Wrapping Up Week 4 (2014-15)
“Week 4” of school consisted of a week’s worth of lessons stretched out over about 10 days due to a family birthday (school holidays in our house), a beach day with friends, and baseball camp for Ian. I had planned on this, so we didn’t get behind at all and we just took our time enjoying our lessons.
We skipped our morning reading time most mornings due to the extra activities and an odd schedule, so we only made it through a couple chapters of Prudence and the Millers, and then finished Proverbs 14 for our devotional reading.
As far as Bible study, we wanted to take a week to cover Esther before heading into the New Testament. I love the story of Esther, but I was afraid the entire book might be a bit much for the boys, so we read from Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, breaking it up over several days. Ian and I did the “Researching the Word” from Bible Road Trip: Year One, and we all watched the second episode of Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? Vol. 7 – Exile and Return, which tells about Esther.
So far Ian is continuing to enjoy Year 2 of the Mathematics Enhancement Programme. I’m really impressed with how well MEP has worked for him. There were times last year when I wondered if it was just too challenging, but the spiral approach is proving its value, and suddenly he’s understanding things and figuring out problems on his own that he was lost on a few months ago.
One of the activities in the MEP lesson plan called for matching several addition facts with their sums. I was reminded of a game I had from when I was a teacher, and we pulled it out and enjoyed getting some extra facts practice in using “Matching Caps” from Learning Horizons. It not only made that activity easy to do, it led a a full game of matching up facts. Elijah eagerly joined us, and I have a feeling we’ll be getting it out on a regular basis.
It would be really easy to create a similar game using cards, and I think I might do that with specific fact families that Ian has trouble with since this game only goes up to sums of 10.
Literature (Ambleside Online)
I decided to deviate from our scheduled poetry book once again in order to complement our science study this week. We enjoy reading more than one poem each day, so I know we’ll get through A Child’s Garden of Verses even with extra poetry books. I just think it’s fun to include poems that tie in with other things we’re studying.
So this week we read from Feathers: Poems About Birds by Eileen Spinelli. I wasn’t sure how Ian would respond to it, but he loved it! He wanted to play the same game we did with Prayers from the Ark and The Creatures’ Choir a few weeks ago, where I read the poem first and he tried to guess what it was about. This book was a little harder to that with unless you are a bird expert, but there were several that he was able to guess correctly, and he really enjoyed the book.
For our AO Year 1 readings we got to read our first story in James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, “Moses the Kitten”. I wasn’t sure how well this book was going to go over. I bought the audiobook a while back and have tried to listen to it in the car on several occasions, but the boys always lost interest really quickly.
This week, however, I pulled out the book and snuggled on the couch close to Ian so he could see the illustrations. He loved this story about a tiny kitten found near a pond on a farm in England. When we got to the part where the farmer’s wife has named him Moses, I paused to see if he would react when I read,
“Aye, you found him among the rushes didn’t you?”
It took a second, but then his eyes lit up and I heard a little chuckle. He liked that connection. When we had finished, he begged me to read another story from the book, but for now I want to stick to the schedule and keep him hungry for more.
I think pretty soon we’re going to veer away from using Mystery of History, Vol.1 as our framework, but for now it’s still helping provide just enough structure. This week we covered Stonehenge, Early Egypt and the Minoan Civilization.
When I told Ian we would be talking about Stonehenge this week, he instantly knew what I was talking about. Grandma just returned from England and we got to see pictures of her there, and Ian told me that in one of the Lego movies he’s watched they talked about “LEGOhenge,” so he knew all about it.
Well, maybe not ALL about it. We both learned a bit more by reading parts of two books I borrowed from the library: Stonehenge (Torque: The Unexplained) by Sean McDaniel (a great introduction to the subject, though I skipped the part about the alien theory) and Stonehenge by Cynthia Kennedy Henzel (which I preferred, even though it had more information than we could cover in just one day). Then we watched this 3-minute clip from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting that shows the Duggar family visiting Stonehenge.
Early Egypt (Old Kingdom)
Ian had been eagerly looking forward to this lesson so he could make the Khufu (Cheops) figure from Famous Figures of Ancient Times by Cathy Diez-Lucky. We read bits and pieces from several books about Ancient Egypt to learn a little more about Khufu’s Great Pyramid. Ian is familiar with the name because he has listened to Jonathan Park: The Whispering Sphinx multiple times. It was helpful for him to see both a map of Egypt indicating where major historical sites are and a timeline showing the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms.
We’ve spent a lot of time learning about Ancient Egypt and pyramids in the last couple years so I didn’t really linger on this lesson. We read The Egyptian Cinderella, and Ian liked the connection with Aesop mentioned in the “Author’s Note” at the end of the book. He also enjoyed reading through Ms Frizzle’s Adventures: Ancient Egypt with Daddy.
The Minoan Civilization
We read about the Minoans in Mystery of History, Vol 1 and Story of the World, Vol. 1 (Chapter 18) by Susan Wise Bauer. Ian really enjoyed hearing about the bull-leaping, and when he started reading about Theseus and the Minotaur, he got excited and said he already knew the story. It turns out he had read it on Starfall in a collection of Greek myths. I love when we get to build context for things that are already familiar to him.
This week in The World of Animals (part of the God’s Design for Life curriculum) we read the lessons on birds. Ian made a bird collage and did the curriculum worksheet on the bird’s digestive system for his notebook.
We also watched two episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy: Birds and Flight. Ian picked up a book of science experiments called Air, Wind, and Flight that another homeschool family was giving away, and he enjoyed trying several of the experiments, saying, “This would go really well with our science study, Mom!” I guess he thought I’d need convincing to let him go at it on his own. He didn’t necessarily do them all correctly, but he had fun, it was a good learning experience, and he was really proud to show his work to Daddy that night.
In Spanish we moved on to the next Salsa video, #112, which is the last story in this set on Red Ridinghood. We used Arianna’s dollhouse figures to practice family members and various commands, like “Salta con la abuela” (“Jump with the grandmother”) and “Anda con el niño” (“Walk with the boy”). Ian always thinks these are fun.
Summer is slipping away quickly! We’re no longer the only ones doing school, and we’re looking forward to some fun outings once the public school kids go back and crowds thin out a bit.
We’re currently getting familiar with the following products. Watch for reviews soon!