Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly (?) Wrap-Up

This wrap-up is the first in almost a month (besides our Halloween post).  Things have been chaotic around here since the snow storm but we are slowly getting back into a routine.   Of course, the holidays coming is going to totally mess with our routine all over again but c’est la vie.


I’m going to start this wrap-up with the stuff both kids have been doing together since I think those are the more interesting activities, at least lately.

The kids have been participating in a homeschool bowling league for the past few weeks.  At first I wasn’t sure if they were enjoying it.  They both ran off in between every frame, Vicki would start complaining that she was too tired after one game and every single week (even when the other two members of our team were absent) we were the absolute last team done.  By a lot.  Like 30 minutes after everyone else.  But at this weeks bowling the kids seemed a lot more into it.

Georgie really wanted to get a strike and this week he finally did!  His previous “method” of bowling was unusual and varied.  He would toss the ball sideways and have it zigzag down the lane (or land on the divider between lanes and have to wait for a bowling alley employee to come get it off) or spin around and toss it or dance up to the line and drop it or sit on the floor and push it.   None of these methods were working real well for him (what a surprise).  He has never tried the classic between the legs shot and he isn’t quite strong enough to bowl properly with his fingers in the holes, swinging the ball with one hand.  I told him he needed to send the ball straight down the lane and harder if he wants to get a strike.  His new method, of holding the ball in both hands and throwing it straight out, worked well for him and his scores this week were an 81 and an 82 (his average is a 47).


Vicki didn’t score as well this week but she didn’t complain about being tired and had a good time.  She has actually been better than Georgie at getting the ball down the lane until now.


Even if the bowling itself isn’t a big thrill (although Georgie was very excited about his strike) the kids enjoy the time with other homeschoolers and it’s a great chance for them to socialize.

We started doing some Thanksgiving crafts this week.  I am a big fan of foam sticker craft kits.  The kids love them and the mess is usually limited to a pile of backing papers all over the floor.  Which makes them great to pull out when I want to avoid big messes and drying time.  I know these kits aren’t always popular since they are considered “cookie cutter” crafts and don’t give kids a chance to be creative.  Not really a problem with my guys.  Anyone who has read here for awhile will know how little my kids care about the “proper” way to do crafts.  

We did two different craft kits.  The first was a scarecrow.   This is what the “suggested” finished product looks like….

scarecrow craft

and here’s what my kids did, Vicki’s…..


and Georgie’s.


The leaves, glittery pumpkins, acorns and saying stickers actually didn’t come with the kits.  I have a variety of foam stickers in many, many themes and I pulled out the ones left over from last fall.

The other sticker project we did was turkeys.  Here is the “suggested” finished project…

turkey craft

Vicki’s turkey (complete with V’s for Vicki)….


and Georgie’s.


We watched a couple of Thanksgiving videos on Discovery Streaming, read The Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving and we’re working on The Magic Tree House Thanksgiving on a Thursday.

In an attempt to encourage more independent reading, I moved the kids’ books again.  They are now on the bottom three shelves of one of our living room bookcases, so right at kid level.  I also moved their Tag reading system, maps and games down.  This did result in much more interest in both the books and the Tag.   Although one book was already sacrificed to Vicki’s destructive tendencies.


Georgie is continuing to do well with all our subjects.  We are doing much more dedicated school time but I am hoping we can get into a better routine once the holidays are over.  He is currently working at either a first or second grade level in all subjects.


We are up to Lesson 70 in OPGTR and Book 3 in ETC but Georgie is reading above the level of both of these.  He does sometimes have to take a minute to think about whether to put the silent e at the end  of a word but this seems to happen only with spelling, not when reading. 

He’s been on a real reading kick since I moved the books down.  I have eight new circles to add to his bookworm, including a couple that he read during a wait at the doctor’s office.  I love that he will now pick up a book to read wherever we are.  He is still reading mostly Dr. Seuss level books but he did pick up a longer Stage 2 reader while we were at the doctor.  After the holidays, I want to see if I can encourage him to try some of the beginning chapter books we have.

reading at doctors office

We haven’t made much progress in AAS the past couple of weeks but we should still be moving on to Level 2 right after the new year.

Handwriting is still the hardest subject to do with him.  He plugs along with it but it’s the subject he’s most likely to “forget” how to hold a pencil or ask if he really needs to do all of it.  I’m going to start offering him some copywork to do between HWT lessons. 

He is easily doing the second grade Scholastic Reading Comprehension.  He seems to really enjoy reading the passages and answering the questions.  Once he finishes with the second grade level, I may get Writing With Ease and see if he can make the transition to a more formal dictation/narration.


We have moved onto MM 2a for clocks.  We should be doing all level 2 shortly after the new year.  The only part of this he still resists in the Shapes and Measuring.


We have mixed results the last couple of weeks.  Vicki started off very cooperative and excited about doing school.  There were a few days where she actually asked to “do more paper stuff”.   Some of the novelty seems to have worn off (or she was just in a mood) since the last couple of days she was very uncooperative.  I am not pushing her to do anything at this point and if she doesn’t want to do it, I put it all away.  The problem is that she will be uncooperative with everything, including games that are supposed to be fun but educational, then scream that she wants to do school when I put it away.  The one thing she’s always willing to do is play with her Unifix cubes or the HWT capital letter pieces.


She was playing with her tangram puzzles one day and came to the realization that two squares could replace a rectangle and two triangles could replace a square.  So, she is learning. ;-)

I’ve been looking around trying to find a good reading program for Vicki.  She is doing well with Get Ready for the Code, which is great reinforcement for letter sounds, but I would like something that begins to work on blending.  The All About Reading Level 1 Teacher’s Manual sample has recently been added to the website and may fit the bill.  AAR is from the same people, and uses some of the same principles, as AAS.  I really love AAS so I thought I’d see if Vicki seemed ready for AAR.  I looked at the Pre-level when that came available but thought it would be a lot of repetition to things we were already doing.  I printed off the first 5 lessons of AAR Level 1 to try it out in the next few weeks and see if Vicki is ready.  We did a little bit of Lesson 1 and she did okay but was hesitant with the blending.  This was also one of the days she was not in a cooperative mood so I’m going to give it a little more time before deciding.  If we do  go ahead with AAR, I will probably wait to order it until I’m ready to order AAS Level 2 for Georgie.

I’m sure things will continue to be chaotic for a few weeks a least with all the usual holiday fun (and some home repairs and renovations).  At this point I plan to keep up with math and language arts as much as possible, finish our dinosaur study and then just do fun holiday crafts and activities until after the new year.

I’m still trying to decide what plan to go with at that point.  We thought our living situation was going to change into one even less conducive to projects, I was planning to do some unit studies using Magic Tree House books.  Since that plan has changed, I could return to our geography and habitats study that was put on hold back in April or we can start our US History and states study and return to World Geography when we start Ancient History after that.  I have all the materials I need for any of those options so the decision won’t be an easy one.

No comments:

Post a Comment