Monday, September 10, 2012

Weeks in Review 8/27 - 31 and 9/3 - 7

I missed posting last week, but I'll cover both last week and this week with this post.

We're continuing to do well with getting school done consistently and (mostly!) without complaining or arguing.  I could do better with getting an earlier start in the mornings, but I'm working on it!  There are still a few things I want to work in (art and music, occasional fun activities, etc.) and a few details I'm still working on (memory work review and a plan for reading other than "fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants"), but I'm making progress.  Baby will be here in about three months, which seems an incredibly short time, so I'm starting to feel the pressure to get my ducks in a row (with school and other things!).  I need to dedicate some serious time to that this week!

Here's what we've been up to!


He finished RS level C!! We were both excited. We finished up the last couple of lessons (including on introducing negative numbers, which we had already discussed a bit and which he was totally excited about exploring!), took a couple of days to review, and then he took the end-of-book test.  He only missed 3 problems--one he wasn't paying attention and added instead of subtracting, one he just got wrong, and the third he had a bit of trouble setting up on his own (RS usually has a grid for them to write the numbers for vertical problems, and I didn't even notice that the test didn't have that for the problem until he was having a hard time lining it up. I don't recall any other times--i.e. on worksheets or in the lesson plans where they were given that task, so it's something I'll need to plan to address with him on my own and make sure I remember to do with Brennan too!). Since it was something we really hadn't worked on, I helped him get it lined up, and once we did that, he got it with no problems, so I knew he could actually do the math. I was really pleased with how well he did.  And so was he!

Fitting all the tangram pieces together to make a large triangle

Serious concentration in a game of Corners

Hard at work on the end-of-book test

After he finished the test, we took a day off to play math games and then jumped right in to level D with a review of calendars.

We also finished SOTW volume 1! He learned about the legacy of the Roman empire, how they left us everything from the names of the planets to swimming pools to the tradition of putting pictures of our leaders on coins. Then we capped off our Ancient History study (FINALLY!!) with an Ancient Rome party--I'll post about that in a minute, because Brennan did it with us.  Volume 2 is ordered and on its way (should be here tomorrow!).  I'm really looking forward to studying the middle ages with them!

He finished Holes, which he really enjoyed, and then for his independent reading for the rest of the last couple of weeks I've been letting him choose books on his own for now while I work on a plan.  I've started on a list of possible assigned books, and I'll add some more ideas when we get SOTW 2, since the plan is for much of his reading to go along with history. Then I'll have to whittle the whole thing down. Ugh.

Reading Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville for independent reading

He completed lessons 190, 191, and 192 in FLL 2, reviewing synonyms and antonyms, parts of speech (that one took two days), and beginning a composition on giving directions.  He chose to write out instructions for how to feed the cat. *grin*

He reviewed steps 10 -  16 in AAS 2, finishing the rules for dividing words into syllables, making words plural, and some of the r-controlled vowel combinations.

Practicing words with "er"

Dividing into syllables and labeling syllable types

He finished lesson 16 and began lesson 17, both of which are about different constellations with Latin names. He really enjoyed making the flashcards for these lessons!

Latin makes me crazy!

Listening to the vocabulary on CD

Hard at work making flashcards

He finished week 24 lessons 3 and 4, week 25 lessons 1-4, and week 26, lesson 1. Week 25 used excerpts from Kipling's "The Elephant's Child," one of our favorite stories from Just So Stories, and he had a great time illustrating his narration.

The poor elephant's nose being stretched all out of shape by the crocodile!  I love the colorful forest. *grin*

Working on dictation

He completed notebook pages for Illinois and Indiana.

Memory Work:
Over these two weeks he was memorizing/reviewing:
John 3:16, John 8:12
The hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Catechism questions 16 - 25
Poem: "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by Cecil Alexander
Latin Prayer: Table Blessing (Benedic, Domine, Nos)
List of pronouns, list of helping verbs
History chant
Twelve sons of Jacob

Practicing the history chant

He has mastered "All Things Bright and Beautiful," so I'll have to get both boys to recite their recently memorized poems and post them later this week.


Brennan finished lessons 91 - 94 in RS B.  We spent several days practicing 4-digit addition without using the abacus to make sure it was solidified, and he's doing really well with it. He was also introduced to the greater than/less than symbols and officially began subtraction.

Who needs an abacus??

Playing Corners with mom
 I've also been giving him at least one math worksheet a week to do for independent work (in his independent work folder--stuff to work on while I'm working with Connor: handwriting practice, review, etc.).  One of his pages was a "secret code" worksheet, which he loved so much that he begged for more.  So, being the good mom that I am (Are you kidding me?? Asking for MORE school work???  YOU BET I'm going to do it!!), I found a set of 15 superhero-themed code worksheets and a couple of "name the place" code worksheets for him. I went ahead and printed them all, figuring they'd hold him for a while and he could grab one or two a day when he wanted one. Oh, no. He sat there that afternoon and did ALL 15 of the superhero sheets (12 2-digit addition problems apiece) and got started on one of the other sheets as well (he finished both of those the next day). The only reason he stopped was because it was time for dinner!!

Hard at work figuring out the superhero's name

After reviewing the long vowel digraphs we had been working on, we moved on to the soft "C" sound and then took some time to practice decoding multi-syllable words.  He enjoyed his scavenger hunt so much last time that I made him another one where he had to find only the items on the list that had a soft "C" somewhere in the word.

Hard "C," soft "C" worksheet
Reading or hiding from the camera?  He *said* he was reading . . .

Nouns, nouns, nouns . . . I had forgotten how long FLL goes on with nouns at the beginning of the first grade section!  He can recite the definition of a noun flawlessly and easily distinguishes between common and proper nouns. We have been taking advantage of the focus on names (he finished lessons 7 - 12 over the two weeks) to practice writing, spelling, and capitalizing his full name.  He also enjoyed listening to the fable, "The Lion and the Mouse" (lesson 12), narrating, and illustrating his narration.

Illustrating his narration (I wrote as he dictated)
He completed week 21, 22, and started on week 23 in WWE. His writing skills have definitely improved in the weeks that we've been back at school (as long as he's being careful!), and his listening and narrating skills are definitely growing too. He loves the narration days--I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't have to do the copywork or if it's that he likes doing narrations!

I just realized that we've been doing spelling, but I haven't been including it!  He's doing All About Spelling level 1 (AAS 1).  So far he has finished steps one, two, three, and four.  He still needs a little bit of practice on reciting the sounds for a couple of the phonograms, but he can write them all from dictation and is pretty good at segmenting words.  He's also doing well with putting the letter tiles in alphabetical order.

Alphabetizing the letter tiles

Memory Work:
Over the last couple of weeks he has been memorizing/reviewing:

John 3:16, John 8:12
Catechism questions 16 - 25
The hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
Poem: "The Cat of Cats" by William Brighty Rands
Books of the OT (through Daniel, so far)
Definition of a noun
Twelve sons of Jacob

He learned "The Cat of Cats" pretty quickly, and I still haven't gotten a video of him reciting "The Caterpillar," so I'll have to make sure that gets done this week!

Illustrating "The Cat of Cats"


We did lessons 4, 5, and 6 over the last two weeks. We're still learning about Joseph and how God took care of him in Egypt.  Although Connor loves making his own review drawings on the second day of each lesson, Brennan is much happier when I print out a coloring page for him, so I've been doing that.  We had a good discussion about making things right when we mess up after talking about how Pharaoh's cupbearer forgot about Joseph for two years after Joseph interpreted his dream. The default answer (at least from one of them) on what to do if you mess up was to try to hide it, so it was an interesting talk.  It helped that we had a recent real-life example to refer to.  Which reminds me that someone still has an apology letter to write!

We covered the immune system for science over the last couple of weeks, reading about how white blood cells attack germs and using the How the Body Works website for more information and fun. This site has been an invaluable tool in our human body study!  We're almost done--hopefully next week (well, I guess it's actually this week since I'm writing this so late!) we'll be putting together our lapbooks.

Ancient Rome Party!!  We celebrated finishing our study of ancient history with several crafts and activities related to ancient Rome.

We made a standard like the ones groups of Roman soldiers would carry into battle:
Making a medallion for the standard

Brennan colored the eagle for the back, Connor colored the one for the front

Our finished standard

They also wore a toga (alas, only one white sheet at Goodwill, so they had to share!) and reclined on cushions to have a snack like the Romans would have at meals. Later we made crowns of leaves to complete the Roman outfits:

Brennan was bummed when  I said we couldn't eat all our meals like this!

Brennan made mosaics. Connor wasn't really interested, but Brennan again showed his ability to focus on a task for a long time and get it done.  I should really stop being surprised that he does this!  It did take him two days to complete this, but only because he had to stop because it was time to leave for church! He was fascinated by the pictures of ancient Roman mosaics I showed him online.

We made coins out of clay, talking again about some of the leaders we had learned about that would have been featured on Roman coins:

(You can't really see the designs they made on the coins--too bad.  I wish we had a better camera. Or knew better how to use the one we do have!)

And that was pretty much it! They had fun, and I was glad that we got to get to a few history projects that we hadn't done earlier.

Oh, and soccer started up again.  Busy days!