11 September 2015

Agent Homeschooling 2015-2016: Week 11

Because I was so late posting last week, I feel like I just did this. But, here we are at the end of another week. Local public schools went back on Wednesday, so we’ve officially entered the oh, no school today question zone every time we leave the house before 3:00 p.m. (Spoiler: This gets old.)

Part of our Teddy Bear Day festivities (I don't know why this turned out so dark)
Math: Agent J (2nd) finished up one of the three math workbooks she rotates through (one is basic addition/subtraction, one is a mix of 2nd grade concepts, and one is multiplication). I’ve discovered that her best “teacher” when it comes to math is not me, but her big sister. Seriously, I can try to explain something to her (e.g., carrying in 2-digit addition) and she will look at me like I’ve sprouted horns, yet Agent E walks her through it and she’s a pro in five minutes. Sigh.

Agent E (4th) is enjoying her new Brain Quest workbook, which covers math and so much more. She also has a dedicated math workbook of 4th grade concepts (similar to Agent J’s 2nd grade one). This week we’ve been doing more division, although for as much as she likes math, long division is definitely not her favorite. Agent E is also continuing the Life of Fred series (she’s up to Ice Cream) by herself. (The girls were reading the books together, but it got to be a bit much for Agent J.)

The Agents want to revitalize this wagon with some paint and Daddy help
Language Arts: We had another grammar review week here. So far we’ve covered several parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms, homophones and homonyms, and tense. Agent E started a new reading comprehension book, and taught Agent J how to use their new children’s dictionary. Current reads include No Place for Magic (Agent J) and Dear America: A Picture of Freedom (Agent E). 

Geography: Still studying the formation of the earth . . . this week we looked more closely at plate tectonics and read The Island That Moved. We also (finally) made Oreo moon phases, which were eaten promptly.

History: We read a bit about Indus civilization and the Minoans (including a cool mythology story about a minotaur). I’ve been torn all week about whether or not (and how) to discuss 9/11 with them. At their ages, their overall knowledge of world history is limited at best, and they really have no point of reference for such a pivotal lesson. It is covered in their current history text, but I’m honestly still unsure about presenting it.

Oreo moons are delicious
Science: We are almost finished with the Life As We Know It book and have continued working our way through the Life of Mammals series (hosted by David Attenborough). After reading about Homo naledi yesterday, their interest in human evolution has been renewed, and we intend to spend more time on that next week. 

Health: This week we began looking at the skeletal system in more detail. We will likely spend at least one more week on bones before moving on. We also found some great resources on KidsHealth, including a movie, a quiz, a word search, and a label-the-skeleton printout.

Art: For art this week we talked about Aboriginal Dreamtime art and made our own dot paintings. We also experimented with a number of different ways to make art with paint (e.g., using leaves, feathers, sticks, straws, cups, random household finds). I also decided we need to go back to doing both art and music each week, or we need to cover more than one topic per week. We’re just moving through the material too slowly this way.

Art time fun
PE: Not as much outside time this week as we had hoped. We had a couple of really hot days early in the week, followed by one that was downright chilly. The Agents (and Momma) are looking forward to fall. I’m still not a fan of New York weather, but early autumn is its saving grace. I’m hoping for a few glorious weeks (at least) before I have to break out winter coats and boots. 

I’ve recently decided that I need an outlook adjustment when it comes to exercise. Of course, the Agents are all pretty fit because of the amount of free time they spend running and jumping and playing and just moving. It’s time for Momma to get with the program, too.

We also submitted our first quarter report this week. (Technically our quarter ends 15 September, but I wanted to get it in the mail before the weekend.) Even though it was a short quarter (2.5 months as opposed to 3, and we managed two breaks as well) we will still end with exactly 45 days. Looking ahead to the second quarter, even with taking the entire week of Thanksgiving off, we’ll once again have a lot of leeway with breaks. Yay for year-round schooling.

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