Monday, May 24, 2010


I'm officially giving up on trying to catch up on all the stuff I missed blogging about over the last several weeks -- I hit on the highlight already, and if I don't just move forward, I'm going to be bogged down by history forever and feel perpetually behind. So, onward! Here's what's going on with us now:

Here's J's journal entry for this week, about the dance recital, I'm sure to no one's surprise!

Zoo Boy also blogged about something personal, I think for the first time. It's a pretty simple effort, but still, I'll take this over pages and pages about Pokemon!

We swapped our West African dance this week -- we're now learning the Kpasta (which is pronounced like "pacha"). We had gotten really good at the Gahu over the past two weeks, and this new dance is much more physically demanding (although it's a shorter dance overall). We're having an easier time learning it though, now that we're used to the unique chest-pumping and arm rhythms. I think the dancing is my favorite part of this cultural unit, and I can't recommend this DVD strongly enough for it's instructional value (and appeal of the dance instructor!! Hubba, hubba!!). It's Traditional Dances of Ghana with Nana Yaw Koranteng and Aziza Music and Dance Ensemble, produced by VR Productions. We bought it off

I've also introduced commercial math worksheets to our daily practice time. I have just run out of ideas for word problems that link into our story curriculum, and the boys were getting bored with the whole thing. So I picked up a couple of Kumon workbooks for Word Problems -- Grade I for Zoo Boy and Grade II for J -- both start a bit below their levels of understanding, but I wanted them to get the hang of working with them before they are challenged. Good choices, the boys love them and Zoo Boy says it's "very exciting" to be doing "real" math sheets instead of just what I make up for them. Each day they each do 10 word problems after their handwriting practice time.

For independent projects, J has picked up his crocheting again, after having abandoned it in favor of Keva Plank building for awhile. The Keva building is still going on, but the novelty has worn off a bit, so he's starting to pursue his other interests again. He's also back to folding paper airplanes (with an instructional booklet he got during the winter holidays), and is working on his baseball and bike riding skills in the yard as well.

Meanwhile, Zoo Boy is working with his magnetic mosaics a bit, and with the smaller lego mosaics:

In addition, he's finished his Kumon book of cutting and is on to the next workbook in the series which involves both more complicated cutting and some pasting, working not only on his fine-motor skills, but also his motor planning. This is all independent work for him, he asked me to buy the pasting workbook after finishing up the cutting, so he's working at whatever pace he sees fit, usually one project per day. He tells me that he intends to go through the entire small motor skills series. Fine by me!!

He's also been playing a lot of chess with The Map Man, and actually has a much better grasp of the game than J does at the moment, although both boys love playing chess. We found this cool hand-carved games table made from a huge plank of wood at a local antiques store. It has a chess/checkers board carved into one end, and a cribbage board carved into the other end (once they make some pegs for the cribbage board, we'll be teaching them that game, GREAT for math skills!), with owls carved into the middle of the board. The kids ADORE this table!

Now that our sports classes have wrapped up (one more mixed sports class this Friday, then we're done for the summer), our Monday Homeschool Classes are done for the year, and dance is finished, it's time to look towards our next set of activities! We're going to an open house at a dance studio on Wednesday to see about dance camp, and discuss changing dance schools (we're following J's ballet teacher....). And next week is auditions for a production of Oliver! through the local YMCA, which will keep us busy 3 evenings a week for the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, I'm reading the 3rd grade Enki materials for future planning, and am trying to find a teacher and put together a Spanish class for the fall.

And that's what we're up to now!

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