Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly (??) Wrap-up

Hi all <<waves hello>>  I’m back.  I feel like it’s been forever since I last posted but it’s only been two weeks, so I guess that’s not TOO bad.   Of course, my last weekly wrap-up was a week before that.

We’ve been pretty busy.  Some school stuff (or at least educational in the broadest sense), some not.  The not stuff involved cleaning out the garage so there’s someplace to put all of Steph’s crap when she comes home from school for the summer, making changes to our school set-up (yep, again <sigh>), and organizing all my school games (I have 39 different games, that I printed, laminated and prepared for Georgie but hardly used because he never needed the practice, that I reorganized so I can easily use them for Vicki). 

The last posts two weeks ago were about our Fish study with 4-H Cloverbuds, including our field trip to the Pequest Fish Hatchery.  Lots of fun and very educational. 


We also learned about the Respiratory System.  This means we only have the Nervous System and the Five Senses, Genetics and a little bit of Reproduction to finish up our Human Body study.   I am trying to decide between electricity and space for our next topic.   Electricity because  Georgie received a Snap Circuits set for Christmas that I really want to break out.   Space because the kids have been playing a lot of space themed games lately.  We are scheduled to go to the planetarium with Cloverbuds in July so space may be better done then.


We have done lots of informal nature study in the past few weeks.  Spring has definitely exploded with color around here (despite frost warnings at night up until last week)…


we’ve been learning all about the different birds visiting, including a few new ones, like a rose-breasted grosbeak….


and a grey catbird….


as well as our favorites, like our red-winged blackbird.  It turns out we have at least two of these that visit regularly.


We also have what we think are house wrens building in a couple of our bird houses.

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The kids both received binoculars in their Easter baskets so we’ve been looking at lots of birds while they learn how to use them, and how to look things up in the field guide.

The other field guide getting a lot of use around here, is the one for Insects and Spiders.    They have been searching the yard diligently every day for new bugs to make pets.  Since I won’t allow them in the house, they live in a big pot of dirt on the deck.  They’ve turned over just about every decent sized rock in the yard (including all the slate stepping stones) and I just love hearing my little girl exclaim, “awww, look at the adorable maggots!”.


They decided that they had so many bugs, they needed to sell them.  So, they started their own company, Bugs Inc., and made flyers advertising their services as bug babysitters and procurers of pets, that they planned to hang all over town.  When mommy showed little enthusiasm for hanging posters containing her cell phone number along with our last name, they decided they would sell the posters.  So for $1 you could get your very own poster, telling you how to buy a pet bug for just $10.  Add another $7 for a bug book, and our family receives a $5 discount.

Bugs Inc flyer 

We took a walk down to the river to see if we could find some different bugs, and to see if we could spot some of the peepers we would hear each evening.  We didn’t find either but Vicki had fun playing in the mud (Georgie was pouting because he got in trouble for pouring a bucket of water on me.  Lucky for him the bucket had a leak and I didn’t get that wet).  


Daddy picked up some more varieties of tomato seeds to get started, and the kids decided they wanted to plant something too.   After lots of deep thought and contemplation, George planted one pea and one cucumber. He named them Albert and Panner, and wrote out a schedule for taking care of them.
"What to do with my plant.
11:30 Water Albert and Panner.
1:07 Story Albert and Panner.
2:00 Story Them Again.
3:09 Water Them.
4:20 Music
5:00 Story"

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Vicki planted a couple of cucumber seeds.  I’m still holding out hope that hers will actually sprout, but Georgie’s pea already has.

As part of our New Jersey study, we learned about Thomas Edison and took a trip to his laboratory complex in West Orange.   I will do the full write-up about that sometime this weekend but for now suffice it to say it’s a trip they may appreciate more in a couple of years.

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Okay, since none of that counts as “school” <<insert eye-roll here>>, here’s what else we did the past few weeks…..



OPGTR:  I’m giving up on OPGTR.  Vicki is still stuck on beginning blends and endless review is just not doing it for her.  I ordered All About Reading 1 and we will start it next week.   Even though she’s pretty good with CVC words, we are going to start at the beginning and work through the early lessons quickly.  I think the reinforcement with sounding out each letter will help since she has a habit of throwing random letters into a word – for example, pronouncing c-a-t as cart.

HWT K:  she is up to page 52 and has gotten much better with writing her name.  We’ve moved on from just writing her first name to writing her first and last names.   She is still likely to whine, and cry, and moan while doing it, though.  I will be returning to using the lined chalkboard more, along with the little sponges.  

ETC2:  On hold until she breaks through the beginning blends barrier.


HWT 2:  He is up to page 70.   After I made him do a whole second page for “forgetting” to write in lower case, he has been much better at watching his formation.   He did a couple pages that were all homonyms, so got some grammar in there too.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write Gr 3:
He scored 100% of the latest spelling test.  The latest unit told about Washington DC, worked on capitalization, and rhyming. 

Evan Moor Daily Reading Comprehension Gr 4:  He is up to page 40 in this book.  All except one page he did well, any mistakes were ones he could explain his reasoning and we were able to discuss why a different answer was correct.  That one day it was clear he paid no attention to what he was reading.

The Wand: We finished the first week of Harry and the Lady Next Door.  He is doing better than I thought with the copywork, the dictation is still pretty easy for him.  This weeks activities included some narration, and learning about adjectives and adverbs.

Scholastic Analogies Gr 4-5: He’s having a little bit of trouble with these.  One day it was because he misread the directions.  I can’t really blame him because when I looked at them, I didn’t understand them either.  But we were able to figure it out, and he did well once he knew what he was supposed to do.  He is having a little trouble when some of the terms are unfamiliar.   So far we’ve run into gingham, beret, tam, and a couple of bird names.  I gave him a dictionary to use when he needs to figure out what a word means.

Evan Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Gr 3:  We haven’t even finished the first weeks worth of these.  He did okay with the couple of days we tried.   I’m thinking about adding some writing using journal prompts, and letting him type in on the computer.



Math Mammoth 1A:  Still working on addition, but almost ready to move on.  I’m going to be adding in a lot more games, and doing a lot less worksheets.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math Gr 1:  Up to page 26.  Has worked on coin sorting, symmetry, ordinal numbers and graphing.


Math Mammoth (3B, 4A, 4B):  Georgie started division in 3B and found it “too easy, the is probably the easiest thing you ever gave me”.  So we may skip a few pages and move fast.   He’s also not having any trouble with fractions or place value but evidently they aren’t the easiest thing ever.  Whatever.

Beast Academy 3A:  up to page 61, which is balancing problems. 

Scholastic Algebra Readiness Made Easy Gr 4:  So far, there still easy but I can definitely see that they are getting harder fast.  He did make one mistake when he doubled 19 to 28.

Scholastic Solve the Riddle Math Practice Multiplication and Division:  He’s up to Riddle #6, although he is using his multiplication chart quite a bit.

Scholastic Logic Posters, Problems and Puzzles:  He is really enjoying these.  We finished up the garden themed puzzles and started flag themed puzzles (which of the four flags match the clues).  I have had to explain primes, squares, and cube-roots to him.

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