Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Recently, my middle son had to do a short report on an author. His favorite author right now is R. L. Stine of Goosebumps fame. My son struggles with organizing essays so I prepared a lapbook project folder for him. I spent about 10 minutes skimming over the materials he had printed from the internet about R. L. Stine. Then I came up with a list of questions and wrote them on mini-books. Then, I put all of the materials in one of his workboxes for the next day with a brief note explaining the assignment.
For the cover, he was to draw a picture from one of his favorite Goosebumps books. He drew a picture from "The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight."
On the inside of the folder, he glued in the mini-books as he finished them. Here are the questions that I asked:
What advice does R. L. Stine have for young writers?
How many books has R. L. Stine sold?
Where does R. L. Stine get his ideas for books?
How many books has R. L. Stine written?
Where did R. L. Stine go to college?
How many days does it take to write a Goosebumps novel?
My son enjoyed this project and the report folder was VERY quick for me to prepare. Now I just have to remember that lapbooks can be used for BIG and SMALL projects.
Friday, October 23, 2009
As well, this was a week for attitudes and fights between my two older children. In the midst of sickness, dealing with bad attitudes, and sibling arguments, we actually accomplished quite a bit this week.
The main highlight this week was art class on Friday. I did not do the art project myself so that I could use the time to cut out all of our monsters and finish our "Wild Things" mural project. The children and I are so completely thrilled with the way the mural turned out. It looks fabulous! I couldn't resist putting it up in our hallway.
Our monsters are all so different and I adore the way the trees turned out. The children painted the trees and drew the leaves on separate cardstock. Then we cut out all of the leaves and taped them on. Then, today, I finished by cutting out our monsters and taping them on the mural.
Mason's monster seems to be made of different animals all pieced together with a visible backbone.
Amber's monster is so imaginative. It is very skinny and has many different appendages. My favorite aspect of her monster is the big eye hanging off to the side.
Lastly, I drew my monster while looking at one of the monsters in "Where the Wild Things Are." While I thought it turned out pretty well, my children all gave me a hard time for my lack of creativity. While I was busy cutting and pasting, the children's art project this week was to draw a happy memory and then use watercolors for painting. Not surprisingly, my daughter chose to paint about a recent swimming victory in which she set a new district record for our area.
Mason painted a picture of his brother and himself playing the "Ultimate Crazy Bones Challenge." I thought that was really sweet.
Duncan painted a picture of his last birthday party. In this picture, we are all in our living room along with some extended family members, and he is getting ready to open his presents.
This week found us delving into the Circulatory System! We watched some educational videos that we all really enjoyed:
The children all continued with their independent science reading. My third grader read the following books:
- Keeping Clean by Sharon Gordon
- Touching by Rebecca Olien
- How Does Your Heart Work? by Don L. Curry
- Take Care of Your Teeth by Don L. Curry
My fifth grader read A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers and continued reading You're Tall in the Morning but Shorter at Night. My seventh grader read relevant sections from the Usborne Internet-Linked Library of Science: Human Body.
I am thoroughly enjoying the Great Science Adventures curriculum and the Body Book. One of the projects we completed this week was putting together a model of the heart from the Body Book that clearly shows the flow of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in and out of the heart. We worked through the model step-by-step and I think the children all have a better idea of how the heart and lungs work together...at least I do!My seventh grader completed a Blood Typing test that I ordered for her. My boys were not interested in finding out what Blood Type they are when they found it involved a bit of bleeding! Amber did some background research before the test to learn more about blood types and the distribution of different blood types in the population.
Amber was really excited about doing the test but then she got nervous when we started.
I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked since she made me use the lancet on her finger to bring forth the blood. For whatever reason, we never could get her finger to bleed very much so I'm not sure we put enough blood on each circle on the Eldon card. I wanted to go grab another needle and poke her again but I didn't suggest it as she was feeling a bit squeamish. She drank apple juice (to help her regain her strength after her blood loss :) ) and followed the directions to read her blood type. We both enjoyed watching the results appear before our eyes but we thought they would have been darker and clearer if more blood was used. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting experience.
All three children are moving along well in their independent work as well. This week, I have been working on placing my boys into the appropriate level for Writing With Ease. I am just not happy with the writing workbooks that I purchased for my boys this school year. I heard Susan Wise Bauer speak about teaching writing last April at a homeschool convention and I purchased her book and I read it. Her talk and her book made a LOT of sense to me. Then, at the last minute, I decided to go with another writing program for the boys.
Anyway, since I no longer suffer from curriculum guilt, I decided to go with my original plan and use Writing With Ease. I have also decided to simplify life for myself and just use the Writing With Ease workbooks. While I would love for the weekly copywork, narration pieces, and dictation to tie-in directly with our unit studies, I just am not willing to add that work to my already overflowing school prep. My youngest is clearly in Level 1 and I am still working to determine which level in which to place my older son.
Well, that's our week-in-review. To find out what other homeschoolers were up to this past week, check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Week in Review.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The children's favorite part of the walk in the apple orchard was racing up and down the large hill.My husband's favorite part was relaxing at the top of the hill after a long day at work.As always, when we venture out for nature study, there were some unexpected delights. I loved seeing this beautiful butterfly eating a rotten apple. It reminded my of being in the Butterfly Garden in Niagara Falls, Canada. Duncan found a goose feather on the ground.
The children all raced up and down the big hill again and again and again. I am thankful for their energy and youthful exuberance.At the beginning of the path through the orchard, there were some lovely gardens. The flowers were so bright and colorful.While this nature study didn't match the "perfect" nature study in my mind's eye (children clustered around an apple tree eagerly sketching and discussing the differences between the trees that we have studied), we did get out in nature as a family, noticed our surroundings, made some observations, and enjoyed ourselves. Sadly, all of the Honeycrisp apples were already gone but we did get a lovely pumpkin that worked perfectly in our still-life art project.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Last week-end we spent both Saturday and Sunday at a swim meet; the short-course meet schedule has begun! My husband and daughter are spending most of the day Saturday and Sunday at a swim meet this week-end but my middle child, my youngest, and I will not be attending because my middle child is sick! He was supposed to swim this week-end but his yucky sickness really hit him after swim team practice on Thursday evening. He spent all of yesterday in bed, therefore, we didn't do art this week so that he wouldn't miss the lesson. Yesterday was QUITE a quiet day with my most active child sick in bed for the day!
We are all happy to be starting a new unit study topic. The American Revolution was fascinating but, after 7 weeks of study, we are all ready to move on. I will be sure to post pictures of one of their American Revolution lapbooks as soon as we get them all together.
In our human body unit, we focused on the skeletal and muscular systems this week - bones, joints, and muscles. I am using Great Science Adventures-Understanding the Human Body and Senses, as my main spine for this unit study and I love it. I am also using The Body Book: Easy-To-Make Hands-On Models That Teach by Donald M. Silver and Patricia J. Wynne, Scholastic Professional Books. Each of the children assembled a large skeleton this week that will be added to as we work through this unit. While I adore the projects in The Body Book, I do find them difficult to assemble as there are hardly any pictures of the completed models in the book.
We watched three great videos this week - all of which I would recommend. I was able to get all three through my local library. The Human Body for Children series is geared for children K-4, and the Human Body in Action series is for older children. I thought it worked perfectly to watch the Human Body for Children video first and then the Human Body in Action video really built upon the information covered in the first video.
- Human Body for Children - All About Bones & Muscles, Schlessinger Science Library (23 minutes)
- Human Body in Action - Skeletal & Muscular Systems, Schlessinger Science Library (23 minutes)
- Human Machine Bodyzone, Eyewitness Video, Schlessinger Media (27 minutes)
For literature I was not able to choose books for each of them that fit in as neatly as the novels they read for the American Revolution unit. So, I just picked books that I thought were good, thought-provoking, and enjoyable. Amber (7th) is reading House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. I read it first so that we could discuss it as she reads through the book. I loved it! House of the Scorpion is filled with hard issues (cloning, illegal drugs, illegal immigrants, human dignity) which are great for discussing with a junior high or high school student. Mason (5th) is reading Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins - highly recommended! My youngest is continuing with Magic Tree House books. He is currently reading Night of the Ninja - his choice.
As mentioned previously, we didn't have art this week due to Mason being in bed sick, but last week we finished our "Wild Things" project. The "Wild Things" mural was another great project from our art curriculum, Atelier Art, and I can't wait to see how the mural looks once the completed monsters are added. I'll be sure to post pictures!
So, now I am completely caught up with my Weeks in Review! If you would like to read what other homeschoolers have been doing this past week, check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Week in Review.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
The highlight of the week was a trip to the Renaissance Festival on Thursday. We visited the Renaissance Festival last year on education day and had an absolutely wonderful time. At that point, we were right in the middle of a huge unit study about the Middle Ages so it fit in perfectly with what we were doing. This year, we visited just for fun. My daughter, in particular, desperately wanted to go to the festival again.
The children couldn't resist trying out their skills on the rope ladder. Neither of them could best the rope ladder. They were both flipped off before they could reach the top. The whole time the two older ones were trying, Duncan kept asking to try it, too. I didn't think he could do it so I discouraged him but he kept asking so...
we paid the $2.00 fee and let him try. Duncan made it all the way to the top! The "peasant" working at the rope ladder said that he was the only one to make it to the top all day.Amber climbed all the way to the top of the tower and rang the bell. We were quite impressed with her climbing skills. Those uber-powerful arms of hers are good for climbing as well as swimming! We laughed and were amazed by the antics of "Daniel, Duke of Danger." We so enjoyed his show last year, we had to see him perform again.The children did a bit of shopping. Amber purchased a lovely princess hat with matching bracelets. Mason purchased an unique die from an elf. We ended our day with a rousing good time at the joust!
A fun day was had by all at the Renaissance Festival!
If you would like to see what other homeschoolers are doing, check out the Week in Review at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
To enjoy this really cool creation that my son made by stacking cards, one first has to be willing to put up with...card stacking projects in progress and piles of cards piled around the house.