Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Report: November 8-12, 2010

I really need to create a better banner for this, as I'm sick of this pea green thing.  (It's been on my to-do list for a few weeks now, so you can see how high of a priority it is to me.)

Alright, alright, another week of school completed!  It was a good week!

I switched from a task-based schedule to a time-based schedule, just to see what would happen; and I'm rather happy with the results.  Instead of only doing one lesson a day for Spelling, Bluebird can generally pump out 1.5 lessons in a fifteen minute period.  I think this will work nicely for her because she can now fly through the things that are easy, instead of having to go at the usual one-lesson-a-day pace that I was holding her down with.

I've also crammed Phonics, Grammar, Spelling and Handwriting into every day instead of two per day.  I've allotted fifteen minutes to each subject.  She's going to start moving ahead quickly.

Math:  Going good.  I'm trying to only do math for sixty minutes and then moving on to our other subjects, but it's hard to let a lesson stay undone!  I'm a big fan of the repetitive nature of Saxon Math because I want my children to memorize their math facts so they don't have to "think" about them.  It's time-intensive and I'm not willing to cut any more out of the meeting time than I already have cut.  She's a big dawdler when it comes to completing her worksheets, so that's what gets left undone by the end of the lesson.  I keep saying that she'll have to finish them later as homework, but then I forget.  Teacher fail.  I'll need to set some sort of reminder for myself to make her do her "homework."

Junebug likes to steal the Saxon K Math book from Penguin and do the lessons herself.

History:  We studied Ancient China this week.  I wish we had done a lot of cool stuff for it because I love Ancient China, but all we managed was painting our own pictograms, and making clay bowls that we will finish painting tomorrow.  (We have suddenly gone from being a two-car family to being a one-car family and this has seriously hampered my ability to procur supplies for school.)  I have big, big plans for the next time around.  Or perhaps we'll do a unit study next summer if we finish history early.

I did unearth some of my old college textbooks that I have been saving for this very point in time.  Bluebird especially liked the Cambridge Illustrated History of China for its pictures, and I was reminded of The Book of Songs (Shijing), which I will have to make a note to procur for when we study this time in the logic and rhetoric stages.  It's a collection of 305 poems written during the Qin period (primary source!); love poems, complaining poems, poems from peasant folk and aristocratic folk.  It's a great collection that really allows you a window to understanding everyday life during that time.  I wish I had remembered it beforehand, but there were enough excerpts from it in Illustrated History to appease Bluebird's interest.

Science:  We learned about molecules and made molecules out of marshmallows.   Not surprisingly, it was a lesson enjoyed by all.  

I have also decided to supplement our study of chemistry with Adventures with Atoms and Molecules and The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia.

Each Real Science 4 Kids lesson is easily completed within our one-hour science session, and there's only ten lessons in the book. We do science twice a week, and I'm not about to get done with this in only five weeks. We're going to stretch it out.

"Birthday Party for a Baby Triangle"
by Bluebird
Art:  We did some more work with watercolor crayons.  They were pretty happy about it.  We were challenged to draw a picture "that talks."  I don't think they grasped the idea too terribly well, but I don't care. 

by Penguin
I laughed a hearty chuckle when Penguin informed me that she was going to draw a house and I asked how that kind of a picture would "talk."  She responded with, "I will draw a mouth on the front door."

She ultimately decided to draw a picture of her dear old mother, and told me that her picture said, "I love you."  Sweet girl.

Highlights of the Week
  • Bluebird achieved her goal of reading 100 books.  Her personalized lunchbox has been ordered, and I'm sure there will be pictures to come.
  • Bluebird recited Omni 1:26 for her Primary President on Sunday and was rewarded with a rock candy stick that she ultimately gave to Junebug.
Lowlights of the Week:
  • Penguin battled a cold all week long and spent most of her time in bed, looking rather pitiful.
Funnies of the Week:

Michael informed me that we may have the opportunity (in the next few years, don't go and get excited for us yet) to re-locate for a few months to China in order for him to work more closely with his work's supplier.  I asked the girls what they thought of the possibility of living in China and received the following responses:
  • Penguin:  "China is where they have Panda Express!"
  • Bluebird:  "China is a good place for rice."
  • Junebug:  "Pandath ith methee."  (Pandas is messy.)
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to spend so much time with my children and hear all the cute things they say throughout the day!

Having said that, I am still looking forward to the weekend!


  1. Fun! I want to come do school at your house! For Saxon, sometimes we do it orally. My son loves the math and he grasps it, but he sometimes dawdles at the worksheets and it *is* a very time consuming course. We try and do the homework with dad, but I'm often doing it the next day b/c it didn't get done. Still trying to balance that one out.

    Oh, and I like your pea green header-thingy. ;)

  2. The marshmallow molecules are great. Excellent pictures too!

  3. LOL, I love the China quotes.

  4. Looks like you all had lots of fun!

  5. Isn't it amazing how sometimes switching it up by doing timed sessions instead of lessons (or the other way around) can energize a little person?!

  6. Even though you didn't cover everything about the period, living in China would be the ultimate homeschool field trip! I hope you get to go!!

    The marshmallow pictures were darling!


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