Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekly Report #7

Another week has passed and here I am on Tuesday, writing a report, which will surely be too brief and not have nearly as many pictures as I had planned. But at least I'll record what we accomplished, as I rely on this for much of my record keeping.

Our highlight this week was history (as usual.) We studied the Minoans as we prepare to start Ancient Greece next week. We learned about their shipbuilding, their love of arena sport (specifically bull jumping,) and about King Minos and the Minotaur. We built a labyrinth out of blocks, created our own mazes on paper, colored bull jumpers, wrote about Theseus conquering the Minotaur, and built a volcano. We had planned to paint it and make it erupt on Friday during science, but I had neglected to allow for the clay to dry, which has taken about 5 days. So we'll be working on the volcano this week (yes, I still have a half-finished Egyptian death mask in my closet. But this time will be different!)

We also did four lessons each of Saxon Math, four lessons of grammar, and Russian five days. We learned about King Solomon. The boys were fascinated by the story about cutting the baby in half. We also talked about the temple and the importance of the temple today, as Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. For a read aloud, Jared is reading Gulliver's Travels to the boys right now. I also read aloud lots of library books and otherwise to the three youngest. I continue to see Henry's abilities improve, which is so exciting.

For science, since the volcano wasn't ready, Jared taught about acids and bases and they shot off a rocket that uses baking soda and vinegar reaction to blast off.

Our letter of the week was F. We read all of the Froggy books (by Jonathan London) we own, which is a lot. On Wednesday at the park after speech, we ran "fast", threw the "football" and leap-"frogged" before we had "free" play. Ian consistently picking out previous letters of the week, and although he doesn't always name them properly, he always knows the sounds they make, which is more important.

We participated in Cub Scouts, soccer, tae kwon do, and piano lessons. We rode bikes, took a walk, and read lots of books. We went to the dentist, twice, and Henry got to have what the dentist called a "baby root canal." (I guess he got my family's teeth. Or eating habits.)

It was a good week, and a busy one, and I'm not going to spend anymore time this week posting about it!:)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekly Report-- Our Week Off

This week was our first scheduled break. I am so glad that I planned these in, because it was really nice for all of us to take a break. I had planned on keeping our same structure in the morning: Family Devotional, breakfast, get dressed, make beds, brush teeth, journal, personal scripture study and prayer, piano practice, etc.. However, these things only happened on a couple of days. The boys took turns feeling sick, having caught the cold that I'd had the week before. We had lazier mornings.

We made cupcakes and took them to the park to celebrate cousin Isaac's b

We made bread and shared it with some people that we love.

We had some friends come over to play one morning to give their pregnant mommy a break.

We went to the library and picked out lots of new books.

We learned how to play Settlers of Catan. (It might still be a little early for this.)

We did some cleaning (but not nearly enough.)

We made invitations to Ian's birthday party and delivered them.

I also conquered the ironing pile that was threatening to take over my bedroom. I did my mom's taxes. I finished my book, Wives and Daughters, and started the Poisonwood Bible. I talked on the phone more than usual. I vacuumed in the middle of the week!:) I made whole wheat bread, banana bread, and dinner rolls. I attended an IEP for Henry's speech services. I took a nap.

Things I had meant to do this week and never got around to:
  • Lesson plans for the next 6 weeks (oops!)
  • Plant a fall garden
  • Wash all the windows in the house
  • Decorate for Halloween
  • Bake rolls and freeze them for an upcoming business event
  • Go to lunch with some girlfriends
  • Play soccer with the boys (since they didn't have soccer this week)
  • Buy and wrap some Christmas gifts
I got up extra early this morning and got my lesson plans done for the coming week. I'm going to have to make time this week to get our plans done until Thanksgiving. But we had a great time being productive and being lazy and being together. And we (especially the kids) were ready by the end of the week for the structure of school again!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekly Report #6

These past six weeks have gone by so quickly. I am really happy with what we've been able to accomplish and how we've been able to mostly keep to our lesson plans as scheduled. I am glad that I planned in pencil, though, as things have had to shift a little here and there. We are in a good routine and enjoying learning together. And we are looking forward to relaxing our schedule next week, taking the week "off", and preparing to jump back in the following week. I'm hoping that these one-week breaks that I've scheduled after six weeks of school will allow us to stay fresh and excited (and to get caught up on deep cleaning).

We studied the rise (again) of Babylon this week under Nebuchadnezzar. How is it that in all my life of reading and listening to Bible stories, I had never heard the story of Nebuchadnezzar's madness? The boys found it to be so fascinating. I was tempted to jump ahead in our Old Testament studies to Daniel, as he was king N's contemporary, but the boys already seemed to know that about him and I decided we'd just stick with our plan. They were so interested in the tale of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which King N built for his homesick Persian wife, and they were quite enthusiastic about drawing the gardens as they imagined them. We also looked in the Great Wonders book we got at the library, which spent a few pages speculating about what those gardens were like.

It's too bad they were completely destroyed. Looking at how powerful and beautiful Babylon was at that time, it caused me to reflect on the pattern of pride and destruction. Babylon wasn't just powerful and beautiful, the Bible also tells us that it was very wicked and that is the reason for it's eventual fall. As I look around the world we live in today, I see a few things that might be familiar to the ancient Babylonians and I wonder when our city walls will come crashing down. (I guess the stock market is an example of how they already are.)

Each of the boys did four math lessons this week. I only have 3 per week scheduled for Ian, but he loves doing it and feels slighted if he notices that we skip a day, so he did four this week as well. Kimball learned how to divide by 1 and 10, and continues to work on his 7s on the multiplication table. Does anyone know a good resource for memorizing those? A fun game or strategy to recommend?

We did two grammar lessons and then incorporated copywork. This was the first time we've done copywork since week 2. I just got tired of the boys fighting me on it. However, Kimball needs to be more proficient in cursive--it is still so much work for him. And Henry didn't learn how to form the letters properly and needs to be taught all over again. He draws his letters instead of writing, if that makes any sense. So in grammar, we talked about proper names and how each member of our family has three proper names. Their copywork for the week was to write out the names of everyone in our family in their best writing. They took great pains to do it and were interested in it. So maybe I just need to have them copy things that are interesting to them instead of things I want them to memorize.

Our letter of the week was E. We worked in our Letter of the Week Journal every day and read books about elephants, elves, and eels. Just when I was starting to think that none of this was really sinking in for Ian, this week he started pointing out when he recognized letters and telling me the sounds they make when I'm reading to him. Hurray!

For our read aloud, I read to them different stories from Tales of the Arabian Nights. We are all really enjoying them, although they are a bit brutal. We finished listening to A Little Princess in the car, and when we were making bread for some friends a few days later, Henry said, "This is something that Sarah would do." "In what way?" I asked. "She's always thinking about how she can make other people happy," he said. I was so glad that he was thinking about that.

Russian is coming along, albeit slowly. But they are interested in it and learning. I probably need to do more to use it beyond when we use the Rosetta Stone program. We've only done so inconsistently.

Henry's team actually won their first soccer game this week! Both he and Kimball did much better on the soccer field this week. We are still working with Kimball on being a good sport (he likes to trash talk the other team.) Tae Kwon Do is also going well--I think that I am the only one who is tired of it.

Kimball is reading Harriet the Spy, one of my favorite books as a kid. He doesn't seem to stick to one book, though. He reads a couple of chapters of one, then picks up another, then another all in the same day. I think he can't stand to have a book in his room that he hasn't read, so if there are library books there, no matter what the reading level, he feels compelled to read them.

Henry read library books aloud to me this week and is improving all the time. He still is not very content to read to himself for very long, so his comprehension probably needs more work.

For Science, Jared taught them about how televisions work (their request.) He said that he had to study and learn about it before he could teach it to them, since that's really not his area of expertise. But they all had fun and learned a lot. I'm still contemplating buying a real science curriculum instead of the grab-bag science lessons we've been doing. The good thing is that they are all engaged, interested, and learning about science with their dad. There's just not much order to it all.

We learned about King David this week. A big lesson that we can learn from David is that even the righteous can commit great sins if they start with small ones. David went from looking on a woman he shouldn't have, to lusting, to adultery, to murder. And then he spent the rest of his life repenting and sorrowing for what he had done, which could not be taken back. We talked about how the atonement is for all of us, even when we make such terrible choices as David did, but that those terrible choices still bring painful consequences. We can be made clean and worthy again through Christ, but he will not take away all the consequences of our actions.

Our Hymn of the Week was "Do What is Right". We were excited to hear it sung in General Conference this weekend. We also wrote in our journals and practiced the piano, but I dropped the ball on spelling.

All in all, it was a good week. And since I'm writing this days and days too late, it's hard to remember as many details as I'd like. I have got to start posting these sooner. Perhaps I need to start writing the post early in the week.