Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekly Report...Week 22

Believe it or not, we have been doing school and getting a lot done in spite of the fact that I haven't reported on it for the last 11 weeks! Whew...that is a long time! A few changes have taken place since then:

I didn't feel like Magnus was being challenged enough and that my expectations of him were low. I have added a few things (Latin for Children and Writing via Institute for Excellence in Writing) and he is required to do more written narrations, to name a few. Also, he wasn't retaining anything with his current grammar program (Growing with Grammar). He was just going through the motions and checking it off the list. He is now doing a fantastic program created by Michael Clay Thompson. There are several levels and I started him at the beginning Island level. It includes Grammar, Vocabulary (Latin roots), Poetry, and Writing.

Thane is also being challenged more. He has had a bit of trouble in the reading area so I thought to add in spelling. All About Spelling is the perfect program for him to get the extra phonics practice he needs. I have started him on writing with the gentle approach of Writing With Ease, too.

I have also made better attempts at making sure our Friday Fun Days were, well, fun. We're doing picture study, some sort of art instruction, finishing up our history projects, doing science experiments if we didn't get to them during the week, playing math games, and getting together with our friends at Park Day.

The atmosphere continues to be relaxed, attitudes have been good (except on a few days), and lots of learning is taking place. Most importantly...the boys are in a nurturing, loving, safe environment all day. We are blessed to be able to homeschool!

History (Both)
We have finished our tour through the Colonial Days. It was a great unit full of fun projects. Now we've headed into the Revolutionary War. We're using another Time Travelers Unit from Homeschool in the Woods as our spine and adding in a bunch of books. Last week we learned about Benjamin Franklin and all the great things he has added to the world. This week we read about the French and Indian War in Struggle for a Continent by Maestro. We weren't able to make it through the whole book as Magnus is very sensitive to the inhumane treatment of others. Magnus read a biography about George Washington written by Mary Pope Osborne and we started our timeline.

Science (Both)
The past few weeks we have been learning about the 3 phases of matter (solids, liquids, and gases). The boys have a really good grasp on this concept. We did several experiments this week including inflating a balloon with the carbon dioxide that is released when baking soda and vinegar is mixed together. Things got messy in our lab!

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...As I mentioned, we switched programs to MCT's Island Series. It's a no non-sense program and relies on total interaction between the parent and student. We sit on the couch and discuss words and sentences and how they form ideas. I won't go into how the program works in this post, but it is worth looking into if you need a change. Anyhow, we finished the grammar book this week. Don't worry...he'll still be getting LOTS of exposure and review as we work our way through the other components. That is the beauty of the program!

Magnus doing the analysis (MCT version of diagramming) on the white board.

Vocabulary...We started the vocabulary portion of the program last week and study the Latin stem re- and this week, sub-. However, I think I am going to put this on hold until we dig into the Poetry portion more. We'll be starting that next week.

Writing...Wanna talk about a thorn in my side? Ouch! I had planned on doing IEW, but then looked into Classical Writing. After evaluating that, I decided to do IEW again. However, I have heard that IEW will not be a compliment to the writing part of MCT Language Arts. Why am I worrying about doing a writing program when it is included in our new LA program? Well, I am not "sold" on the MCT writing portion yet. *Sigh*. But I also don't have experience with it yet. My feelings may change. But, for the time being, I think we'll go ahead with IEW and make changes as needed.
Anyhow...Magnus watched the first video portion of Andrew Pudewa teaching the first lesson and he laughed the whole time! Mr. Pudewa is such a character! Magnus read a short paragraph about Sea Snakes, completed the key word outline, produced his first draft (including the "which" clause), and is now working on writing his final draft. He is rightfully proud of it.

Spelling...on list 10 of Phonetic Zoo. I am amazed at how his spelling as improved!

Literature...He is working his way through the Redwall series...again. He has also read several books by Jean Fritz for history.

Enjoying some free reading time. He LOVES mythology.

Language Arts (Thane)
Grammar...First Language Lessons was not a good fit for Magnus, but it is perfect for Thane! We are finally done with nouns and have moved onto verbs. He loves doing the story narrations and picture studies throughout the book.

Reading/Phonics...He finished up the first 40 lessons of and is working his way through the last 40. He enjoys the program and is learning different things from OPGTR. The "silent -e" has given him a bit of trouble so we have camped out on those lessons, but I have seen the light bulb come on. ETC is still a constant companion. Oh, he did read all of Go Dog Go! to me this week! That is progress!

Spelling...It is amazing how different two boys from the same family can have such different learning styles. All About Spelling was not doing it for Magnus, but it is a great fit for Thane. He hasn't complained one time about spelling with the letter tiles and he looks forward to seeing if he has "mastered" any of the phonetic sound and key cards! We completed step 7 (short 'i" sounds) this week and he got his spelling list correct!

Writing...we worked through the first week of WWE.

Magnus...I don't get it. I can't figure out the strategies for subtraction that I am supposed to be teaching. They don't make sense to me. Luckily Magnus has been able to figure things out without a big struggle. I think we're just going to have to work extra hard on learning the facts without the strategies. This week, however, he has gotten a bit of a break and we've talked about perimeter. Looks like we'll be learning some geometry in the coming weeks.

Thane...whizzed through four digit addition.

Magnus started Latin For Children a few weeks ago. He is doing great on the vocabulary, but the conjugating of verbs has him too! I think we'll be parked there a bit. I don't want to introduce declensions until he (and me) understand conjugating. Oh I wish Collin didn't have so much on his plate so he could teach him (us).

The boys have also completed a keyboarding program called Keyboard Town Pals. It is a great way to teach them the skills, but there isn't any practice. I'll be trying to figure something out for that in the next few weeks. Just typing on the keyboard isn't enough. They'll need something to remind them of their finger placement and such.

Fun Day Friday
Well after I told you how I was making this more "fun", it didn't go as planned this week. I am sure the boys thought it was fun because they got to play their new video game, Oregon Trail. We did cover a new painting of NC Wyeth's. I'll post more about our picture study another time.


Monday...Library day
Tuesday...Drama (Magnus), AWANA (Both)
Wednesday...Fencing (Magnus)
Thursday...Play Date with friends
Friday...Fencing (Magnus)

I have been trying to get Thane signed up for a rock climbing team in our town, but am having A LOT of trouble with our vendor relations department at our charter school. They are not on the ball and it is frustrating. I just have to keep reminding myself of the money they provide for our activities, curricula, and supplies.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week...I hope!


Parrothead said...

Wow! You guys did a lot. Great photos.

Heather said...

What a great week (or 11 weeks) :-). Isn't it funny how things that were awful for one kid are perfect for another? Keeps us jumping!


Mandy in TN said...

Ah, another MCT convert. Please, do update to let us know if that keeps working for you.

Karen said...

it is amazing how different kids can be from each other. Terrific week.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely report! Great week!

Kara said...

Hey Brittney,
Ben got Oregon Trail for Christmas, too. Can it be linked through internet to play multiplayer. They would love to play along "together" if that's a possibility. Maybe some weekend.