Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Week in Review 7/25 - 7/30

We had a productive week, although it was a bit rocky at times.  Soccer camp in the evenings for Connor led to some pretty late bedtimes, and although he slept a bit later than usual, he still got cranky a few times.  I think he's fighting something off, too; he was running a low-grade fever last night.  Hopefully with some rest he can kick it.  So here's what we accomplished!


Math: He finished lessons 18-21 in RS C this week, mostly reviewing mental addition of 2-digit numbers and some problem-solving.  We're still flying through the review lessons.  I'm kind of looking forward to getting to something meatier, but it is nice to not have the struggle and drama that often happens when he has to stop and work on a concept that he doesn't get immediately!

History: We read the first two sections (of three total) of SOTW chapter 26 about the ancient people of South and North America.  They were fascinated by the Nazca line drawings and Olmec head statues, both of which inspired independent art work.  Connor narrated both sections, and both boys made a seed map of North and South America, using different kinds of seeds, beans, and corn to show the continents and Central America in the middle.  Connor also used pumpkin seed and large lima beans to show the major mountain ranges.

Reading:  We continued reading Aesop's Fables this week, and Connor also read The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame (ties in with Writing with Ease this week).

Grammar: Connor finished lessons 100 and 101 this week, moving into the 2nd grade part of First Language Lessons!  This week's lessons focused on identifying types of sentences (question, statement, command, and exclamation) and reviewing the categories of nouns.  He's got both of those areas down pat!

Spelling:  He finished Step 16 in AAS level 2 this week (words with "ar").

Latin:  He started lesson 3 in Prima Latina this week.  He's still enjoying it (especially making the flashcards), and it's been an interesting change of pace--this is definitely the most workbook-oriented curriculum we've used yet.  Song School Latin had a workbook, but Prima Latina is more involved (although it still isn't that much).  It's been good for practicing reading directions and working through the page systematically so he doesn't skip anything.  Lesson 3 introduced verbs (which was a review from grammar).

Writing:  He finished week 17 in Writing with Ease and then we skipped ahead and started week 20.  Trucking right along!  I ordered WWE 2 when I got Prima Latina, so we're all set for when he's ready to move on.  Which may not be too long, actually; a few times lately (including this week) he has chosen to write his own one-sentence narration rather than have me write it and then him copy it.

Memory Work:  This week we started working on 1 Peter 1:24-25 (using the "Seeds of Faith" CD from Seeds Family Worship--love it!), continued our plant memory work (adding the info about flowers), worked on a Latin prayer from Prima Latina (Sanctus) as well as info about soft/hard "c" and "g" in Latin, and practiced our catechism question.  Which reminds me that I need to choose a new hymn or worship song to add before tomorrow!


Math: In addition to lesson 53 in RS A, we stopped and did a good bit of practice with counting by 2's, adding 1's and 2's, and making the transition from one "10" to the next (i.e., from 19 to 20, 49 to 50, etc. OR 18 to 20, if counting by twos).  He still needs some practice, but it definitely helped!

Phonics: Still reviewing long vowels vs. short vowels.  He's got -vce words, "ee" words, and "ea" words down; of the ones we've worked on, only words like "wild," "bold," and "find" still give him trouble.  I think those will be more a matter of practice and familiarity than anything else.

Handwriting: He (finally!) finished copying the poem, "Giraffes" this week.  He is doing a great job with his handwriting; I'm definitely seeing the benefits of being more systematic with copywork with him than I was with Connor.  I wanted to scan and post one of his copywork assignments, but our scanner isn't working.  We had to replace our CPU the other week, and our printer/scanner doesn't always play nicely with the new kid.

Reading (literature): We're continuing The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, who continues to manage to outsmart Reddy Fox.  One chapter this week was about Johnny Chuck getting ready for winter, so I had him do an activity from Little Hearts for His Glory (the program we used for Connor's K year).  I wrote out, "Johnny Chuck eats to get ready for winter."  Then he wrote, "Brennan wears warm clothes to get ready for winter," and painted white snowflakes on the blue paper.


Science: This week we read From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons (I LOVE her science books) and completed a diagram of the life cycle of a plant, drawing a picture of each stage and labeling it.  Then we started learning about flowers, reading part of Bobbie Kalman's The Life Cycle of a Flower.  We pulled apart a couple of pink tiger lilies and a few snapdragon blossoms (donated by a local florist--when I told her what we needed them for, she gave them to us for free!) to see the parts on the inside and then labeled and colored a diagram (Brennan colored one that was already labeled) for their notebooks.


Both of them also independently made lego models of flowers (Brennan is holding his here), and Connor made a video telling all about his flower as well as a recap of photosynthesis:

A good week, overall.  We're still not getting everything done that I'd like to, but we're getting there.  Hopefully we'll settle back into a good groove after our trip to San Antonio in a couple of weeks!

Monday, July 25, 2011

SOTW Chapter 25: Alexander the Great

I missed a few chapters there . . . I've been planning to go back and write posts for all of the chapters (or at least all the ones for which we did projects), but our computer crashed a couple of weeks ago, and we hadn't backed up our pics (I know, I know . . .).  So, now most of those pictures are inaccessible unless my brother can work some computer magic in a couple of weeks when we go to visit, and I've learned my lesson!  Anyway, hopefully at some point I will be able to go back and add those posts, with or without pictures, but I'm going to try to keep current with what we're completing now.

So, chapter 25!  Connor has really seemed to enjoy learning about Alexander the Great.  There are 3 sections to this chapter, and we read and narrated each one, he colored the coloring page, and he completed the map work.  For additional reading, we/he read the beautifully illustrated Alexander the Great by Demi,

The Secret of Alexander's Horse by Tony Palazzo, and Alexander the Great: The Life of a King and Conqueror by Rob Shone.

Connor, who is quite the horse lover, really enjoyed the story of Alexander taming Bucephalus (his horse), so this chapter's hands-on project was a no-brainer: we made Bucephalus stick horses.

I was amazed to find that Home Depot really did carry broomsticks without the brooms like the activity guide said, although they're a bit longer than I'd like (small house + excited boys + long broomsticks = anxious mommy).  They were also inexpensive (less than $5).  I decided that copying the horse-head pattern from the book free-hand would be less hassle than taking it somewhere to have it blown up, and I was pleased with the results:

Then I used a box cutter to cut it out and used it as the pattern to make 3 more--2 sides for each head.

Connor painted his black (since Bucephalus was black), but Brennan decided he wanted a brown horse.  They both glued manes to one of their sides and then let them dry.

The next day, I used tacky glue to glue the sides together, leaving the bottom of the neck open to insert the broomstick.  When they were dry (we waited until the next day to be sure), we carefully pushed the broomsticks into the slots and added reins (clothesline rope we had on hand).

They turned out really cute.  They're still a bit hazardous around the house, though!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Week in Review 7/18 - 7/22

It's been a crazy summer so far!  We've been taking advantage of lots of fun activities, spending time with family and friends, and going swimming.  We took a couple of weeks completely off of school and had a couple of weeks with 2 or 3 days worth of school, but then this week we jumped back into a full week.  So I thought I'd post a week in review!


Math:  He has started RS level C, and is thoroughly enjoying the review lessons.  It's tempting to skip the things he already knows (and we have skipped or just barely touched on a few things), but I think the review is probably good for him, and I'm of the firm opinion that the more successful experiences you have in math, the better!  Plus, I noticed with level B (and A, now, with Brennan) that the concepts are in a specific order for a specific reason, and even though something might seem unimportant now, in a few lessons you will probably see why it was where it was!  This week he completed lessons 14 - 17.  He's been enjoying learning about Roman numerals (lessons 13 - 16), which fit nicely with the way RS teaches students to "see" numbers.  It's also nice because we'll be getting to ancient Rome in history soon, too, so that'll be a nice tie-in.

Writing out Roman numerals for his notebook

History:  This week we've been doing SOTW chapter 25, about Alexander the Great.  We're reading Alexander the Great by Demi (beautifully illustrated, as all of hers are), and Connor read The Secret of Alexander's Horse by Tony Palazzo.  We're planning to make hobby horses tomorrow so each can hop along on his own, personal Bucephalus. *grin*

Reading The Secret of Alexander's Horse

Reading:  We're reading through Milo Winter's Aesop's Fables for Children.  Excellent for narration, since most of them are very short, and also good for some interesting discussions!

Grammar:  He finished lessons 98 and 99 this week.  One more and then we move to the 2nd grade part of the book!  Lesson 99 was a review of all the poems he memorized, and we made videos of him reciting them.    He did a great job!  Here's the video of the last one he memorized,  "Mr. Nobody."

Spelling:  He finished Step 15 in AAS level 2 this week, which covered words with "er."

Latin:  He did lesson 2 in Prima Latina this week, and he loves it!  I was a little worried because it's not as much "fun" as Song School Latin, but he just really likes Latin.  He's not too crazy about some of the exercises, but I have him making his own flashcards, and he really likes that.  He was actually in tears yesterday because I wouldn't let him go on to lesson 3 (we had other work to do too!).  Poor kid!

Making Latin flashcards
Handwriting:  I've noticed a big improvement in his handwriting in general lately, probably mostly because he's getting more practice with copywork and I'm making sure to point out and praise when he's doing well.  He's still finishing up his cursive workbook--just a couple more pages!

Writing:  This week he finished Writing with Ease (WWE) week 16 and began week 17.  Today he chose to write his narration himself (and did great), so I'm looking at  moving ahead even faster than we have been.

Writing his own narration (rather than dictating it to me, then copying it)

Memory Work:  We didn't get to memory work this week, mostly because I need to sit down and change pretty much everything--new song, new Bible verse, new catechism question, etc.  I didn't that done this week, so it's on my agenda for the weekend!


Math:  Brennan worked on lesson 51 and 52 in RS A this week.  We really stopped and focused on these lessons for a few days to make sure he was really getting the concepts of counting by twos, adding one to a 2-digit number, and adding two to a number.  He's still not quite getting the transition from 9's to 10's (i.e., 39 + 1 = 40) and 8's to 10's (i.e., counting by 2's or adding 2--18 to 20 or 48 to 50).  He can rattle off 2-4-6-8-10 with no trouble, and he can do it easily on the abacus where he can "see" the new 10, so we've gone back and done more practice using the abacus and counting objects by 2's and grouping them into 10's.  It's coming, though!
Counting by twos on the abacus

Counting by twos/grouping into tens

Writing equations for +1 problems

Phonics:  He's been working on some of the long vowel sounds other than "magic e" words.  I've noticed a fairly dramatic improvement in both his fluency and his willingness to sound out unfamiliar words without resorting to guessing, which thrills me!

Handwriting:  He's been memorizing a poem, "Giraffe," by Mary Ann Hoberman, and I've been giving him a line each day to copy for his copywork.  He can (and usually does) do an excellent job.  I need to go pick up new handwriting books for both of them.

Reading (literature):  We're reading The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thornton Burgess, another in the same series as The Adventures of Reddy Fox.  The chapters this week have been about Reddy's attempts to catch Peter and the ways Peter and friends fool Reddy, and both boys have loved listening to them.  Brennan's narration skills are definitely growing.


Bible:  We actually didn't do Bible this week (as far as a "class" for school time).  I've been at loose ends since we finished going through their story Bible a while ago and haven't settled into anything.  I do much better when I have a concrete plan that's easy to follow, so I've been checking out various Bible curricula/programs.  I really like Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  I like the way that you actually study the Bible rather than lessons from the Bible.  The curriculum is set up so that all ages can study the same text at the same time in a way that is age/level appropriate.  It also incorporates memory work (verses and other info, such as the 10 commandments), review, and a timeline and maps for historical and geographical context.  It seems to fall in nicely with the way we "do" school.  I'm getting ready to order it soon!

Science:  This week we learned about carnivorous plants, focusing mostly on the venus fly trap.  We watched this video at Dan the Gardener and Friends and this one from the Discovery Channel as well as a couple of YouTube vids of a slug and a frog getting caught.  Brennan also asked this week's tough-to-answer question: "Why do they call it a venus fly trap if it doesn't just catch flies?"  Mom's genius answer?  "Well, it does catch flies, so I guess they just decided to call it that."  Urgh.

Anyway, they both made good notebook pages:

I told Brennan after we finished today that he needed to go back and do some more school work because I hadn't taken enough pictures of him this week.  Strangely, he didn't go for the idea! *grin*  I need to remember to pull it out with him more next week!

Next week, Connor will have soccer camp in the evenings, so we'll see how much we can get done--he may be pretty wiped out!