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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 1 Wrap-Up... I Lied...

I'm sorry, but I lied yesterday. I don't have any pictures at the moment to add to my first week's wrap-up. Sorry. For what it's worth, it was an unintentional lie. I did mean to get pictures taken, organized, etc., but you know, life itself gets in the way!

What Worked in Week One
I am so, SO happy to say that all the basics - the reading, wiring and math - worked!

The Boy:
He loves Write With the Best. With minimal assistance from me, he completed the first three days of this program. He reviewed parts of speech, read a passage from Jules Verne (from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and then analyzed it for the parts of speech, and we had a fantastic discussion about what made the passage so very vivid. I was afraid that we had wasted money on yet another writing program that would gather dust sitting on the shelf, but no. He actually uses and enjoys this one! (At least so far, knock on wood)

In math, we started Saxon 7/6. He got through a lesson and a half before hitting the wall with division... again. Tricky stuff, that long division. So we set the Saxon aside, and turned to a review with Math Mammoth. Two lessons in that, and he's already getting his division skills back up and running. He'll finish out the Math Mammoth pages I printed next week, then back to Saxon!

And in spelling, I set aside Sequential Spelling in favor of The Natural Speller. I put the first list from the 7th grade section into Spelling City, and just let him play a game/do an activity each day. Yesterday he had his first spelling test, which he aced!

The Girl:
I don't know where this child came from. A child of mine that loves math? Umm, okay. She worked mostly in Saxon 5/4 this week, completing three lessons. Plus she did a little place value review with Math Mammoth, then begged to be allowed to do more Saxon. Crazy child. True, it is mostly review work at this point (addition and subtraction fact families, place value, etc.), so it isn't hard for her. We'll see how much she loves it later in the year when it gets a little more challenging!

And in Reading Horizons, she got through three lessons, working on suffixes, and a review of some phonetic families. She also read from one of the books that accompanies the program (thanks again, Jessica!). I don't worry about spelling either with her using this program, because in addition to basic reading skills, the program teaches spelling, some typing, and grammar!

She also worked on nature studies this week, capturing (briefly) a moth that she could sketch and label, in her new little nature notebook.

Hot Fudge Monday (grammar) definitely worked well. We read about verbs, and then we read some sentence examples. Finally, the kids each wrote five sentences with vivid verb usage. Nicely done!

We started watching Leonard Bernstein's Concerts for Young People (on you tube), completing parts 1 and 2 of episode 1. It was really good! We enjoyed his explanations of music and stories in music, so we're looking forward to more!

And the kids were very happy to see Richard Halliburton's Complete Book of Marvels back off the shelf! We read about Joan of Arc, and the Reims Cathedral. Another hit was Mapping the World with Art, which led us through a brief history of map-making, and then a drawing of Mesopotamia. Cassia especially seemed to like this, and both kids' maps turned out well.

And I almost forgot, we read and discussed chapter one of Harry Stottlemeier's Discovery, which was really a good discussion! Throughout the week, the kids would randomly bring up the "discovery" and practice it... first, sentences beginning with "All" are not true when reversed (All cats are animals. versus All animals are cats.), and secondly, sentences beginning with "No" are still true when reversed (No dogs are cats. versus No cats are dogs.) It was great to see them actually applying what they learned!

What Almost Worked in Week One
Story of the World, Our Island Story... while we enjoyed both to a fair degree, we're thinking of trying a week of this instead OR there's another option, see below. To just focus on ONE thing instead of so many.

What Didn't Work in Week One
Because we felt rushed and a little overwhelmed with all that we had going on, and probably in part because it was the first week, we didn't get to:
physics for The Boy
our math or science reading... or poetry for that matter
our literature (The Princess Bride), most days. I think we did read 2 chapters this week.
There were also no short stories, and worst of all, no art.

In a Nutshell
For a first week back, it was overall very positive. No misses on the basics, which for us is huge! It will be interesting to see what next week is like. I have materials on hand, including:

The Adventures of Rama
Ancient India (People of the Ancient World series)
Ancient India (Find Out About series)
Diwali: Hindu Festival of Lights
The Fantastic Adventures of Rama
Stories from India
And I am waiting on The Ancient South Asian World from the library.

Image courtesy of Live Education
I'm not saying we'll even use all these, but this way I can pick and choose. I'm thinking we'll start with the Demi book, simply because her books are so beautiful! What I am hoping to accomplish is:

Some good reading
A cooking project for The Girl (maybe some Chicken Makhani?)
At least one art project, if not more! I'd like to do some [wet-on-wet] watercolors (I love this painting
to go along with Indian mythology), and some geometric art.

Hope you all have a good weekend!


  1. Sounds fun! I've bookmarked that writing program, Write with the Best. Sounds like something my son would enjoy.

    On a different note, we loved making rangoli when we studied Diwali... we read "Romina's Rangoli" along with it, and both my kids want to do it again. That would be good fun geometric art. I used colored sand, but you can easily dye rice, too!

  2. Looks like a productive week! Glad to know I'm not the only one surprised by a math-loving kid! :)

  3. I am dreading long division. I hope my son gets it, otherwise it is going to be a long year.

    Good week!

  4. Sounds like an awesome week. I could use a math loving kid around here :).

  5. Yay for the math loving!

    That is a gorgeous painting! I'm assuming it's a Demi painting? I support all efforts to be able to learn how to do that. :)

  6. Sounds like a successful week!

    Who made the watercolor painting?


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