Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 Week In Review: Week 31

We really did start back to Term 4 last week, despite not having fallen behind in our week in review posts. Ever have a crazy week like that which then boils into the weekend, which then dribbles into the following week? That's us.

We lack a little of our get-up-and-go power thus far this term. Maybe it's the constant spring chill & drizzle instead of the lovely summer warmth that we've been eagerly awaiting for months now. Or maybe it's the fact that we feel close enough to the finish line we've got a running countdown in action, I'm pretty sure the only thing keeping the kids from making a countdown chain is the fact that they wake up each morning announcing how many more weeks we have to go.

Christmas plans are all ready being discussed, like which books we'll read over the month of December, & what they'd like to make or give to various family members. I've even been working on setting up planners for next year! Ahh, but it's hard to stay focused when you just want to play!

We started a new hymn this term. Sadly, the music we have for this song is far too slow compared to the pace at which I remember singing it growing up, but it's a good pace for the boys as they start out with it. We'll stay with this song for another 2 weeks before moving on. The idea was to work on a new song each month this school year, all though some months were shorter then others so we chose just to sing each song we'd learned previously over the course of a week. We still sing Advance Australia Fair as well, in fact we had some interesting renditions of it during Footy Finals which left Mr S somewhere between tears & laughter, I'm still not utterly convinced the tears weren't from some of key singing, but anyway..

While both boys still read to me, they also read on their own for fun. Jayden's read this book through so many times! It's one of his favourites. It's an ANZAC book told in comic book style, & as you can see from the picture the ANZAC boys are all Roos & other Aussie wildlife. Morgan's been reading a rather small printed chapter book on his own, I don't discourage him reading but I confess to being a little worried about the print. It was a struggle, font wise, the first few times he read it, but his eyes seem to have adjusted to the tiny print & he's doing amazing with it!

Both boys only had spelling review last week. I wanted to be sure nothing had been forgotten in their time off & each child had at least 1-2 words that had been causing some stumbling & holding them back from officially ticking off a step in their book. They both did fine & managed to conquer the word{s} that had been tripping them up. I'm finding that Jayden does better using the magnets/tiles for spelling time & Morgan tends to do better just using the dry erase marker & the sliding door. I'm glad that the same programme can cater to each need.

We picked up with writing where we left off with Morgan. In order to practice some things he's learned this year in spelling & grammar we'd moved back to Writing With Ease with him for the remainder of the year. It was party in prep to move him from non-ficiton thinking to fictional thinking as he embarks on writing a story this summer, his own personal goal.

 Jayden started using Writing From Ancient History which is a lovely lovely book we've been given in exchange for a review. His story was that of Joseph this week. It's one of his all time very favourite, never ever tires of hearing it, Bible stories. He requested that next week we read a war story from the book. I love that he has an opinion now on what kind of stories he enjoys. And yes, he was trying to use that tiny stub of a pencil before I suggested a bigger one, it's time order new pencils for next year! Don't ask about the tweezers, he most likely used them to pick his nose.

You'll have to settle for another picture of spelling while I talk about math, somehow I have no math pictures from last week! Jayden bounced around a bit in his Gamma book. He's honestly worried about progressing for fear of not knowing the information. However, I pulled out Times Alive! The same programme he learned his multiplication facts with several years ago. The same programme that we still use the flashcards from. It brought it all flooding back to him. We did pause at the 9x lesson because he's not as quick as he should be with those facts. I think we'll use Mr Demme's idea of presenting one problem a day to the children over & over until it's memorised.

Morgan started Epsilon. He knows a considerably great deal about fractions & as his textbook was a few days out still we went ahead & practiced a few fraction problems that he'd learned in Delta just to be sure he knew it. A friend let us borrow their Epsilon DVD so he could watch some of those lectures next week until our own arrived. It was a pretty gentle math week for him, but he didn't seem to mind & made great use of the skills he's all ready gained.

Thursday it was back to swim lessons. Morgan has the yellow shark cap on Jayden is in the bottom lefthand corner of the picture. Excuse the extra child, he sure likes to chat with my boys. The boys were delighted to be back to swimming. As a family we decided to take 2 full weeks off from all practices as well during our term break so they were suffering from swimming with drawls. I have to say lessons were a bit funny this week because each time he asked if someone knew how to do something Jayden was first to volunteer & then he'd proceed to not only do it, but do it exactly as desired. Both boys have excelled to being able to swim under water from one end of the pool to the other without need for a breath. There were also some new kids in their class & my crazy boys were swimming two laps to the other children's one, not something I'd normally mention but it was interesting to see as they've both worked very hard on their skills this year & it was nice for them to see just how far they'd come.

Friday we met up with friends & went to visit a blacksmith. He showed us how he makes a great many things & told how a blacksmith is never for want of tools because he can simply make them if doesn't have what he needs. He then proceeded to show us some tools he'd made in order to build a wagon, which he also showed us. It was a lovely trip that the boys chatted long into the night about. In fact, on our long journey home we stopped off for some water bottles & the clerk asked if they'd had a good day at school & I said, "Oh they had an excursion to a blacksmith's today!" She was so excited to know all about it that I was afraid we'd never get out of the shop.

Despite having no pictures of the work the kids also moved along in their theme work this week as well. Jayden felt the pace for learning about more then one African country was like racing around the world instead of enjoying it. We all agreed with him! We also read the book Journey To Jo'Burg which might have encouraged his feelings of "racing" as the story was about two children racing against time to get their Mamma & bring her back home to help save their sick sister. It's a quick read, but a very deep & moving story.

It was an interesting read after having first read Seekers Of The Lost Boys which had all ready explained apartheid to them. All in all a great week back to school here for us. We did take Thursday as a half day as well & went to the park to play with friends. We'd had an incredibly stressful Wednesday & after getting our theme work out of the way we felt the need to relax & refresh with friends.

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