Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013 Week In Review {Wk 1}

We were back at it with school this week & had a fantastic first week back. It's the first time we've taken all those weeks off with no review or intentional learning happening. No math flash cards, no sneaky learning, nothing. Just lots of relaxing, sunshine, read alouds, & fun. I'm not gonna lie though, we'd have started back to school a week or two ago, but I had ordered my books with the 4th of February being our start date so starting sooner simply wasn't gonna happen due to delivery times. That's okay though, we really needed that time off, & in fact I wrapped up all school planning the Wednesday before we started back, that weekend we went on our annual Bush Camp trip & came back refreshed, all be it very sandy, & ready for a new year of school.

Last year we made it a habit to sing everyday during our morning routine which was a perfect way to start becoming more faithful about adding hymns to our daily routine. So this year I picked out a handful of songs/hymns that we'd learn or refresh ourselves on. February is Jesus Loves Me with focusing on the other verses.

Morgan has such a full schedule this year, but he pulled it off like a real champ! I was really impressed with, not so much his ability, but desire to do the work presented. He was nervous to have a spelling lesson after so much time off, but on all 4 lessons scored 100%. His ability to spell, & spell well, has come a very long ways!

He also started Writing With Skill {WWS} this week & was really excited about it. I did warn him this was mostly going to be a non-fiction writing curriculum, but he didn't care. Anything to help him write better stories was his theory. I love that attitude! This week was pretty simple for him, all though he's really only use to oral narrations & not written summaries, but he did them well.

Morgan received a new Bible this year, a study/life application Bible for teens. The idea being to help him desire to dig in more. He used it this week to read the Psalm of the day. He was reading them to himself, but then came to ask what a few things meant. So for the last couple of days he read them aloud to Jayden & I which was great inspiration for Jayden to pull out his new Bible & read some of our NT readings to us. We're in John again this year, all though last year I think we were more in Matthew then in John.

In order to help Morgan get comfortable with his workload & schedule the focus was really about him for the most part last week, but Jayden wasn't neglected. I helped him assemble his Height Chart that goes with his Winter Promise Animal Core for the year. Then we dragged out the ladder to hang it, so thankful for our 8' plus ceilings. Only to discover the ladder & I were too short. The project is still waiting to be hung by Mr S & his bil who are always up for a good challenge.

Jayden started Writing With Ease {WWE} this week. I was a little nervous starting it with him for a few reasons. He resists anything that involves writing except for the apology notes or wanted signs he posts around the house. He's also very rough when it comes to narrating to us what he's read or heard. I knew this was the right curriculum for those issues, but I was worried he'd resist it & then it would be one of those drudgery type things. However, he faced it well & was quite content with it. His copywork was extremely light this week with just one sentence, but it gave him the time to focus on writing that one sentence well. So far we're really loving WWE & WWS. 

Another one of our new items is Marie's Words. We get a lot of vocabulary from the books we read, poetry, the Bible, etc. But, I thought this would be a really fun way to focus on big words. For this week we each picked two out of the box & asked each other what they meant. The pictures on the front are clues to help you decide & remember what the word means. It was quite funny because Morgan picked a word which I misread & then was shocked to discover the meaning. So much so I had to look it up in a dictionary convinced the card was wrong, it wasn't until then I realised that the word he'd read out was NOT indignent, but indigent. They also discovered a word that they used quite often through the week!

We had our first meet-up with our local Home Ed group this week. We met at a local Surf's Club beach area & the wind was pretty crazy. Most family's had chosen to sit in the dry sand which meant that if you stood there to talk with them you were eating sand. So after many had a nice long swim, the kids built the city of Venice, & lunch was consumed we moved up to our normal location. Yes, the boys took homemade star shaped chicken nuggets. Those crazy things, which really took very little time to make, caused so much chatter!

At our new location the younger kids asked my eldest, the little ones always love to play with him, if he'd play hide & seek with them. When he went to the tree to count he spotted this amazingly huge moth holding on for dear life from the crazy wind. They wanted me to come take a look at it, apparently Morgan had tried to pick it up to bring home, but said it felt funny on his hand. So we settled for a photo instead!

Jayden chose to row The Salamander Room & had fun with it. I especially loved the scavenger hunt which we did Thursday after we got back from our outing. We took our dog up to a local reserve that has a walking track & Jayden dutifully used his list to find items. It may be the first walk/hike we've gone in six months that we've not had to listen to him complain about how sore his legs/knees/feet are. We're putting it all in a notebook instead of making little lapbooks this year.

On Wednesday the last of Jayden's WP stuff showed up & so we finally got to dig in on Friday. Thursday we only have a half day which we reserve for other things. He really really loves the Ereth book, it was quite funny & we're only one chapter in. The boys were quoting things from it all ready. I especially love that book on the right with the blue spine. It's an animal poetry book I chose to add into his WP studies. We usually read a poetry book each year, just a page a day. Morgan's got his own book this year, so I thought it might be fun for Jayden to have one that matched his studies. I'll have to share more of this book later because it's just beautiful inside. We both loved the DK book which, in normal DK fashion, has gorgeous full page photographs, lots of information & things that just make you say, "I didn't know that!" We only did one day's worth, but that's okay as the boys have a very short week with only three days next week. Mr S & I have a really important meeting in the city so I told the boys they will most likely have the whole day off!

Excuse the grainy picture, but I couldn't resist sharing it. This was us doing math! All three of us sprawler on the lounge room floor watching the professor/teacher on the television. A rather new experience for us & then to make matters funnier our tv wasn't set to the right ratio for the dvd & the fellow was a block. Litterally! It was quite funny & the man has a dry sense of humor just like Jayden. Well Mr Demme said something & Jayden snorted & said, "Yeah, because a man wearing a bow-tie to teach math would know!" I completely lost it in a fit of laughter. For the record, the man doesn't wear a bow-tie, he wears a regular tie.

Despite our laughter & craziness we did contain our crazies & got our lessons done. The boys are use to quite long math sessions so they were both shocked when it took them about 10 minutes or so do complete their lecture & lesson. Mind you, this week is really only a review for them, & probably a few weeks worth as we're now using Math U See {MUS}. MUS works differently then most curriculum so you stay focused on say all there is to learn about Subtraction before moving on to Multiplication. So while Jayden knows his basic multiplication facts he needed to go into the Beta book as he didn't know all there was to know about subtraction, such as borrowing. While Morgan could have gone into the faction book I put him division as I felt he could use just a bit more review with it. I'm prayerful that because most of it will feel like review for the first little bit that, once again, it will build his confidence & continue to propel him forward. He was pretty wowed with a measly 10 minute math lesson.

Friday was such a crazy day that we wrapped up school about 30 minutes before Mr S walked in the door! The boys had just wrapped up an episode of Where In The World Is Carmen SanDiego? when he came in. So we decided to go out for Hot Chips at a local take-away shop. The boys were pretty excited that not only did they have a fantastic week back to school we actually went "out" for dinner. Never mind we brought it back home after waiting for far too long! A fantastic first week back & now on to our weekend for Morgan's 12th birthday, he's feeling officially old, which I told him was quite humorous since in our home he's not even old enough to have his own mobile phone. It gave him pause to think about that one for a minute!


Erin D said...

Sounds like a great week! I love new school supplies and books almost as much as I love office supply stores.

I'll be interested to see how your kids fare with Math U See. I had one who loved it and one who hated it. Number three's been testing other programs so I can't say for him.

Diana Bartch said...

Looks like a good first week!! Looking forward to further reviews on the writing programs! I'm trying to figure out what to do with writing for next year!

Butterfly said...

That's an awesome write-up of your first week! It sounds like you're all humming along beautifully. Hope it continues well for you :)