Monday, September 24, 2007

Week 5 Report

Not a bad week, all things considered. Over the years, I've gotten a little better about rolling with the punches of life, and not worrying too much about "being on schedule" for finishing our materials within a prescribed time frame. I mean, look at us: we're finishing up what I'd planned to do in the spring of 2nd grade right now, in the beginning of 3rd grade.

So this week we started out a few lessons behind in FLL-3. I am still really liking this, for several reasons. It is all scripted out, which I find helpful for grammar. I feel very comfortable with the concepts, but I think I'd be too willing to gloss over some of the foundation building steps that Jessie and Sarah have included in the program. I also like that there is dictation in just about every exercise, so that I don't have to worry about that each week. In all, Hugs is doing copywork 4 or 5 times a week: twice in FLL (on average), once in his handwriting, and usually once or twice in science and history combined. I'm also starting to have Ben do more copywork in cursive, so he is getting a lot more practice.

All About Spelling is a great curriculum, but it is very teacher intensive. I'm going to try to hang in there for at least the first level, because I think Ben really needs the review for syllabication. I see this as a stumbling block in his reading -- he gets to a longer, unfamiliar word, and just tries to guess at it. He is really an excellent reader (6th grade or higher in comprehension skills), but I suspect he will do even better if he can decode these more advanced vocabulary words. Oh a side note, although I haven't begun Luke's introduction into the world of phonograms, he is usually around when Hugs is working on it, and he is making lots of progress through osmosis!
We have finished up the American Kingdoms chapter in SOTW (Ch 32). I had planned on doing the ancient Aztec History Pocket this week, but we only finished two of the activities before he said, "Do we have to do any more of this stuff?" He told me he though the HP stuff was boring ("too much coloring"). I asked him if lapbookins was OK, and he said yes, it was sometimes (I have the Hands of a Child Renaissance lapbook to use in a few weeks). He also said, "I'd rather build stuff, like catapults." So, I'll be sure to revisit the SOTW activity guide and see what I can incorporate into the rest of the year.

My big frustration this week was Math. Honestly, I think I have a Math Freak Out day at least quarterly. (Are you familiar with the Word Freak Out monkey on Between the Lions?) There are a couple of types of errors Ben is making: careless copying errors, a regrouping errors, and some math fact errors. These are all causing him trouble in our week of review activities with Singapore Math's 2B curriculum I also finally make a great tracking sheet for Flashmaster that fits us right now. With it, I can have Ben work through several operations on one day:

To address this, next week we're going away for part of the week and taking some school with us. Instead of forging ahead into the next unit in our math books, we'll take the week to do lots more with the Flashmaster and I've found some pages from an old Scott Foresman Exploring Mathematics 2nd grade workbook that will fit the bill to help with regrouping. And, I still have lots of copies of Mental Math that we can work on as well. So, I'm pleased with how next week is set up.

Science is going great. We spent Thursday doing two or three experiments with solutions and learned abou solutes and solvents. We really talked over the difference between the solutes (ie sugar) and solvent (ie water) and made several of our own solutions: Crystal Light lemonade, garlic oil and blue water (food coloring). It was a great science week!

Here's our art project for the week. We're stil working on learning about lines. Ben was given 4 squares of paper with two lines on them. His job was to make them into a picture. Top left: ocean waves with a surf boarder. Top right: rock climber on a jagged mountainside. Bottom left: the sun setting over a hill with shorter tree covered peakes in front. Bottom right: hills with gray rain clouds bursing forth with rain.
The last thing to talk about is Latin. We're 1/2 of the way through Prima Latine,which I've really enjoyed. Instead of working through a review chapter, which is where we left off, I felt is was more fair to review all our vocabulary cards instead. So, each day, Ben did so, and I am impressed by how much he remembered. We weill finish the review chapter this week, then next week begin Lesson 16.
This coming week (tomorrow already!) we will be tripping to Vermont and Ft. Ticonderoga, which is about an hour or so south of Burlington. I'm really looking forward to this trip. And, I am thrilled that I thought to call the education office at the fort. They will honor their educator's discount and charge me only $5 total for all of us to come visit. Pray for good weather on Wednesday so we can have a musket demonstration!
God's best to you as you do life with him this week!

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