Saturday, September 17, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 2 and Renaissance Fair

This week we continued with just our 3R’s since it was the first week of extra-curriculars.    I’m trying hard to have the kids get in at least an hour of exercise a day, so that’s where a lot of the extras are focused.   So far they are doing outside swimming, yoga, and Tai Kwan Do classes.  We also do yoga at home each morning, take walks, and will be working on biking and skating.

These extra-curricular classes are the only part of our day with set start times.  We’ve always done better with more of a routine, rather than a strict schedule and this year is turning out to be no different.  In fact, I’ve had to loosen up my original plans for a semi-defined routine. 

My initial routine for this year included an hour of independent work, an hour of work with me, content subjects after lunch, etc.  Now that we’ve actually started, I’ve discovered that’s not going to work.  Basically I’ve found I’m not the best judge of what the kids will need help with, and what they can do on their own (at least not yet!).   They also might need more or less than an hour to do their work.

Our new routine includes the kids doing everything from their “binder” work on their own, putting aside anything they feel they need help with to do with me later.  The kids no longer have binders, instead they are using storage clipboards:

And those clipboards don’t even hold all their “binder” work, they only contain workbook pages that can be removed from the books.  The Mosdos Press textbooks don’t fit in there, and neither does the Zacarro Challenge book for Squidy.  But the kids like to refer to any of the 3R’s work that way regardless.

In order to encourage working independently, I did start them using planners. Because I wasn’t sure how well this would work or if we were going to stick with it, I went inexpensive and bought a couple of planners from Target dollar spot.  It’s only been two weeks so I guess it’s too soon to declare them a success, but I like them.

I think they are going to start appreciating them more after this week.  They were working with the old assumption that anything that was in their binder/clipboard was what they were supposed to do.  But workbook pages have two sides, and some workbooks aren’t being separated.   Squidy did MORE work than he had to in three different subjects this week.  Once I pointed it out, he decided that actually looking at his planner was a good idea.  ;-)

So, the kids get started on their binder work at whatever time I rouse them out of their rooms.  I don’t need to wake them up, they are both up before I am most days.  Whoever is done first comes and sits with to go over what they needed help with.   For both of them, this is pretty much math right now.  Surprisingly, Squidy is doing great with Jousting Armadillos and Zacarro Challenge, and struggling a little with Math Mammoth. 

If the other finishes while I’m still helping, they start their hour of assigned reading.   An hour of assigned reading and an hour of screen-free, quiet time are the only parts of our day besides outside classes that have a set length.  Because they are often starting and finishing these at different times, they each have their own timer.  I recently bought new timers for them that are magnetically attached to the lamp at the side of my chair.  This way we can clearly see how much time they have left and there’s no confusion.


One last note about our set-up.  Because we are dealing with a lot more books this year, each of the kids has a crate holding all their materials.  That way if they need to look back at something (like reread the story in Mosdos in order to answer comprehension questions), they have it right there.  I also have a selection of literature for them in each crate, so if they unexpectedly finish a book, it won’t take me long to find them something else to read.


So, how did week number two go?

Vicki - 9 years old/4th Grade

Vicki is starting to get the hang of Beast Academy.  While we still sat together to work on it, she was able to find the answers much quicker and with less coaxing. 

She is still working on fractions in Math Mammoth and seems to understand the concepts fairly well, although she has a lot of trouble drawing diagrams (especially circles divided into 5th’s or 6th’s).  She also is being a little lazy and not writing the denominators when she is adding and subtracting fractions.

Vicki is really enjoying the stories in Mosdos Press Ruby.  I’m going to give it a few more weeks and then write a full review, but so far I really like it.  Each story includes comprehension questions, graphic organizers, vocabulary, literary terms, and some writing assignments.

Spellling is getting a little bit harder for her now.  She’s about half-way through the Evan Moor Spell & Write Grade 5 book.  We’ve been doing the tests orally and I think having her write the words on a whiteboard or chalkboard will make a huge difference.  I’m much better at spelling when I write something out.

Squidy - 11 years old/6th Grade

Backing up in Math Mammoth to restart percentages has made a huge difference.  He’s having much less trouble now and even mentioned that it was pretty easy and we probably didn’t have to back up quite that far.  We only “redid” about 10 pages so I think it was probably the right amount.

He is enjoying Jousting Armadillos and Zaccaro Challenge Math.  He’s getting a kick out of a lot of the questions (there was one about a slug….) and so far isn’t struggling with either of them.  Of course, he’s only done about one lesson in each, so we’ll see.

Vocabulary from Classical Roots 6th Grade is one of the subjects he ended up doing too much work at once.  I haven’t pulled the pages out of this workbook and I’m only having them do one exercise a day (there are around 3 exercises for each lesson) since the book doesn’t have a lot of lessons.  Squidy ended up doing an entire lesson each time instead of just one exercise. 

Both kids received Kindle Fire’s for their birthdays and I set them up for the Epic reading site (  I receive a report of what they’ve read and so far Squidy has read 26 books, for 351 minutes.  I haven’t assigned any reading from there yet (they do have quite a few of the books I will be assigning, just haven’t done it yet) so most of what he’s read has been Garfield comic books and Big Nate. 

For assigned reading he read Redwall and started The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate this week.


We’re still easing into our full schedule and this week we added a bunch of PE stuff, so we didn’t do any of the others.

Although we did finish up the week with a trip to the New York Renaissance Fair.


Linked up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Hip Homeschool Moms. 
See buttons on Left for links.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a busy and productive week! I love the pictures of the fair!