Sunday, November 20, 2011

What we've been up to

Yes, we've been doing school.  No, I haven't been posting about it.  Sigh.  I'm trying to get back into blogging about our school weeks, so here's a general update about what we've been doing!

We  (finally!) finished our science unit on plants and began studying the human body.  The boys are both really enjoying this unit.  We're making a lapbook using some of the models from Scholastic's Easy Make and Learn Projects: The Human Body, which is an incredible resource.  I came across it (and many other great ideas) at this Squidoo lens about making a human body lapbook.  I'm adding a few things myself as we go to keep track of specific information that we're learning--I think it'll be a great lapbook when we're done with it.  Or rather, a couple of great lapbooks. *grin*

Cutting out a general overview of the body mini-book

Listing the systems of the body that we'll be learning about: integumentary (skin/hair/nails), muscular, skeletal, respiratory, reproductive, circulatory, digestive, nervous, immune.
Rubbing arms/legs on a black trash bag and searching for flakes of skin

Piecing together skeleton models

Assembling a model demonstrating how muscles contract to move your arms

So far we've learned about what cells, tissues, organs, and systems are, and we've studied skin/hair/nails, the skeletal system, and the muscular system.  I've found some fantastic resources on the internet.  I think I'll make a separate post with resources for this unit--this would be a huge post if I tried to list everything here!

History:  We kind of got stuck in Ancient Rome for a while. *grin*  The boys were both fascinated by gladiators, and we enjoyed reading Gladiator by Richard Watkins, who did a fabulous job of going into all the interesting details without being too gory while also maintaining a clear perspective that the bloodthirstiness and lack of respect for life on the part of the ancient Romans were not good things.  We also enjoyed reading A Triumph for Flavius, which I was pleasantly surprised to discover in our library's system.  They also liked reading about Hannibal and his elephants.

We're currently taking a detour through ancient India and China, and then we'll head back to Rome again to finish out the book!
Gladiators have been a recurring them in recent artwork.  They seem to have a lot in common with Jedi. *grin*

Reading about Spartacus

Math:  Brennan finished RS level A!  He was so excited.  We're working on transitioning to level B.  The teacher's manual says that students who finish A can skip the first 20 lessons of B, but I'm going through and pulling out things I want to review with him before we take off full steam.
Comparing weights using a balance

Investigating volumes of containers of different shapes and sizes

Connor is plugging along steadily.  The lessons in level C seem to generally take us a bit less time than level B, and that really seems to be helping with some of his resistance to working on math.  He's zipping right along--beginning multiplication, working on subtraction, and we just started using the drawing tools (triangle and T-square) for some geometry lesson.  He's a pro at calculating the perimeter a triangle, rectangle, etc.  Everything seems to be gelling for him lately--there's not anything that I'm not quite certain he's getting.  Yay!
Drawing horizontal and vertical lines using the T-square and triangle
Grammar: Connor's been learning about being verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs.  He can rattle off the whole list!  We've also just started learning about adjectives.

Reading: Connor read The Sign of the Beaver and McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm, and now he's working on The Toothpaste Millionaire.  He's not chomping at the bit to read these assigned (and more difficult than what he chooses for himself) books, but he's not resisting either, so that's good.

Brennan has taken off with reading!  A couple of weeks ago, he realized that he could read Magic Treehouse books on his own and promptly plowed through 10 or 11 of them in about a week and a half.  He is so proud and excited when he finishes another one and is eager to tell us all about it.  I love it!  Today he tried Nate the Great--he polished off two of them and got about halfway through another.  It's so exciting to see him so into reading!
He went through all of the library's Billy and Blaze books

Just finished his first Magic Treehouse book!

Engrossed in another one
Writing:  They're both making steady progress in their respective levels of Writing with Ease.  Connor is doing really well with dictation--he told me the other day that he LOVES dictation.  Narration still isn't his favorite thing, but he's coming along.  He does a really good job when he's not fighting me on it!

Spelling:  Connor is almost done with AAS level 2.  We've been kind of taking our time, because we won't be able to get level 3 for a bit.   I love AAS, but I am thinking about going with something a little less expensive.  And despite good intentions, we haven't really gotten Brennan going with level 1 yet.  I'm not too worried since he's still technically in Kinder, and I don't really want to overload him with the academics yet.

Latin: Connor is still loving Prima Latina.  He's just learned to count from 1-10 in Latin, and last night we attended a concert and heard a couple of songs in Latin.  He was thrilled to recognize some words, including the entire text of the Doxology (Gloria Patri--the most recent Latin prayer he's been learning) in one of the songs.

Not really school, but we tried out the Lowe's Build-and-Grow program last week, and they had a blast building (nailing together) their own science experiment stations, which of course we had to try when we got home!
Milk + food coloring + dish soap =

= amazing swirling action!

Whew.  Okay, so I'm going to *try* to be more consistent about blogging each week.  We'll see!

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