Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013 Week In Review: Week 28

This week was a lovely full week as we had no extra activites to attend to aside from our normal swim which generally falls well enough outside of our typical schooling hours.

We tend to school from 9-130 & then have a lunch break. Most days we are done by then if we stared on time, stayed on tracked & worked hard. This leaves our afternoons free for play, hobbies, reading, or whatever else people can find to do.

For Morgan it's generally game creating. Jayden's usually found outside unless it's raining, then he's generally plotting some war with his army men in his room. I always have grand plans for my free afternoons, & normally only manage to get to one or two of those grand things. Still, one can't complain because it's better then nothing!

We decided to use our extra time at home this week to work our way through 2 countries instead of just one. There were a few reasons for this all of which boil down to a scheduling dilemma. Which started out with us thinking we were behind only to discover we were ahead of where we'd intended to be. No biggie though, because it's actually opened up a small planning jam I had for next term.

We generally start our days with the boys taking turns reading to me. Now that they both read fluently the other one often hangs out to listen to the story, which is what Morgan was doing in the background while he worked on some crazy drawings he had going trying out a few different colouring techniques. Jayden is still working through his various war stories. I don't go with pages read or chapters read when they read to me, we simply set the timer & read until it goes off, if they are in the middle of a page we generally finish it off. I have Jayden read to me because we learned earlier this year he simply skipped hard words instead of sounding them out, it led to little comprehension of what he was reading. This allows me to see how much progress he's making.

Morgan's still reading a Paddington book aloud to us. I'd say me, but Jayden makes sure he's present for each day's reading because he really loves the Paddington stories too. This particular day they asked if we could make chocolate muffins, & after Jayden finished helping measure dry ingredients he pulled my Kindle to himself to follow along with & look at the pictures. I love that cover on my kindle, which allows it to stand up so I can, for instance, bake muffins while Morgan is reading to me & I can still see where he is should he need any assistance. Yes, Jayden is laying on the kitchen counter, how else would you read about Paddington & his marmalade mishaps?!

The first half of the week we learned about Brazil. The boys were far more impressed than I anticipated to learn about various sites & cultural experiences. Turned out they'd seen a few of these before & remembered that the upcoming summer olympics will be held there which was part of where their curiosity came from. Either way we had a grand time learning all about it. I tried a new tactic with the lovely book Material World. In the book you look at a family from a particular place & they are outside with their entire contents of the home in the picture too. It's absolutely amazing how much some have & how little others have. My boys love the book so much there's often a lot of jostling over who gets to look first for fear that the other will tell them about all the "good stuff." So this week I told each child to take a slow turn & find three things in the picture they thought no one else would see & write them down on a scrap of paper. It was really amusing to me that Morgan's things centred around food, Jayden's around toys, & mine around cleaning. We had a great laugh afterwards, & I loved that no one squabbled while enjoying looking at the families belongings & daily life.

Tuesday evening we pulled out our copy of Rio to watch. Silly movie, but it has a lot of Brazilian culture in it including some of the parade for Carnival so it tied in really well with our studies. The boys spent a lot of time pointing out all sorts of things that had been included in the movie that we had learned about, from spotting the flag in odd spots to landmarks.

Morgan's down to 2 more lessons in his math book, which is perfect for how many weeks we have left in this term. Yes, I'm counting down the weeks until he's done with that math book. It's not been bad & I'm still super pleased with MUS, but there's a lot of division in this book & from what I've heard via other MUS Mom's it's one of the toughest books out there. I don't know if it's because of the content so much as it's a big deal to be doing those major long division problems. Morgan constantly tries to second guess himself when he's on the right track! Yes, he's wearing his glasses for math, I told him it was mandatory when I found he'd written every digit backwards one day. He's had issues with number reversals for long enough we've worried about various forms of dyslexia, but those disappear when he's got his glasses on.

Jayden skipped a few math lessons this week & ended up jumping straight to Unit Test 1 in his new book. He took it all ever so seriously & when I went to ask him a question during his video he freaked & told me to be quiet or he might miss something important. He was suppose to start the lessons following Unit Test 1, but ended up doing a few review pages this week instead.

Morgan's writing took a new turn this week. He's ben working with Writing With Skill for the former part of the year, but as his goal this summer is to work on fictional writing I decided to lay the non-fiction writing aside for the remainder of the year & pick some writing lessons that would benefit him a bit more for his coming summer project. We moved into a high level of Writing With Ease, so he could have a brief refresher on punctuation, not that he's really needed it. He's known where to put everything we worked on last week without reminder. However, it's also given him the chance to work on some of those nifty spelling rules he's learned which is fun for both of us!

Jayden is still plucking away at his earlier level of Writing With Ease which he no longer dreads. Of course he thought he was in a book ahead of Morgan so that had him pretty excited. He'll most likely move to the lovely new books we received earlier this week. Not because he needs a change of pace as they will be set up very similarly, but because I think he'll really enjoy it & we need to use it to review it!

Both boys had spelling lessons, Jayden has finally moved beyond steps 19 & 20 in Level 1. I have no idea why he knew the rules but wasn't applying what he'd learned. We spent a lot of time at the fridge with the tiles last week so he could choose between the k & ck options for endings & that seemed to help him. He's not actually spelling in that picture, but writing 6 "properly formed, correctly facing g's, & if you write one of them backwards I'll have you write another 6!" Yeah, I actually said that. I'd had him erase one in a prior word & then he snickered & wrote the next one backwards on purpose. Morgan conquered a couple of steps himself in his new level, but I don't seem to have any photos of it.

The second half of the week we studied Peru, which my kids call Darkest Peru. It reminded them they have some lovely alpaca wool sweaters in their closet that came from Peru. One of them even has a couple of alpacas or llamas woven into the pattern. They pages above are both boys mixed into the pile. The little postcard on the one in the front right hand corner is how each weeks end. Sometimes they write "letters" home, & sometimes they just list places we've learned about they'd like to see. I believe for Peru Morgan drew a picture of a person selling ponchos & a llama spitting on someone. I'm glad he remembered the important things...

Excuse the freaky photo.. Thursday evening we watched The Emperor's New Groove which tied in beautifully with our lovely little study on Peru. Again, the boys remembered this one when we learned not only of some of the customs of Peru, but started labelling our map. We were going to have a little Peruvian dish {no, not guinea pig!} but time got away from us so we changed our plans a little. We're thinking of having a few cultural meals during our term break for some that we haven't gotten to yet!

We started this lovely book last week on Friday. It's written by a fellow homeschooling Mamma who lives in S. Africa. Our next stop was suppose to be Africa so we snuck this one in, we'll be detouring through the Pacific Islands before stopping in Africa, but that didn't stop us from loving this book & digging into it. When Morgan saw how quickly we were moving through it he said, "Slow down I want this book to last forever, but read it quickly so I can find out what happens!" I'm not sure which one of us laughed the most.

I haven't mentioned it in a while but we're still reading Return Of The Word Spy & enjoying it. I noticed our local little book shop has it back in stock again too! The codes to crack at the end of this book refer more to what you learned in the first one, which the boys have had no trouble cracking. We spent this week learning all about verbs.

Both boys covered science this week. Jayden wrapped up Chapter 1 in Zoology 3 & debated what science he's doing next year. He was so torn on that, not sure if he's fully made up his mind yet or not. Morgan wrapped up another chapter in his book as well, but I can't remember which one now! The one on Nutrition I believe..

Thursday the boys had their normal swim lessons. There were only a total of 4 kids this week & my boys were sitting here waiting for the other two to finish their laps. They've figured out that the pool we practice in is longer then the pool they regurally swim in right now. So by swimming a few laps in the practice pool before working on other things or playing they can manage their practice laps in a decent amount of time. Course, it always helps when there are less kids in the pool & they don't all run into each other in their great haste!

The boys worked so hard all week they managed to finish all their theme & seat work before Friday so we decided we'd do some fun things! I looked through my stash of art ideas & selected one I thought might be fun. We were going to go for a walk on the beach to look for shark eggs, but the tide was against us. Alas..

We finally hooked up a temporary desktop this week so we loaded up our typing programme & Morgan was keen to have a go on Friday. It took me a while to access his account because we couldn't remember what on earth we'd set his password to! He was so excited that after not messing with it for a good six months or more he scored a 91% on his accuracy test. You need at least an 85% to move on to the next level. It was a great lesson to remind him speed isn't as important as accuracy, a lesson he's struggling to remember.

And that pretty much wraps up our weeks. The boys had high hopes of using a Story Starter this Friday too & I was all set for them, but we ended up spending a lot of time outside, despite the cold streak that came in, & then decided to watch a rather lengthy movie they'd been begging to see for the past few weeks. There's rumours we might go shark egg hunting & do story writing on Saturday.

Just to clarify, we don't eat the shark eggs, we just look for them. if they are empty & in good shape we've been known to collect them, but we're actually keen to see if we can see anything in them as this is the time of year to spot the embryos in them.

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