Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal - 7

In my life this week...I decided to stick with Blogger and not make the change to  I plan to post on why soon!

In our homeschool this week...

We had an AWESOME week!

The last two weeks, things just didn't seem to gel,
and I was concerned about our homeschool mojo...
but this week it all just CAME TOGETHER beautifully!

Science - We had conducted a fascinating photosynthesis experiment in science (have a I mentioned how much we LOVE Real Science 4 Kids?).  We needed a plant with flat leaves, so we chose our fig tree.  We unattached 4 leaves.  Two were put in water, one covered, one not; two were left out, one covered and one not.  We also labeled one of the leaves on the plant and covered one of the leaves on the plant.  Every day for two weeks the girls observed the changes and took notes on their observations.  This culminated in each girl writing an essay on their observations.  

Grammar - A friend loaned us the Michael Clay Thompson Grammar series.  We have been reading Grammar Town and we LOVE it!  We learned about adjectives AS we were making our observations, which was perfect, because it gave the girls a better understanding of the importance of description :)  I LOVE when that all synthesizes!

Art - Fall is my favorite time of year!  I love the leaves changing, I love the crisp air, the spicy scents, the cracking leaves.... I came across a few projects that I wanted to try and I will be posting about them on Three Thinking Mothers on Monday.  One of the projects was waxing leaves...and this tied in PERFECTLY with our study on photosynthesis.  Why do leaves change color?  Or, as Jason pointed out, do they actually change color?  Technically speaking the reds and yellows and oranges are there, but the chlorophyll dominates and makes them green.  When the weather changes, there is less sunlight and the plant begins to prepare for winter, it stops producing chlorophyll so the other colors come through!  Fascinating stuff!

History - We continued to discuss Muhammed and Islam.  I was very upset last week about my girls' false views of the Muslim faith.  We took the Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions out of the library and read further about Muslim practices.  The girls were fascinated to learn why the women cover themselves and about Muslims in certain communities where women and men are kept separate.  We learned about Muslim diet and birth rituals and marriage rituals. The girls were fascinated by this and we actually launched our own little religion study, reading about Sikhism and Buddhism

We also learned about Sinbad.  Once again, I think it is so sad that more children are not exposed to these amazing tales.  My girls were RIVETED.  We ended up jumping in the car and heading to the library for a book on The Seven Voyages of Sinbad.  Since Jason was away, the girls climbed into bed with me and we read the whole book cover to cover!  We also decided to give audiobooks another try and borrowed a Tales from the Arabian Nights on audiobook.  

Writing - I adore Writing with Skill.  I love how it guides the student through exercises all week which culminates in an essay at the end of the week.  Since Jason was away, I spent time this week working on the girls' portfolios and I read A's writing from each week and I can see the improvement.  This week she was given an outline on Johannes Kepler.  We had learned about Copernicus and Galileo and heliocentrism and geocentrism last year.  A just eats this stuff up, she remembered things we had learned last year which really helped her with writing this paper.  She also learned to add quotes from Kepler into her writing to really illustrate a point.

There is no creative writing in this curriculum, but both girls are keeping a journal and both girls write stories on their own.  I have decided that we will take breaks for creative writing now and then to mix it up a little.  It may take us longer to finish this curriculum, but that's okay.

Latin - I am amazed at what the girls are putting together through studying the Latin and Greek roots.  

Math - Both girls completed another Unit in Math U See and we spent some time playing Time Bingo.

Geography - We are continuing our study of the states and the girls beg to play USA Bingo every day!

Politics - with both the GOP debates and a local mayoral election we have been discussing issues at the dinner table.  A watched the debate at the Reagan library and part of the debate in Vegas last week and she has some very clear opinions.  The girls get the mail when it comes every day and I have been showing them the various mailers from candidates and explaining the issues.  It's interesting when you try to simplify something to explain it to children, how good and bad, right and wrong seem to be so obvious and glaring.

I am reading... Guerilla Learning by Grace Llewellyn, which was recommended to me by Karen at Homeschool Girls.  It is really for parents whose children are in school and are unhappy with school and don't feel inclined to homeschool.  BUT, many of the points in this book are eye-opening to homeschoolers.  There are exercises for the family, which our family does over dinner.  One exercise was define success...

Jason said, "To me success is knowing that our bills are paid, we have money in the bank and we can enjoy it and find time to relax."  My husband, you should know, is a former workaholic - not even kidding! - he has come a loooooong way!

A said, "Success is doing something that you want to do."

In response to education, Jason said, "It is something you do throughout life...when you don't know something, you research it and learn about it."

I said, "In childhood it is setting a foundation of history, literature, math concepts, science, etc. and then learning to build on those concepts and synthesize those concepts to come up with new ideas and hypotheses."  Is it any wonder that I love classical education?

I am cooking....butternut squash ravioli with brown butter-sage sauce (the ultimate fall dish in my opinion!)

and chicken posole (A's favorite dinner!)

Something cool that happened....We have a storyroom at the library which is filled with multiple copies of books that the schools use for summer reading.  Over the years this list has changed and there are many books that have not circulated in YEARS.  We have been going through them this week and discarding them, and preparing to sell them for our Friends of the Library fundraisers.  This means that I snagged THREE copies of several books that we can all read together and discuss!

We will be reading From the Mixed-UP Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, about a  girl who runs away TO the Metropolitan Museum of Art next week in preparation for our upcoming trip to the Met for A's birthday (this was her choice of how to spend her 12th birthday).  I have found some fabulous resources for this book on-line and can not wait to get started!

I am inspired by.... my morning walks.  They have become a habit and a time for me to reflect, pray, think about life...

I am grateful hardworking husband and my parents being home from the lake!