Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekly Report

It's almost the end of the public school year--Henry's last day of kindergarten is Thursday. I am finding it a bit harder to keep on our schedule lately and I don't know if it's spring fever or just lots of other things distracting me. We have been doing schoolwork daily, but not our full routine and I know that I need to get back on track. With that being said, I am strongly considering taking a week off this week--which would mean that we'd only do history, reading aloud, and math fact worksheets. Henry has mostly early days this week instead of afternoon, plus we have cousins in town from Utah, so I think we will be hard pressed to accomplish more than that this week.

I am also going to try making my weekly reports less detailed. Please holler if you really want the details. I just need to do something that makes it easier to report and share without taking an hour to do the post.

This week in History we covered hieroglyphics and cuneiforms in SOTW. The boys were very interested in the lesson. Afterward, we used some hieroglyphic stamps and charts that my mom had given us to write our names, then sentences using the ancient alphabet. Those stamps were a big hit, Mom! I'm glad that I waited to pull them out until we had studied hieroglyphics so it was more meaningful. We also read Seeker of Knowledge, about the man who cracked the code to understanding hieroglyphics.

In math, Kimball and I continue to review and strengthen his skills on multiplying by 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10. He is getting pretty fast at it and completed 17 problems in one minute this week. That is pretty significant because he often freezes when he is "racing the clock." It can be very overwhelming and a bit over stimulating to know that speed counts.

Henry and Kimball played chess with each other all week--several games each day, with Kimball coaching Henry on moves (is it any surprise that Kimball won most of the matches? I don't think his coaching was completely altruistic!)

In reading, Henry read aloud to me a Minnie and Moo book over a couple of days' time. Kimball finished reading Dr. Dolittle and wrote his own chapter for the book. We still need to polish that and then we'll post it here. We finished listening to Farmer Boy yesterday and are ready to return to the Chronicles of Narnia with Prince Caspian. I am also still reading aloud ASOUE, which is taking forever because we've been busy.

We didn't spend as much time in our garden this week, as we received advice on our other blog that we may be overwatering. We harvested our first zucchini and yellow squash this week and had them in a delicious couscous salad tonight for dinner. Okay, the kids did not find it to be delicious except for Bronwen, who likes almost everything.

We did copywork one day. These boys don't love copywork. Any ideas on how to get them excited? Kimball copied an excerpt from The Family: A Proclamation to the World and Henry copied an Article of Faith.

Cub Scouts this week was geocaching, where they go on a treasure hunt of sorts with a GPS unit. Kimball had a great time.

Kimball practiced the piano this week but did not have a lesson because he hadn't practiced over the days that we had been camping. He loves playing the piano and making music that he knows. He memorizes the songs so quickly that I think he is playing them by ear rather than truly reading the music, especially for counting.

Science Friday this week was a lesson on the scientific method. I was out working in a friend's garden while they learned with Daddy, so I can't report much on that. I need to have the boys start reporting on Science Friday lessons.

Kimball attended martial arts class twice. Henry is going to start taking martial arts class with Kimball this week, now that kindergarten won't conflict. They also spent lots of time on the trampoline. I have had a hard time getting them to ride their bikes in the cul-de-sac lately because Kimball has developed a sudden paranoia of cats and particularly a black cat that seems to have taken up residence in the neighborhood. I'm not sure how to handle it but it is really frustrating that is stopping him from doing something that he enjoys and that is so good for him.

Alli (my sister) and Isaac came over one afternoon to play and I marveled at how therapeutic it is for Kimball to be in a large family. We have been trying for years to help him make eye contact with people, to learn to read their faces for clues to their feelings, and to be aware of other people in general. I notice that when he is playing with the babies, he is more in tune to them--perhaps because they can't tell him verbally what they want or need. He is so much more animated around babies and works really hard to get positive reactions from them. He discovered recently that Isaac smiles bigger if he looks him in the eyes, and so now he is pushing himself to make eye contact with babies--without me bugging him about it! I truly believe that children with special needs (or at least autistic spectrum disorders) can thrive in big families, where they have built in therapy!

I forgot to mention in my last post that in the past few weeks we have been focusing as a family on having our prayers be more meaningful. I have really noticed a difference in the quality of the prayers being said by our children since we have made this our focus. They seem to be more thoughtful, which is just what we hoped for. I have noticed a difference in my own prayers, as I have taken the time to listen for inspiration during my prayer time and promised to act on it. I am so grateful that prayer truly allows us to communicate with Father in Heaven and to hear the whisperings of the Spirit. I don't think that I would be homeschooling without it, as my prayers and the answers that I received helped me to know that this was the right choice for our family. That gives me strength on the days when I want to bang my head, or in those moments where I wonder if I can really be my children's teacher and their mother.


Allison said...

your boys are really cute with Isaac (actually, your girl too). He is much more content to play (not be held)when he is with them.

Anonymous said...

Looks good! Your plans for the "week off" sound like mine! I need to seriously take more breaks-total breaks- during the school year. We've literally worked straight since January. We had one "spring break" week where we did nothing but history when we were finishing up Greece. I'm going to schedule next year differently, probably 6 weeks on, 1 off.

I spend too much time on my weekly reports too, but I don't mind so much, it's the only record I really have of our homeschool and it's fun to go back through them. One thing that helps me though is adding a little bit everyday, then finishing it up on Friday so I don't sit at the computer and try to remember everything we did in the last week.

As for copywork, I can't say that my 7yo is excited about it, but we do very little--like 1 line per day. So I require the best work he can do but it's a very small amount of work and that way he doesn't get overwhelmed. Just a thought that might help.

Sonja said...

I think we all go through times when we want to bang our head on the wall! :)

Sounds like a great week! I love your thoughts on big families providing built-in therapy! It's so true! I love seeing boys (especially bigger boys) play with babies and help mom with the younger children.

I think you guys are amazing and I enjoy reading your weekly reports!

Cheshire Cat said...

I love that you have a Henry and an Ian.

Sea Star said...

Sorry... those Cheshirecat comments are mine. I didn't realize I was logged in with the daughter's account.