Homeschool Week in Review, 10/3/15: A Finished Puzzle
How was your week out there in homeschool land? Ours started out terrible, to be honest. Monday was a total wash. I gave everyone the day off for mental health. But we’ve finished well and completed just about everything we set out to do this week, so it all balanced out.
Here are a couple of the things we did this week (with affiliate links where applicable):
I changed the way I teach language arts (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, all that) this year. In past years, I’ve had the kids go through a workbook by Evan-Moor called Daily Language Review. I really love those workbooks for their ease of use. Each day includes 5 or 6 questions that cover just about every language arts topic. They learn to edit sentences, find spelling and punctuation errors, create and take apart contractions, and learn the difference between resources like an encyclopedia, atlas, thesaurus, or dictionary.
However, I kept getting to the end of a year and realizing there were certain skills my kids hadn’t learned. They needed more practice with writing letters, writing essays, working on their stories, studying poetry, and learning to communicate clearly in their own writing.
This year, I made a list of all of those major topics, and decided to create units. We just finished 3 weeks of letter writing, and the kids sent off letters to friends and family. Now we’re getting ready to write stories by doing a unit on descriptive writing, using this book from Scholastic.
One of the exercises this week was to use fact words rather than opinion words. After we discussed the difference and used several examples, things really clicked. Instead of saying things are “cool” or “boring” or “weird,” both kids are starting to describe things more clearly (starting with why my history lessons are so boring: they just sit there and listen to me read. Boring!).
History was too boring this week. Sorry. Not even our doodled notes could save us. Instead, I set the kids loose on the pile of books I had from the library. The girl fell in love with A City Through Time and asked me dozens of questions about how earlier cultures worked and how we know about them. The boy enjoyed The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane and The Crafts and Culture of Medieval Monasteries. We’re probably going to make the Plague Doctor mask for him for Halloween.
We’re finishing up a unit on the human body before we dive into Chemistry for the rest of the year. We got this fabulous book called The Body Book which allows you to create a paper model. It’s about the size of a 4- or 5-year old. We built the skeleton during the first week, then added the digestive system. This week, we put in the respiratory system. The book includes instructions for putting all the pieces together, and includes several other hands-on experiments to try with household objects. Ideally, you’d color all these pieces… but by the time we get them all cut out, no one cares about coloring. It would be a whole lot of pink and white, anyway.
I’m becoming rather fond of this odd skeleton guy hanging on the door in my kitchen.
I can’t remember if I mentioned that Friday is our games day. Instead of textbook work, we play games for subjects like math and language. Today, the kids played addition war (two cards added together instead of one). The girl needed some more addition drills, so that worked well. We also played a noncompetitive round of Bananagrams, which is a great creative game for spelling and word use.
The kids finished their jigsaw puzzle last night. It’s a 1,000-piece puzzle. I think they’ve been working on it together for over a month. They kept singing that terrible song from the Backyardigans: “What’s gonna work? Teeeeaaammm-woork!” I loved how proud they were when they put the final piece in last night. It was a great example of how consistent work will pay off over time. You can get I’ll be using that example often in the future!
We’ve all been addicted to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare this week. I like this game more than I expected I would. The split screen is especially fun because it requires cooperation to survive the zombie waves.
We also kept tracking in math, handwriting, typing, and Spanish. That’s running pretty smoothly. All-in-all, it was a pretty good week.
How was your week?
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