Friday, October 29, 2010
We only did four days of school this week, as it was Husband's birthday on Wednesday. It was fun to be able to give him all of us for the whole day. Almost the whole day, that is, as the kids still had taekwondo and ballet. Daughter 1 had a Halloween party at her ballet class, and Husband didn't want her to miss it. She had so much fun. Son is practicing for his yellow belt test coming up soon, so missing class would have been detrimental to him as well.
We did themed Halloween word search and a word scramble printed off Enchanted Learning. Son enjoyed himself as well as learning inadvertently how to spell Halloween words like skull, pumpkin, ghost, etc. On Friday we did a lesson in PLL where he had to explain, in correct English, how to take care of pets.
We covered Lessons 18 and 19 in Tanglewood Phonics review.
Tales of King Arthur continues as thrilling as ever, getting darker as Morgan Le Fay carries out her evil plan to have Arthur killed by his own sword. It's a challenging read for Son, but the plot is so exciting he hardly notices. He reads it aloud while I explain vocabulary pertinent to the story, but otherwise he's improving greatly. There are some big words in there for him! We started on page 67, and ended at page 79 this week.
Instead of Pinocchio, we read The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi this week. We revisited the Byzantine Empire as well as explored the legends that have immortalized St. Nicholas into the Sinterklaas we cherish and celebrate each December 5-6. Even though I've been putting out my shoe for gifts for as long as I remember, I didn't know exactly how the legend came to be. The book was very interesting. Some of it was over Son's head (I had to explain what patron saint was even though we're Roman Catholic), but the beautiful drawings managed to hold Son's interest, especially the relevance.
We went to Early Medieval China this time, where we explored the Great Dynasties (Chapter 8 of SOTW2), specifically the Sui and the Tang Dynasties. Son was fascinated that gunpowder was accidentally discovered by Chinese scientists attempting to make gold. This is what he narrated. It's interesting what children take from the story. Son really likes narrating now. He even has titles for his narrations. I would like to include some of his narrations here when I get the chance. He also colored the Tang warrior page and did the mapwork.
Not Son's favorite subject, as he has to think. I like it, as he has to think. Still practicing place value, albeit in more subtle ways, number charts and patterns, from p. 29-34 Math Mammoth 1B. He has these lightbulb moments where he sees the big picture. I like this program. It is everything I was looking for in Asian Math, except that it's a heck of a lot easier for me to teach. In addition, Son is learning gradually to take control of his own education as the directions are written to him.
Continuing with our theme of wildflowers, we did the experiment about insects and colors as mentioned in Kingfisher's Young Discoverers' Flowers, Trees, and Fruits. I cut out four squares out of cardboard, then four squares out of colored construction paper: one blue, one white, one yellow, and one red. Then I let Son and Daughter glue the construction paper squares onto the cardboard pieces. I helped Daughter fill empty bottle caps with sugar solution from a dropper. Son was able to do it himself. We placed each filled bottle cap on each colored square, and we set the squares on the outside porch to observe. We observed that the ants (the only insects we saw) went for the white one first, to our surprise, then the blue one, the yellow one, and the red one last. We think we're going to repeat the experiment and try this in another location, perhaps the backyard. Son also drew the parts of a flower (including stamen and stygma), and we went on a Nature Walk to find pink flowers. He sketched it in his sketchbook (as did Daughter in hers), and we identified the specimens we found as Blackbead (ubiquitous in the Florida Keys), but we could not find the second one, which was extremely tiny. It may not be pink after all. I suspect it's in the red/orange family, to be explored later. We found no other pink wildflowers. Son found one, but it was from the purple family from last week. We also were witness to the pollination process, I believe it was a cicada that was flying from one Blackbead to the other. Blackbead has a pleasant fragrance, but we found the plumeria (not a wildflower, or native if I'm not mistaken), has a beautiful fragrance. I do love plumeria, or frangipani, as it's more commonly called here. It reminds me of leis in the Hawaiian islands.
Son spelled short 'e' words this week, and completed his lesson in Spectrum Spelling. No dictation this week.
We read aloud The Trickster Tricked, as poor Jacob was tricked into working seven years to only marry Leah instead of his beloved Rachel. He still had to work another seven to marry Rachel! At least he became rich and successful, and Son was excited to learn of Joseph's birth. Rachel had finally conceived a son.
Son finally recited Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Two weeks in the making, but Son got it down pat. This is the longest poem he's ever memorized. Three four-line stanzas.
Son watched Muzzy, copied a two sentences from the Muzzy Storybook and decided to copy "Me gusta Ben 10" as well, which means "I like Ben 10" (his favorite TV show that he only watches on DVD).
We continued reading about Giotto's life.
In reading about Tchaikosvky, we find out how he incorporated folk songs into his music, and although he wasn't the only one to do it, that he had a flair of doing so.
In keeping with the Drawing with Children, the children drew horses this time, not an easy feat and not bad first tries. Afterward, they wanted to do their respective heroes: Son drew Humongosaur (from Ben 10, what else? ;)), Daughter drew a princess.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Another busy week. Son has tae kwon do three times a week, Cub Scouts once a week, piano once a week, and religious education once a week. He wants to do basketball, but frankly, I think that's too much. Daughter A (formerly just Daughter, but I'm expecting another one :)) is also in ballet and swimming right now, which keeps me driving all week long. School went smoothly, as it's been going.
Son did an oral reproduction of PLL's Lesson 7, which helped him internalize correct grammar and pauses and oral communication. In Lesson 8 he worked on his observation skills and communicating orally in a clear, correct way.
In Phonics we reviewed Lessons 16 and 17 of Tanglewood's Phonics Lessons.
This week Son read Muhammed by Demi on the first day and told me about it, then he continued reading King Arthur's Tales aloud until Friday, when he read aloud The Story of Saint Patrick, which he enjoyed very much. It was a review of our History, but also an elaboration.
The first day I read Pinocchio aloud, then the remaining days I read Marguerite Makes A Book aloud, which is a wonderful book about the art of illumination and paints a great picture of life in the Middle Ages. This topic also reviews and expands on our History lessons on monks and their painstaking art of creating books. I learned a lot too! I didn't know that beautiful medieval blue came from crushed lapis lazuli and that the green was from fresh parsley. We haven't done it yet, but we thought it would be cool to make green from egg white and fresh parsley for Daddy (aka the artist).
This week it was Columbus Day week. The first day, Monday October 11, it was a holiday for most of the country, but we chugged along as we learned about Christopher Columbus. This way we can take off whenever one of us gets sick, there are extenuating circumstances, etc. Keeps us well on schedule.
Son worked on dictation on page 6 of PLL, which took all week. It was long, but I broke it up into three pieces. He learned spelling in the process. He seems to like the challenge.
Lessons 13 and 14 orally together. I like the connections he makes while reviewing phonics, especially when it comes to spelling.
Using Living Books Curriculum's excellent Columbus Day Holiday helper, on Monday he read aloud James Baldwin's Columbus And The Egg, a very short story that helped illustrate Christopher Columbus' character. On the remaining days we continued with King Arthur's Tales, and wallowed in the world of knights, spells, and chivalry.
For read-alouds, I used the Holiday Helper's The Mutiny, by A. De Lamartine on Monday, which made us feel as though we were right there with Columbus on his exciting and suspenseful journey that almost broke out into mutiny. The remaining days we went back to Pinocchio, who, to our dismay, still hasn't mastered the art of listening and obeying.
SOTW Chapter 6, The Rise of Islam. We discussed Mohammed and his vision in the cave, Son narrated, colored a page of a Bedouin, and did the Five Pillars of Islam activity.
We're on Math Mammoth 1B now, and focusing on Place Value. Son worked on sheets p. 18-24. He kept practicing first with his abacus, then without. He's got a good grasp of it. Mental note: more of the computer games. Why is this so hard for me to remember?
This week, using BFSU, we discussed Vertebrates and Invertebrates, and arthropods. Son looked up crabs (arthropods) and animals with no skeletons (worms) in his Kingfisher's Animal Encyclopedia.
Keep on going with Spectrum Spelling. We reviewed Lessons 1-5 this week, and in the process refreshed Son's memory. I'm not sure this program is working, but I'm trying it out for a few months to see. This is the only curriculum choice I'm not thrilled about.
We did Picture Studies of Vve Turgis' and others' paintings, and Son pointed out Columbus, Queen Isabella, and King Ferdinand. I really like the selections by Living Books Curriculum.
We keep reading about Tchaikovsky and getting a good picture of the man behind the music.
In Poetry, I just read him and we both enjoyed Holiday Helper's poems about Columbus: Columbus and The Things That Haven't Been Done Before was one that we liked.
I read Jacob and Rebekah tricked Isaac and Jacob Has to Flee from the 365 Children's Bible Stories. Son was shocked that Jacob had to leave home like that, and how he tricked his father.
Hills, mountains and reliefs were part of our geography studies this week in Maps and Mapping.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Husband showed and discussed food-borne illnesses and raw meat bacteria, and how to take precautions while cooking meats. Son realized there was more to cooking, and how we as adults had to be careful in the kitchen.
Son copied a line from the Muzzy storybook, and and watched the Muzzy video to practice his Spanish. I also talk to him and ask him questions in Spanish, and reviewed vocabulary.
Besides Spanish, using the Holiday Helper again, Son copied some neat passages from Columbus' own journal. Husband was able to chime in and say that the Spanish kept meticulous diaries on their voyages too. Columbus was Italian, but he was an admiral on a Spanish fleet.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Week 5 I had to have my prenatal appointment in the middle of the week, but Husband came to the rescue! He not only watched the kids for me while I went, but taught them as well. I left detailed instructions. My due diligence in planning out lessons and experience the previous month have helped me to be basically open and go when it comes to my little homeschool. I'm very proud of the fact that Husband was able to pick up where I left off. Son liked it very much, and of course, as Dad is a novelty, he told me he preferred Dad to me as teacher. Oh well :)
Lesson 7 in PLL was memorization, which Son somehow managed, but not as thoroughly as I'd like. He has many selections to memorize as it is. He would need to repeat it many times, and not just during the three times a week we have the lessons.
Reviewing Tanglewood Phonics, we covered ang, ong, ing and "qu" sounds. I emphasize to Son that knowing the sounds help in Spelling as well.
Son really enjoys Tales of King Arthur, and I'm right there with him. I've never read the stories before, so I'm equally surprised and fascinated. I really do try not to read ahead. His vocabulary is increasing, and his ability in reading aloud is improving, too. We also discuss, and I geto to assess reading comprehension, all on the comfort of our couch.
Pinocchio is such a rascal! He keeps not listening and getting in trouble. When will he learn? Very interesting book, and many life lessons revisited for me and hopefully absorbed by Son. There's plenty of material to discuss. Since there are so many chapters, I don't anticipate finishing this book until almost the end of the following six-week period, especially if we have a few historical fiction thrown in for good measure.
This week we covered chapter 5, which involved the Gupta Dynasty. We learned about Chandragupta, and what a dynasty is (a family who rules one region for many years).
SPANISH We continue studying numbers, where he counts and reads the numbers. He also practiced on his Muzzy computer interactive game.
NATURAL SCIENCE BFSU's Seasonal Changes and the Earth's Orbit was our topic for this week. Since we don't have a globe yet, Husband made a makeshift globe out of a balloon, and did the activity with Son and Daughter illustrating the months of the year and how rotation affects the seasons and temperature.
ART Children continued practicing with lines. This week Son and Daughter copied apples and other shapes, using Drawing with Children's templates.
Peter Tchaikovsky's biography keeps on moving along with him being very sensitive and going to law school solely because his parents want him to. His true love is music, however.
POETRY Son memorized "Wild Swans". We also discussed it so he was clear on its meaning. Edna St. Vincent Millay certainly has a knack for elevating the most mundane activities into art.
GEOGRAPHY We learned about keys and legends of maps in Maps and Mapping. Son already knew a little about this since he was used to helping us read maps at theme parks and doing the map activities in SOTW during History.
HEALTH & SAFETY This week Husband explained to him the importance of first aid and how to clean and dress a wound.
COPYWORK Copywork consisted of lines of poems and a thank you card to our Aunt Chris.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Another good week. We are a tad behind in History (one SOTW chapter section), but I know we will make it up in a week or two. We missed last Tuesday in Week 3, but we're none the worse for it.
Even though Tales of King Arthur (adapted by Felicity Brooks) is challenging for Son, the stories are so interesting that he perseveres. I'm right next to him as he reads aloud and learns the more elevated vocubulary. This is one of the books that Charlotte Mason would have said, "lifts you up by your boot straps". I'm glad to see Son working his way through a more difficult book without complaining. We finished the week with the chapter The Gathering of Knights, where the Round Table was introduced. I can't wait to read what happens next!
I'm satisfied to report Son has been caring a bit more about his penmanship, and it shows in his overall work. I've been pleased with how he has risen to the challenge of significantly more writing this year. I like that in Getty-Dubay he does self-checking; it makes him feel responsible for his work.
His penmanship is much improved, and he's faster than before. I made a mental note to have him double check his work after he's done, as sometimes he misses a letter here and there. He's been paying close attention to his punctuation, which I'm delighted with. It works much better when the copywork is either directly related to his work (e.g. the attributes of matter, to help him remember), his current poetry, or a chosen passage from literature or a line or two from one of our current poet's poems.
It was also a brilliant idea (thank you, Sue!) to get one of those composition books with primary lines and the top part of the page blank for the child to draw a picture. Son is proud of his copybook and almost always sketches a picture on the top too.
Math Mammoth, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.. The week before we had taken a short detour to review money. This week we're back with MM 1B and Son is learning place values. We played quite a bit with the abacus, and it made math not such a chore for Son. He sees it really easily on the abacus, but needs practice on the worksheets. I just think it's a lack of confidence. He's certainly doing great, and I'm glad to see the variety of problems and not just row after row of the same, which was boring for him (MCP anyone?).
Dictation is going well, and I hope Son remembers the words after he's visualized them before I erased them on the board. We're doing the Charlotte Mason way of dictation, and I like the hidden gems in its simplicity.
Reviewing Tanglewood Phonics -- we covered Lessons 7 and 8 this week. Short and long vowels, ch, sh, th.
BFSU is another program I am enjoying to teach, and it jives well with the relational way in which Son learns best. This week we did C-4 Concepts of Energy III, and Son learned the attributes of energy, and the difference between matter and energy. We also learned that the whole universe is composed of either matter or energy. To help him cement the facts, I had him do copywork on the attributes of matter.
On Monday we finished the previous chapter, Chapter 3 of SOTW2, Christianity Comes to Britain. The last section was Writing Books by Hand. Unfortunately, the ILL book, Marguerite Makes a Book, hadn't come in (still hasn't!), but I believe it's fresh enough in his memory that it will be useful by the time it comes. It looks like a charming book. Can't wait to dig into it. The rest of the week we covered Chapter 4, which is The Byzantine Empire. Son took a real interest in the art and times of the Eastern Roman Empire, and got really excited about Empress Theodora and her courage in saving her husband Justinian's throne. History is his favorite subject, but I am delighted the little man is volunteering for narrations and is enthusiastic about me recording them on the computer!
We have Spelling Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesday I taught him what alphabetical order was, and we did a homemade excercise on that. Son is able to alphabetize with the first and second letters. Mental note: review once every 6 weeks. We also did Spectrum Spelling Lesson 4. It takes Son usually all three days to finish it, as there are four pages per lesson.
LITERATUREAh, Pinocchio and his faulty reasoning. I read aloud chapters 15 through 19. We both find it enjoyable, if not a bit frustrating that the wooden puppet doesn't see the mistakes he's about to make (but we do!). I like the discussions that come up. We're going to have nice memories of this book.
After having discussed map scales and I showed Son how and why scaling is used, Husband also jumped on the bandwagon and explained his side of things and did the activity in Maps and Mapping, which was basically drawing a book on a smaller scale.
The whole week we read Edna St. Vincent Millay's bio to understand the person better. We read an excerpt of the poem Renascence (one of her most famous poems), and Ebb.
We continued reading about the life and times of Giotto. Son was very interested in "The Flight to Egypt", a painting about Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus fleeing to Egypt with circles on their heads (proclaiming they are holy/saintly). Son liked this painting very much, but he was a bit sad that the fresco showed cracking and peeling. I informed him that painting was more than 700 years old! He spontaneously replied he wanted to copy it so everyone could see it. I arranged this with Husband.
We reviewed the Ten Commandments. He remembered 6 out of 10 and could explain what they meant. We're revisiting when covering Moses.
We're reading about Tchaikovsky. Son is able to name the three famous Tchaikovsky ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. He did see two of those - on TV and live.
HEALTH & SAFETY
We discussed good posture and how it affects your growth and could cause pain later on if our bodies are consistently not used correctly. I was able to use myself as an example, as I'm five months pregnant and visiting a chiropractor because of back pain related to carrying children in my arms on one side. My left foot was one inch longer than my right! Talk about being misaligned. He still doesn't like it, but makes an attempt at sitting up straighter on his chair and using the stool I provided him so his feet don't dangle when he writes at his desk.
We orally reviewed numbers in Spanish, and Son played Muzzy on the computer.
Husband continued with Drawing With Children. The children are both able to see the elements of drawing everywhere, and were able to draw some birds using their knowledge. I am impressed. I had never seen Son draw birds that way. He was really looking at their shapes/lines.