Monday, August 14, 2017

Week In Review: Week 36


Last week passed us by in a flurry of business as we hurdle towards the end of our term & thus the end of our 16/17 school year. As books & subjects are wrapped up & laid aside I confess I find myself a little emotional to realise I can count on one hand the years I have left with these boys of mine. It tends to hit you at the most unsuspecting moments, all though tripping over planners & discarded school supplies tends to bring me back to the hear & now.

We made a change in math curriculum last week, not something I was expecting at all. For the past 6 years we’ve used MUS & enjoyed getting Mr Demme every Monday {or in some cases Sunday} as he explained a variety of new topics to us. With our eldest working independently he was running into some snags with MUS & it was causing some frazzled, & admittedly late, evenings as he had to wait on Mr S to get in from work. I was being dragged to the white board to solve the math debates, & friends math is not my strong subject! Mr S came in a few weekends ago, sat down with an exasperated sigh & said, “Maybe I just can’t teach this math stuff.”

I wasn't very kind as I broke out in hysterical laughter, once I composed myself I suggested he look at other math curriculum & named a few. He was vaguely familiar with Teaching Textbooks due to the fact that we used them before jumping into MUS. Within a week we had 2 shiny new math programmes, which oddly enough are still, gracing the learning table. The upside to this change is that Teaching Textbooks offers hints & problem solvers. Problem Solvers mean that if you get the problem wrong on all tries they will walk you through it step by step to show you how you should have, or could have, done the problem to get the correct answer. Rather then making the same mistake through an entire lesson you can then take notes & move on to conquer the rest of your day.
We’ll see how it goes over the remainder of this term & into next year.

I won’t say both boys were jumping up & down with joy. Morgan found some of the TT methods silly when the lecturer was doing demos because it was so different to what he was taught & has practiced over the past 6 years. I had to remind him that there are various ways to get the work done as we proved at the “Great White Board Debate of Last Week..” Jayden, on the other hand, would likely only jump for joy over math if he was told he never had to do another lesson.

Morgan aced his Quiz for Module 15 & pushed forward into that final Module about Astrophysics. He & Mr S indulged in some long discussions over the weekend about the various material covered & whole bunch of other things I managed to block out while attempting to steam a pot of broccoli & keep it from going all mushy while they took forever to clear up the table so we could have our dinner. More seriously, I am delighted that despite my own dislike for science that my son has his own confidence & a father who is more than happy to feed it.

Jayden officially wrapped up his first science book in his HOD programme. He was very very excited about that. Not because he doesn’t like science, he’s so-so on the subject where it greatly depends on the topic being covered. It was more that he was ready to move on past space & into a new area. We indulged in watching the old Apollo 13 film with him this weekend, which opened up a world of discussion especially as the nation was called to pray for the stranded astronauts in the 1960's where as today the nation would be filled with outrage & contempt over the mere notion.

Jayden tackled Unit 13 in his HOD programme this week where we finished reading about John Wycliff in The Morning Start Of The Reformation. There was much mapping that took place as well covering The Black Plague, England In The 12th Century, & Scone Scotland. We covered William Wallace, which reminded us of one of the beautiful audio productions done by Heirloom Audio, In Freedom’s Cause. We also read about The Hundred Year War as we approach the end of the middle ages.

Morgan polished off his final literature book, & has reached the final chapter of his history which he’ll polish off next week. He had a few chuckles as he found himself disagreeing with the opinion of the author. Funny how the author, while listing fact can easily weave in opinion as well, isn’t it? I’ve really enjoyed hearing his own opinions on situations like that & his take on the information covered in the history books he’s used this year. It’s certainly given him his own viewpoint on many current events unfolding around us.

No major outings for us this week but Nana’s birthday was on Thursday & the boys helped make all the fixings for chicken wraps & a simple chocolate cake to take down to celebrate. We also enjoyed a few trips to the beach this week, all though we were nearly blown away with the crazy arctic winds that hit us. I joke not, we had to chase down our roast chicken that was blown off our table for our picnic lunch on Saturday!

We did, however, also taclke another week of writing in our IEW curriculum & grammar with Fix-It. We wrapped up our reading in the book of Acts, finished our read aloud of Wonder & spent many hours debating exactly who's turn it was to pick the next one & what book they should pick.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 34


We wrapped up our 4th week of our 4th term this past week. I’ve been slowly writing up our WIR posts for previous weeks, but I’ve been horribly slow uploading photos & thus never end up posting anything. Thanks to each of you who asked how we were doing & told us you missed our posts. We actually considered closing up the blog, & for those who may be on the FB page will have noticed we closed that down. However, for now we’ll keep posting here, however sporadically as that may be.

It’s hard to imagine that we have 6 more weeks of our 2016/2017 year left & that our eldest will be moving into 10th. Where we live 10th is the end of the road for high school & then children move on to college. We’re choosing to follow the US educational standards for high school for a variety of reasons, the biggest being his choice in university at this stage. 

In order to keep with tradition we’re still considering a Leaver’s Dinner for him. Mr S think it would be a fun thing to put together, Morgan on the other hand is not quite so sure he's been to a few & isn't into the idea of dressing up much less a red carpet walk. Ha! I think he might have high expectations of what Mr S can pull off!

Our numbers will probably sound incredibly wonky as Jayde wrapped up Unit 10 in his level of HOD & Morgan wrapped up Week 32 in his Core. Ahh, the craziness of life here, especially when one student changes curriculum in the middle of a year. It’s been a great change for him & we’ll share in a seperate post about HOD in greater detail.

We’re still working through IEW’s SWI-B, not quite as quickly as I’d intended, but they are enjoying themselves & able to do the work independently which is exactly what we were after! They’ve both been able to apply the principles they’ve gained, thus far, in other writing assignments which is, again, exactly what we wanted! So, no complaints there.

Book 2 of Fix-It is a little different from Book 1 & there were some hiccups, where we need to pause & really focus on a few of the newer concepts. I love that Fix-It works in regular No New Concept weeks {ie Review} to allow for that. I did have one frustrated child because he wanted to mark everything in the sentences which isn’t the object in this particular book, but over all they are doing really well & the main goal was to keep their grammar skills fresh & touch base on anything they hadn’t quite learned yet which is exactly what Fix It has allowed us to do.

Morgan wrapped up Book 9 in HUS, leaving him with only 1 book left to go before he’s done. He’s moved at a great clip through this Core & he’s fully enjoyed all of his time with it. I’m excited for him to wrap it up & slip into his HOD programme, & am hopeful the learning curve won’t be too great for him, but we’ll see how it goes.

Jayden has officially reached the Middle Ages in Resurrection to Reformation & he’s totally in love with the time period. Not a huge surprise at all. We wrapped up The Illustrated Book Of Knights last week & jumped right into The Morning Start Of The Reformation. His notebooking pages all follow the same pattern so it’s reasonably predictable for him to know what to expect each week. However, a couple of weeks ago he got really excited about Draw & Write Through History in which means some days he also has a sketch to add to his notebook. We also wrapped up Much Ado About Nothing in his Shakespeare this week. 

Morgan wrapped up Module 14 in his Physical Science book, only 2 more modules to go before he wraps that one up for good. I always think of it as such an accomplishment to get through those books as they aren’t exactly light now, are they. He’s still using VHSG to take the quizzes & practice quizzes. We’ve had a few minor issues with that, but VHSG has been grateful for the corrections he’s pointed out to them. His labs have become pretty intense too, we’ve had him practice doing them a few different ways with this book so that he’s prepared for whatever may be ahead for him.

Jayden is still working through the first science book with Res to Rev, Apologia Astronomy. I’m not a huge fan of Fullbrights books because we don’t agree with the YE philosophy & I’m not particularly keen on the heavy bush these books have. However, we have found it quite simple to skip those small portions & still enjoy the book. He only has a couple of chapters left before he moves on to the biographies & other earth science books included. He’s pretty excited that he’s nearly finished the book, not because he hasn't enjoyed it but because it’s just a big accomplishment.

Both boys are still moving along with math at a decent clip. Morgan works independently on his math & Mr S corrects if in the evening. Their math lessons on the weekend can last a short time or a long time depending on how incredibly nuts they go with things. Jayden still works with me on his math, for now, he’ll “level up” next book, or so the family pattern goes..

We dropped DuoLingo for French & returned to Rosetta Stone. It’s a bit of a boring story, but the reality is that DuoLingo went to a very video game based idea in which one couldn’t even finish a lesson due to running out of “life” or “coins” & was constantly giving us errors & asking for money ranging in price from $3 - $15 USD which was absurd. So we pulled our RS French back off the shelf, we’ve had issues with the speaking aspect of it before so I’m a little concerned about that aspect, but after getting use to the new method Morgan’s just kept charging along.

He’s been corresponding with a few native French speakers online to practice his skills & has done really well with it. Enough so that one asked if he was also French & was impressed to learn that Morgan was “just learning..” It really boosted his confidence, & why not!

We wrapped up our previous read aloud, Rush Revere & The American Revolution & haven’t picked anything else up to read yet. We have a few more books I'd like to read this {calendar} year, but we’ll see what happens. We also wrapped up our current poetry book, & likely won’t start a new one until September. I’m a bit of a twiddle about what to pick at this point, so we’ll see what unfolds.

Our local group has been on holidays for the past couple of weeks, so no social meet ups there or hockey either. We’ve enjoyed a couple of low key weeks in that aspect. These winter days can be cold & dark at times, so its’ nice to have a few low key ones to rug up & sty close to home with. We’re officially past the halfway mark with winter so we’re counting down to lighter mornings.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week In Review: Week 24


The halfway point of our term snuck past us this week. We had absolutely no idea that's where we were until I sat down on Saturday to look over the calendar, update attendance & all that jazz.

Wow, the term has flown by, hasn't it! We were worried about having to make up some time/work with that week of allergy induced sickness the kids had, but thus far they've worked really hard to make-up for that time.

Autumn has officially rolled in, all though a few days this week Winter was knocking on the doors. I'm not quite ready for the cloudy days of winter, but I do so enjoy the crisper autumn ones!

Morgan & I wrapped up Bonanza Girl on Thursday. We hit those last 2 chapters & couldn't put it down. Funny to the end, all though there were some doubts about the ending. There's a lovely author's note at the end of the book that you really mustn't miss if you read the story. Our copy is now mangled because Archimedes decided to go "read" the author's note himself. *sigh*

We did not finish Evidence For Jesus but we did read several more chapters. It's interesting to look at this book from the perspective of a believer & a non-believer that's for sure.

We dug back into our Fix-It Grammar this week. I'm not sure what on earth took us so long to dig it out this term. I think learning the ropes of a new curriculum played a small part in that, but it's all good! We really love our Fix-It, quick, simple, & to the point.

We also finished off our beloved read aloud: The Railway Children. We got to the final 2 chapters of this one & lost ourselves for a while as we finished it off. There was a collective sigh in the room when it ended & then some bemoaning that the author had not shared the excitement over all that had likely unfolded. There's a lovely biography of the author at the end of our copy which was an interesting read too. Now to find a new read aloud, one child requested, "..something less old-fashioned!" And when I said, "What a shame, I was considering Robin Hood next." He changed his mind a bit when he heard that, but in fairness we still haven't selected a new read aloud!

It was chilly enough that this funny roo joined us for math lessons one day. He said he was very very cold, but then proceeded to eat a Bio-Stick {frozen juice pop} which made the rest of us chuckle a bit. Said Roo is making lovely progress in math, & flew through this weeks lesson. I do love how Mr Demme offers a hard lesson, often followed by a slightly easier one at times.

Morgan tackled his own math in the sunny kitchen under the Dakin. Smart boy on such a chilly day {don't be fooled by the beautiful light in the photo!} No, he's not googling math answers, he uses a calculator for some of his math work these days. It took us forever to convince him it was not cheating to use a calculator!

Our sweet boy wrote out Phillipians 1:1 this week & when I looked at his paper I was a little distressed by what I saw. I pulled out his grey overlay {generally only used while waiting on his tints to come in} & put it over the paper. He'd had no idea how poorly his handwriting had been until that moment. So, I printed a bunch of my homemade HWOT Style papers & cut them to fit in his little notebook. We need to make an office supply shop run to get heavier duty paper to fill his book with & remove all the white papers.  I'll have to share a handwriting comparison in another post. Either way he was writing a quote from his devotional in the above photo, but also copied out Phillipians 1:1-2 during the week.

Morgan tackled more of Module 11 in his Physical Science book. Archimedes flew over to "help" after getting told off for trying to drink my smoothie. Seriously, that bird is a character & a half. Morgan was actually listening to a lecture & taking notes, which greatly irritated Archimedes who tried to steal his pencil. As for the child doing school, his science notes have come such a long way, they were awesome to look over. He'll wrap up that module in the new week.

We are enjoying our final poet of the year in our poetry book: Walt Whitman. The artwork on all the pages with his poems are really beautiful. We had a lovely chat about how, as a poet, his work didn't sell as well as he'd hoped which brought up the topic that many poets & authors we consider amazing today were not considered amazing in their time. Some of them were considered to be quite the cracked-pots actually. 

Jayde enjoyed more picture study with his lovely book. The picture this week wasn't one we both enjoyed as it portrayed Jesus in a bit of cloth that was falling off & a bit.. revealing. It was however interesting to try & decide which disciple was which. We read another Emily Dickinson poem this week as well, one of my favourites, the "Nobody" poem. Jayde was quick to guess the meaning behind the poem as we read a bit of a biography about Emily earlier this year in which we learned of her extreme shyness & how people often tried to get a peek at her because she was considered to be such an oddity.

He also tackled the rest of his art project from last week. The idea was to make a piece that looks like stained glass. Apparently Jayde doesn't remember the beautiful stained glass we saw in Stanley last year. On our historical tour one of the stops was a local church. You could only get in with a key & the location to obtain said key was closed for the day, but we were still able to check out the beautiful historical stained glass features from the exterior. He decided to google a window similar to what he was suppose to be making for ideas on how to lay out his "glass" lines. His end piece is beautiful & while driving around on errand day he spotted a lovely stained glass window & then noticed the Nana's neighbour had hung something in her window to make it look like a stained glass window as well.

We started several new books in HOD this week & they were each lovely in their own way. Jayde loved this one, which is no surprise as it was a non-fiction. However, I think he loved the snippets of facts he was learning about a particular person this week & I suspect this reminded him very much of Our Island Story which he absolutely loved, in fact he loved it so much he leant it to Nana & told her she really needed to read it so she could brush up on her British History. She delighted in the idea as, "it's been many years since I was a school child."

This is another HOD selection & wow, aren't the illustrations in this book amazing! We read about the same Goth in this book as we did in the previous. He was also to base his longer historical narration on the reading in this book. I found it really interesting which portions of the reading he could easily remember vs which ones he needed a little help with.  

We started A Midsummer Nights Dream in Shakespeare this week. It will be interesting to see if he struggles to keep the characters straight in this one as there's many loops to this particular story, aren't there? He's far far to young to remember, but many years ago when we were state side we saw this very play done for free in a local park. It was a lovely event put on at a very low cost, but what fun we had!

He's still working through Jed Smith, but we pulled out our DITHOR lessons to tackle this week. I wanted to give him a good head start on the story so he could pull from it to apply the character based lessons, & it worked as he found some of the lessons much easier this week. He struggled with the one about discussing times you've shown specific character traits. He seems to feel he lacks them, so I took the paper away & filled it in, loudly, pointing out each time during the week when he showed the character traits we were discussing.

Jayden & I  began a new read aloud together this week as well. This is a new story to us, so there was much curiosity as we sat down to read. I was delighted to get to use an Irish accent which I can do far easier than the British accent. One of the main characters is a Viking, so there were absolutely no complaints about this title. 

This weeks art project was suppose to be tea dying a bit of paper & then writing first in Greek & then English a verse from the book of John. Due to the previous art project still being in progress we cheated & simply wrote the verse where we were suppose to glue our "parchment". I thought we had some parchment around from a previous craft, but we didn't & our boy was just as delighted to do it this way. He was very smitten by the idea of writing in Greek & decided he'd like to learn Greek. So much so he got himself all set up with DuoLingo & has been working daily on it. 

His lovely notebooking pages for the week. His postcard was address to Mr X this week. I would not put it past this child to use every letter in the alphabet at some point, he's a hoot. He was also delighted with this weeks research topic, Constantinople, because he knew many of the answers to questions he was suppose to research & was delighted to look them up & see if he was right. 

I loved this detailed drawing in one of his timeline boxes this week. He spent a long tie on making those boats "just right" & then was stressed about drawing the people so I suggested he go with stick figures. 

Morgan tackled his French this week as well as his own history programme. We didn't see much of him during those times, but I looked up one day to find him plunked at the desk across from us. I had to do a double take because he was sitting much like my father use to sit. He also tackled a few art projects of his own this week, one of which had me banned from the craft area because it was a Mother's Day card.

Morgan also had hockey this week. I couldn't get a photo of him without other children & coaches so no actual photo to post. He had a lovely time scoring 3 of the 4 goals in his first game {more of a scrimmage as they warmed up & worked on skills} & then was put in as a goalie in the next game where he made such a lovely tackle in the opening minutes that his coach's delight & joy was pretty fun to watch. The young men coaching this week are older teens from the state team, & their enthusiasm is lovely to see as is their attitudes in teaching those younger players.

Jayde took his Civil War quilt to keep warm with {yes it was in many photos this week as I was using it while my book quilt was in the wash} & was given special permission to take an ipad to play on. Normally that's a no-no, but he was dealing with some anxiety issues & I suspected being distracted by conquering some land in Rome might mean we could both enjoy the hockey match in our own ways.

We normally take a daily afternoon walk, but we've been slack lately as we've been really struggling to find a groove. This week we seemed to have really hit our pace which was lovely & we headed to the local footy field near our home for a jaunt. A bit later than we normally go out so others were walking their dogs which mean our Buster didn't enjoy himself as much as he might have otherwise. We keep him in a lead around other dogs as he's a bit of a grump in his old age towards some dogs. All up though it was a beautiful day for a walk & were a little sad that we didn't get  more in.

No social engagements, aside from hockey this week, as the local group was meeting a little too far up the coast for us. It was raining heavily down our way & I just wasn't up for the drive on top of battling a migraine. Instead we stayed home & we each worked on various things.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Week In Review: Week 23


Our term feels slightly all over with that sick week in there, but we're in our groove & we had a really lovely week.

I walked into the library one day this week to grab my water bottle & found our table as we'd left it for lunch. I had to chuckle because it perfectly explained our entire day & couldn't resist taking a photo of all the hard work that at least one child had put in. {The other child worked hard too, but his mess was contained to the desk he uses..}

Yes, our weather has finally dipped cool enough to turn on the heaters. All though we've still had semi-warm days at times where the heaters are off & we throw open the windows for a few hours to freshen up the house a bit. The kids are very very grateful for their lovely warm homemade snuggle blankets their Gram sent them for Christmas.

We're nearly done with our beautiful read aloud. We've really loved this book & the boys discovered the "big secret" of the book, all though the eldest had guessed correctly what he suspected it would be. He said that Mother gave away the secret during an earlier scene. If the younger had figured it out he didn't mention it in our discussion. We only have 4 chapters left to read & then it will time to select a new one, which is always an interesting moment in our home.

At long last we wrapped up Edgar Allen Poe's section, & in all honesty I don't think any of us could be happier. I wasn't looking forward to his section in our poetry book this year, but have to say it wasn't all bad, we did enjoy reading his biography & dipping into a few of his more interesting poems. However, many of his poems are riddled with death & sadness, not a topic we are keen to dwell on. Further, we found that the notes prior to Poe's poems were often misleading. If any of them were correct than there was a fair bit of the poem or story left out! I'm looking forward to moving into Walt Whitman's section in the coming week.

New vocabulary words were loaded & ready for us this week. The sheet I slip them into is very flexible so I tend to fold it up so they can only see one word at a time as I introduce the new selections. Everyone agreed that the bottom left was absolutely disgusting! I did select a few I thought they'd know in order to make the ones they don't know a little quicker to learn. We'll stick with this load of words a bit longer.

Morgan & I are still making our way through both of these books. We are just over the halfway mark in each one. Bonanza Girl continues to be as funny as ever as we watch Mother, Katherine, & Jemmy make their way in their adventures. Evidence For Jesus continues to be enthralling for us & again this week our readings lined up with what I covered with Jayde in Peace & Peril.  I'm really enjoying watching our boy's excitement & interest in topics like this. He & I are really bummed that A Case For Christ isn't coming to our town, in fact the nearest town showing it is over 3 hours away. Alas..

Both boys tackled a new lesson in math this week. Morgan is our early bird so while he was waiting on Jayde to get rolling so we could indulge in our read aloud & Bible readings he watched a Math lecture. He normally does a lesson with Dad on the weekend & they go over new material, review old material, & he's set for the week, but last weekend was a bit of a mess so he tackled things himself this week. I love that he took that initiative.

Ignore the look on his face, I have no idea what's going on there, & I promise my kid has pants on just gaping holes in the knees. Jayde tackled research on Monday, one of his very favourite aspects of his new history programme. He's actually on, so I think this was a photo of him prior to science one day. His research this week was about Alexandria.

We read several more chapters in Peril & Peace which Jayde is absolutely loving. I suspect he would when we made the choice to use HOD, so I really enjoy watching his enthusiasm with these books. Our schedule was caught up to where we'd left off with Forbidden Gates so we dug back into our read aloud this week too. I love that with HOD he's not just listening, but looking for specific things in our readings. What he's looking for differs each day, so it also keeps him on his toes.

We finished The Tempest this week in Shakespeare, & he wrapped his notebooking page with the second picture being coloured & the second quote. I've noticed that his handwriting is a bit slack the last couple of weeks as he's not been using his normal grey paper. Whites, yellows, & oranges are huge struggles for him with his VPD, & while the photo doesn't look it the parchment area to write in with the notebooking pages has a yellow tinge to us. I may have him practice some typing skills with those, but I really do appreciate the amount of physical writing he does with HOD.

Morgan got back to science this week complete with a nifty experiment. I was asked to participate so I had to swing a string with some washer tied on it, & then he says, "Now keep it going Mom, & when I say NOW, I'm going to cut the string." At which point I suggested we move outside before he said the secret word!

I seem to have lost my photo of Jayde's work, all though you might see the eclipse drawing he did at the top of this post. I thought it was beautiful. We covered the sun & eclipses which he really loved & was inspired to look up when the next one would be in our area. August, how awesome is that? He's very excited & marked the calendar so we wouldn't forget. He's been using a lovely sketch book for his science notebook, but I printed him out some of our science notebooking pages on grey paper because I think he'll need the grey paper for his VPD.

Morgan had skills raining with hockey this week. The winter season is upon us, which has him excited & me thinking I should pull out Jayde's quilt to work on during matches because I'll need the extra warmth! He had a blast, all though the boys leading the training session had out orange balls for the training period & even with his tints on the orange was just killing our boys VPD. We may need to call Dr T about it because he may be in need of a new level, or then again neon orange balls on a neon green playing surface may be one trigger to many for our boy. I suspect if he'd spoken up they'd have rallied behind him & found him another ball. The group of kids he plays with are just amazing like that.

Jayde had one final reading in Peril & Peace to go as well as a written narration when we had to leave for hockey so we packed up the books to take with us because he really wanted to wrap his work up on Thursday so he could sleep in a little on Friday. Ahh, the inspiration this boy finds cracks me up. Yes, this photo is totally posed, he was actually reading a chapter near the back of the book. I told him not to lose our bookmarked spot & so he pinched the back pages tightly together.

Jayde has been reading Jed Smith as his biography. We haven't tackled any further DITHOR lessons yet as I wanted him to get a good jump start on his reading so he'd find the lessons in DITHOR easier to find answers for.

Morgan is still enjoying A Long Way From Chicago on his own, he'll be a while reading it as he had some slow days during overcast weather which is always hard on his VPD. I'm not too stressed about it as he'll accomplish the job. He's not using DITHOR, this was a book in his own history curriculum.

I seem to be missing a fair few pictures, but that's alright. We worked on the second verse in Philippians this week. Jayden also worked further on his Bible study based on Philippians, as well as his devotional this week.

I'm always short on pictures of Morgan these days as he's often busy working independently. He mowed the lawn on Sunday afternoon, & I was busy doing a freezer check for my menu so I snapped a photo. Ha!  As for history he finished of Volume 7 of HUS & dug into Nothing To Fear. He's got one more HUS book to go before term break, so despite our sick week he's looking really good with his goals.

Jayden's final history notebooking pages for the week are all finished up. The grey slots are where he's typed up things on the computer & then printed them out. We cut the pages down & use some double stick tape to affix them. I really love these keepsakes at the end of the week.

All up another busy week for us. We did some IEW writing as well, but we were so carried away watching the lecture that I seem to have missed snapping a quick photo. Oops!