Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up

We had a full and busy week.  I’ve been going through my school files, pulling out things that both kids are beyond (to pass on to others), and finding those things that I used for Georgie that would now be good for Vicki.  I need to find more things for her to do independently while I work with Georgie.  Things that count as “school” in her mind.

Among the latter, I found some file folder games that Vicki had a chance to try this week.  The first, Dino Bones, is from File Folder fun.  When I printed this off for Georgie, I used the blank bones to make bones with just +0 and +1 equations.  Vicki can now handle some slightly harder problems, so I may print out some extra bones for her. 


Another math game she played was one I made up for Georgie when he was learning to count higher than 10.  It involves matching smiley faces to the correct numbers.  Vicki liked this for a while but had trouble with the higher numbers.  She felt the smiley faces were too small and used her magnifying glass to help see them better.


Vicki has been counting to 100 lately, so I pulled out a 100’s chart for her to count along with so she could get more familiar with how the numbers look and the patterns.  For some reason,whenever she counts, she does the 80’s and 90’s in a Southern accent.  I plan to use this for some games as well.


She is continuing with her Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math, Kindergarten.  These are pretty easy for her but she likes them and they include practice in counting, graphing, addition, coins, and patterns.

The Evan Moor Daily Math Practice, 1st Grade is starting to get harder.  She is still able to answer at least 3 of the 5 “daily” problems, sometimes more, but the addition problems especially are getting harder.  After I told her 3+5 = 8, she was able to figure out that to answer 3+4 “you skip down one, so 7”.    If these get much more difficult, I may stop using them.

I redid Vicki’s office board this week to update it for what she’s currently doing.  I removed her full name (because it was just confusing her) and just put an example of Vicki with HWT type lines.  I replaced her alphabet and numbers with a 100’s chart (with the 2s and 5s circled in different colors) and a word wall, and added a picture to show the difference between d and b (something she does struggle with), and the full Handwriting without Tears alphabet and number guide.


As she learns word families, I will give her some sample words on post-its.  When she reads them to me, she can hang them on her word wall.  After a few days (before the next batch), I’m writing the words in and removing the post-its (since they kept falling off).


She’s been a little reluctant to work on other phonics this week but she did play a fishing for words game, consisting of a magnet tied to string and laminated paper fish with paperclips taped to the back.


Handwriting is probably what went best this week for the little girl.  She is enjoying the lined chalkboard from Handwriting without Tears, playing wet/dry/try, and she wrote her name this week.  Not exactly on the lines but pretty close.


She has finished all the letters in the Pre-K book and will move on to the Kindergarten book as soon as we go through numbers.

Georgie seems to have only two modes when it comes to math - “Why are you giving me baby questions?” and “How am I supposed to know THAT?”  The latter often becomes the former if he slows down long enough to read the directions or listen to an explanation.  But, he did have a few challenges this week.

His Algebra Readiness Made Easy is still going well despite having moved on to the Grade 3 book.  These are one of the few things he is able to do almost completely on his own right now.

In Math Mammoth we covered:
     Fractions – too easy
     Time to the minute – tortuous, he seems to have forgotten everything about telling time to the 5 minutes.  Time to pull out the Lotto game again. 
     Graphing – evidently we’ve never done this before.  He had some trouble at first and I think I will need to find some extra practice pages.
     Place Value – too easy, we’re done with this for now.   MM doesn’t touch on this again until 4A.
     Money – I think I’m going to stop MM and just working on making change using the cash register, and playing games.  I printed off some worksheets from another Scholastic ebook – Instant and Interactive Math Picture Pages with Activities.  This week I gave him an Autumn themed activity, which worked mainly on addition (still working on getting him faster with his facts), but we then used the page to play some store.  He used crayons to represent the various items.


autumn harvest

Georgie had a lot of fun trying to give me math problems that I couldn’t solve.  Since he usually repeated numbers in his problems, like 100+100+32+32 or 1 million + 56 + 56, they weren’t too hard.  I told him how I was solving them and he seemed to find it interesting.

We finished up the triangle chapter in Beast Academy 3A this week.  I can’t tell if he likes this or hates it.

I’m very happy with his reading these days.  I started reading to the kids at night and two nights in a row, I read a few Chapters from a Magic Tree House book and Georgie finished that book and read an additional one.  In two nights he read, Night of the Ninjas, Vacation Under A Volcano, Mummies in the Morning (which he was disappointed there was only one mummy and it didn’t even walk around), and Pirates Past Noon.  I hope this is the start of a new trend of him reading more on his own.

All his Reading Comprehension activities this week were from Evan Moor Read and Understand with Leveled Texts, Grade 3.  He didn’t have any difficulty with the actual reading or the vocabulary activities.   One of this weeks assignments – When Granny Met Johnny Appleseed – had an activity on similes, which came up again in his Spectrum Writing workbook.  He seems to have the basic idea down but, as usual, doesn’t like to keep things simple.  He had to complete his own similes as part of both lessons. 

His selections from reading comprehension:

   -As big as “a gorilla” – okay pretty normal.
   -As cold as “the nice chill of the penguins” – getting a little odd.
   -As old as “grandfather owl with his kid telling a story”

In his Spectrum, we ended up with:

-Little sister cried like “a hard storm” and
-My doll is as “boring as a toy boat that doesn’t float”.

I told him he could keep them shorter but he said he was “making them interesting”.

The rest of Spectrum Writing this week was describing words.  Georgie willingly did some of the writing on his own.  He decided to use symbols instead of actual words, but it’s some progress.



I decided to move a little faster in All About Spelling 2 until he starts having trouble.  We went through the rules and words for Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 this week.  We will review some of the extra words, then move on next week.


Also this week:

We learned about Washington DC and the symbols of the United States.


We went to the Pumpkin Patch


and decorated our pumpkins.


Last weekend, we joined Stephanie at college for Homecoming Day.



Washington DC and Symbols of the US

We started our US States study with Washington DC.  While technically not a state, it still seemed like a good place to start.

We are loosely using Road Trip USA from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

We started by looking at our map of the US.  This is a road map courtesy of AAA.  As we cover each state, I plan to highlight it on the map.

IMG_1164 IMG_1165

Since the kids are young, I’m not worried about them memorizing all the states and capitals, so I didn’t play the Capital Song for them.  I did play “50 Nifty United States” which I sang in 5th or 6th grade chorus and is still my preferred method for naming the states in alphabetical order.

We read from the National Geographic United States Atlas for Young Explorers.  


This resulted in Vicki asking if we had ever been to Washington DC.  We went back in 2008 when Daddy had a conference there, so I looked up the pictures from our trip to show them.

2008 06 30 064 2008 07 01 012 2008 07 01 036

After exploring the pictures and discussing the monuments, the National Zoo, and the museums, we read from one of the books I checked out of the library – This is Washington DC.  The book was pretty wordy and dated (I didn’t realize until later is was published in 1969).    The kids didn’t really care for it right from the second sentence, which was “Situated on the Potomac River, it is a city of parks whose broad avenues, reminiscent of Paris, are lined with severe white porticoes of classic Roman dignity.”   I was met with two, almost identical blank stares after reading that one.  So we mainly just skimmed through that book.  (just wanted to add, that evidently the book has been updated some, I just happened to get a copy of the original).


Our other selection, the kids enjoyed more.   District of Columbia: The Nation’s Capital from the Our Amazing States series.  The information was much more understandable and the book was illustrated with photographs.


The last book we used was our copy of the National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas.  Georgie was able to read this one out loud to Vicki and I, which definitely helps him pay attention.


As part of our US study, we learned about some of the symbols of the United States.  I recently ordered Studies Weekly to bring some social studies into our days.  The first week was about the symbols of the US and the Pledge of Allegiance.  The kids are somewhat familiar with the Pledge since we say it at the beginning of our 4-H club meetings. 

The teachers guide that came along with the subscription had wonderful ideas for ways to expand the lesson. Including vocabulary and word walls, writing suggestions, and group projects.

We used the Studies Weekly Big Issue to go over the definitions of republic, indivisible, liberty, justice, honesty and pledge.  We learned about the Bald Eagle being a symbol of the US, and about how to treat the flag.


I taught the kids how to fold the flag on one of our small display flags from the Fourth of July.


We finished up with Georgie reviewing the vocabulary words by doing a crossword puzzle from the student edition, using the Big Issue as a guide for the answers.


Our first official state will be our home state of New Jersey.