Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Science Fair Project Picked Out

After reading Science Fair Success Secrets by Bill Haduch, Son knows he wants to bake a bunch of cookies for his science fair project. We are going to buy four types of flour each: one super cheap, one popular brand, the brand I always use (I love King Arthur), and one ultra expensive, imported brand (yet to be identified). Then Son is going to compare the cookies from each brand by texture, taste, and other variables. Which cookies will turn out the best? What is his hypothesis? My vote is on King Arthur - heehee. The science fair project is due on January 11, 2012. We won't be baking until after Christmas, despite Son's eagerness.

Weekly Report - November 7-10, 2011

This week we started with American History Stories Volume II (henceforth shortened to AHS II). It is exciting to learn about the causes of the American Revolution for perhaps the first time. As I'm not from the United States, going this in depth into American History is new to me. At the same time, it's elementary level, so easy to understand. Son and I really like Mara Pratt's AHS. The narrative is written directly to the reader, and although it's written at the child's level of understanding, it's most definitely not dumbed down. We listened to chapters 1 through 4, ending with the efforts of the Daughters of Liberty. At this point I just have Son listen to the story, and we discuss. This week we were wrapping up Struggle for A Continent. As AHS continues, we read a corresponding story either from The American Story (TAS) by Jennifer Armstrong, an extra book like the Maestros one, or do something from The Complete Book of US History (TCBUSH.

In Writing Son is doing very well with WWE 2, getting not only faster, but more accurate. In addition, with the help of PLL and VIE 3, understanding the reasons for the punctuation marks and other grammatical terms. Did I mention how glad I am to have the workbook?

For school reading, Son has been reading Ginger Pye. He didn't get into it right away, but now he likes it.  It's not as easy as The Magic Treehouse series or others, which he reads in less than an hour. I have him read meatier, harder material during school time, but intersperse it with lighter stuff, still good books. For fun, he's reading Elmer and The Dragon, which is again easy and light for fun. I'm careful not to kill his enjoyment of books by requiring only the more difficult material. He finished it within the week.

In Geography this week, Son started working on the Notebooking Pages Florida State Study. The idea is for him to work on one page each day about Florida. He researched facts such as the state flag, state flower, state bird, and tree, and wrote a few lines. He also colors the items. He's not so fond of coloring, but when I remind him that this is his Florida book, he doesn't balk and gets the work done better than he would have normally.

We started listening to Peter Pan, which has us all excited. No wonder people felt compelled to make this into a movie. What great prose. Definitely one to remember.

Son read Lear's Luminous Nose, did lots of measuring in Math (both inches and centimeters), found out some more about Benjamin Franklin in History by reading and watching a History Channel clip, tackled lessons 88 and 89 in PLL, practiced Spanish on Rosetta Stone, and got to know the artist Benjamin West and composer Brahms a bit better, and read about Abraham's unwavering faith through Catholic Faith Delivered.

In Science, he read much of a science fair project book to get ideas, and completed the section on Classifying Animals in Singapore MPH Science.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekly Report - October 31- November 4, 2011

It was fun to start the week with Halloween! I printed out five fun worksheets from Enchanted Learning where Son could write and spell painlessly. After all, it can be tough to spell ghoul when you're eight. He continued reading Ginger Pye, and Struggle for A Continent by the Maestros. For Science, all I had him do was research and take notes on Florida's Venomous Snakes, an oral presentation assignment I gave him. On Friday he presented his information, and I was pleasantly surprised. He likes to perform, and even wore a safari hat for the part. I recorded his presentation on my Flip, but I cannot find the wire to connect to the computer as of yet.

On Friday we also went online on a website called Amusement Park Physics since Son was inspired by a Phineas and Ferb episode to build his own roller coaster. Turns out he likes the crazy, imaginary stunts better than the real engineering skills required to build a roller coaster. Oh well, you learn something new every day.

Writing With Ease 2 has been a blessing. Although I would ideally pick and choose passages for narrations and selections for copywork, but the reality is that I have a very busy, just mobile, 9-month-old scooting around at lightning speed. I have a preschooler who needs physical and emotional attention. I have an 8-year-old who is very mobile and energetic, talkative, needs emotional attention, and needs constant reminding to pay attention - plus weekly explanations why we need to do schoolwork. And he's always hungry. Thank you, Susan Wise Bauer! You make it easy to practice writing, and practice writing well, in small doses every day.

This week we finished Treasure Island. It was exciting, and Son can't wait to start Peter Pan. has been another blessing. Being so busy with the baby, I can't always read aloud to him. I do do it once a day, but Librivox saves me the trouble to do it multiple times a day.

Looking through my notes, I find we totally ditched English this week. No worries, next week we'll continue full steam ahead. Son likes English grammar thus far, and we're on schedule to finish PLL this school year before starting Intermediate Language Lessons (ILL) in 4th.

History ended this week with an explanation of how the colonies grew united, in preparation for the causes of the revolution next week. I like Mara Pratt's American History Stories - they are interesting, well-written stories for boys and girls. They also have an old-fashioned charm that befits the subject matter. Listening to the narrative (thank you again, Librivox) is like reaching into History and having a person from that period, or at least a hundred odd years ago, tell you about it in their words, and from an American point of view. This week we finished Volume I, and the following week we'll be starting the a new book, Volume II. This one will be about the American Revolution.

In Math, Son ended with measuring. I have to remember to make it a point to drill math facts in the car. Not only does he enjoy it, but he's much faster than he used to be.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Weekly Report - October 24-28

I know I'm a bit late (ha!), but I wanted to include this weekly report before I posted last week's. I started changing my ways of recording the learning that happens at home. Writing notes seems to be quicker, and less painful. Having tried the time-consuming grid option, I was glad to see something that uses much less time and includes everything. I'm growing up in my homeschooling journey, it seems.

On Monday for History, Son narrated King Philip's War with great clarity and included names without any prompting. He normally has a harder time remembering names. Throughout the week, we discussed the French and Indian War, and learned about young George Washington's involvement. We started reading two-page spreads of the Maestro's Struggle for a Continent, in which Son is able to see the quest for power and wealth in connection with gaining a foothold in the new continent that was North America.

In Math, he practiced subtracting whole tens, rounding and estimating, and word problems. Math Mammoth is good for both of us. Ease of teaching, Son gets the concepts, multiple strategies, and we get the big picture. We're on 2B at the moment.

As he had requested to know more about Florida, we're reading Heinemann's Florida History in Geography. It seems like double History, but it keeps his interest and grounded in our state's affairs.

Son finished reading The Courage of Sarah Noble and narrated it accurately. Rather than start a whole other book close to the end of the week, I counted Roman Numerals and Magic Schoolbus- Exploring The Senses as Reading. He narrated both without prompting.

For fun, Son also completed an Enchanted Pumpkin Mini Book. It was a little bit of Science, Reading, Spelling, History, and Writing.

English had us do PLL, Copywork and Prepositions, VIE Subjects and we also did Madlibs.

Treasure Island for Literature is exciting as all the action is happening right now. Son finished listening to Chapter 28, "Captain Silver" on Friday.

All in all, our week has been hued with the coming of fall. For our region of the United States, this means happily slightly cooler temperatures than hot. Welcome, fall! Stay here as long as you can.