Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reporting on Weeks 8,9, and 10

We have been seriously busy lately, plus not feeling very motivated to do weekly reports (can you tell?) But I wanted to check in and say that we HAVE BEEN LEARNING around here.

In math, we have been cruising along, doing four to five lessons in Saxon each week (except for last week, when I think we did one lesson. Between the election and election burn out last week, our math program slipped a little.) Henry is starting to multiply by twos, which is so exciting for him. Kimball has learned about cartography, liquid measurements, and other scientific applications of math, as well as strengthening his skills at multiplying by 7s, a number that remains a bit challenging. I really need to find something that he can just memorize, some sort of visual chart. If only it had letters or words as well--he is so drawn to letters, whereas numbers seem to bore him. Ian has made pictographs and has moved up to ABB patterns. He loves our daily calendar that he works on in his meeting book.

We learned the letters G and H, then last week we reviewed all of the letters we've learned so far. It was especially fun to include Halloween themes in our letter of the week--using words like "ghost", "goblin", "haunted house," etc as we learned the sounds of the letters.

In history, we have been studying the Greeks. We have decorated vases (if you look carefully, each picture on the vase tells a story from mythology or the Odyssey), writing our names in Greek, reading about the gods and goddesses, learning about the different cultures of Sparta and Athens (we think we would have rather lived in Athens), and holding our own Olympics. We had a Greek dinner one night of homemade pita, herbed pork chops, tzasiki sauce, feta cheese, hummus, and baklava for dessert. Kimball has started transliterating everything into Greek (that kid loves a code) and they all want to know when we can start studying Greek as well as Russian. Some books that we've enjoyed have been:

In Russian, the kids have learned new words for colors, numbers, articles of clothing, and other shopping vocabulary. The sentences they use and translate are becoming more complex. I am really proud of how well they are doing. Kimball loves it most (did I mention he loves a code?) but Henry and Ian are really catching on as well, and Bronwen has picked up a few words from our conversations. When she sees me get the headphones out that we use with Rosetta Stone, she jumps up and down and yells, "Russian! Russian!"

In terms of read alouds, Jared has been reading The Princess Bride to them, which they are really loving. In addition, we have read lots of picture books (as usual). Two library books that Ian has picked a lot lately are

In week 7 we built a volcano, which we later painted and then erupted on Science Friday. Other science lessons have included blasting off a rocket (using the same principle as the eruption--an acid/base reaction,) and the sad lesson we learned that when you carve your jack-o-lanterns on Monday night, they will probably be caved in with mold by Friday morning, the day of your Halloween party. There was a bit of weeping and wailing around here when that lesson was learned. Oops.

We were very involved in the proposition on the ballot in CA to protect marriage. You can read my other blog for an account of the rally we attended together. We had lots of conversations in the month leading up to the election about the family, about tolerating those whose views were different (but that tolerate does not have to mean agree with), about the way democracy works, etc. The week before the election we could hardly leave the house without coming across street corners, congested with sign wavers in support or opposition to the amendment to our state's constitution. The day before the election, while I was busy arranging for people to help us knock doors and make phone calls to get out the vote the next day, Kimball and Henry took their homemade signs out to our front yard (we live on a corner) and waved them for a good half hour at the passing cars. I was proud of their determination to help Prop 8 pass. Even Bronwen got involved and chanted "Yes on 8" any time she heard it mentioned in conversations!

You can read here about our Halloween party. Nana helped Kimball and Henry turn their bedroom into an Egyptian tomb for the night. Kimball took great care to get the hieroglyphics completely accurate, and explained to all who "toured the tomb" each of the Egyptian gods depicted in the paintings.
Besides all of these things, we also threw a birthday party for Ian, kept up with soccer and tae kwon do, went to the library, participated in Cub Scouts, wrote in journals religiously, practiced the piano, studied the scriptures individually and as a family, prepared for our ward's Primary program (where the children share with the church congregation the things they have learned this year in their classes), and much more. I always hate ending these posts because an hour later I think of four more things we did, but it's just going to have to be good enough!

I just want to say how grateful I am to be homeschooling. It is demanding. It requires more patience than I have some days. It does not leave me much free time. My house is never as clean as it used to be. But it is so rewarding. I love learning with my boys. I love teaching them things and seeing their eyes light up with excitement. I love that we get to spend so much time together, where other families have to spend so much time apart. I love that I can teach them secular things with a gospel perspective, in an environment where the Holy Ghost can enrich our learning. And I am so grateful to feel the Lord guiding me and helping me figure this out as we go along.


Erika said...

This is my first trip to the homeschool blog. Fun!
Jen just got back from Greece yesterday and sent me some pictures (she's in Austria doing a study abroad)...I should forward some on to you!

Cornfields, children and waterballet said...

Michal--As your aunt,a friend and a faithful blog reader, let me just tell you how proud I am of you! You are an amazing person. I love that you are teaching your children. They are getting so much. I find myself visiting Laura and Cameron's school more and more. I work in Cameron's class weekly and I will be running for school board in the spring as well. I sit on several advisory committees for the schools here and I know that what you are doing is not only so good, but just amazing!

Wish we lived closer! It would be so fuN!

Ritsumei said...

Thank you for the last paragraph! I have a feeling that someday that is where I am going to be, and it's nice to have someone say "Hey! This homeschooling stuff is hard work! But it's great! It's worth it!" Thanks for making your learning just a little bit public.