Sunday’s School Prep

February 13, 2011

Haven’t done a Sunday’s School Prep post in a long, long time.  But I’ve been back to doing my prep work on Sundays for a while now.  Once the week begins, the pace quickly picks up and I find myself with 3 students wandering the halls (of our house) and the principal (Dad) wants to see their hall pass (where are you supposed to be and what are you supposed to be doing instead of playing outside my office door) and then say they say they don’t know cause the teacher (Mom) didn’t tell them. 

Um, yeah.  Not good. 😛

SO, here’s what’s going in the folders for the week…

7th graders 

Vocabulary and Language Arts: A couple of pages from Words, Words, Words and a couple of pages from Grammar.  The Grammar book, having been published back in 1984 (when I was in 4th grade), talks about subordinating conjunctions and adverbial clauses like everyone knows what the heck those are.  The girls usually find themselves doing a Google search on the grammar terms first since I’m quite candid about the fact I don’t know what a coordinating conjunction is or how to tell if a sentence is complex or compound… and yeah, and it’s good for ’em to look it up!  😛

Spelling: Can I tell you that I haven’t done spelling with the girls in MONTHS?!  I admit it.  Is it a bad thing?  Maybe.  But then again, maybe not.  Really, I think the vocabulary is far more important.  Hardly anything is handwritten any more and spell check is everywhere.  Heck, I personally use online dictionaries all the time because I’m a notoriously bad speller myself.   The written work they hand it shows they know how to use the spelling tools and other than occasionally mixing up some homonyms, they’re not making horrible spelling errors.  So I guess it’s likely we won’t be returning to the weekly spelling … least till the Principal finds out 😛

Writing:  Unlike spelling, writing is not a subject I’m willing to let slide.  For me, this is probably the single most important thing I want my kids to learn.  Writing well makes up for a multitude of sins in a multitude of careers and real life situations.  It’s important.  But it’s also the area where I most feel like I’m beating my head against the wall.  I’ve been teaching the girls how to write a well organized essay since they came home in second grade.  We’ve used the outline charts, we’ve outlined together, I’ve gone over assignments one on one with them over and over till it’s right and we’ve discussed at length the importance of each part of the essay.  I’ve sat next to them and written with them and sent them to write with Dad hoping a different perspective or some different explanation might do the trick. They’ve written literally hundreds of pieces over these past 5 years and I still feel like this isn’t something they’ve mastered. 

I admit I’m entirely frustrated by this.  So when I saw the Teaching the Essay program from Analytical Grammar, I jumped on it.  I’m going through this with the girls now as our only writing work (other than a short current event summary).  Not only is it great for teaching the organization every essay should have but it’s got the bonus of being geared towards writing a literary essay, something I’d hate to have to teach on my own.  Fingers crossed this means the end of poorly organized writing….

Science:  Speaking of things I’ve taught over and over… Bee asked this past week, “Where do the clouds go when the sky is blue?”  Um.  Yeah.  We’ve covered weather/clouds/water cycle officially in 2nd grade and 4th grade and twice on vacation trips as well.  Oh, and just this past summer she was reading books on the water cycle to the 1st grader as part of his introduction to this topic.  DOH!

So I’ve rounded up some internet sites and experiments including this and this.  Next week we can review the answer to her follow up question… “Why is the sky blue?”

Social Studies: We’re slowly working our way through American history. Last week  the girls finished their colonial life projects. 

Gee investigated money, how merchants operated and what was traded between the American colonies and England.  Her project included a collections of items that represented what a peddler might have sold and a trade map, complete with 3D boats to show the flow of goods and resources across the Atlantic. 

Bee researched all things food.  She made a diorama of an ice house and some very yummy cookies.  Both girls casually explained all they’d learned about their topics.

This week we’ll continue moving through the early to mid-1700’s.  We’ve already looked at the life of Benjamin Franklin some in exploring his scientific interests but we’ll continue learning more about him and his publications.  Also on the hold list at the library are books about Thomas Paine, the Salem witch trials, the Great Awakening and Fort Ticonderoga. 

We’re gearing up for our study of the Revolutionary War… which should be particularly interesting given how we’ve been watching Tunisa and Egypt’s revolutions in current events.

Math:  It’s that time of year again when I start anticipating the annual standardized test.  Looking at the math section, there’s a few topics we haven’t covered yet.  Of course, that’s mostly because Math-U-See follows a different order in teaching some things.  But I’m taking the opportunity to go over them now so they’ll be familiar with everything come test time.

Then finally, they have daily music practice, weekly music lessons, daily reading, art, physical education and homeschool co-op meets this week too!  Yikes!

1st Grade

Oh, this is so much easier 😛  

 Zee’s got his usual 1st/2nd grade math and  language arts workbooks, math flash card practice, reading, art, music, physical education and spelling.    Homeschool co-op gives us a bonus in reading, physical education and science.  Last week he watched the video on Colonial era wars with the girls and this week he’ll probably get in on some of the history stuff they do as well.



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