Sunday’s School Prep

September 12, 2011

Ok, ok. I know, it’s Monday.  But I started this post yesterday.  Honest 😉

US History – So much to touch on!  Morse code, Johnny Appleseed, the invention of the donut, the Oregon Trail, the Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson, ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and Lewis & Clark.  The girls will be taking notes on their report topics too.  Bee will look at the invention of and early use of photography and Gee is investigating more details about the Oregon Trail. 

Science – In honor of the ‘Year of No Summer’ we’ve got books on the science of the seasons and weather.

Language Arts/Writing – The kids have a collaborative oral story they work on together.  Bee, our resident writer, has been taking much of her free time to type out many of their favorite episodes.  I could make them do the grammar books, the vocabulary workbook, the spelling lists and assigned essays…. OR I can take advantage of this very creative, highly motivational work of art and use it to teach all that stuff. 

Being the sneaky mom I am, I’ve announced we’ll spend our language arts/writing time this week working together to edit Bee’s rough draft.  They were bouncing around the house with excitement.  *sly grin*

Math – Still plugging along in Integrated Algebra.  The girls are getting better and faster at completing each section.

Social/Outings – I don’t usually go out of my way to record this type of thing but it’s going to take up a rather large chunk of our week this time around.  Tuesday is tennis with another homeschooling family (5 kids on her end and 3 on mine should make for lots of fun), Thursday we’re back to the homeschool co-op group and Friday we’re going to try out another, less structured homeschool group in the area.  All that and it’s time to end our summer break from music lessons, there might be a grandparent visit later in the week and we’re going to the community center to play in the gym and swim for PE.

That’s our week.  Thank goodness there’s a weekend on the other end cause I’m tired just thinking about it all!

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.


Sunday’s School Prep

March 30, 2008

How can it be Sunday again already?!  Time to get ready for another school week.

Math: The math notebooks are off to a good start.  This week we’ll be adding definitions and examples for property, commutative property, associative property, distributive property, place value, perimeter, ordinal numbers, roman numerals, prime and composite numbers, area, factor and multiple.   We’ll also be doing a bit of review work in long division and fractions.

Social Studies: We’ll continue our studies of the West North Central region of the US.  I think we might see if we can find something interesting to do a report on.

Science: The girls picked up a ton of books last week at the library to start their search for the perfect science project topic.  We’ve got several weeks till we’ll start work on it but I found that choosing the topic was one of the most time consuming parts so we’re getting a head start this year.  Gee is looking at topics related to the human body.  Bee is thinking more about astronauts and the moon.

There’s also the usual typing, swimming and Spanish too.  And computer games.  And educational websites. And mom’s group and get togethers with friends.  And getting outside to enjoy the warmer weather. And cooking and…

Sunday’s School Prep

March 23, 2008

Back to thinking about the school week before it gets here! 🙂

This week we’re going to start a math notebook.  It will give the girls a place to put notes on various mathematical vocabulary, procedures and formulas.  We’ve run into a problem with the MathUSee program because there’s no where for the girls to reference these things when they get stuck or don’t remember.  It’s too hard to find it on the DVD and in the teacher’s book.   We haven’t been taking notes up till now but with algebra and geometry just around the corner, it’s a good for them to begin to learn how.   We’ll start with some basic vocabulary.   They’ll be looking up and recording words like addition, addend, sum, multiplication, multiplier and product.  We’ll cover all four basic operations and give examples of how to perform regrouping, multiple digit multiplication and long division.  I found this great math dictionary site for kids where they can look up and play around with interactive definitions.  Click on the links for ‘Writing Fun’ and ‘Rainforest Math’ at the bottom too!  I’ll definitely be adding these to the girls homepage!

After a long break we’re going back to learning about the individual states.  We recently saw a travel show that sparked some new interest in learning about our next group of states, the west north central region.  I’ve ordered the library books on North and South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.  We’ll see where they take us.

We’ve still got the books on atmospheric science hanging around and Bee has been talking about wanting to chart some of the weather conditions.  I’ll give her a hand with that.  We’ll also need to check out the science section in the library for ideas since our ‘Choose Your Own Science Project’ is coming up in a few weeks.  In the meantime I got a book or two on American inventors to see if that sparks any interest.

With November quickly approaching we’ll continue to discuss the candidates and upcoming election.  We’re occasionally looking at local newspapers and using online resources to find out more.  The girls want to do an election here at home and have a chance to explain what they would do as President.  I want to plan that out to make it as fun and educational as possible so I’m probably going to hold off on it till we start 5th grade in July.

The girls will be trying some new Spanish software this week too.  We’ll see how that goes. 

Besides all that, the girls really want to watch more Discovery Channel!  I need to spend more time in the guide finding their favorite shows like MythBusters, Dirty Jobs and How It’s Made.  We’ve also got to rent the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and ‘Pollyanna’ videos since Gee’s reading the books. 

Wow.  That’s a lot to do.  But before we start anything we’re going swimming tomorrow morning with our new pool membership! 🙂

Sunday’s School Prep

January 27, 2008

Our busy schedule lately has caused us to fall behind a bit in following our curriculum plan.  Not a big deal really.  I still maintain that one of the best tips I received when designing your own curriculum plan is to leave the last week or two of the quarter free and unplanned. 

Rather than rush through things to try to catch up, we’re just going to take our time about finishing our study of electricity this week. We’ll do experiments and continue to look at the books we have on the topic.

The only other thing I plan to cover is more about fractions.  Rather than starting with the lessons in the MathUSee book, I think I’m going to start teaching with some examples first.  We’ll use cardstock and scissors to look at equivalent fractions and adding/subtracting fractions with like denominators.  Knowing my kids, it’s sure to turn into an art project as well.   Then I thought it would be fun to use rice or beans to explore those same concepts with some measuring cups. 

Sunday’s School Prep

January 20, 2008


We’re taking Monday off. Tuesday my sister is visiting. Wednesday we’ve got Mom’s Group in the morning and we’ll be feeding a rabbit for someone away on vacation in the afternoon. Thursday we usually get together with homeschooling friends. Friday I’ve got a meeting at Adrian’s school.

The nice thing about homeschooling is that even though I’m not typing up spelling lists or making copies of math sheets today, we’re still guaranteed a week of learning and growing. 

Sunday’s School Prep

January 13, 2008

It was a great break….. but now it’s time to get back to the plan.  Here’s what we’ll be doing this week:

Science: We’ll explore electricity, do some experiements  and play with the robot kit Gee got for Christmas. 

Math: We’re starting the next book in the Math-U-See series.  This week we’ll be reviewing how to add and subtract fractions with like denominators. 

Social Studies: We didn’t finish the west south central states before the holiday so we’ll finish that up this week too.

Language Arts: The girls wrote stories about what life without electricity would be like last week.  This week we’ll just need to perfect and print those. 

Spelling: We’ll be pulling words from our study of electricity for our spelling list this week.