Friday, September 21, 2007

School Update

Well, we're at the end of our third week. As I visit around some of the other blogs and they are reflecting on week 5, 7, or 8 it makes me feel somewhat behind, but I must remind myself that I've got 35 strong weeks planned and we're getting a lot done! Somehow for me it seems like the end of the first six weeks. I wonder how that works? I think we've packed a lot into our days. Now that I just have one middle schooler and one doing mostly ninth grade level stuff (so, effectively a "high schooler") I am seeing that they are seeing the "big picture" more and more, realizing that if they don't get something done one day, they will see it the next day, and if we have enough days like that we'll be sitting here all summer. I think that's a good thing on one hand, but on the other hand I see them being sort of slaves to their assignment sheets on certain days, so I'm working to help them find a balance, as I also try to keep one! It's always been a struggle for me to make sure that my curriculum and plans work for me and not the other way around!

Our days have settled into a good routine. Mondays through Thursdays their alarms go off a little before 7:30 and they come down for breakfast. We've been finishing up breakfast with a chapter out of Live Like A Jesus Freak or our George Muller biography, then they do their morning routine in time to be down in the schoolroom by 9:00. The past few days my daughter has adjusted her morning schedule to be able to start her schoolwork at 8:30. The rest of the day is spent going through the assignments on their assignment sheets with my help when necessary. If it's a lesson I want to teach or discussion questions (like for Omnibus) I put the words "with Mom" on their assignment. Otherwise they can just do things in the order they like. I suggest they start with their least favorites so they can get things overwith and they won't be tempted to procrastinate. The afternoons can be l-o-o-o-n-g for all of us if we're slogging through things that they didn't particularly like anyway and none of us has fresh energy. I'm all about "delight-led learning" but sometimes there are things in which one doesn't particularly "delight" that simply need to be learned. That's life. :)

On Fridays (like today!) they may sleep a little later and we'll do all our subjects together. On Fridays we do our missionary study. We've been reading chapters from the biography during the week, but we'll do some projects on Fridays. Right now we're studying George Muller. Also on Fridays is Latin, which we're picking back up today. We've been s-l-o-w-l-y going through Latina Christiana using the DVD course. The teacher herself says "there's no reason to rush through Latin." Alrighty, then! We're certainly not rushing! We've taken two years to go through LC level 1! We'll also do an art project on Fridays. Last Friday we painted their back-to-school flower pots and today we'll do a yet-to-be-determined art project for our mission study. (We're in a small mission study co-op and we're assembling George Muller lapbooks next week, so we need some more items for those). Also on Fridays is music- either theory or appreciation. Today is music appreciation, listening to some of the music from George Muller's time period. (The Timetables of History by Grun is an excellent resource for finding what was going on in all the time periods.)

Anyway, that's what our typical weeks are shaping up to be like. Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to:

My son is enjoying Trail Guide to US Geography. We are in the New England states right now and we are both learning lots of facts we didn't know!

Have you seen one of these wire book-propper-uppers? We found these last year at our local Mardel store and it is really handy for copywork. I'm not sure what they are called (as I'm sure my term isn't exactly technical) but we've really found them helpful!

We've been doing lots of short science demos. I used to do so much of this when they were younger, but now they are having lots of "lightbulb moments," and things are really clicking like never before. I can see how in the logic/beginning rhetoric stage concepts really start to synthesize for them and they make new connections between old and new material. I've also learned that just because they were taught something in 4th grade doesn't mean they will remember it in 8th. (I remember it SO clearly because I taught it, but they have lived a proportionately bigger percentage of their lives since then!) So we've been reviewing basic concepts.
Here's Kyle building a structure that would withstand an earthquake.

We had so much fun with salt maps last year that I had Bethany do a salt map of the landforms in her BJU Geography 9 book. There were 20 landforms that she had to include in her map. I've "refined" our salt dough recipe to simply: equal parts flour and salt, then slowly add warm water until it's the consistency you can work with. Simple. The mountains are pretty thick, so they are upstairs drying until next week when she can paint it.

She's learning about stars in her Earth and Space science, so this week I had her choose 5 constellations to "punch" onto black paper. They are in the window above her desk now, so she can study the stars, even in the daytime. They turned out pretty cool!

Here's Kyle doing a simple science experiment from his BJU text, simply to predict the outcome and practice writing scientific data. In this one he had to predict how many pennies in the styrofoam cup would break the fettucine on which it was hanging. This was good to make him slow down and record data and not just blaze through an experiment (which both of us are prone to doing, I must admit).

We've been really enjoying the book Eat Your Way Through the USA. Last week we had a lobster dish (Maine) and a Boston Cream Pie (Massachusetts). This week we had a wonderful corn chowder and an orange cake (above) for New Hampshire and today we are making some maple candy (Vermont.) Geography can be yummy!

We've also settled into our outside activities: drum lessons, gymnastics classes, Bible study, and Awana. It's just enough that we don't feel "gone" all the time, but some great enrichment. God has faithfully helped us establish a schedule that helps us keep our priorities where they should be.

Well, I can't wait to have a Friday afternoon break and head on over to some of your blogs to see how your school year is going. I need to get caught up with everyone! Thank you so much for stopping by our school blog and visiting us. Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed week next week!


lori said...

Your week inspires me!! We hit Rhode Island and Maine this week on our journey through the states in food!! We made "Rhode Island Eggs..." and they were a big hit..learned a bit too, and "Rock candy" in honor of the rocky coastline of Maine!
It is just these kind of things that make it so rewarding!!

I love to see your older children enjoying the experience...1 of mine is teetering on the edge of high school. We have a schedule very similar...and it really works, it gives us the structure we need in the morning and the flexibility for the afternoon to work on what we did not finish...
I think I have said it before a time or two, I love stopping by so encourages and inspires me to 'see' another on the same path!
thanks cyndi!
blessings this weekend!

Jenny in Ca said...

I think I want to come be a homeschool student at your house! Your week sounds so wonderful and interesting. We were supposed to do salt maps 3 weeks ago, and I am still putting it off, it just intimidates me for some reason. Seeing your dd lovely map makes me think we should just jump in and try it.

I love seeing all the science you are doing, science experiments seem to be my weak area.

thanks for the peek, and I very much enjoyed seeing all the photos.

Jill said...

Cyndi I love coming here and seeing all you are doing with your kiddos. You inspire me to do the messy projects!

Sherri said...

Wow! You have been up to so much fun should feel proud!!! I love all of the pics!!


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