Friday, April 21, 2017

Weekly Wrap-up: Mesopotamia, Insects, and Easter

Yippee!  For once, it actually has been just a week since my last update.  😁

In addition to actually being on time with my weekly wrap-up, we accomplished quite a bit of school this week.   We finished our study of Mesopotamia (click for link) and will be moving on to Ancient Egyptians.

We took a field trip with some friends to the Bug Museum.

We celebrated a beautiful Easter Sunday with the kids singing in choir, an egg hunt, and the first of my twice yearly pictures of all three of my kids.

I've been going through some of my old schooling resources and pulled out one of my Scholastic ebooks that we haven't used yet - Comic Strip Writing Prompts.   This book has familiar comic strips (Garfield, Peanuts, Dennis the Menace) with writing prompts about the individual strips.    The kids are big fans of Garfield so I thought they would enjoy this as a break from Write On!

I was right, they are enjoying it.  But, it's been hard to get them to write in full sentences and full paragraphs.  The prompts are in the form of questions and they both want to just bullet-point answers.  In addition, Squidy protested one asking about a conversation between Garfield and Odie.  Odie doesn't talk so there wasn't much to write.  His explanation?  "I stuck with canon".

We are going to give this another try next week, but first we are going to sit down together and discuss what it means to include the question in your answer, and to write in full paragraphs.

Squidy has been continuing his Python course through Udemy.  He's not completely thrilled with it - it's more business/school oriented and he's having trouble getting the editing software to work.  For now, I'm continuing to have him watch the lectures and take notes.  I told him he needs to show he can see this through before we'll pay hundreds of dollars for the Minecraft Mod Design and Video Game Programming classes he really wants to take.

He finished up the factoring chapters in Math Mammoth and has returned to Jousting Armadillos.  He is now finding it super-easy and is protesting having to do it again.  I may just have him retake the chapter test and as long as he does well, move on.

He is finding the A level of Vocabulary from Classical Roots a little bit harder than the previous levels.  He is having to infer the answers a lot more than in the previous levels.

Squidy is reading the George's Secret Key series by Stephen and Lucy Hawking this week.  We've had the first book for a long time but he wasn't ready for it last time I pulled it out (probably a couple years ago).  He really enjoyed it now so we ordered the rest of the books in the series.

The kids handwriting was starting to deteriorate again, so I started them on daily cursive practice again.  I didn't want to buy a program because they both KNOW how to make their letters, they just need to work on neatness.   I found a free font called 5th grade cursive, made some of my own lined paper (two solid lines with a dotted line in between.  I'll switch them to regular ruled paper soon.), and give them puns to practice each day, along with their names and the date.  I keep them nice and short since they are doing it everyday.
Vicki also had a pretty good week.  She's been working through multi-digit multiplication using the enVision Math used by our public schools.  The additional presentations, the textbook, and the videos seem to have helped her get a better understanding.  We'll probably return to Math Mammoth and move on to division in the next week or two.  I think I'll continue to give her one or two multiplication problems each day just to make sure she doesn't forget after struggling for so long.

In addition to the Comic Strip Writing Prompts, I also pulled out Scholastic Comic Strip Grammar.  It's for grades 4th through 8th but starts out very basic with identifying the parts of speech.   I am still correcting the grammar in her writing, but I felt she needed to get more explicit instruction as well. 

After reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Vicki felt she needed a break before tackling the last book.  She spent one day reading her Thea Stiltons and some other old favorites, but was ready to start The Deathly Hallows this week.   These are probably the hardest books (content-wise and reading level) that she has attempted.    It turns out I didn't have Squidy read the last two books when he started the series last summer, so he was a little indignant that I was letting Vicki read them.  I honestly forgot that I had him stop.

I'm hoping we are finally getting into a good routine with school this year.  We aren't going to be wrapping up our year anytime soon.  I want to get through at least a couple more topics in our Ancient History study, do some experiments, and 4-H projects.  We will also be continuing at least math and reading through the summer, which has been my preference since we started homeschooling.

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