Tuesday, September 24, 2013

RTR Unit 3

We finally survived unit 3 of RTR.  It has taken us quite a while to get through this week.  Between co-op, PE and chess lessons our school week keeps getting shorter.  I kind of wish all these things were on the same day of the week so we had more time for school, but I'm glad we have all these wonderful opportunities that come with homeschooling. 

So this week in RTR we learned about Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius, the geography of the Roman Empire and much more.  I'm definitely learning more about history than I ever did in school.  Either that or I just don't remember learning this kind of stuff. 

For bible/devotional time we are learning about authority and responsibility, how we are accountable to others.  How we can exercise our authority over others and over things like our chores in a positive way. 

While it doesn't show up well in the photo, this weeks history
project was to make a parchment paper that looks old.  We do this by
wrinkling up paper and then soak it in tea or coffee and drying the paper.  Once finished we get to write Matthew 16:26 in both Greek and English.  This ties into learning about Jerome who translated the scriptures from Hebrew to Latin.

This week we began doing the dictation exercises as listed in book.  My son is a little advanced for the level 6 dictation, but we are still working through it since this is something new for us.  So for AJ has done great with dictation.  He has always excelled in grammar and spelling so this is not a surprise.  There is a learning curve if you have never done dictation before.  We found a great youtube video that helped.    

Writing is going well with IEW Medieval History Based writing lessons.  This week was a short paragraph on the Byzantine Empire.  This time to keep AJ from copying the original paragraph, I used post-it tape to cover up the paragraph.  He did a great job using his own words to rewrite the paragraph.  I did not have him type up the paper, but I think we will work on that over the next few units. 

We are still going over pre-algebra review work from last year.  This year we are preparing to take the ACT as a seventh grader in February.  This is through the Duke Talent Search Program, and while it doesn't count towards college admission, it is excellent practice and gives him a glimpse of what is to come in a few years. 

Beyond (BLHFHG) Unit 5

This weeks history readings left me a bit confused. Instead of just following one family now we have to keep track of two families in two different books.  Also events in one story don't quite line up with the way they are told in the other book.  Perhaps its just me, but I keep getting confused.  But the stories are still fun to read and we are enjoying learning about Amsterdam, or as JJ calls it "hamsterdam". 
   We enjoyed learning about tulips.  We listened to the song "Tulips from Amsterdam", and one of the projects was to make a tulip out of paper.  We really enjoy the art projects so far in Heart of Dakota.

  This week in science we learned about how light moves in waves and since the bible verse talks about how babies are formed in their mother's womb, so we discussed a little but of human development.  Our other day of science was about the heart and how it beats.  We did not make a stethoscope like the book recommends, because we own a real one, so we used that for listening to our hearts.  

This we we did a geography lesson.  We reviewed where all the continents are located, learned a bit about climate and where the oceans are on the map.  I still think the science/geography is a little lacking, but I haven't come up with a good way to supplement just yet.  I did decide we would make our own map and label the oceans, since we don't own a globe.  My son has fun, mixing up the oceans and asking you to figure out which one is correct.
The poem this week was "Song for a Little House", this was a cute poem and we did our copy work off the first few lines of the poem.  Then at the end of the week we drew a picture about the poem.

Our spelling words for the week are going slow.  We are in the process of waiting for results of our oral and written language testing to see if we will get an official diagnosis of dyslexia or have to go for more testing.  I think if your child has no learning issues then HOD language program would be a good fit, for us however we are going to have to make some adjustments.

This week introduced the genre of adventure story.  To kick start the week we had a scavenger hunt around the house.   Then we began reading "The Sword in the Tree".  So far this is a great story, a little predictable, but still a fun read.  It definitely will not last for 20 days of school, so we will be searching for another adventure story when it is finished.  I kind of wish HOD would either choose longer stories or schedule it in the guide so that you read two of each genre.  

In addition to all our work with HOD the boys have started up chess lessons again and are doing great.  Chess is a wonderful activity for any child and I highly recommend teaching this game to your child.  We will also be checking out fencing lessons this week as a possible extra curricular activity.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beyond (BLHFHG) Unit 4

This week we continued reading "Stories of the Pilgrims" by Margaret Plumphrey.  The story of a family from England who choose not to worship the way the King dictated.  The family tries to flee England in hopes of reaching Holland.   After many struggles they finally make their way to the city of Amsterdam.  We learned that the city is protected by a dike.  So our history activity was to build a dike to show how the city was protected.  Here you can see our little town of Amsterdam, before and after we flooded it, to show how the dike can break and leak.
 We talked about what the city looked like and how they have windmills.  So I searched online for a craft project and we decided to make a windmill.  Directions can be found at DLKT's crafts for kids. I think we will continue to add objects to our little town so we will remember what Amsterdam is like. 
The bible verse this week was quite a long one.  We practiced reciting it every day, but I did not require memorization this time.  Our art project this week was a little lacking.  Just making barn doors and putting part of the bible verse inside.  I'm glad we choose to do a few other things that I could consider art as well. 
Science this week consisted of two experiments.  The first one was on light, showing how it is either reflected or absorbed by color.  The second one focused on buoyancy and how ships float on water. This tied in to the history story nicely as our family traveled by boat from England to Holland.   

Language arts is going a bit slow.  We are working on getting an official diagnosis of dyslexia for my son, and then making a choice for the best curriculum to use.  We still practice writing the spelling words and talking about sentences like recommended in the guide, but I don't stress about him getting it correct.  

For story time we finished the biography of Louis Braille.  JJ was excited at the end of the book when it mentioned how Helen Keller was present when his body was moved after he died from his home town to Paris.  Fitting that we read both their biographies.  Louis Braille lead in interesting life, and we really like how he choose to live life to the fullest, even though he knew it would be a short life.  

We are still reading through the assigned pages in the Beginners Bible for early readers.  Some days are better than others.  But we try to keep practicing.  And in Math U See we are learning about measurements.  Specifically inches and how many inches in a foot.  

Morning Bells has been put aside as well as the Hide 'Em in Your Heart CD as my son really does not like them.  We are using Music for Little Mozart's for piano lesson and I think that's enough music for our week.   Can't wait to see what next week will hold. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 3/Unit 3 Beyond (BLHFHG)

We had a great time doing week three of Beyond (BLHFHG).  This week we read about the Brewester Family, and how they had to worship in secret because they did not follow the faith appointed by the King. There is a fun game you can play on day 5 to see if you end up in jail for worshiping your own way or in the Kings court for following the King. 

For art we painted a rock wall with a rose bush/vine growing up the side.  Mom had to make one as an example.  For some reason JJ says he can't figure it out unless he has an example to look at.  That's ok for now, but after a few more weeks I may make him attempt one on his own with no instruction.

In science we learned how bee's help pollinate the flowers to make more flowers.  There's a great Magic School Bus video that talks about this process too.  (available on Netflix)  I think this was a bit too easy for science. So I'm in the process of reading ahead a little in the teacher's guide to see how I can beef this up.  Remember, I am using Beyond for a 3rd grader, there's no need to add any extra, its just my personal choice.

Our poem this week was "Uphill" this was a more difficult poem to understand compared to the first two, but we manged to get through.

This week we started a new biography "Louis Braille".  Beyond covers the topic ov a biography for the first 5 weeks and since the books are short we decided to read 2 separate but related books.  We also had some interesting discussions on safely using sharp items, since Louis became blind after being stabbed with an awl in his father's workshop.  It was also a good lesson in not touching things that don't belong to you.  This was an excellent book with many options for teaching good life skills to your child.

Spelling isn't going too well for us.  We are still having trouble with reversing letters and just motivation to try our best.  We tried writing our words outside with sidewalk chalk, but my son didn't seem to think that was fun.  Maybe it was because it was a PE day and he was excited about seeing friends.  I think we may start adding in All About Spelling next week.   

We practiced counting money for math this week, since it was a short with with the Labor Day holiday.  We choose not to start a new lesson with Math U See.