Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekly School Summary - Central America (Sept. 26-30)

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!

Reading Public Museum
These summaries sure get awfully long! It is nice for me to see how much we actually got done in one week though. Sometimes it feels like the days are long and my mind is fried but then I wonder what did we accomplish. Some progress (character) can't be measured in completed worksheets but being a check-it-off-the-list kind of person, I like seeing tangible evidence for things that can be measured.
This is longer than usual because of our curriculum switch.... sigh.

Here's what we did this week:

Field Trip: We had 2 free tickets to the Reading Public Museum for Saturday. Since I had to work all day, Bass took the younglings. I printed off a seek-n-find page and another worksheet from their website and the kids took those along. They posed like statues, saw all sorts of exhibits about other countries (tying into our ECC studies), and got to see some natural wildlife exhibits.

Posing like the statue
Finding everything on their seek-n-find sheets
Math: Same as usual. Tenor had 5 lessons while Soprano did 4 and played games at on Friday.

Lovin' Saxon Math 2
Reading and Language Arts: After our little L/A quiz mix-up last week, I thought for sure that Tenor would sail right through this week and ace quiz 2 the second time around. He only scored 1 point higher than last week which was before he had seen the material presented. Oy vey! We went over the whole thing together and I think he "gets" it now but I'm wondering if we need to consider another curriculum for him as well.
As well??
Yup, Soprano did better last week with her Language Arts and Reading. But this week, we were back to the same frustration and not "getting" it. On Thursday, after I gave her the lesson back to correct, she dissolved into tears saying, "I get things wrong on every page. It's too hard." She slumped down in her chair and put her head in her hands and cried.
I closed the book up and took her to the couch for a snuggle and chat. Right then and there, I decided I had had enough. It's just not working for her. I don't know if it's the level of material being presented or the format but it's not working for her. She's not enjoying it, she's not retaining it, and it's making her feel inadequate. So commence major research for a new curriculum....
We finished up on Friday and headed out to a few local education stores to see what was available.
Without lots of detail, I found a couple different resources that I think are more at her level and will address the areas that she needs to work on. So now we're going to use:
Rod and Staff English 2 (for grammar) (I found the student book and teacher book at a 2nd hand shop for $2.50 total! I saw this online and thought it looked geeky. But seeing it in person and having Soprano do a lesson with me in the store changed my mind. The lessons are short enough and gentle enough that I think it will help keep the concepts she has already learned fresh.)
Rod and Staff English 2
A Reason for Spelling B (on order from Amazon)

Across the Centuries Level 1/2 (Bass works at a Bible college where he has access to the library. They have an outstanding teacher ed program and a whole room of curriculum. They have the whole series of these books and because he's staff, we have a 4 month check-out period. I also got 2 of the books required for this curriculum there. FREE! Thank You, Lord! We're going to do both 1st and 2nd grade levels this year. For reading/comprehension.)
Across the Centuries  Level B Volume 1
Phonics 1 (and 2 and 3 for phonics work. These were a little pricey but I had a coupon for the local ed. store. I went with these because they have multiple pages per concept. I think Soprano is a mastery learner so 5 pages of short 'i' will be beneficial not annoying. I hope.)
Phonics by Teacher Created Resources
I Can Master Handwriting: Print and Cursive (Free from my yard sale pile. My in-laws gave this to us ages ago but the kids only did a few pages because they had so much writing in school anyway. I found it in our yard sale stuff and pulled it out to give Soprano more review than what was in her CLE LightUnits. We'll continue using it for the remainder of the year and perhaps next year also. It's not the same style of printing that she had been taught but it's close enough. I want it more for the practice so I'm not going to be super picky about D'Nealian letter formation.)
I Can Master Handwriting
So it looks like a lot.... and maybe it is... but all of the lessons are short and at the beginning will be more review. I want to give Soprano a renewed sense of confidence in her abilities so that she won't automatically start the day with the attitude that 'school's too hard.'
Now I just have to decide about Tenor's work and pray that Soprano's unused curriculum sells well on Craig's List or eBay.....

We got our school computer back! Bass's co-worker helped put it back together with a new hard drive (since the college had 'pilfered' ours to run one of their servers after an emergency.) We set it up in the school room because when it was out for repair, we rearranged the family room. It's nice having it in there although the sound is distracting for the other student. We'll figure that out though. The kids were excited to begin Typer Island again for their typing instruction.
Next week, we'll start over with SOS Elementary Spanish.

They did a health worksheet about Dirty Daryl and his bad hygiene habits.

We talked about Firefighters as our Community Helpers this week. We also had a ton of activity sheets from the Fire Safety day at Lowe's this past Saturday. I had them do 2 to include in their portfolios. I'm thankful for Lowe's who sponsored the event.... it's great education for my kids and helps me easily fulfill state requirements.

They also colored a worksheet about Quakers for PA History.

Tenor began his first "real" week of A Reason for Handwriting with words and Bible verses. But I guess I wasn't terribly clear. He got to day 5 and wrote out our MFW's verse on his frame page. HAHA Being a mean mom, I made him do it over with his verse from aRfH. Both of his verses turned out very nicely. I can see major improvement in his handwriting. It's definitely legible now!

Phys Ed.: Lots of bike and scooter riding and some serious leaf raking. Including raking our neighbor's into our yard (from across the cul-de-sac) so they could have a leaf pile to jump in. Daddy was happy they helped our elderly neighbor, but not so happy that he now has to dispose of all her leaves too.

Bible: This week included:
Reading about Cuba
Reading Matthew 2:19-23, 3:1-17, 4:1-11
Memorizing Matthew 4:4

We colored our John 3:16 page and read it in Spanish. (Pronunciation might have been a little iffy.) :)

Geography:  We did our passports. The younglings loved it!
We talked about Mexico and read different words in Spanish. Tenor remembered quite a bit from his previous year's of Spanish instruction.
The best part this week was playing the Geography Game (using MandMs for markers.)
We came up with a nice mnemonic for Latin American countries to help us remember them.
In Mexico, Good Boys Eat Honey Nut Cheerios Politely. (Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.)
We had a little trouble remembering the islands so we might try this memory trick next week:
Because Cuba Jumped High, Dad Really Prayed. (Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.)

Tenor's pages from World Geography this week were 'Vegetation of North America' and 'Animals of North America.' I had Soprano do 'Animals of North America' too. They also did their vocabulary cards this week (desert and dune.)

Science: We started reading and discussing deserts.
I found a ton of great books at the library for our book basket.
Independent Reading (Looks comfy, eh?)
Soprano started the Reptiles sheets from The Complete Book of Animals. Thursday we experimented with turtles and ice cubes to observe the differences between shade and sun and how it affects cold-blooded animals. It would have gone better if it had been sunny out but we had a cool, overcast day. There was a difference in temperature between the yard and a shaded area under some trees in the backyard. I made a printable for the kids to record their observations.
In the sun
In the shade
Other MFW: We continued with Wee Sing Around the World listening to Pin Pon and Tingalayo.The book basket was overflowing again. I also found DVDs about the desert (Borreguita and the Coyote; Hill of Fire; Desert Giant; Eyewitness Desert) and one about Mexico (Countries Around the World: Mexico). Our art project was the yarn art.
Soprano's yarn star
Tenor's yarn cactus
Overall this felt like an easier week because less MFW was less intense. I liked it!

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  1. I'm sorry things haven't worked out as planned. It's always hard for a mamma to see her child feeling so hurt over school! R&S English 2 was wonderful. I used it with two of my children. And have used the higher levels with all of my children. Hope the new things work better for you.

  2. The yarn art looks fun. I am glad you found a LA program that is refreshing to your school day.


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