Friday, October 22, 2010

Our Weeks in Review: 10/11 - 10/22

I didn't get to a week in review post last weekend (it was a crazy weekend!), which was a bit frustrating, because we actually had a really productive week!  This week has been pretty good too (including a surprisingly productive school-at-the-park day, which we'll have to try again!), so I think I'll just lump it all in together in one post. *grin*

Math: In the last two weeks, we've done lessons 65 - 70 in RightStart B, taking a couple of extra days to work on the "two fives" strategy and the 8's trick for addition.  The only real problem he's having is being willing to stop and listen long enough to realize that what I'm trying to teach him is *different* from what he was doing the other day.  Then he gets frustrated because I have to correct him (which is a whole 'nother issue . . . the whole idea of getting something wrong???  I'm afraid we have quite a row to hoe there.)  Anyway, he's got many of his addition facts memorized, and he can figure out the rest using the strategies he's learned so far.  We'll be playing lots and lots of RS math games to solidify the rest of the addition facts. 

Drawing diagonals and discovering the star inside a pentagon

Coloring designs using the shapes created by the diagonals

Playing addition war
Oh, and he came up with the best excuse yet for not doing what I wanted him to do in math.  We were working on the 8's trick (adding 8 + a number by taking 2 from the other number to make the 8 into a 10 and then adding the 10 to the leftover from the first number) on the abacus.  He was resisting a bit, but I knew he understood the concept, so I asked him to do it mentally.  In RS, kids are supposed to visualize the abacus in their minds as the first step in doing problems mentally.  So I told him the problem and asked him to do it in his head.  When he seemed to be having trouble, I reminded him to "see" the abacus in his mind and enter 8. 

I asked, "Can you see 8 on the abacus in your head?"

He replied, "No, I can't."

"Well, why not?"

"I sold it."

He sold the abacus in his head.  After staring at him incredulously for a second, I just about died laughing.

Oh--and he did finish his math lesson.  I guess he had a spare mental abacus lying around somewhere.  Stinker.  *grin*

Reading:  He started reading Who Was King Tut? by Roberta Edwards.  Once again, he was a bit resistant at first because we were doing something new with this book.  He reads the first couple of pages of the chapter to me, then he finishes the chapter on his own and comes and tells me about it (narrates).  Oddly, it was the reading out loud to me that was the sticking point.  He still reads out loud often, but I hadn't *required* it recently.  Once he got over that, he was fine.  We've missed a couple of days, so he still hasn't finished it.  We need to get moving on that!

History:  We're still on chapter 13 in SOTW.  We've kind of camped out here for a couple of weeks because he's really starting to get interested in Ancient Egypt.  We read the second section of the chapter, which was about Amenhotep/Akhenaten and King Tut.  Between Hatshepsut and King Tut, there's a lot of really interesting stuff to do with this chapter!  We read Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself by Catherine M. Andronik in two sittings, and a hands-on art project sprung spontaneously from each.  When we read about how Hatshepsut put together a trading expedition and then had artists paint the praises of the successful trip in her temple, they wanted to paint pictures of the trip too:

Then we were inspired to look up pictures of the obelisks she had raised in a temple built by her father, and we checked out the hieroglyphs on one of the obelisks.  I pointed out the cartouches (a cartouche is an oval surrounding a set of hieroglyphs--these are the names of pharaohs), and we looked up Hatshepsut's cartouche and then checked to see if we could find it in any of the pictures of the obelisk (we did!).  Then we pulled out our handy dandy SOTW activity guide, found the hieroglyphics/alphabet page, and Connor made a cartouche with his name in hieroglyphs.

THEN, as if that wasn't enough history excitement for the week, we found out that the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History was opening a new exhibit about ancient Egypt and archaeology, and that October 22nd and 23rd were special members-only preview days!  So we spent all day today at the museum . . . and I'll make a separate post about that!

Science:  He's learned about mockingbirds (his choice--the state bird of Texas) and beavers over the past two weeks.  He was fascinated to discover that mockingbirds can imitate other birds as well as different animals and even car alarms!  We chose beavers after seeing a dam (or rather, as we learned, a lodge) and some gnawed trees at a local pond, and we realized that a hole near the path around the pond may be the beaver's "escape tunnel" back to the pond.

Grammar:  He worked on labeling nouns and action verbs in simple sentences, and he also memorized our phone number--very timely, as I had just realized a day or two before that he hadn't ever learned it.  Oops.  I love First Language Lessons!  He's also been working on memorizing the pronoun list, and he's almost got it.

Latin:  He finished chapter 18 (review) and began chapter 19, which names parts of the body.

Spelling:  He finished All About Spelling Level 2, Step 2.  I have GOT to get a magnetic dry erase board for spelling.  The tiles are driving me nuts!

Copywork/Handwriting:  Cursive is still going well, since he's very self-motivated and he still has to concentrate.  Print copywork (and writing for his other subjects), not so much.  If I sit right there with him and remind him to be careful, correct him as he goes, etc., he can do it.  I think it's a combination of needing to review some of the letters a bit and rushing through it.  I'm thinking of taking a few days this week to review/practice printing.  I think part of the problem is that he really learned to write on his own before we even started handwriting, AND he does a fair amount of writing on his own now (he makes books. *grin*) which I don't correct, so he's gotten used to mixing random uppercase letters in, he's forgotten that certain lowercase letters are tall or go below the line, etc.  So I guess we'd better get to it!

Math:  He finished lessons 19 and 20 in RS A.  Getting "formal" school done with Brennan has been a little hit-or-miss over the last couple of weeks.  He's still been getting plenty of learning in by sitting in on a lot of Connor's stuff (especially history--have you ever taught a 4-year-old to say, "obelisk?"  *grin*) and reading or trying to read just about everything he sees.  When we *did* get math done, we "officially" introduced the concept of addition (which he's actually been doing for a long time--another product of eavesdropping on Connor's lessons!), he learned how to determine quantity by putting objects in groups of 10 rather than counting one by one, and he worked with patterns on the geoboard.

Phonics:  I finally found our Rotten Banana game (from Kelly's Kindergarten, a little over halfway down the page), so we've been playing that to solidify final consonant blends as well as reading lots of early readers.  We'll be moving on next week!

Handwriting:  He's finished with the uppercase letters and has started on the lowercase.  He has a little trouble understanding why I want him to keep practicing the uppercase letters!

Eavesdropping:  I knew he'd been listening in on a lot of Connor's stuff, but I didn't realize how much of the grammar he'd picked up until I asked him to name some pronouns for me yesterday.  I knew he knew a few (he often points them out when he hears them), but he floored me by reciting almost the entire list.  He's also been doing a lot of tagging along in history, which came in handy during our museum trip today!

Bible:  Last week we learned about God calling Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel and about David and Goliath.  That transitioned nicely (and unintentionally--Connor had been asking to memorize this one) into this past week, when we started memorizing and learning verse-by-verse through Psalm 23.  

We played a game where they (the sheep) had to move blindfolded through an obstacle course by listening carefully to my (I was the shepherd) instructions, and we talked about how sheep follow the sound of the shepherd's voice and how they will be safe if they follow, but if they stray away from the path, they could get hurt.  And then we talked about all of the spiritual implications of those ideas--following God one step at a time, learning to "hear" His voice, getting into trouble if we don't follow, etc.  They made pictures with sheep in green grass by still waters, and we discussed how God provides for us just like a shepherd makes sure the sheep have grass to eat and water to drink, and how we can rest and trust God just like the sheep trust the shepherd.

So overall it's been a good two weeks, school-wise.  And Connor asked today when we were going to study ancient Greece (he'd just finished reading Hour of the Olympics, a Magic Treehouse book by Mary Pope Osborne)--he was excited to learn that it's coming up soon.  And I'm excited that *he's* excited!  *grin*

More on our awesome museum trip to come!


  1. I'll look for your museum post! We're spending Monday at The Franklin Insitute (Philadelphia)----they are hosting a traveling Cleopatra exhibit. Dd10 can't wait :)

  2. Oh my goodness, I'm still laughing about the part where he "sold" his abacus! Hilarious! And I never stopped to think about the fact that there's a star inside of a pentagon. Makes sense; just never thought of it before.

    I always enjoy reading your posts, especially the Bible section. Do you make it up yourself, or do you have a curriculum?

  3. Jennifer, our Bible activities are kind of a mish-mash right now. We finished the book we were using (Beginning Kids Quest Catechism Club, vol. 1) and haven't ordered the next one yet, so we've been reading through one of our story Bibles (Family Time Bible in Pictures) and I've been pulling activities from here and there or making up my own. We have Little Hearts for His Glory from Heart of Dakota, and I usually start there since that story Bible is used in the program. I also use activities from the Pray and Play Bible by Group, and I usually end up looking for things online. Often I'll see an idea and it will inspire a different/original idea that we end up doing. Most of the time lately I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants as far as Bible, but that's probably mostly because I need to plan ahead a bit more.

  4. Lot of stuff going on! Loved the abacus comment and isn't it wonderful what little minds just absorb by being in the room!

  5. Great full weeks! The sheep/shepherd game sounds like a fun lesson!