Sunday, November 9, 2014

2014 Week In Review: Week 33

It was a bit of an unusual week for us around here. We had no school Monday as it was a public holiday & Jayden was down for the count with a sore throat anyway. Tuesday we were back at it with a lighter version of school {we rarely take off completely when people are sick}, but we had 2 appointments at the eye Dr in town. Wednesday Morgan was down with the sore throat & was unbearably grumpy from it. Thursday Mr S ended up home from work early with his throat being sore & by Friday he was home all day, aside from an hour he slipped in to work to fix something, sleeping off his version of the cold. I'll be grateful when they are all done with the sniffles & coughs, as will they! They all still have some portion of it, but for the most part are on their way to feeling better.

Despite his dazed & confused look he sat the spelling lesson with Morgan. He managed a 100% which had him tickled pink. The balloon was a gift for him from the Chemist when I went in to get medication. I always cause a lot of grief at the chemist's due to our food allergies & unfortunately most medications have some form of milk or gluten in them. They also sent us home with a stuffed animal which I think he passed on to Morgan. We finished Day #17 in Sequential Spelling this week, & that was all, Morgan was in no shape for spelling on Wednesday so we hung it up for the week.

The kids were pretty lathargic & I figured if they could lay around & watch tv they could lay around & listen to school books instead. So we listened to another four chapters in Our Island Story this week. Jayde was so excited to hear another version of King Arthur! He's super keen to read the actual King Arthur book I have on the shelf for him, & he paused even in his drawing to listen in full to this story.

We also listened to three more chapters in Mystery Of History. For some reason our WP schedule didn't touch Chapter 16, & I wanted to cover that before we got too far along, so we heard about the Mayan people. It was quite an interesting chapter. We also listened to chapters 22-23.

Tuesday we started in our Middle Ages cd that goes along with a another product from HSITW that they gave us for review purposes. Jayden is so excited about the other product which you'll see glimpses of next week & will find a full review about it over on TCC when we're through using the product. While I don't normally self-promote reviews too much, I'd encourage you to keep an eye out because it will involve a giveaway.  As for this week, we read about the barbarian invaders & the fall or Rome. Yes, again, which is exactly what Jayde said. Morgan is using the newspaper, as well as other bits, from the Project Pack so he wrote a little article/snippet about the fall of Rome & also filled out a postcard {pictures above}.

By Wednesday Jayde was certainly on the mend & horribly restless, where as Morgan was out flat & not interested in anything but the pain in his throat. The poor kid just doesn't cope well with a sore throat which compounded by the fact that he has an ugly wound on his lip which is the combination of a mouth sore & biting himself. I pulled out a craft kit for Jayde while Morgan was busy finishing off Pippi Longstockings.

Believe it or not, the craft kit was suppose to be viking related, but when Jayde opened it up low & behold it was king & queenish. He was a bit annoyed because he was really looking forward to the viking. Once he put these two together I suggested we call them Lancelot & Guinevere. He told me not to be ridiculous they were obviously called Tim & Tom. Oh dear..

I ended up enlisting Jayde's help on Wednesday to help whip up some salve, also known as homemade vaseline, so we could coat Morgan's wound because he was in too much pain to drink anything. It's a combination of coconut oil, olive oil, & bees wax. I added a couple of drops of essential oil to a smaller portion that we put in a separate container for the war wound. Seriously, the poor kid has a wicked fat lip from it & I ended up getting some numbing ointment too.

Jayden was really feeling antsy on Tuesday & was desperate to do something. He'd been flat out on Sunday moping about how he wasn't feeling so great but refusing to take the things I offered him to help him feel better. Monday he was truly sick & miserable, so by Tuesday he was ready to move. Unfortunately lots of moving made him cough so I offered to play a game with him while Morgan was resting. He brought out this hideous game. For a person who hates Monopoly as much as I do, I don't even want to know why we own 6 different versions of it!!

I did suck it up & play it with him & within two turns we were both pretty sure I was about to get knocked out, but I came back for a pretty big win. Mostly because someone incorrectly stocked the ATM & I reaped the benefits of that casualty. He's still annoyed that I won considering I never win at Monopoly, but it kept him busy for a while & he was laughing most of the time we played.

Despite all the craziness of the week we finished off Black Horses For The King. It's a different sort of telling in regards to King Arthur & doesn't involve any of the mythical portions in regards to the sword in the stone or merlin. Rather it simply tells of him before the whole messy love triangle issue & concentrates it's efforts on his desires to protect Britannia from the Saxon invaders. Over all it was a great story & it matched up so well with much of what we've been reading in Our Island Story. If you have a horse lover they'd probably really love this book too as it's very very horsey in regards to information & storyline. So much so I'd say King Arthur {not called that in the story} takes more of a back seat to be honest.

By Thursday the sore throat was gone for Morgan but he had a drippy nose to no end. So I told him to slap on some essential oils, take his tablet from the chemist, & draw a picture while I read. Thus we have his art work this week. He's taken to enjoying drawing things with a sharpie & then colouring them in with his coloured markers. I like it! If you're wondering about the men in the photo you have: {L-R} A man who cooled his metal sword too quickly & it bent & twisted. Another man just pulling his dagger out of the hot fire, & the final picture is the hero of our book working on a horse sandal.

I found another craft project I had stowed away for our space study, but it was needed this week so I handed it to Jayden. He actually did this one prior to king & queen cups. He loves these silly things because they don't require glue, all that crazy foam comes with sticker backing on it.

He gave the alien from the packet to Morgan to work on, in hopes it would distract brother from the sore throat. No such luck & the craft sat unfinished until Thursday. At which point Jayden asked if Morgan would like help with the craft & Morgan finally decided he'd better put it together or he'd lose out.

We read our poetry book as well, all though we missed out on Wednesday I just read extra on Thursday as everyone was content to sit & listen. I figured it was getting a little boring snapping photos of the same book over & over so I went with a small poem we found funny this week.

We also listened to Galatians 5-6 to wrap up another book of the Bible this week. We moved right into Ephesians & are just over halfway done having made it through the 4th chapter. We'll pause with our forward movement at the end of the money & retreat to our annual trip through the Bible leading up to Christmas.

By Friday both boys were doing so much better & I kept sending them outside for fresh air & sunshine. It's not abnormal for my kids to lay in a quilt on the trampoline with a book while they are sick, but our trampoline is currently hiding int he garage lest anymore gail force winds rip it away. Instead they took turns on the swing & sat on the patio for a while telling jokes. By the time they came in & we'd wrapped up our small portion of studies for the day Mr S was zonked out on the couch.

Two kids who haven't run of steam all week & aren't quite well enough to go to the park meant things were getting a little hair raising. I suggested something quieter & Jayde pulled out Risk & challenged Morgan & I to a round. They got so busy fighting over Asia I snuck in & snagged Africa & England for a win.

That was it for us this week. No math, while I did warn the boys there'd still be school Jayden asked me oh so seriously if he could get off math this week because of being sick. I hadn't intended to give him the whole week off, & was going to have them both do a review page on Friday, but Mr S was home & all that jazz. No outings this week aside from a trip to the normal optomotrist.

Some time next week Morgan & I meet up with the Irlens Specialist from Melbourne, & she wanted to be sure normal vision was in check. Morgan's vision has not improved via the Optometrist, but neither has it deteriorated. I don't know if they'd get differing results if he was permitted to use his tints while taking the exam. All up a crazy week for us!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Week In Review: Week 32

Another week has flown by for us, & it was a semi-short week as Mr S was home on Friday so we took the day off as well. The kids still did a fair amount of work, but they had to work a bit more a few days in order to have that time.

We had hoped to whisk them away for some fun activities for the day, but life happens & it wasn't to be. Mind you, they weren't disappointed by it because they had no expectations either.

Maybe next time, & as it's a holiday weekend here in our neck of the woods {no, not Halloween} there's still a possibility we might be able to fit a few of the fun things in we'd hoped to do on Friday.

We're still working our way through our poetry book this year. We're scheduled at roughly 3-4 poems a day? I'm not sure, but we read a few more here or there & less other days. It all depends on what the day holds for us. The boys are still using the math flash cards, especially Jayden as he embarks on division with remainders so those were out in use this week. We tend to do poetry followed up by our Memory Box.

Speaking of division, He really rocked this lesson. He was, in all fairness, petrified of it, but I assured him that he's been doing division & multiplication long enough he was ready for this lesson. Just to assure him we pulled out the MUS blocks which we haven't used in forever & a day. We backed off from 2 pages per day this week 2 just 1 page in order to give him time to let the new idea sink in without him feeling overwhelmed. This seemed to work quite well & my typical math hater was heard saying, "Wow, this is probably the easiest lesson I've ever done in this book." I refrained from saying, "I told you so.." Or explaining it was easy from all the hard work we put in memorising those lovely multiplication facts.

I spotted this naughty little doodle in my eldest's math book. We actually don't encourage doodling & generally they get a telling off, but I found this one quite funny & didn't make him erase it. Morgan embarked on multiplying decimals up to thousandths. He did well with the theory behind the lesson but struggled a little bit this week with his vision. I have no idea what was up, but everything was back to front {notice the n's his drawing} which resulted in carrying 1's & putting 10's down.

When we hit a situation like this with his SSS I do have him help with the fixing up of the mess, but generally I just have him sit with me while I say, "Your answer is wrong, but only because.." then we erase the numbers in the wrong spots & put them back in the right spots reworking anything that needs it. It does not help him feel any less incompetent with what he's doing/done, & there can even be a few hot tears & angry words that are shed over it. However, I try to point out he knew exactly what he was doing & give him a few aids to help him out. This week I handed him a place value sheet & had him write his double digit numbers on it prior to putting them into place in his math book. I also had him pull out his graph book to use for working math problems & between the two he had the problem conquered before the end of the week which was a huge relief to both of us.

There are not always reasons for his off days. As in, it's not because he's had a headache or overused his eyes. Somedays are just harder then others. Helping him learn to cope without losing his cool is important so he can understand that he doesn't need to throw in the towel when he has a down day.

We're still in 2 Timothy for our Bible Study & will probably be there for the remained of our term. The first 18 verses are looking quite colourful & busy at this point but all of it means something to us. I've had some questions about this method which I'll answer better in another post, but I did want to clarify that yes we can still read our Bibles just fine.  We also finished reading Romans & began Galatians.

We read about the Byzantine Empire & The Golden Age Of India in our studies this week. We tend to listen to SOTW first & then read from our encyclopedia. From there if we have a corresponding chapter in CHOW we read that. The other 2 larger books we only read 2-4 pages a day from. It all blends together quite nicely. In fact after reading about the Golden Age Of India in SOTW I was going to google a few of the things we'd heard about, but there were pictures for it in Kingfisher which was a delight to see. Before I'm asked, I'm using this chart here to match up CHOW to SOTW.

Black Horses For The King is our current read aloud, we'd hoped to finish it this week, but it wasn't to be so we should wrap it up over the weekend or in the coming week. Either way works for us & then we need to check our list to see what our next read aloud will be. The only problem we are having there is that we have so many delightful books to read it's always choosing the next one that becomes hardest! As for our current book I'm curious where the final bits will take us, but thus far the book has been quite lovely to read & if you have a horse enthusiast there's a lot of equine information inside. In fact a few of us have been heard saying, "No hoof, no horse.." this week.

We're still moving along with Our Island Story as well which is, as mentioned before, the history of England. Having done a geographical study last year where we briefly touched in the history of each country, compounded with learning about middle ages this year it's been really interesting to read this book each week. We covered chapters 10-12 & I meant to have the boys pull out their Travel Diaries & look at the photos we'd printed out last year of the Giant Causeway, but I forgot.

We had a lighter week of science, as Chapter two in CKE was only about lab equipment. It turned out to be a great week for a slower chapter with little to no additional reading due to our short week. While it's not pictured we did read pages 18-25 from Chemical Chaos this week. The boys are really loving that book. We also tackled chapter 2 in The Story Of Science. We didn't get to our scientist biography this week, but I'm not stressing over it. The boys were a little disappointed that there were no major experiments this week, so I didn't tell them that next week there's a huge amount to tackle. I thought the surprise of it would be fun.

Our weather has been insane here this week with incredibly strong winds {our trampoline blew away & we had to retrieve it then put it int he garage}, rain, rain & more rain. We get a bit of sun, but as soon as we'd gear up for a bike ride the rain would open up on us. With no swimming happening right now we were all getting extremely antsy so I pulled up The Ultimate Homechoolers Physical Education Game Book. If you have Kindle Unlimited it's free. Personally, I think you really need a proper copy of this book, but an ebook works too. I selected Basketball Golf to play with the boys as our hoop has finally been installed. We have our own score sheets & we played several rounds. We don't have 9 hoola-hoops and the few we had were MIA, but we have a driveway & I always seem to have chalk on hand so that worked too.

While I don't have photos of it, the kids each continued reading in their currently assigned book. Jayden is really loving his book which is called Bible Wars & Weapons. He's enjoyed building, via his army men & such, scenes from what he's reading or asking me if I knew about one person or another. As much as he's enjoying it he asked if he could read ahead {as if I'd say no!} because he can't wait to read King Arthur which is next on his list. Morgan is still plucking along with The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe & on track to finish it next week. I was quite worried that with the vision issues he was having he'd struggle with reading, but he was fine. It may help that I've found a larger print version which he's currently using. He found the finer printed one much more difficult on his eyes again. I'd love to obtain the entire collection of the larger print ones for him.

They also did another weeks worth of work in their Langue Arts workbooks completing nouns & verbs. That sounds very basic but it was determining the difference between linking, helping, being, & action verbs based on the predicates. The nouns had to be classified as concrete or abstract. They found the noun work really easy, & found the verb work a bit more complicated. They wrapped up another case & finished Workbook A!

They also had spelling all week & finished off lessons 14-18. I loved that by this point of working with these words they were looking for syllables to decide about how many consonants to include when suffixes were in use. They both did outstanding on their spelling work & I saw a lot of the carrying over to written work this week which was nice to see for a change.

We're also doing history quizzes this term because I feel it's important for the kids to know how to take a test & this is a great way to start. This term tests can be open book if they aren't certain of an answer, but they only needed that luxury with 1 of the 2 history quizzes they took this week. 

We also caught up with friends at the park for a play & chat which was a lovely way for the kids to finish up their week as they had Friday off. Not too shabby considering our much shorter week.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Book Finds

Mr S had some time off this week & we had hoped to make a surprise trip into the city for some fun activities with the kids. Unfortunately I woke up with one horrific migraine & with the lovely wind & rain we've been having we opted to stick closer to home. Mr S said he'd love to go to an op-shop.

After the five minutes of stunned silence, Mr S always vetoes going to second hand stores, garage sales, or other bargain hunting opportunities when he's with us, we all scrambled for shoes & loaded up in the car.  I should clarify Mr S loves the goodies & bargains we find on our outings, but he's not so keen to go sluething for them himself. However, this time he's after a piece of outdated computer technology & he wanted to hunt it down for himself.

Unfortunately he didn't find what he was looking for even though we took him to 5 different op-shops. The problem with outdated technology is that it's generally not sold or given away anymore. It's all probably laying in a pile in the local garbage dump instead. One shop even told us they couldn't legally sell it to us all though we did clarify we were only after parts, but she said she didn't even have any to give away because they just aren't given that sort of thing anymore.

While Mr S came home empty handed he did help us find some really lovely book bargains that we brought home. In fact, while it's not a book he found the brand new unopened game pictured above. The guys seem to love trivia & while not all of it is pertinent Australian history {such as asking the middle names of famous people} it will be a fun way to retain a few more facts.

More Wildlife In The Suburbs was another fun find at one of the shops we hit. Each chapter is a little story unto itself about some form of Australian wildlife. It's all written with a bight of humour & I had to hide a few giggles while previewing it in the shop. I came home & read some of the information about Plovers to Mr S who confessed to learning something new afterwards. The boys haven't heard the chapter yet, but will enjoy it. All though I'm pretty sure Jayden will have some sort of comment such as, "Who cares how they got their name, it's their bad attitudes I'm more worried about.." He hasn't quite forgotten the time we dumped him over a fence to retrieve the cricket ball & upon turning to come back to us we were screaming, "Run, FASTER!!!" He'd stumbled upon a next of plover chicks & Mummy Plover was not happy with him. We managed to grab him just before she dived, but at 4 it was still a pretty wild experience.

Two exciting finds were these lovely books about Australian history. The bottom one was found at at a local op-shop for $2.50 {all books were half price} & Mr S spotted it & asked if it would be helpful. I didn't actually give it a proper look inside, but simply said, "For $2.50 I'm sure we'll put it to use." When we got home & actually had a proper look inside we were floored.

The book takes pictures & other clippings from newspapers & has put them all together. Things in there that weren't from newspapers are written as though they were with dates, locations, & key information. There's even lovely old adverts for famous Australian goodies which have had us chuckling for some time now. Did you know that Louis Robert Stephenson once visited Australia? His photo is in there along with a small snippet about his visit. There's also a small little article in there, which was very hard to read aloud as we were laughing oh so hard, about the first flight from London to Australia. It took 16 days, which is when we start to lose it, but we came unglued when it said, "Beating the last record of 23 days." Ahh, may we never complain again about being stuck on a 20 hour flight.

The other book was one I found at our local post office & purchased brand new. It's a lovely Encyclopedia type book broken down by year & will aid us well in our upcoming year long study of Australian history! They had a second one like it on the shelf about Australians at War, but I only purchased the one pictures above.

While we came home with stacks of books I'll only share these final 4 for now. Camelot's Honour  is an adult fiction book that I hope is a decent read. I like to read something a bit more light hearted & fun about the same time frame in history that we're learning about, & since this was laying on the shelf for a couple of dollars I thought I'd give it a go.

The Queen's Smuggler is a Trail Blazer book, & we've been slowly finding them at the local op-shops for some time as we build our own collection. This one really made me smile because it's about William Tyndall which is on our plans to be learning about later this year or early next year. It will make a great book for the boys to each take a turn reading on their own.

The Viking Emoo-gency is a not exactly quality literature, but it's a fun read that Mr S or I picked up a while back & I pulled off the bookcase when I was shelving the goodies we brought home. Basically the series is about Cows who go back in time to help save the world. I did warn you it wasn't quality literature, but they do weave in history & they are right up the alley of books that Mr S & the boys love to read for fun together. Im actually prereading it at the moment to decide if I'll hand it off to the kids or suggest Mr S reads it to them in our upcoming Viking study.

Cooking Up Trouble caught my eye right away at the shop because I noticed one of the girls on the cover was dressed in the garb of a traditional Pilgrim. The book is one in a series all though aside from a small bit of information at the start it doesn't look like it really messes anything up to read them out of order. In this particular book a young girl is sent from Plymouth Plantation to modern times where the children she meets up with learn how/what Thanksgiving was really like. We'll definitely be reading this one this month, all though we may read it over the week of Thanksgiving which we're inadvertently taking off from normal studies anyway.