Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week In Review: Week 16

Hopefully next week will be calmer, because after 3 semi-crazy weeks I'm really ready for normal! We had some wild weather this week, a power outage, a Dr's appointment, & even more crazier weather!

We still accomplished schooling, but probably not as full of a week as I'd have anticipated after a slack week.

If you're wondering the picture to the left was taken this week when my youngest shouted, "Mom quick, the Cockatoos are back!" They make a lot of racket, but we have so much fun watching them we don't mind. They don't tend to land in our yard as we don't have the trees they love so much, but in one of our former homes they use to land in our yard. These cockatoos are Yellow Cheeked Black Cockatoos.

We initiated a challenge to the boys this week to have them start school sooner & accomplish it by 1pm. Leaving the afternoons open for exploration, hiking, & tinkering. They embraced it really well & accomplished their goals for the week with little holdups. Morgan is tackling his writing above, & Jayde was listening to Calico Captive while building with Playmobil. Like the bathrobe he's wearing? He went everywhere in it, to the point where people would stop & say, "Oh poor Lamb, are you not feeling well?"

Jayde tackled a new math lesson this week, at long last! The tail end of this book has been a slow finish for us. His capable of the material, but is just lacking the confidence. This particular lesson really helped in that area though as he was very grounded in the information shared. He finished his work on the first day & said, "Wow, that's all?"

Morgan wrapped up his previous lesson with the test this week. We dragged our feet with it, not from lack of understanding it, but to give him more time with circumference & area which were getting confused. He spent the last 2 weeks working on area alone. Next week he'll move into a new lesson & concentrate on circumference as well.

Jayden started a new book. He wasn't keen to read it because apparently he found it on the shelf & read it over the summer. It's not that he disliked the book, but he wanted something meatier. So, I told him we'd move through it quickly & had him read 3 chapters a day to wrap it up this week. In one chapter the character stayed a bit longer then he should have at his aunt's house due to indulging in cookies she made him, which led the boys to a long discussion about how they should considering visiting their aunt for cookies.

We actually hit Lesson #72 this week in our spelling. Which puts is in the middle of our book, all be it not exactly in the middle of the lessons. We have a few more weeks before we hit the middle point of lessons in the book. weird, I know.

We have more then crossed the half-way point with our devotional, which has led us to debating if we'll start another one when we are done or try another book that I have on the shelf. We shall see. We're still in Joshua in our OT reading, & we've reached some lengthier, all be it slightly odder, poetry in our poetry book.

We're still working with Chem 3 for Morgan, but I pulled CKE Chemistry off the shelf to help explain something we covered in the Eyewitness book. We may or may not continue reading from it as we continue forward with the Noeo Chem.

We had a Dr's appointment bright & early on Wednesday. It was an appalling appointment with a Dr I hope no one else has the disservice of having to deal with. It left us considerably rattled so the kids popped on their audio books & each found a project to occupy them. This was gifted to them by an Uncle who recently moved away.

We hit the beach a few days this week, between rain showers, to walk the dog & get some fresh air. Tuesday afternoon we hung out with Nana for an hour or two while we warmed up. The weather itself was reasonably warm, but our home was pretty icy without power!

Wednesday afternoon my children acted like hooligans trying on new hats. Apparently the hats I bought them when they were 5 no longer fit & people were tired of iced ears on our walks. Morgan told me he'd found a perfect one, but asked me not to look until he had it on. I laughed loud enough a few stock boys turned around to see what was going on. I did not purchase this hat for him, but we did enjoy cracking up Mr S at work with a copy of the photo..

Jayden & I wrapped up Daniel Boone this week. The life of Boone finished before the end of the book, & in the final few pages the author points out some things that were significant in history that were happening during Boone's lifetime. It really gave my boy pause to consider that. Then he got all excited when he realised that one of the episodes of America: The Story Of Us had Daniel Boone in it. He laughed much less about the actor who played DB then the one who played George Washington.

Morgan started his new book this week as well. He might have actually gotten a jump on it last week! Either way, it's another lovely one which I spent most of the weekend madly reading to be ready for the discussions he likes to have when he's reading his books.

Not Pictured:

  • We wrapped up Book C in our Grammar; Hooray! One book left in this level before we move onward!
  • Watched another couple of episodes of America: The Story Of Us. I really tried to put him off watching it until we caught up history wise, but it was pointless, & really it didn't matter..
  • Both boys continued working in their Geography Books {USA & Europe}
  • Morgan wrapped up week 31 & most of 32 with Bookshark 6
  • He also listened to Chapters 10-11 in MOH 3.
  • Jayde learned about weather highs & lows as well as reviewed seasons & hemispheres in science
  • He also wrapped up weeks 12-13 of SL Core D, as well as 3 more lessons in A New Land from WP.
Again, no social outings with the big group this week. Instead we visited with Nana, had our appalling Dr's appointment, visited the chemist way too much, & enjoyed walking the beach this week. Hopefully next week will be considerably calmer for all of us!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Week In Review: 14

I seem to have fallen terribly behind in keeping up with our weekly reviews, & even considered closing up our little blog, but wouldn't you know those I mentioned it to asked me not to because they enjoy hearing from us now & again.

It's not that we aren't still up to our eyeballs in things, but that we ARE up to our eyeballs in life & all the business it entails. Term 2 has been a bumpy ride for us between Dr visits, crazy weather, & life itself. In fact, last week I had to sit down & pull out our previous several weeks worth of lesson plans to decide what we of school we were on for the year. Yep, it's been that level of craziness around here..

This post is actually our learning from 3 weeks ago, so you'll have to bear with me as I get ourselves all caught up over here..

We've been steadily reading through the Old Testament together still & we finally reached Joshua. The kids are still reading aloud to me, all though somedays only one reads it all to us. Yes, our learning table often looks like this throughout our learning hours until I ask people to use their tote bags to actually put things away in.

We've switched back to Sequential Spelling earlier this year & hit the 60's in Week 14. You'll still find our home littered with spelling words that may need a bit of practicing, & I always add in "bonus" words which are often 1-2 words that someone needs a little extra incentive to remember.

Morgan officially reached Renaissance in history & I pulled out the HSITW Renaissance Pack. The objective is to match the portions we will use up with the addition of MOH 3. We'll see how all that pans out in the long run. In the mean time he worked on the Classes Notebooking piece. It was interesting to compare the simplicity of this layout to the pyramid of the Middle Ages Classes. Which led us to discussing what we'd learned about the Black Plague.

We're still faithfully listening to, & enjoying, Our Island Story. I have to say that due, in part, to the reading of this book as well as our middle ages study my kids were really disappointed in Night At The Museum 3. I can't blame them either, as it showed a huge lack of knowledge, on behalf of the writers, on European history. Morgan is also reading The Second Mrs Giaconda via Learning Ally. It's a lovely story that has brought about all sorts of questions from him about the great artists mentioned within. More about the story later.

We were behind on some of our timeline figures so each week as we add in the new ones we add a few from past weeks. I cut them out in large squares for colouring in & then one of us trims them much more closely before we adhere them into the book.

He's still working away at Chemistry 3 & enjoying it fully. He writes up answers to the questions on the computer & then we print them out for his notebook. He's also moved to using the computer solely for Writing With Skill. I just leave the lesson in audio format & he listens to it & then does the work for that lesson. I'll explain more about that later though.

He's listening to MOH 3 in audio format. I'm delighted that it doesn't have to be listened to with music in the background as he found that heavily distracting with MOH 2. We either listen to SOTW or MOH, but not both in one day. We're taking MOH much more slowly because it's not scheduled in our history & it's just an extra we're enjoying using. I'm undecided on obtaining MOH 4.

I opted to put Jayde's Chem on hold and pull out our weather books for him. He's been fascinated with the weather for a long time, but he's also feared some portions of it. As he's overcome a lot of that he's become more & more interested & with our weather being at the season of change it seemed like a wonderful time to really let him dig in. I'm using the three books above as our main learning sources. The top 2 have a lot of hands on experiments inside, where as the bottom one has plenty of lovelies for his notebook. I'm also pulling resources here & there from around the internet to help round things out & have another book or two flagged that I'm debating ordering now or saving for his birthday. I'll share the official plans shortly.

Jayde had plenty of timeline figures to add to his book. While he was colouring I offered to put on a movie for him as I had several small little things flagged to watch that matched up with what he was learning for history. What a calamity that turned into! Apparently I'd all ready showed them to him, & the one I hadn't we couldn't get to load. I ended up showing him a preview of the Squanto Movie put out by Disney, he was unimpressed based on his knowledge of Squanto. This kid is a history snob.

Needless to say he wrapped his book about Squanto & began the next book, which was about Thanksgiving. He lodged a firm complaint that the book was leaving out a lot of important details. I had to remind him that the book was a bit below him & only doing a "basic" covering of Thanksgiving, but that if he was interested we had plenty more books he could read that would go in depth.

We continued onward with our reading of The Adventurous Life Of Daniel Boone. Needless to say my boy is totally swept away by this book, & fascinated by the information we are reading. He wrapped up his current audio book, & began listening to Calico Captive. He clearly likes it because I've had a hard time dragging him away from it.

No group meet-ups for us this week as our boy wasn't 100%. Instead we hung out at the beach reading books as we took total advantage of the unusually warm weather as we wrapped up our week.

Week In Review: Week 15

Another crazy week for us as we dealt with another child battling a totally different yuck, a booked solid Dr's office, & emotional upheavals as we tread through our week.

Thankfully we had a great supply of library books, audio books, & found a few new-to-us educational shows to help pull us through our week.

We also enjoyed some lovely quiet walks down by our beach again. With raging wind & rain we had it mostly to ourselves, which is always a treat. There's rumour that the resident pelican is back in town & we'd hoped to catch a glimpse of him while we were out there, but no such luck. The storm did drag up a penguin, but the poor little thing was tangled in seaweed & had all ready died when we found it.

I had a child who was pretty convinced I should attempt to revive it, but I insisted that wasn't going to happen. He buried it instead.

Our week actually started out normal! We are continuing through our 90 day devotional {seems like more then 90 days though, doesn't it?!}, out OT readings, & poetry. We are nearing the end of our current poetry book, which is both exciting & sad. It feels like we've been reading this one so much longer then all the rest we've used that it'll be a wee bit unusual to wrap it up & not be using it each day.

We're inching ever closer to the halfway point in our Spelling Book which has caused a lot of excitement around here. Less then 20 days worth of work to go before we hit that point. Yes, the computer screen is blue in the photo above, it has to be for our Irlens boy. I'll explain how I do it in another post entirely. We didn't actually accomplish lesson 72 due to cutting our week short from illness, but we still put the 60's behind us.

Ignore the crazy glowing screen, the room was actually quite dark & when I lightened the photo it over lightened the computer screen. Morgan worked on an essay about Alexander The Great, it's actually a lesson he's done previously, but he chose to start the book again so he wrote a new essay. He found it a bit harder this time as he chose a different topic to cover about ATG's life, he was a little nervous that his efforts wouldn't be worthy because his word count was significantly lower on this essay then the first one, but he actually did really well with it.

Yes, he did his entire writing lesson like this. He said it was because he was tired, & I left it at that. I mean, what's the point, right? At least his handwriting was clear & neat. We had a grand laugh when the photo popped up on the tv that evening though. Mr S sat down, saw the photo & said, "What on earth?!" Ahh yes, just a normal moment in my life Dear..

Morgan tackled a portion of all these books on Monday, & spent the rest of the week wrapping up his audio: The Second Mrs Giaconda. Having been to the da Vinci exhibit later last year it made some of the items mentioned in the book a bit more real for him, & it also made us wish the exhibit was still around so we could go back & see them again.

By Tuesday our boy was an absolute mess: emotionally & physically. I suggested he go put on a onsie {he was freezing} & pull out the bed in the lounge room. We don't actually keep a spare bed in our lounge room, but we have one of those nifty chairs that has a whole bed inside of it. Then I pulled out one of his library books & started reading away.. until my throat became so sore I had to beg for a break. I'm so-so on the book, but he was really enjoying it. The story line didn't bother me, but I found the writing itself weak..

He found this nifty book at the library when we'd been out Monday afternoon & we got him all set up to keep his mind off not feeling well. It cause for some unusual conversations in our home between the "Nerd Herd" as we call them, most people know them as the resident programmers. At one point Morgan sighed heavily & said, "I've been sorting through my code for the past 20 minutes & I do NOT see an error, so just work all ready!" Mr S replied with, "Welcome to my life Mate."

We hit the beach, late in the day, several days to walk the path that runs nearby, & one evening as we headed into town we also stopped off at the park. There were 2 other children there for about 5 minutes before they ran off & we had the place to ourselves. Not hugely surprising because it was rather cold & dark. All the same, it's hard to leave the park when you have the run of it to yourself!

I honestly can't remember if it was this particular week or the one prior, but we had our monthly art meet-up too. It was changed from the original date due to others not being well. Either way the children all looked at impressionist works & then were shown a step-by-step method for mimicking a Monet based on his Field Of Poppies. In fact, the more I think about that this might have actually happened in Week 12.. I'm telling you when I delay recapping our weeks I clearly miss things off. Which means I also missed adding in Lego Club for Week 13 or 14. Alas..

Not pictured:

  • The boys finished off a Rush Revere book & began the second one. 
  • We continued reading the book we started on Tuesday before my throat totally gave out & I found it in audio format.
  • Both boys worked on their geography books {USA & Europe}
  • We began watching America The Story Of US. It was interesting considering Australia did a series like this as well. They certainly moved quickly in the USA show, all though they may have in the Australian version as we didn't watch every episode to know.
  • We hit the beach on Sunday for pinecones. Our power was scheduled to be out the following week for up to 8 hours while various things were replaced in the area. We opted to snag some pinecones {pictures above} should we need to start a fire while the power was out.
It really was a lax week for us, but it happens, & I can handle it so long as every week isn't like that.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Week In Review: Week 13

Another week wrapped up, & another month has ended in our year. Where on earth does the time go? Two different people in our home this week made large announcements about being shocked that it was May all ready, so I totally freaked them out by pointing out this was our final month of Autumn before winter officially arrived.

Our week was a little bumpier this past week from all sorts of craziness happening. Jayde was down with throat congestion & heavily put out that it wasn't sick enough to get him out of math lessons. I'm still fighting a cough that just isn't keen to hit the road, it's really not too bad at this point, but it can make early morning readings rather interesting.

On the other hand we had some lovely weather this week & it was delightful to throw open windows & be outside a bit too. We're appreciating every warm day we still have left before the colder wetter monsoon months of winter arrive.

We crossed the halfway point in our devotional this past week. We're still fully appreciating it our trip through Matthew & the fun, sometimes crazy, devotionals that accompany it. The boys have been enjoying some AIO cds as well that they were given for Christmas. The 25th Birthday Celebration compilation has been the latest hits we've been hearing.

Despite throat congestion he still took part in reading from the Old Testament last week. His throat congestion is really weird & isn't phasing him except when it comes to eating. Archimedes was pretty intent on the reading, all though I actually suspect he was waiting for a moment of lull to swoop in & eat the pages of that Bible. I'm telling you, those birds might look cute, but they are as naughty as anything!

Jayde is officially hitting the Pilgrim phase of his history this term, or rather colonial lifestyles & times. We've added in a few books here like the Colonial Crafts & Colonial Tool book in the picture above. Our Read Aloud for the next couple of weeks is The Trailblazing Life Of Daniel Boone. This is from the same series of books that one of our read alouds last term came from, & I have a few more in the series flagged for other times this year. 

Both boys moved forward in math, all though Jayde will be staying put again for a little bit as he builds confidence. It's interesting how some of those new concepts, despite not hard or all that new to him, have us scrambling to pull out our MUS blocks. He's often not keen to get them out, but I consider it non-optional. I find that by pulling them out for a little while & consistently using them it helps build that confidence quite quickly. Morgan has passed the half-way mark in his own book & is on the downward side of the slope for the most of the remaining lessons. He's pretty pleased by that.

Morgan is still plodding happily forward in his writing book. He's really pleased that he made that choice to turn around & review the beginning portions of the book, which came up again this week in one of his lessons. He's been doing some of these lessons on his own this week as I made video recordings for him to use. I love that he noticed my "one" mistake in the video. Never mind the long pause in which I thought I misread something & debated starting over again.. 

This boy was a bit grumpy about things during the first half of our week, but pulled himself together for the end. He's using Writing With Ease, & despite the topic being Paul Revere this week he was still not tickled pink about writing. Mind you, we had a pencil calamity this week which only added to his frustration. You know what I'm talking about, right?! That moment when every pencil is missing & the only ones you can find break every time you sharpen them.. Yeah, it was weird. I found a few dozen pencils scattered around someone's bed Friday afternoon. Apparently he'd been drawing at night..

Our poppies, from last week, sprouted this week! It caused quite an uproar when the Iceland poppies sprouted early in the week. The Flanders were a few days behind those, & we still haven't even planted the California version yet.  We started Jayde's new science book The Mystery of the Periodic Table this week. It was the missing book from last term. Morgan started a couple of new books in science, but we only got to one of them this week as he has quite a few Chem Labs to tackle over the weekend prior to moving forward. Have you ever read the warnings on a Chemistry Kit?! I'm telling you what, if you haven't.. I'm not sure you want to.

Morgan wrapped up his reader for the week in the early portion of our week & then spent the remainder moving ahead in his history book, The Second Mrs Giaconda.  While listening to his book he built this nifty game board, & in the evenings worked on writing up the rules to the whole thing. There are three pages, crammed full, of rules. Mostly because each different colour square allows you a different type of action. So basically you roll the dice & move, then roll the dice again to determine what fate will befall you on the square you landed on. You collected the crazy minifig heads which you could use as money to buy extra dice & so forth. The objective of the game was to have the most set of minifig pants by the end of the game.

This term we're adding in some Mystery Of History Vol. III for Morgan. He really loved using MOH alongside SOTW & I have to say I like the depth of MOH 3 far better then the former two volumes. We'll be moving at a much slower pace with that book then we did with Volume 2. We're still plucking away with Our Island Story, we've reached the point with our world studies that the stories we hear in OIS are now being heard in our other sources as well. We should wrap up this volume of SOTW this term!

We also had grammar & spelling this week, all though I have no photographic proof of it. We're so close to the halfway point in our spelling book that there's a lot of excitement over that. We should wrap up our grammar book at the end of this term if we stay on track with it, health permitting!