Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekly Report #2

This week went by quickly and felt more relaxed than our first week. I'm hoping that it wasn't because of Labor Day, although we did spend a couple of hours on Labor Day doing schoolwork before going to swim with cousins and bbq with Grammy & Papa. I'm hoping that wasn't the difference because this week felt more like something we can keep up all year, whereas the week before . . . well, I just had to keep telling myself that it was the first week.

We introduced a new subject of study this week: Russian.
We are using Rosetta Stone Homeschool (see the sidebar) Level 1. It allowed me to set up as many users as I needed to, so each boy can move at his own pace. I set myself up as well just to be able to know what they are learning, since Kimball is doing his independently and Henry semi-independently. Ian also loves learning this way, but needs me sitting with him and has a much shorter attention span. We learned this week how to say "man", "woman", "girl", "boy", as well as a few verbs in third person singular and plural (Russian is pretty complex and I was happy to see that they weren't trying to teach all the declensions at once.) The boys are very enthusiastic about it and love using their new words.

Kimball completed SM Lessons 6, 10, and 12. He beat the clock on one of his math drills, completing the entire page in 37 seconds! This was a first for him; speed is a struggle when you are easily distracted in math.

Henry finished SM lessons 24-26 and loves doing the math facts drills although we haven't started timing him yet. In fact at one point on Friday afternoon, motivated to earn one last point towards a reward, he went digging in his cubby and a few minutes later presented a completed math facts drill page that he'd found in his workbook--about 100 pages farther than we've worked.

Ian and I did SM lessons 1-3, which is mostly just getting used to manipulatives (which he already loves) and learning about how the calendar works. He loves the attention he gets during math.

We did FLL #3 & 4 this week and reviewed The Caterpillar, which everyone has memorized now. The theme of the lessons continues to be common and proper nouns.

Henry continues to do two to three pages a day in his spelling workbook, but I wonder if it is too easy. It is reviewing word families, but so far very very basic word families. I know that is important that he master these but it doesn't seem to be very challenging. Suggestions?

Kimball continues to use his PC software for spelling and is enjoying the challenge. He was excited to spell "experiment" right on the first try. Again, it bugs me that they don't get to see the words before they spell them, but I suppose there's no penalty for spelling a word wrong so it might not be that big of a deal.

This week we went back to SOTW Chapter 13 on the New Kingdom of Egypt. I had planned on doing it with them during the last couple of weeks of summer, but as the first official school day loomed closer I was too focused on preparing to do much history. However, since I had already planned to do some of the Phoenician activities on the first week of school, I just decided to go back and do this chapter on the second week. We studied a lot about ancient Egypt over the summer together, through the Hyksos. This week we learned about Ahmose, who drove out the Hyksos, and some of the Pharoahs of the 18th dynasty, including Tutmose, Hatshepsut, Amenhotep (Akhenaten), and Tutenkhamen/Tutankhaten. The boys were really fascinated by these pharoahs and remembered the book that we had read this summer (aloud), Casting the Gods Adrift, which told of a boy growing up under King Akhenaten when he tried to make the Egyptians become monotheists and worship only the sun god, Aten.

We colored the death mask of King Tut, something that the boys spent days getting just right. I love that they are more interested this year in making their coloring pages look nice. Ian wanted me to color his while he dictated which colors when where--something that I found to be rather obnxious, but I did it because I thought he might just want the attention.

We also started an additional read aloud, "His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut." Kimball and I are taking turns reading it aloud to our group.

We liked this unit so much that we are going to continue studying this chapter next week and do a couple more of the activities suggested in our book.

Besides HMQH, we have been reading aloud Babe, the Gallant Pig, and very much enjoying it. I love the lesson that treating others well can have better results than treating them poorly (something I sometimes need to remember as a mother.) We've also talked about the theme of taking the time to get to know people who are different from you. Fly (the sheepdog's) prejudice against sheep has been passed down from all the other dogs to her, but Pig has no preconceived notions and discovers that the sheep are very nice and easy to work with. We have a few chapters to go on this one and then we'll start something new.

We've also been listening to The Last Battle in the van. We've been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on CD for many months now and I love the discussions that come from them. The first thing Kimball did when we pulled him out of public school last November was read the Chronicles of Narnia, and listening to these together as a family has helped him to digest what he read. Henry often pops up from the backseat with some profound insight about C.S. Lewis' themes and characters. This will probably finish up tomorrow or Tuesday.

Kimball has enjoyed reading The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle this week, as well as a variety of library books on various animals, on ancient Egypt, and on Persian fairy tales. He has also set a goal to read one chapter from the Bible and one chapter from the Book of Mormon each morning, which he has done now for two weeks.

Henry read several books aloud to me this week, including Julius, Mouse Soup, and Little Bear's Friend. He is gaining confidence each week in his reading abilities. His goal for scripture study is to read 2-3 verses out loud from the Book of Mormon each morning in addition to the reading that he does during our family scripture study.

Here are a few of the library books that I read aloud to the younger kids this week.

Letter of the Week
I'm afraid that we did very few letter B activities this week and we will revisit B next week. This was one of the things that fell by the wayside in my efforts to not stress out about staying on schedule too much. We'll find our balance. At least Ian learned some new Russian words!

Old Testament
We learned about Samuel, who was called to be a prophet as a boy. We talked about how you don't have to be old to hear the voice of God via the Holy Ghost and remembered times when each of us had felt the Holy Ghost. Another day we talked about how the Lord asked Samuel (and all of us) to do hard things, but with His help, we can do hard things. I felt that this was important to address, since they have been feeling overwhelmed when something is challenging.

Jared took the boys to the park on Friday and taught them all about plants and the different parts of the plants. Kimball and Henry each labeled their plants, (see below) before going to play at the park. Jared decided that next time he'll take them somewhere outside the line of sight of the play equipment, which was very distracting!

Soccer and Tae Kwon Do
Both Kimball and Henry had their first soccer games this week in triple digit heat. They both played well, got some good kicks in, and felt good about what they had accomplished. They had one TKD lesson as well.

Great lesson, learned new songs, practiced all week. Can you tell that I'm ready to go to bed?:)

Hymn of the Week
O, My Father, Hymn 292

I have got to figure out a way to report without it taking me so long! See you next week!

1 comment:

Angela said...

I love that you have added this blog- it is fun to see what you are using! Now it is double the fun!