Friday, April 8, 2011

weekly wrap-ups resurrected -- week 27

Ok, so obviously I'm having trouble keeping up with trying to post our daily activities, and have been for awhile. Since I'm in the groove of finding ways to fit in those things that I feel are important for my kids, my family, and myself, I am going to try to take the blogging pressure off myself, and switch to doing weekly wrap-ups rather than trying to post as things happen. Of course, I'll still toss up big things and special events, etc, but as far as my "record keeping" (which is why I really blog to begin with!), I'll drop back to just posting about the more important stuff from the week.

My big accomplishment for this week was re-starting up our routine of taking morning walks to start our school day. It's still darn chilly in the mornings, but I think we're all feeling the benefits of getting out and walking more, and it's just such a lovely way to get in our movement and exercise for the morning. We still follow up with a cultural dance (right now we're dancing a type of Scottish Jig, to the Scottish folk song "Aiken Drum"), followed by a spin and fold type sensory integration sequence to make sure we're grounded before we start our seated work.

I also managed to fit in little 15-minute-or-so cleaning session each day to help us try to reorganize our work and living spaces. The kids have actually cheerfully chipped in, so I have hope to get this place manageable again soon. (They are motivated knowing that if we get it all cleaned up, they can invite friends to come over! It's been a long winter of doing our visiting elsewhere, they are ready to have some social fun here.)

We're in our "Intersession" between sessions at our Monday Homeschool Classes. This week I led a workshop on Letterboxing, where we launched the brand-new "MHC Letterboxing Club." The plan is to offer letterboxing field trips throughout the summer and during intersession.

My kids were really excited about the idea of combining two of their favorite activities -- getting together with other homeschool friends, and letterboxing. During the workshop, the kids made their own stamps for letterboxing and put together a packet with the things they needed. We also played an in-museum letterboxing game since the weather outside was frightful. We had 16 kids ranging in age from 2 to 12, and everyone seemed to have fun!

In club business, our first task was to design a letterboxing stamp to include in the first box we plant. This is the design I came up with after soliciting ideas for what should be included from the kids (this covered most of their ideas).

The Map Man then took the design, did the lettering and formatting, and returned it to me for the artwork. He then created a digital file of the whole thing and sent it off to the Stamp Works to have the stamp professionally made. The club will take the stamp and assemble a letterbox, which we will plant during our first letterboxing field trip, to be held in couple of weeks.

As part of our Scottish cultural theme, we are reciting Scottish Poetry. Each week I post a new poem, which we recite every morning before starting our main lesson. The poem also becomes the basis of our daily handwriting practice:

In addition to handwriting practice, the boys also have independent work with math word problems (using various workbooks for that purpose), drilling of addition and subtraction facts (using Kumon workbooks), and reading comprehension exercises (using Teacher Created Resource's Nonfiction Reading Comprehension workbooks on various Science, Geography, History, and Informational topics). They both really enjoy the math worksheets and taking the quizzes about the articles they are reading (and they enjoy quizzing each other too!).

In addition to the independent work, I also read aloud a short passage (that I make up) with 4 math problems embedded in them that have something to do with a story we've ready recently (or with a real life event that has recently occurred). There is one problem each of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (not necessarily in that order), and the main point of the exercise is for the boys to be able to pluck out the important information from the passage, and identify which math process is involved. The problems themselves are actually very simple to solve, because I don't want the kids bogged down (and then frustrated) by heavy math during this exercise.

One example from this week was "The fox climbing into the man's basket and started throwing out fish, which his brother then collected. The first time, he tossed out 1 fish. Then he tossed out 2 fish. Then he tossed out 3 fish. Then he tossed out the rest of the fish in the basket, which was 6. How many fish did the foxes have for dinner that night? (1+2+3+6=12) The foxes ate 4 fish apiece for dinner, how many fish were eaten? (2x4=8) How many fish were left over for breakfast? (12-8=4) How many fish could each fox eat for breakfast? (4/2=2)

Speaking of those two foxes, they were a part of another of our Scottish Trickster Tales. These are the boys' drawings and summaries from that story.

As usual, J attended his group Social Skills class with his therapist, and Zoo Boy saw his speech therapist for a session. Afterwards, we went to J's piano and guitar lessons, where we also added in a bit of vocal coaching as well, working with his solo for his upcoming chorus concert, then a bit of social time with his teacher's family (who are good friends of ours). We also had the usual array of dance classes this week, plus extra rehearsals for an upcoming event tonight (more on that in my next post!).

We spent a bit of time discussing the upcoming summer, and what each boy would like to get out of it. J is going to be doing a bunch of dancing, including a week long Modern workshop and a 2 week long Ballet intensive in addition to a summer class schedule, so he doesn't feel like he needs anything more in terms of organized activities - he'd like to go to the lake a lot, and spend time having fun with friends. Zoo Boy would like some sort of camp experience, but doesn't want to go for a full day, so he has me looking into options for him, and hoping I can find something to pique his interest that coincides with J's full days, so maybe I can get a few hours to myself for fall planning. He also wants to spend lot of time at the lake and having fun with friends.

And that's mostly what I want out of this coming summer -- lots of fun with friends! And a little time to plan for the fall.


Jude said...

Would you mind sharing the math workbooks you are having the best luck with? And where they were purchased? Thanks!
Caroline Plasket

Harvest Moon Farm said...

Caroline, I'm only using the workbooks for practice work, because I'm too lazy to make up my own worksheets for drilling math facts. I like the Kumon books because they are just lists of problems without any instruction, which is all I want them for anyway. I've used the entire line of Kumon math books for this. You can get them just about anywhere (I got mine at Barnes and Noble -- workbooks are always 25% off there with an educator's card). I also like the "daily word problems" series from Evan-Moor. I can't remember if I got those from B&N or ordered them from Amazon.

MM said...

How is J doing in Social Skills class? Has it helped him make friends?

Harvest Moon Farm said...

It's hard to tell what sort of effect the Social Skills sessions have had for J -- he's only been four times so far (and once was just him), and right now it's just him and one other boy. But he loves going, and for sure thinks of the other boy as his friend, so that's a good thing!