Wrapping Up Week 16 (2014-15)

weekly wrap-up
I love this time of year as we approach my two favorite holidays.  Somehow I made it to Sunday night before I realized we could start focusing Thanksgiving with some of our school work.  My plan was to keep things simple this year, just reading through Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey, but Ian remembered some books by Kate Waters that he enjoyed reading when we talked about the Pilgrims last year, and we ended up pulling those out as well.  He read through Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy on his own, and then read Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times with Daddy.


Jesus and NicodemusOur family devotions in Old Story New had us learning about the nighttime conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.  To reinforce the story during our school day, I decided to try a lesson from Draw to Learn: The Life of Jesus by Charlene Notgrass.  Ian really enjoys art, and I’m trying to give him lots of hands-on assignments he can do while I read to him in the mornings.

Ian immediately decided that he wanted to use a technique we learned from a lesson in ARTistic Pursuits where he covered a page in black pastels and then used a paper clip to etch a drawing.  It wasn’t exactly following the directions in the book, but I wanted to encourage his initiative and creativity so I told him to go for it.  I love the details in his night sky and the men with torches guarding the buildings while Jesus and Nicodemus talk.

We had gotten out of the habit of morning worship during our crazy October, but the kids have really missed it and I finally managed to start back up again.  This week we worked on learning the hymn “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.”  (I recently bought Singing the Great Hymns from Simply Charlotte Mason with the hopes of it taking care of our hymn study.  I love the selections, but I was disappointed to find that it didn’t have any information about the hymns beyond the music and lyrics.)  It was fun to hear the kids singing a hymn so enthusiastically.


As I’ve been sharing, I’m determined to find fun ways for Ian to master his addition facts, so I’m trying to have him spend a little bit of time practicing them each day using various fun methods.  This week he continued enjoying extra screen time to play Medieval Math and the math section on More Starfall.

Starfall Math
We also did activities from several videos in the “Addition and Subtraction to 10” section on Education Unboxed.  Ian enjoyed building Number Bonds Towers, and Elijah had fun being a part of our math time playing What’s in the Box? with Ian.

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Using base ten blocks has really helped Ian this week as lessons 60-65 of MEP (Year 2) have a lot of adding and subtracting of double-digits crossing tens.  (The set of blocks we use is no longer sold, but I really it because it uses different colors for ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands.  Now it seems like I can only find one made of foam if I don’t want all blue blocks.)

Base Ten blocksMEP has the students work through multiple steps to solve the problems, which Ian has found really confusing until we used the blocks.  They are supposed to break up ones in order to complete a ten, and then add the tens together before finally adding the remaining ones. For example:






It seems so much more complicated than simply writing the numbers on top of each other and adding them up the way I learned to do, but it definitely is helping Ian develop greater number sense rather than simply working through a formula.  (Plus, until he is quicker at his math facts, that way still takes a while.)  With subtraction, Ian caught on to the idea of “borrowing” right away, which I don’t think would have happened without the blocks.

Literature/Ambleside Online

This week in Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin we read about Inchcape Rock, a reef which sank many ships before a buoy with a bell was finally placed to mark it.  A pirate thought he’d be sneaky and cut off the bell just for spite, but of course then his ship ended up running into the rock in a fog later on and he received his just rewards.  While looking for pictures of the rock (which now has a lighthouse on it), I found a poem by Robert Southey which told the story in rhyme.  Ian enjoyed listening to it again that way.

This week we started As You Like It.  Ian was drawn in immediately by the description of the wrestling match.  I don’t think I’ve ever read the story before, so I’m enjoying it as well.  I love how Ambleside Online introduces stories from Shakespeare at such an early age.  I’m looking forward to filling in some gaps in my own education.

History Cycle

We’re still learning about Ancient Greece, and we read a little further in Our Little Spartan Cousin of Long Ago by Julia Darrow Cowles.  While I read, I had Ian color a blank map of Greece and gave him a list of cities we’ve talked about (Athens, Sparta, Olympia, Troy, Corinth, and Ephesus) to label with the help of a more detailed map in a book.

Ian's Map of Greece


We read through lessons 8-10 (on muscles and the design of hands and feet) in The Human Body, and read a little more about muscles in The Usborne Human Body Sticker Book.

Then we did the pages on muscles from the My Body unit from Teacher Created Resources (available as a download from CurrClick or a book from Amazon).  Ian was not happy last week when we only put bones on one leg of our life-size outline of his body (he wanted to do a whole skeleton), but he was a bit mollified this week when he understood what I’d been trying to tell him about adding more.

This unit has probably been Ian’s favorite thing we’ve done in school so far.  He can’t seem to learn enough about the body, and I’m looking forward to the rest of our study this term.