If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up... 2/20-2/24...

A fairly quiet and moderately productive week!

I had the day off from work, so I gave the kids a quasi-holiday. It was Presidents Day, so we did read a couple of books...

We really enjoyed these books. I think the D'Aulaire books are deceptively simple--they really have quite a lot of information, plus we always enjoy illustrations. We also continued listening to The Phantom Tollbooth, and read more from Magic By the Lake. I am constantly amazed at what the kids retain from The Phantom Tollbooth -- this week they were acting out being in the Doldrums, which was several chapters ago. They also asked if we could make letter cookies in honor of the edible letters in the story. I think that will make a good weekend project!

At my mom's house, the kids had a blast playing with her new computer. It has a built-in webcam, so they made several short films with Photo Booth. Some were hilarious, with distortions that included bug-eyes, chipmunk cheeks, stretchy heads and more! Mainly the basics. Cricket worked on phonics, and had a breakthrough. Bug worked on more spelling with plurals, and we talked about words where the ending is changed, such as octopus/octopi, antenna/antennae, and his favorite: platypus/playtypi. Most people simply pluralize these words by adding "es", which is perfectly acceptable, but we have fun saying them with the "i" endings! (Yes, we are strange that way).

Bug worked on some division problems, approaching division this time as repeated subtraction. I really like Math Mammoth for this--the author uses multiple approaches to a concept so that kids get an idea of various ways to approach problems.

We read the prologue and chapter one in:

It is interesting to me that the first time, and second, that I tried to read this book to the kids, they didn't care for it. Now they seem to really enjoy it! We're not particularly focused on history right now, but are doing this as just a read aloud. The kids are talking about maybe doing a study of medieval times soon, since we have done quite a lot of ancient history, but have never gotten past ancient Rome! So I think reading through this, several chapters a week, would prep us quite nicely for volume two, if that is the route we end up going.

Bug had his piano lesson shortly after I got off of work, which gave me the perfect opportunity to finish reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, while Cricket got in some great playtime outside with a friend. I started reading this book because there was such an uproar over it! I did find it interesting, and felt sorry for both the mother and her children. I know a lot of people looked at it as a book that was saying that Western ways are totally inferior to Eastern/Chinese ways, but I didn't get that feeling from it.

After piano, we walked home - the weather here this week is amazingly warm and gorgeous. We decided in homeschooling to start off with the "extras", so we began the educational part of our day with Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, starting with the thread A-1/B-1. Yes, we are using this program at long last! I'll write another post soon about how I am adapting it for my kids, especially Bug (since the book is labeled "K-2" on the front!) We talked about the ways people organize and categorize things. Bug cited the library as an example, and Cricket talked about grocery stores. We then settled down and read:

We also read parts of:

We moved on to a couple of worksheets on categorizing animals into groups: reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds. Bug's was all written, and I made Cricket matching worksheets with clip art so that they could work together. We'll be adding these pages, and future ones, to our science notebooks, which I have divided into 4 sections, one for each of the BFSU threads. And then we wrapped it up by looking at the way scientists classify animals and plants in one of our favorite reference books:

Cricket worked on some more phonics--Explode the Code, and reading from a leveled reader. She also played with our old Alphabet Apple, spelling out words. It is interesting... people (that I know in real life) kept telling me that at some point, Cricket would get it (reading that is). Suddenly, she is taking off with it and really trying! Beetle wrote in his journal while Cricket played with words. They watched Turtle: The Incredible Journey, and we read another chapter in Story of the World. The evening was finished up with a quick game of Sum Swamp, this time played a little differently, as I had Bug do multiplication rather than addition, and division rather than subtraction.

I took a day off from work for a special event with my kids: a community matinee at the San Francisco Ballet! They showcased parts of three ballets, and explained a bit about what goes on behind the scenes. Both my kids liked the bits from Le Carnaval des Animaux, while I very much enjoyed a more modern piece (I can't remember the name!) It was a great experience, and we get to go again later in the spring!

On the way there and back, we listened to more of The Phantom Tollbooth. Back at home, we had a quick lunch, then headed out to the library, and I finally have almost everything ready to start our study of mythical creatures next week! I'm looking forward to doing this study.

We also watched a documentary our favorite librarian told Bug he "had to see" after she helped him check out a bunch of books on origami...

I highly recommend this video. It was absolutely fascinating, and inspiring! We learned about masters of origami, different techniques, using computer models to design new origami, how it is connected to art and math, and about an origami theorist, the youngest professor ever at MIT, who went to college at the age of 12, had a PhD by 20, and, guess what? He was homeschooled until college! Anyhow, the origami in this video is insanely intense and beautiful. The kids then passed the rest of the evening folding paper, while I read another chapter of Magic by the Lake aloud.

We're taking it easy today... Park Day, and reading - maybe some Magic of Reality, and/or Story of the World. Definitely more of Magic by the Lake. I'm going to finish getting ready for our mythical creatures unit over the weekend, so on Monday we can jump right in!

Hope you all have a good weekend!


  1. Yes, indeed! You did have a great week--insanely productive. :)

  2. Thank you for mentioning the video. That pops up in Netflix, but I haven't watched it yet. My son is into origami, and now I know it's a good one to watch with him.

    Phantom Tollbooth was a hit around here. Fun book.

    And lucky you to see the dance program - sounds like a good one.

    Happy weekend to you.

  3. So many great books! You had a very productive week :)

  4. Oh, gosh, glad you mentioned The Phantom Tollbooth! I was thinking and thinking about a fun book to read aloud to the kids! This will be a fun one for ALL of them!

  5. Your week always sound so fun:). Thanks for the origami link...added it to our Netflix list for my art lover. And thanks for the link on my blog...it was very helpful and very much the kind of thing I've been thinking about lately:)


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