Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Week in Review, 9/20-9/25

I'm a little late with this, but better late than never!  We had a pretty busy weekend, and I'm working on being disciplined and not staying up *quite* so late, so bedtime won out over blogging!

We got a lot done this past week, but we struggled a bit with behavior issues too.  We're seeing results with consistency and firm boundaries, thank goodness, but MAN, is it wearing me out!!  I also had a couple of frank talks with Connor about how we could be having much more fun doing school but that his attitude was not only keeping us from being able to do some fun "extras," it was also making the normal every day stuff a LOT harder than it really had to be.  But he's learning that Mom means what she says and that she *will* follow through, and he's responding.

Math: He'd been begging me to play "the store game" ever since we started reviewing coins, so we got together a bunch of things, wrote up some price tags, and started counting change!  Brennan had to get in on the action too, so he's starting to figure out that 5 pennies = 1 nickel, 2 nickels = 1 dime, etc. 

We started the Corners game (lesson 60 in RS B), which helps kids cement their addition facts that add up to 5, 10, 15, and 20.  He's doing pretty well, although the game can get a bit long and he loses focus.  We'll probably take up the suggestion in the book to play to a certain score rather than playing until all cards are used.  He also took the mid-year test and did great.  The only trouble he had was with the word problem.  I know he needs to work on those anyway, so I'm going to see what resources I can dig up.

Reading: We read a couple of African folk tales to go with our history studies: Anansi the Spider and Zomo the Rabbit, both by Gerald McDermott.  We're still working on The Family Under the Bridge, but it was on hiatus for a couple of days because we had to return it to the library and then check it out again!

History:  We finished SOTW chapter 11 on ancient Africa.  We chose to try fried plantains as our hands-on project this week.  Connor was excited both to get to help me cook them and to try something from one of the stories (one of the Anansi stories in the chapter mentions fried plantains, although Anansi doesn't actually eat them!).  We had fun making them; he gave them a thumbs up but wasn't interested in eating more than a few.  I agreed--they weren't bad, but I won't be adding plantains to our shopping list!  Brennan tried them and was less than impressed (no surprise there!).

Science:  He's been working on a spider lapbook.  He's actually already studied spiders, but Brennan wanted to do a lapbook, and then Connor said he wanted to do one too.  I told him he could, but that he'd be doing it on his own for the most part.  And he's been doing really well!  I supervise and help him find the answers he needs, but he's really gotten a lot done.  He already knew most of stuff, so it's really more of a review.  Review is always good!

Finding pictures of his favorite kinds of spiders

Cutting them out to add to his book

Gluing finished mini books into his lapbook

Grammar:  Grammar moved slowly this week, but we finished learning the last few pronouns (they, them, their, theirs), read and narrated a story in FLL lesson 51 and then found all the pronouns in the story.  He had fun jumping every time he heard a pronoun.

Latin:  He made a Latin animal dictionary this week.  I set up a template on Word and showed him how to type in the Latin names of the animals and find pictures of each one.  He really enjoyed making it on his own--choosing the pictures and learning how to resize them to fit them in the boxes.  He was begging to make another dictionary!

Finding a picture of a bear (ursa)

Arranging pictures on the pages

The finished product!

Spelling:  We finally started All About Spelling, Level 2 (we do spelling and grammar on alternate days).  He's been ready for a while, but I didn't have everything ready and we weren't in any hurry.  He enjoys doing spelling, although I think I'm going to have to lay down the law soon.  I love the hands-on, manipulative aspect of the letter tiles in AAS, but he won't leave them alone!  The first couple of days (however long it takes us to get through step 1) will just be review.

Math:  Brennan started learning about odd and even this week.  I love how RightStart teaches this--it's so easy for them to SEE it.  My only complaint is that the lesson never really says to explicitly list the evens and odds in order (i.e., 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) during the lesson, but you're supposed to ask the child to list them the next day for review.  It wasn't a big deal to list them then and go over them a couple of times, but at first I thought I'd missed something in lesson 14!

This (below) is something we do every day as part of our calendar/memory work time.  It's designed to help them understand place value.  We count the straws, adding one every day.  Whenever we get ten loose straws, we bundle them together with a rubber band, and he counts by tens to count the bundles and then counts the loose straws individually.  So it's a really visual and tactile way of SEEING tens and ones, and then he writes it on our board, making it easy to see the connection--he has 7 bundles of ten, and nine single straws, so he writes "79."  I happened to take a picture of it this week, so I included it here!

Phonics:  Still working through final consonant blends, one page at a time!  He's really starting to try to read everything he sees.  We've talked about "th" and "ch" outside of our actual lesson time--we said that the "h" is a bully who tries to make the other letters change their sounds if they get too close, so he's been having a blast finding "-h" digraphs and shouting, "Mommy!  I know why 'chicken' says 'ch'--the 'h' makes the 'c' change its sound!!!"  I love it. *grin*

Science:  Still working on his spider lapbook!  Almost done, though.  I need to figure out what we still need and get it ready.

Handwriting:  I finally got to Mardel on Friday and picked up a handwriting book for him--he was thrilled.  He immediately sat down and did four pages, and he would have done more if I hadn't stopped him!  He absolutely LOVES it.  It cracks me up!

Bible:  We learned about Rahab hiding the Israelite spies and Joshua and the battle of Jericho.  They had a blast building Jericho out of pillows, marching around it, and knocking it down (saving Rahab, of course!).  We had a good talk about how we need to follow God, even if His instructions don't seem to make sense to us--which fit in perfectly (unplanned by me, but somehow I think Someone Else planned it nicely!) with our current memory verse, Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."  God is so good, even in the details!

Marching around Jericho.  Note the authentic period costumes. *grin*

Rahab's red cord is clearly seen!

And the walls come tumbling down!

I picked up this magnetic skeleton puzzle on sale at Mardel, and both boys *love* it.  We'll be studying the human body after we finish animals (whenever that may be!), so I couldn't pass it up!


  1. Sounds like you had a fun week! I like the straw idea. I may have to incorporate that. It seems that most of the time DD understands place value, but then sometimes she seems to go off the deep end. Maybe this will help. My God bless your family!

  2. Looks like we are at the same place in SOTW :)

    The look on Connor's face says more than the thumbs up in that picture, lol! I love it! I have always loved fried plantains but they never taste as good when I try to make them myself. Much better at a Cuban restaurant!