It's been a topsy-turvy week, whatwith a holiday on Tuesday (Pioneer Day) and Bluebird taking swimming lessons each school day from 12:30-1:00pm. (It wasn't such a big deal when we signed her up, as I was planning on still being on break this week...)
Regardless, we managed to move ahead quite nicely, which says a lot for our determination in comparison to past years.
We added Latin to the schedule this week:
Bluebird took to it quite well, and I think we're going to have fun with learning a new language together. We're using Latina Christiana I, and I purchased the instructional DVDs because I was worried about my first time teaching a new language; but, upon previewing the DVDs, I highly doubt we'll need to use them because it appears that my Spanish 102 skills will be more than enough to understand the curriculum. (In case any of you are wondering if your limited foreign language instruction is adequate for teaching this first level.)
Language Arts are still going extremely well. We continue to love All About Spelling (more 100% spelling tests!), and everything else is still pretty mild and "easy." I've received my refund for returning the Institute for Excellence in Writing curriculum, and I've gone back to Writing With Ease.
I know, I know--I said that Writing With Ease was sucking the joy out of our lives in my "End of the Year" post in May, but I've gone old-school with the program and it's now working quite nicely for us. It turns out that I really didn't like the workbook, which I bought because everyone has gone on and on about how much easier it is to already have the narration passages and copywork sentences chosen for you.
I'm adopting the original suggestion that our writing exercises be based upon what we're reading in Literature, History, and Science, and it just "feels" better. When we used the workbook, the passages didn't match up with anything we were doing and it just felt like yet another subject to get through. Now that our writing assignments are tied to what we're doing in other subjects, they don't seem like such a chore or so random. Plus, it gives me a chance to read through all our stuff ahead of time because I'm scouring them for copywork and narration passages.
Pocahontas by Joseph Bruchac this week. It's written at a higher reading level than last week's book, but the girls are hanging in there really well after I explained how Pocahontas would be describing the white men's stuff using her own interpretation. I stop after such a passage and ask them what she's talking about, and I've been impressed with how often Bluebird and Penguin can guess correctly.
I really like how this book shows both sides of the Jamestown story (the chapters alternate between Pocahontas' voice and that of John Smith), and the girls and I have been able to have some great discussions about why this historical event was riddled with so much difficulty and conflict due to the misunderstandings of both parties.
It's a longer book that I'm planning on finishing up next week.
Math: With Bluebird struggling so much with her basic operation drills, I went on the hunt for some sort of additional drill program, and after searching through some homeschool message boards I read about XtraMath.org. I signed the girls up and they each now spend an additional ten minutes or so each day doing "Extra Math." I'm hoping this will help Bluebird in this area of frustration, because something obviously needs to be done, and because the website is free. I'd love it if we could improve in this area without having to spend extra money.
Penguin is doing quite well, "beating the teacher" thirty nine times in a row on one occasion, proclaiming her the Drill Champion of Brooketopia thus far:
We went through two chapters of history this week, one about The Northwest Passage (Samuel Champlain & Henry Hudson) and the other about Japan (Toyotomi Hideyoshi & Tokugawa Ieyasu). Remembering how much the girls enjoyed beating the snot out of each other in last year's Celtic Battle, I prepared for a little Sumo Wrestling, which they thoroughly enjoyed:
The raucous laughter and steady thumping and yelling brought forth
a new challenger:
the unheard-of newcomer,
astounded the crowd with his unexpected ferocity in attack:
He chased the gasping competitors:
He launched ambitious assaults:
But, in the end, his youthful pride
proved his downfall:
Thus ends the story of Monkeyboyoshi's short-lived sumo success.
Have a happy weekend!