Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up

This has been an…….interesting week.  I talk occasionally about Georgie being a “quirky” kid but it’s often hard to explain what that really means.  This week, I have a couple of examples of what that actually looks like.

We returned to Georgie doing all his work out of a weekly binder a couple of weeks ago.  This way all his work is laid out and ready to go each day, making it easier for both him and I.  And, it also evidently made it easy for him to do all his planned work for Tuesday on Monday night when he couldn’t sleep.  ALL his work, including all the things we usually sit together and do.   Including things like multiplying fractions in math, something we were covering for the first time, and Beast Academy and Logic Matrix puzzles that require a lot of extra thought.  He did surprisingly well with it too.  Just two problems wrong in math.  What he chose not to do was handwriting.   Not really a surprise since it’s probably his least favorite school subject and we just started cursive.

Also interesting this week, Georgie has evidently been conducting his own research experiment.  His test subjects?  Daddy and I. 

Late Wednesday night (okay late-ish – about 10), I noticed Georgie standing in our bedroom doorway.  He wasn’t talking, making noise, or asking to come sleep with us (something we still get from both kids on occasion).  So I asked him what he was doing and evidently he was "observing" us, and had been for three nights, in order to make notes about his observation of us "kissing and stuff". The "stuff" evidently includes stuff like "Daddy snoring". 

I took a peek at is research notebook. I’m not sure what the dialog is supposed to mean. Shorthand for Daily Log, I think and he seems to have AM and PM mixed up.
DIALOG: 10:27 AM
So far nothing at mom and dad.
DIALOG: 10:30 AM
I steped on paper. Mom and Dad did not notice.
DIALOG: 10:17 AM
No kiss from parents
DIALOG: 10:22 AM
Finally got a kiss from M+D

Now, when he mentions kissing, he means seeing Daddy and I kiss each other.  Georgie doesn’t like to be kissed and will hide his face under the covers at night and only allow kisses on his hair or his clothes.

In addition to Georgie’s Independent Studies, what we’ve done this week…..

We learned about the Maidu tribe…


and the Nervous System……


We had some really, really hot weather and our neighborhood pool isn’t open yet, so we took a walk through the woods to take a dip in the river.

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The kids decided they wanted a pet bird, squirrel or chipmunk so they set up a “classic trap” to try and catch one.    They were unsuccessful, although we’ve had mourning doves get trapped in the net around the trampoline and in the garden before, so maybe they’ll get lucky one day.



Both kids are now doing independent reading.  Georgie from a selection of books that I choose, Vicki from her AAR readers.


Now for the daily stuff:



AAR : We are both enjoying All About Reading.  I like that she has readers for independent reading now (we read them together too), and she LOVES filling in a star on the progress chart after each lesson.   I didn’t buy star stickers from All About Learning Press or anywhere else, she colors in a star with crayon after each lesson.  We are currently up to Lesson 13, doing about a lesson a day since so far it is all review.

HWT K: Handwriting continues to be a bit of a struggle.   I am teaching each letter on the lined blackboard before she does it in her book, but she still likes to fuss about even the simplest letters.  She is getting slightly better at writing her name.

Games: We played some sight word Lotto this week.  She was able to easily pick out the words away, not, find, you, little, back, and this.


HWT 3:  He has just starting cursive with the HWT Grade 3 book.  So far he doesn’t like it, says it seems too hard, but anything seems hard if you don’t know how to do it.   Since this is so new to him I was handling it the same way I do Vicki’s handwriting – teach it to him on paper before he does it in the book, but I think it may actually work better the other way around – teach it using the set-up in the workbook, then let him practice on paper.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write Gr 3: He is still doing very well with spelling.  He hasn’t had any words wrong in a few weeks.  This week included lessons on action verbs and helping verbs.

Evan Moor Daily Reading Comprehension Gr 4:  These are going much better now.  He is reading more carefully, both the passage and the questions.

The Wand:  We did week 1 of Owl Moon this week.   Since he is very good at memorizing things and I want our French dictation to work on his listening skills, I used the passage from week 2 for dictation.  He felt the passage was weird with it’s “…was whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl.”  When I tried to explain that it was a metaphor, he informed me that he “knows what a metaphor is!”.   Okay then.

Evan Moor Word-A-Day:  I’m integrating some dictionary skills in with this by making him look each word up in his children’s dictionary to get another wording for the definition.  So far they seem to be words he already is familiar with.  This week’s words were prepare, drought, fragile, and spectacular.

Evan Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Gr 3:  We haven’t really done any of this in the past week.

Reading: The past two weeks, he has read a children’s version of Journey to the Center of the Earth, Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse.   I purchased a reading log from Target’s Dollar Spot and he’s been writing a description of each book in it as he finishes.



Math Mammoth 1A:  I’m thinking of stopping MM with Vicki for now.  She doesn’t like it and I think we can cover addition, subtraction, greater than, less than, etc. with games and more fun/less repetition.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math Gr 1:  She definitely prefers this to MM.  It’s colorful, has cute pictures, doesn’t have a lot on a page, and mixes up the topics.   This week’s lessons covered tally marks, graphing, addition and subtraction.

Games:  We played Step Up Addition this week.  She did very well doing the version with one 6-sided die (I found through Pinterest and can be seen here), and I think she may be ready to move on to the harder version I made that uses a 12-sided die and covers addition and subtraction (can be seen here).


Math Mammoth (3B, 4A, 4B):  We may have come to a place with fractions (4B) where we can’t proceed without getting farther in multiplication and division.  Specifically multi-digit multiplication and division.   He also seems to need a little bit more work on place value, numbers going into the millions seem to be causing some confusion.

Beast Academy 3A:  The perimeter chapter is fairly easy for him.   I finally have him looking to make 10’s when he has to add up a group of numbers.  Many of the problems in BA were set-up to make it easy (side lengths of 14, 6, 7 and 13 for example). 

Scholastic Algebra Readiness Made Easy Gr 4:  Still easy, although he did get a few wrong with careless mistakes from trying to rush through them.

Scholastic Solve the Riddle Math Practice Multiplication and Division:  These are working amazingly well for reinforcement of facts.  We haven’t done any other drill for multiplication, although we do quite a few problems using the chart, and he was able answer some of what I would consider the more difficult problems (like 9x8 and 6x7) without looking and without any appearance of counting.

Scholastic Logic Posters, Problems and Puzzles:  We have finished up with number problems and moved on to matrix problems.  Georgie LOVES these.  He has started doing them on his own instead of waiting for me to work with him, and gets so much satisfaction from figuring out the answer.

He is just about done with the Subtraction section on Xtra Math and will move right into the Multiplication.

We will continue with a fairly full schedule of school through the summer, with short breaks and more field trips.

Native Americans: Maidu

The next Native American tribe we learned about was the Maidu.  The Maidu lived in northern California, near the Sierra Nevada mountains.   The kids started with coloring in the title and dictionary cards from our History Pockets, while I read to them from the information pages.

They were hunter and gatherers rather than farmers. Acorns were one of their primary foods, and were ground into flour.   The kids found this very interesting since acorns are very easy to find around here.  They thought maybe we should go gather some acorns to eat. 

So we moved on to a discussion of how the Maidu were basket weavers and would make all kinds of baskets for gathering acorns and other food but also to use for cooking, as bowls, and for storing many items.  We were recently at the Newark Museum with 4-H (more on that will be coming later) and viewed an exhibit showing many Native American baskets, including some Maidu burden baskets and seed beaters.


As we continued reading, we learned about the earth lodges the Maidu lived in and about the Bear Dance celebrations.   We added all the information to our Native American chart.


We read more about the Maidu in a couple books we checked out from the library….

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and we made necklaces using bear claws (made from clay left-over from another project), feathers (stuck into clay beads to make it easier to work with), and beads.  I tried to use beads that were at least colors that could possibly be found in nature, but George really wanted to put the word Maidu on his.



George then read a story about Maidu children living at a boarding school, Home to Medicine Mountain, and wrote in his journal about the Maidu.

Human Body: Nervous System

We had a great time learning about the nervous system this week.  Doesn’t George look like he’s having a blast wearing his brain hat?  ;-)


We started off with a reading of the Nervous System overview in RSO and with an attempt at the lab – Reaction Time.    The idea behind the lab was to see how fast a message can move from your eyes to your hand by trying to catch a ruler that is dropped.  The results are graphed to see if reaction time increases with practice.

Well, it turns out my kids do not have fast reflexes. They each managed to catch the ruler only once, and I suspect there was a little cheating going on.  So, not much to graph.

We moved on to making the above mentioned brain hats.  Vicki’s is from Ellen McHenry and she basically just colored it in.

Georgie’s is from the Scholastic Easy Make and Learn Projects: Human Body.  It includes cut-outs to add to the hat showing the areas of the brain that control the 5 senses and movement, and also has labels showing the Cerebrum, the Cerebellum, and the Brain Stem.


We read about the nervous system in our Scholastic Kid’s Science Encyclopedia and in our general science encyclopedia.

Georgie then used a diagram in our science encyclopedia to put labels on a nerve cell diagram I found at File Folder Fun.



We then watched a video on the nervous system at Kids Health and watched another video on the Brain at The Children’s University of Manchester.  There was also a puzzle and a quiz following the video that Georgie did twice and then helped Vicki to do.


We finished up with Georgie reading more about the nervous system in Look at Your Body: Brain & Nerves, and making an entry in his journal about the nervous system.

Next we will do an overview/review of all the body systems, learn about the 5 senses, growth, genetics and reproduction.