Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekly Report (September 13-17)

This week has been good too! I feel like after two years and now going into our third year, we have arrived. We feel a lot more comfortable now with our routine, and the resources we use match both teacher and student.

We did Lessons 2-4, and Son learned why and when we use "is" and "are". He also memorized the first part of a longer poem in PLL. This could take a while, as there are two relatively long stanzas.

We reviewed Lesson 2-4 orally. We're using Tanglewood Phonics, which two years ago gave him a good foundation for how to read, and now is helping him to spell.

He read 9 chapters of Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl this week! The chapters are very short, he says, only two pages for a few of them. He enjoys this book. Maybe I could convince him to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory either this year or the next. He saw a clip from the movie (the one with the big kid being sucked into the chocolate tube), and he was traumatized, ha.

Chapters 6 through 10 this week. Son looks forward to my reading aloud to him every day. I'm so glad I waited until this year to read Pinocchio to him. He is mature enough to see the consequences of Pinocchio's actions, and not to be fazed by some violence and death (e.g. reality of life).

SOTW Ch. 2, The Early Days of Britain. Son greatly enjoyed this chapter, and narrated Craith's encounter with the giant with amazing detail - almost one and a half pages long! We read the the Usborne History Encyclopedia's section on the Celts, and he narrated the story of Beowulf as well. I really like the book Favorite Medieval Tales by Mary Pope Osborne, which has an age-appropriate retelling of Beowulf.

More of fewer and how many more. Math Mammoth offers good explanations.

The focus this week was on mixtures, and coming to the conclusion that the air around us is a mixture of three gases: oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. We watched a video on the candle burning experiment and how it extinguishes with the release of carbon dioxide from baking soda and vinegar. On The Happy Scientist's video we watched online, putting a glass over the burning candle also extinguishes the flame eventually. We also discussed chemical reactions, and how burning is a chemical reaction. This is all Lesson A-7 in BFSU.

We do Spelling three times a week, and the first day Son passed the quiz of the word list in Spectrum Spelling's (Grade 2) Lesson 1. We were going to do Spelling the CM (Charlotte Mason) way, but it either was not getting done, or it was too time-consuming for me. Then I realized that Spelling the CM way was mainly through dictation, which didn't start formally until third grade, or as we like to call it, Third Year. I opted to do Spectrum Spelling, which is much easier and less time-consuming for me, and leave dictation until next year (start a bit in PLL, but not as a Spelling lesson perse. Still trying to decide about that.)

Using 365 Bible Stories, we focused on The Ten Commandments, especially: Do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not covet, do not kill, do not tell lies about other people.

Son read Maps and Mapping Chapter 1, and did the activity.

We discussed how to be safe in the garden, e.g. to never try to put any parts of plants in your mouth before asking your parents.

We are still reading from Getting To Know The World's Greatest Artists, Giotto. We haven't gotten to the actual life and works of Giotto yet, but the history and environment of his time. Son loves it, as it incidentally relates to our former and current history studies.

Using Drawing With Children, and me as participant, Husband taught us the five elements of drawing as I practiced my elements.

Son memorized Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and recited it to us on Saturday. It's a two line poem, but he recited it very well, and using enunciation. No stuttering.

Son copied a prayer he's learning for Religious Education as well as the poem Second Fig.

We practiced "Happy Birthday" several times as we were going to a birthday party that Friday night.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Weekly Report - First Week of Second Year!
September 6-10, 2010

It's funny, this year that I've been impeded by a dozen factors, including, but not limited to:

- nausea in my pregnancy
- severe indigestion for a week
- new puppy
- son's birthday party
- disorganized, messy house

my week has been has been the best ever so far! I have just worked consistently maybe an hour here or there, but didn't get done on as many things as I've hoped for. And voila! We're off to a wonderful start. Son is enthusiastic about his year, and it shows. He is doing a great job printing his letters and focusing on his work. I'm so thrilled, and crossing my fingers he will keep this up.

So much to do, so little time. I still have to update my materials on this page, let you know about my schedule, and post photos of last year's recap. I really want to do this, I swear :)

This week we have done:

ENGLISH (new lesson)
We're using Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl and the Teacher's Guide. So far we've done Lesson 1, Picture Study on squirrels, and Lesson 2, copywork of a passage. Turns out the passage was too long, and I'm having Son finish it next week. It's okay. He took 45 minutes to write a collection of sentences! However, they are very neat. He did his best.

SPELLING (new lesson)
Using Spectrum Spelling Grade 2, we finished Lesson 1. However, I am not impressed so far. I'm giving it a month, and if I still don't think it suits us, I will go back to Natural Speller. The word lists are more challenging, but I was worried I wasn't going to follow through with setting up my own lessons. We'll see how it goes.

We're finishing Math Mammoth 1A. Son is reviewing concepts in first grade he wasn't fluent with. This week we covered Fact Families and More and Fewer. He's getting them much better now. I like how MM talks directly to him. The computer games are fun, too, although this week we just did the worksheets.

We read two poems to do on Labor Day, one titled "Idleness and Mischief" and the other "I Meant To Do My Work Today". The rest of the week he memorized "First Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. We still haven't had an official poetry recital and recorded it. We had a busy week. Tomorrow.

Son worked a lot on his writing this week. I'm impressed by his neat penmanship, but I know he needs to improve his speed. He picked his own copywork from the Labor Day choices for the week, and "First Fig" he copied as well. He also copied his last name.

SINGING (new lesson)
On Friday I showed him the notes on the piano and how we sing high and low with the low and high Cs. Then we sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together and worked on tone.

We started Story of the World: The Middle Ages! We are both excited. Son can't wait to learn about knights, castles and dragons. Week 1 was reviewing the fall of Rome and its consequences. We all enjoyed the book Rome Antics by David Macaulay.

Husband taught the first lesson from Drawing With Children, which was more of an assessment and shape recognition exercise. Both kids participated, and did well. I got invited to participate in next week's exercise as well -- oh goody!

We studied and discussed the painting "Work" by Ford Madox Brown. Son was indignant at the inequality in classes in society.

We focused on conjugations. We did Yo soy, Tu eres, El es. I presented the lesson, Son practiced saying them, we practiced using them, he played Muzzy on the computer to practice them again, and he filled out a Muzzy worksheet. We'll keep using those throughout the year.

Time and The Earth's Turning was fun for both of us. We traced our shadows at 2:15, then at 5:25 and Son noted the difference and explained why. We also watched The Happy Scientist clips to expand on the lesson and Son explained what he learned orally and wrote in his notebook.

Son is doing excellent in shaping his letters. The first exercise in Book C was just an assessment. Special time needs to be devoted to d, y, g and the top length of letters such as h and k.

What didn't we complete? Composer Study and Geography, as we started on Labor Day and instead of following our regular schedule, we did a special unit on this holiday generously donated by Sheila Carroll of Living Books Curriculum. I subscribe to her newsletters, which are always thoughtful, and her mini units fantastic. They include copywork, picture study, poems, some history and readings. She puts a lot of work into it, and gives it away. Thank you, Sheila! We had a great time doing the Labor Day helper, and we learned all about Mr. Goodyear's vulcanization of rubber.