time about doing it the "right" way (i.e., starting from the top) instead of the way he's picked up on his own.  Not complaining, though!

Phonics: We've finished -ck words (which he already pretty much knew anyway) and will be moving on to two consonant endings next week, most of which he can already do as well.  We found (meaning, he pulled off the shelf and mommy sifted through them) quite a few early readers at the library that are right at his level, and he loves reading them out loud.

Reading (literature): I let him choose a story for reading/narration earlier this week, and he chose Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.  It was a new one from the library, and it was a bit complex for him as far as narration (and as far as really *getting* the story), but he did pretty well.  The next one we did was my choice, "The Bicycle," from Poppleton in Spring by Cynthia Rylant.  Much simpler, much easier to narrate!  He did a great job, and I was amazed with his picture of a bicycle:
Not bad for a 4 year old!

I have some Montessori-inspired activities/supplies on a shelf, the idea being that I set out new activities for them to choose from every few weeks.  That hasn't exactly happened yet, but Brennan pulled out some beads, a funnel, and a vase and got busy on his own:

It's nice to look back over the week and see that we really *did* get a lot done, even though it didn't seem like it at the time!


  1. I love the burning bush activity! LOL--about Spikey escaping. I was in a similiar situation with a lizard a bit ago. I, too, was very happy about his escape. Thanks for sharing your week.

  2. Hi, got here from WTM. I'm stealing the burning bush idea. Oh, and my ds was obsessed with poison dart frogs too. I thought he was alone.