May 3, 2010

Term Three, Week One

School last week was actually kinda fun (if you discount Thursday, which we are). It always feels good to come back after a break and get busy again.
The big kids' math journals were full of review of the first few lessons from Math U See Beta. We are really loving this curriculum. It gives us just enough direction without bogging us down. I set them a minimum of two math games a day, and this week we focused on games that drilled math facts. All of these games are "old" games so they can set them up and play by themselves with me in a supervisory/ referee role. It works really well for us.
In Grammar, we also had a bit of review (that worked out nicely) and began learning about contractions and adjectives. Contractions made them say "Meh." But they loved the idea of adjectives and now I am hearing a lot of, "This box is heavy! Heavy is an adjective!!" Which can be annoying, but at least I know they "get it".
Focused handwriting went over much better than I thought it would. I expected Nate to rebel at the idea of writing the same letter over and over until he got it "perfect". That is the sort of thing that usually drives him crazy. But he seemed a little relieved, actually, at only being expected to work on one letter at a time. :) Kaytie thought she was being promoted because I wrote out short sentences and she copied them.
In science, we continued with our insects. We covered metamorphosis pretty thoroughly, and by the end of the week, they could narrate whole chapters of info on Complete Metamorphosis and had a working idea of the two types of Incomplete. I, for one, am ready to move on...
We visited Russia, which meant making Matryushka dolls, watching a bit of The Nutcracker on Youtube, and enjoying Russian folk dances. Nate was intrigued by a National Geographic video on volcanoes in Russia. And we played with the Russian alphabet a bit. We read lots of Russian folktales and discussed Tsars and Communism just a tad.
In Bible, we are wrapping up Joseph (FINALLY!!!) and memorizing Phil. 2:14-15. Their first box every morning is their Bible which they are required to read to themselves. We also started working on the Books of the Old Testament. I stole/created a game to help with this. So far, we haven't made much progress beyond convincing Nate that it's FIRST Samuel (or whatever) not ONE Samuel. Kaytie still says it wrong.
We never got around to art or our Catechism question. I'm about ready to give up on this art book. If I dread getting it out, it must not be going to do us much good, right? 
They thoroughly enjoyed their first week of Story of the World. We talked about historians, archaeology, and the beginning of history (Creation). I'm a little irritated that this book sidestepped the Origin of Man issue, but it was easier to add it in than it is to leave bits out. They had a great time filling in their personal timelines (Although Nate was highly embarrassed that I wrote "potty-trained" on them!), drawing a picture of Creation for our first Timeline Card, and sneaking our library books into their beds to read at bedtime. ;) Oh, and we also played this game, although it didn't truly have a lot to do with archaeology. Nate had a great time, though! They don't even know that the best is yet to come... tomorrow, Dad is supposed to bring home a bag of sand for their sandbox and we are going to bury stuff in it and have a Dig of our own!
All About Spelling was also enjoyable. They breezed through the first two steps, and are now waiting on me to finish the letter tiles so we can move onward. (I am making my own instead of buying them. I know that shocks you!) We did falter a bit on the first step, because she puts every possible sound every letter will ever make on the backs of the flashcards and that confused my kids who have been taught "O" says "ah" and "o", but were unaware that it also says "oo" and "uh". I must admit that I was unaware of that. But I quickly decided that we were not going to linger there until they learned it and we moved on. I might just regret that decision later.
The little kids' math focused mainly on counting and an introduction to addition. Both of them need a little help counting past 14. Abbie is working on number identification for below ten, while Daniel has moved on to the teens. And they both played with our new Pond Math Mat.
They also did a lot of fun alphabet work, and a TON of creative coloring, cutting, and gluing. Daniel spent a good deal of time putting rubberbands around the geoboards to create totally useless but utterly intriguing simple machines.

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