I’m really enjoying how our “second semester” is going so far. I hadn’t planned ahead of time to make a lot of changes to our curriculum line up, but a few small changes have added up to a feeling of “freshness” to the new calendar year and the second half of our academic year. No winter blahs for us, despite the sub-zero weather! Here are a few highlights from our schoolwork this week:
1. We’ve been a bit slack on our family science lessons with BFSU this school year, for a variety of reasons. But this week we started a Rock and Mineral unit, using some inspiration from a couple different BFSU lessons, Rock and Mineral study kits, and books and videos from the library. Besides having fun with the study kits, this week I also read a Magic Schoolbus chapter book to the kids entitled “Rocky Road Trip.”
2. Miss M probably got the most out of the experience with the Rock and Mineral kits. She found a favorite rock from her personal collection, and wrote “My rock study” on a blank piece of paper, and and tried to identify her rock using the tests we learned about in the kits. We didn’t quite get to the bottom of her rock’s identity though.
3. I’m teaching 1st/2nd grade science at our co-op this year, and my lesson this week was on inertia (BFSU lesson C-5). My kids enjoyed helping me practice my activities and demonstrations.
4. Mr. E continues to enjoy the challenge of two digit plus two digit addition in RightStart B. This week he did lesson 75 and most of lesson 76. We also read 4 chapters of Life of Fred Apples (The level is appropriate for Mr E, but Miss M listens in for fun). The kids would probably do the entire book in a week if I would let them! Miss M continued with lots of multiplication practice (via iPad apps, music, games, and worksheets) and finished up a section of Math Mammoth 3-B on rounding and estimation.
5-6. We started Sentence Family this week for a fun introduction to grammar and it was a HUGE hit! Sentence Family takes a fun “art and storytelling” approach to basic grammar. I intended it to be just for Miss M, but after the boys overheard a bit of the first chapter and saw the drawing Miss M made, they insisted on listening as well. After that first day, all three kids old enough to draw came to listen when it was time for this study. You’ll see in picture #6 I made some very basic notebook pages to go along with each character. I don’t think Mr. K (Pre-K) is getting much out of it — he just likes to draw. But I think Mr. E (K’er) is “getting it” just about as much as Miss M (3rd grade) is. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this fun program in the near future.
Spelling/Phonics: Everyone had another great week with Logic of English. Miss M finished lesson 23 of Essentials, while Mr. E finished lessons 51-53 of Foundations. I worked with Mr. K on lessons 9-10 of Foundations — I didn’t quite get as much quality time with him this week on his phonograms and writing. That’s okay — there’s no rush with my not-quite-4-year-old.
History: We started our next unit in our US History studies. We’re now up to the period of time between the War of 1812 and the Civil War — So essentially about 1815-1860. The main focus of our study will be the Pioneers and westward expansion, but we’ll hit briefly upon other major events of that period like the Trail of Tears, the Alamo, etc. We’ll save some of the major topics about slavery as a prelude to our study of the Civil War. I don’t have a spine text or key text I’m super excited about for this period, but we are trying out a bit of This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall. This is an older work and requires an occasional bit of “editing” as I read for dated (aka somewhat racist) language, but I like how it gives an overview of American history while still being engaging in its tone. Of course we also have an overflowing book basket of books for Miss M to read independently or me to read out loud.
And finally…Guitar Lessons: Miss M had her first-ever guitar lesson this afternoon. We got the two older kids a guitar for Christmas, but we’re going to wait on formal lessons for Mr. E until his hands are just a little bigger and he has a bit more patience for practicing. Miss M is very eager to learn and we found a teacher that I think will be a good fit for her, at a location that is a very reasonable drive from our house. She has been asking for music lessons for quite a while, and I am so excited for her to be starting this journey.
Have a wonderful weekend!