Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up

We had some craziness this week (sick college kid and DMV) but still managed to add a few new things, and complete most of what I had planned.

Our first new thing was starting each day with some memory work.  We will eventually get to poems and facts but for now we are working on basic information they should already know.  For this week that was going over how and when to use 911, and learning our address.  George has known our address for a while (and loves to invite random people to visit) but Vicki only knew our street name and town.   Next week we will work on phone numbers.

We actually managed to do Art this week.  We did a page from How to Teach Art to Children on lines, then looked at a picture in Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art With Children.  Since the theme was lines, we looked at a woodcut print called Day and Night by M.C. Escher.   I like the discussion questions in this book since they really bring attention to different aspects of the pictures.


I had planned for the kids to do some prints of their own by etching a pattern into styrofoam and rolling on paint (remember doing those in school?).  It didn’t quite work out since the kids just picked apart the styrofoam.

We studied our next Native American tribe this week – The Tlingit.


We also got more serious about reading aloud this week.  I started reading The Story of Dr. Doolittle to the kids.  I wanted to start with something they would find fun and interesting.   My goal is to get through at least one book a week.   I was about halfway through Dr. Doolittle on Wednesday and chose to stop right after the first mention of the pushme-pullyou.  George really wanted to find out more, and since Vicki had been paying NO attention to the story up to that point, and I don't want to discourage him from reading something besides Magic Tree House, I let him finish the book on his own.

Other things that were new this week were The Wand (from Brave Writer), Beginning Geography (from Evan Moor), and some extra logic puzzles for George. 

What we didn’t get to and I hope to be adding next week - Jot It Down (Brave Writer), poetry Thursday, and music.



Vicki started The Wand this week at the beginning of Level 1.   While the phonics were at a good level for her, and the story one that she was able to read quite a bit of – Hop on Pop – I don’t think she’s ready for the copywork aspect yet.   Brave Writer does say that this would be considered advance for 5 to 6 year olds so she is a little young for it.  I may wait until the Fall and try again.

She is still struggling a bit with handwriting.  I’m not sure it’s all lack of ability and not more lack of interest/not wanting to try.  She did very well on Monday using a full size pencil instead of a short pencil or crayon but then she had a lot of trouble with the letter S (which I can understand) and the letter A (which seems like it should be easy).    In addition to one page of HWT, she practices her name each day. 

She is up to Lesson 44 in OPGTR.  She still sounds out the words one letter at at time, but usually only needs one chance to get it right.

She completed 7 pages in ETC2 this week.  I’m trying to decide if we should slow this down or stop for a little while because she isn't that far behind where she is in OPGTR.   I’d rather use ETC as review and reinforcement than initial teaching.


George is doing really well with handwriting.  His HWT book is definitely getting harder, with a few pages where he needs to do original writing instead of just copying.  He may actually be ready for cursive at the end of this year.

He also started The Wand this week but at Level 2, which uses Frog and Toad are Friends for the first two weeks.  The phonics and spelling are too easy for him but the grammar/punctuation work is right on, and since he’s never done copywork or dictation before, I think those are at a good level.

He really seemed to enjoy the activities we did this week.   We did a comparison of frogs and toads, the characters of Frog and Toad, and went over the grammar and punctuation in the copywork passages.  I split the copywork into two days for him and told him it needed to be done with correct capitalization and punctuation.   When we did the French Dictation on the last day, he didn’t want me to read the passages, so that it would be memory work.


He did a great job on the copywork.


He did well with his Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell & Write this week.  He didn't have any trouble with the words, and I like that it includes some grammar and writing, as well as the spelling. 

Even though our Brave Writer activities could replace some of our other language arts stuff, I plan to continue with spelling and reading comprehension as separate activities.   George is having no trouble with the Evan Moor Reading Comprehension 4th grade and I like the introduction to a variety of topics. This week he read about Santa Ana and Galileo.  He wanted to know more about Galileo so we looked through our encyclopedia for more information.



Vicki is continuing to do one page of Math Mammoth 1st grade and one page from Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math 1st grade each day.   She hasn’t had any difficulty doing any of the math so far and really liked addition using the number line.


George finished the fraction activities in Math Mammoth 3A, as well as a couple of extra practice pages on mixed numbers, and adding and subtracting fractions.  He seems to understand it pretty well now so we will move on to the next level.

He is continuing to work on the times table chapters in MM and the skip counting chapter in Beast Academy.   So far he knows all the x0, x1, x2, x5, x10, and x11.

He only has a few more pages in his Algebra Readiness Made Easy and I’m not sure where we’ll go from there.  They have been way too easy for him.  I think I may look for logic books, especially those with grid puzzles.  We did a couple of grid puzzles this week and he had a lot of fun with them but they didn't seem too easy.

He is also almost done with his addition and subtraction riddles, yet he keeps “forgetting” how to borrow in subtraction so more practice may be in order.

He has been using Xtra Math for drill in addition facts.  He was up to 94% but misses the same ones repeatedly.  I’m going to make up some worksheets for him to work on just those facts that he keeps missing so that he can move on to subtraction.

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