Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our Week in Review, 9/13-9/18

We've had a pretty productive week school-wise.  Toward the end of the week, I adjusted how we use Connor's workboxes to hopefully better suit his needs, and Friday was a lot better.  Hopefully things will continue that way!  He's a kid who does better with structure, and I tend to be much more go-with-the-flow, so I'm working on trying to implement a more structured schedule and routine with our schoolwork.  After talking with him (hoping that letting him have some input will result in less bucking of the system!), we're going to start AT 9:00 every day (rather than 8:30 some days, or 10:00 or 10:30 other days) with a snack and short break at 10:00, and we'll do his subjects in the same order each day.  I had been interspersing his "core" subject area workboxes (Bible, math, reading, history/science, grammar/spelling, and Latin/copywork) with "fun" boxes (do a puzzle, computer game, wordsearch book, wikki stix, etc.) so that I could work with Brennan while he did the fun stuff on his own.  I think, though, that using all 12 workboxes was overwhelming him, even though half of it was fun/hands-on stuff.  So instead we're going to fill the first 6 boxes with his core subjects (always in the same order) and I'll continue to fill the other 6 but let him choose which ones he wants to do when it's time for me to work with Brennan.  We tried this Friday, and our morning went much more smoothly.  We got all but one core box done before lunch (AND I got math, reading, phonics, and handwriting done with Brennan!), and we would have gotten that one done except that we had to take the cat to the vet at 1:00.  Hopefully the success will continue!!

Math: He continued reviewing telling time and then reviewed adding coins.  He already had a pretty solid foundation in both of these areas, so it's been nice to relax a bit and just review.  It's also made it easier to incorporate a little continued practice with adding 10 and 100 without overwhelming him.

Reading: We're continuing The Family Under the Bridge.  We found France and Paris on the map, and we looked up pictures of Notre Dame since the characters passed it in one of the chapters we read.  This is his narration and the picture he drew of Armand and the children going up the stairs at the store:

We also read Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel to go with our history studies about ancient Africa.

History: We began reading SOTW chapter 11 about ancient Africa.  He was fascinated with the idea of the Sahara originally being green and fertile and then drying out and changing to desert.  We had fun going to google maps and looking at satellite pictures of the Sahara desert and seeing the brown desert vs. the green fertile land.  It was also neat to *see* the Nile river running through the desert with just a bit of green on either side of it.  The mapwork was probably the most detailed yet, and he really liked seeing how all the places we've studied so far fit together.

He's also been getting better about narrating.  It's still not his favorite thing to do, but I got less attitude about it this week!  The resistance frustrates me, because he is really pretty *good* at it!  This is my "structure" kid--I'm thinking maybe the open-endedness of narrating feels a little unsettling to him, like riding a bike without your hands on the handlebars.  I tried backing off a bit this week and giving him a little more guidance, and that helped.

Since the first section of chapter 11 mentioned continents, we also worked on memorizing the continents and had fun tossing around our beach ball globe and finding each one.

Science:  More hummingbirds!  We read It's a Hummingbird's Life by Irene Kelly, a wonderfully illustrated, detailed book about the ruby-throated hummingbird.

Lots of fascinating info--a hummingbird's nest is about the size of half of a ping pong ball!  We both really enjoyed the book.

We finished off our hummingbird study with a trip to a friend's house who has a very popular hummingbird feeder.  We sat outside and tried to be quiet and were able to see (and hear!) some hummingbirds and managed to snag a few pictures as well.  They didn't really come in full force until we went inside and watched through the window, but by that time the boys were much more interested in playing with toys!

Latin: He worked on SSL chapter 15 this week--more animals!  We reviewed vocabulary the other day by playing charades:

casa (house)

attole manum (raise your hand)
He thought this was great fun!

Grammar:  We didn't get to any new lessons in grammar this week, but we did review the pronouns he's learned already.  I copied a couple of pages from a book of his and he circled all the pronouns he could find.

Spelling:  We did one more day of review before we get into AAS level 2 (hopefully next week).  He didn't have any trouble writing phonograms from dictation, and he did really well at spotting misspelled words and telling me why they were wrong.  He's definitely ready--now I just have to finish getting the material ready!

Math: He finished lesson 13 in RS A (although we skipped the section on writing numbers).  I really, really like the foundation both boys are getting with RightStart.  They're understanding the "why" behind what we're learning, and they're really getting a feel for how numbers work rather than just memorizing facts.  One thing Brennan worked on was combining numbers using tally sticks (popsicle sticks).  He did it easily, which was nice, but what I was really excited about was seeing him *on his own* use mental strategies to figure some of the problems out even before he used the tally sticks (or instead of using them).

Phonics: Continuing two-consonant endings.  He's really getting ready to take off, I think.  He's getting more and more confident sounding out unfamiliar and longer words and is figuring out how to break them down to sound them out.

Handwriting: He did a review sheet and then worked on the letter "R."  And he complains if he doesn't have a handwriting worksheet every day.  And he wants it in his first workbox. *grin*

Still working on the spider lapbook.  This week was a fun discussion about how spiders eat (it's really pretty gross!).

Bible:  We finished up learning about Moses this week with the 10 commandments, the Israelites making the golden calf, and the Israelites complaining, disobeying, and getting a 40 year wilderness hike as a consequence.  

Since Connor has been driving me UP THE WALL singing "The 10 Commandment Boogie" (usually with nonsense words or with various mouth sounds inserted) by the Go Fish Guys pretty much nonstop for several weeks now, I decided to put the obsession to work and we popped in the cd and boogied.

I really like the Go Fish Guys, but I think they need to change their tagline: "Great music for kids that won't drive parents bonkers."  I think it should read, "Great music for kids that won't drive you bonkers when we sing it, but that will absolutely drive you up the wall when your 6 year old won't stop singing it for weeks!" *grin*


  1. Your last line is hilarious. I completely understand. My son will play the same song over & over & over...

    Family Under the Bridge was one of our most favorite read-alouds! My hubby reads it every year to his first grade class.

    It looks like you've had a wonderful week. I love how you improved your week by recognizing what Conner needed. Awesome mom!

  2. I am so happy to read your thoughts about RightStart. I've been dragging my feet getting into it because it's just so darn intimidating to me!

  3. I really enjoy reading about what the boys are doing in home school. I can visualize both of them so well in your writing!.
    Tell them that one of those days recently that I was home right after my hand surgery, I was laying on the living room sofa with the balcony door open and a humming bird flitted a couple feet in the doorway. It "stopped" as if to say, "Just stopping by to say, 'I hope you feel better soon!'" and flitted right back out the door. It still makes me smile when I think of it! :)