Friday, September 16, 2011

In Which We Have A Decent Week

Adjusting to homeschooling has been tough.  Especially for the part of me that wants to "do" school at home.  But I'm getting better.  We're on Week 4 of Classical Conversations, and it's going well.  The kids are struggling a little with the English grammar (because it's all basically the same) and the end of a few of the skip counting songs (4, 7, and 8). They rock out at history, science, and Latin.

This week, we learned:
History- In 1776 the Continental Congress published the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia, announcing the colonists' intent to form a new nation.
We read about the Declaration of Independence in our "What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know Book" and also read the declaration itself.  I found a great children's version with pictures that help convey the meaning of some of the rather long and outdated words.  We wrote with quill pens (straws cut on an angle and some found feathers by my little outdoorsmen) and kool-aid ink, copying the first few lines of the declaration as copywork.  We took a field trip to Philadelphia with our friend Katie Marie and her mom Jennifer and actually saw where this all happened.  We learned about the Articles of Confederation (fail) and the Constitution (win!).  Our CC group had a "Birthday for America" celebration. We got a great workbook from the park service and did a few activities each day.
Math- Skip counting the 7's and the 8's.
Riley is finishing up Singapore Chapter 4 on multiplication.  He's done great at it and I have to say the skip counting works, he naturally made the connection that "If I skip count the 4s 3 times it's like 4x3".  Win! Logan is really struggling with his chapter 4 and will continue it next week with some additional resources.  It's the written numbers 1-10.  Logan hates to write, and while he can match the numbers and identify them on flash cards, generating the numbers from memory into a written number on the page isn't really going his way.  He's great at 1, 0, 3, 5, and 8.  The others, not so consistent.  I have a few fun games and handwriting activities in mind to help him get done.  We've been doing a chapter a week, not because I want to over-push the kids, but because that's been the pace at which they are working.  If they don't get it, I obviously slow them down.  If it's easy and they understand it, then we keep going! We test on Fridays to ensure we have it down.
Science- The 3 parts of the nervous system are the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
Our science project at CC was about lung capacity.  Not surprisingly, my children are full of hot air.  At home, we've also been doing some crystal work (because Logan wanted to) and made halite by dissolving equal parts of salt in water and then pouring it into a glass dish until the water evaporated out.  Additionally, our chicken bones we made in August were ready (place clean bones in vinegar in a mason jar.  let sit covered for 4-6 weeks. enjoy tying in nots and bending!).  Riley would like to extend that experiment by re-mineralizing the bones.  I don't think it'll work, but he wants to try some mineral-infused water, milk, and a control.  I love that he knows the parts of the process, so we'll start that this weekend! We did a bunch of fun library reading on crystals.
Latin- Latin Verbs from John 1:1-6
English Grammar- The principal parts of a verb are, infinitive, present, past, present participle, past participle.
We're also using the Institute for Writing Excellence series for primary ages K-2.  Logan does the K work and Riley started with the 2nd half of 1st grade since he didn't get any of it last year.  Logan is doing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and is on lesson 58.  He's started sight-word readers and flash cards for sight words (to improve his speed, not because I want him to memorize words as a method to learn to read) and is doing well.  He learns handwriting from the IWE as well as does copywork and story summaries and a daily journal.  Riley is reading the Magic Treehouse books and will finish the pirate one tonight and start on the Revolutionary War one we bought in Philly.  His reading has improved greatly, I'm very proud of him.  He's also doing spelling from IWE and is doing very well on it.  I liked this program because it teaches a lot of the reading and phonics rules that he never got.  He likes it because it's very hands on with lots of manipulatives.
Geography- More states and capitals

We also do daily Bible and devotion, calendar, etc.  I think we're doing pretty well now and I'm happy with the progress we're making.  Riley commented to me that we "do less work but learn more" and went on to explain that at school he learned less but did lots more coloring and "dot the dot" worksheets.  I bought him a dot to dot workbook and he feels much better now ;)
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