Friday, April 19, 2013

Week of April 15, 2013 -

Allie gets her braces on next Monday (April 22) so we decided to really push ahead this week and finish Math U See Zeta and Level 1 in their Spanish curriculum!  The last four chapters in Zeta were all geometry review and were easy peasy, so I let her watch the video, complete a few problems to demonstrate knowledge and move to the next chapter/video.  She took the Unit Test today and agreed to take the Final Comprehensive Exam tomorrow so she can be done!!

The girls were also almost done with Level 1 in Spanish, they worked twice as hard this week and spent about twice as much time on Spanish as usual and were able to complete Level 1 yesterday!!

Just for fun, I gave them both samples of the Language Arts portion of our standardized test this week.  They both did well, which I felt proved that reading books you are interested in and discussing them works just as well as reading excerpts and answering questions.

We are going to take a break from Math and Spanish.  I am not sure for how long, but at least a couple of weeks so Allie can get used to her braces and we can enjoy some beautiful spring weather.

We will take a break from curriculum, but I have a feeling these girls will still work on Candy Chemistry, spend time on iCivic, watch documentaries and do some other interest-led things.  The girls don't know this (they hardly ever read my blog) but if I see them doing a lot of interest-led, educational kinds of things, I am not going to bother them with my agenda.  I am conducting a little experiment to see how they occupy themselves when not on my agenda. If they are doing worthwhile things, I will leave them alone, but if they start spending hours playing mindless video games or hour watching TV or staring at the ceiling and complaining they are bored, then I will have to come up with an agenda ;-)
We played around with cubism after reading about Picasso.
These are some of our library books this week--the top one is Door by Margaret Atwood, my favorite poem of ALL TIME--I actually have heard her speak and got her to sign a very dog-eared copy of one of her poetry books and she stopped me in line and just held my beat up book and smiled at me--it was a cool moment, no words, just understanding of what her words meant to me.
Almost done with Zeta!!
Some open verse reflection after the horrific Boston Marathon bombing.
A new cookbook--I took this out of the library and had to buy a copy--it's THAT GOOD!  

What We Are Watching

October Baby

NOVA: What are Dreams? - a documentary on dreams (Netflix)

First Love - a documentary about three Australian girls that love surfing and have an opportunity to surf with pro-surfers in Hawaii

Epic Rap Battles of History

What We Are Reading

Christy by Catherine Marshall (Allie)
Jeremy Find and the Meaning of Life (Piper)
The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle (Theresa)
Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim (Jason)
13 Modern Artists Children Should Know
13 Painters Children Should Know
If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: More Poems for Children by Judith Viorst

What We Are Creating

The girls learned an important lesson this week.  They decided to make homemade marshmallows from scratch using their Candy Chemistry kit.  I don't usually help them at all with this.  For some reason, they decided to dump all the ingredients in the bowl...three packets of Knox gelatin, corn syrup, etc....and then...realized that several ingredients had to be brought to 240 degrees before combining them with everything else!  They used all the Knox gelatin and the rest of the corn syrup--I know, I know corn syrup is horrible, but this is for science, so we make a little exception.  Anyway, mean mom that I am, I made them pay for the new box of Knox and the new bottle of corn syrup.  They then went home and made some darn good homemade marshmallows--I don't like marshmallows, but these homemade ones were so different from the store bought kind and pretty much the best marshmallows EVER!
I really do not like marshmallows.  There is a lot of crap in marshmallows and I don't usually buy them--we have one package in our freezer that I let the girls put in hot cocoa the three times a year they drink hot cocoa--but that is about it.  However, these homemade marshmallows were pretty amazing!  Even I liked them!!

What We Are Doing

The girls also colored in their Human Body coloring books this week.
We talked about the difference between veins and arteries.
We wrote some poems.
We read some poetry and found some favorite poems.
We wrote some of our favorite poems/original poems in our art journals.


I have been feeling energized with the weather and did some MAJOR decluttering and re-organizing and cleaning this week!  I love a clean house!  I have asked Allie to make me some new pillow covers for the living room and I have some other "sprucing up" projects I want to do...
Since we are getting more and more interest-led, there are less assignment-type stuff to put away, but there are some things the girls did that I wanted to keep in their portfolios.  I am awful about shoving stuff away and not organizing; I sat down this week and we all went through it and decided what to keep, what to put in their portfolio and what to give to the gerbils for bedding.  Yes, environmentalists, we have found a new way to recycle--we give paper to the gerbils to use for nesting.
We have also been LOVING CNN Student News every morning!
I also spent a fair amount of time planning the two classes I am teaching at our co-op's spring term starting today--Geography (which is the same program I do at the library) and Art Journaling (which I am wondering if I bit off more than I can chew--but I am excited and have a ton of ideas!)

A Run-In With the School System

Piper lets our neighbor's dog out three days a week.  When she went over on Thursday, apparently someone at the school (which is visible from our neighbor's house) saw her and told the principal, who came over to our neighbor's house and talked to Piper over the fence (Piper was in the backyard with the dog).  I usually watch out the window, so I opened the window and the principal asked if I was her mom and why she wasn't in school.  I was very matter-of-fact.  The principal from when the girls went to that school has retired, so this woman didn't know us at all.  She was nice and I wouldn't say apologetic, but she definitely realized that she had to explain why she was talking to my child.  I am kind of hoping she forgets about us and we can slip back under the radar.  In New Jersey, we have no paperwork to fill out, no standardized tests, we don't answer to the Board of Ed.  The burden of proof would be on the Board of Education to prove that we are NOT educating our children, it would not be on us to prove that we are educating our children.