Agent Homeschooling 2015-2016: Week 14

Following is a summary of what we did this week in our homeschooling for Agent E (grade 4) and Agent J (grade 2). We also have a kindergarten student (Agent A, age 4.5) but we don’t do much formal or structured with him so he’s not typically included in these updates. (But, if you’re curious about how we do kindergarten around here—well, the reading and writing part, anyway—you can check out this post.)

Om Nom watching Magnet Person
take Magnet Dog for a walk under the Magnet Sun
This week we looked at measurement, ratio, money, multiplication, division, and telling time. (Not all at once and not all subjects with both Agents.) My plan was to just look at measurement (and maybe money with Agent J) but somehow we had a week of rabbit holes with math. We also tried checking out one of the “math kits” our library puts together (a tote for each grade—kindergarten through fifth—with books, games, worksheets, suggested online resources, etc.) but it didn’t work for us. The books were so-so (we’ve chosen better ones on our own) and the binder of activities was overwhelming and not that interesting. A good idea in theory, though, and maybe it works for some.

Language Arts
We looked at punctuation this week with the help of several great (and funny) grammar books. We’ve now covered all the parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms, similes and metaphors, homonyms and homophones, and punctuation. Along the way, we’ve done some sentence structure (subject/verb agreement), word choice (they’re vs. there, action verb vs. linking verb, comparative vs. superlative adjectives), spelling rules, and reading comprehension. I think it has helped the Senior Agents to see all the mechanics broken down in this way. Like their Momma (ahem) they seem to have a pretty intuitive grasp of grammar and what just “looks and sounds right.” Now, I would like to start making a more concerted effort to work on original writing. For both girls, reading level (speed, comprehension, interest, desire) has always outpaced writing interest (and skill). I’m not sure yet what the best way to go about this will be, but hopefully we’ll figure it out soon and I'll share in next week’s update.

Agent J rocking her Octonauts hat from a birthday party last weekend
After much back-and-forth indecision (mostly on my part) we decided to throw Spanish into the mix this week. Now, we’ve tried this in the past and it never really got off the ground, so we’re hoping that it sticks this time. We started with a very basic (Grade 1) Spanish workbook and we will build from there. This week focused primarily on numbers. 

We covered mountains this week, including a book about the first expedition to reach Everest’s summit. Thinking of switching up our geography studies once we get to the end of this unit on planet earth. Maybe moving away from physical geography and going back to studying the human geography of different countries. (The fact that we booked a trip to Disney this week and cannot wait to get back to the World Showcase in Epcot may have possibly influenced this decision a wee bit.)

We took another break from our history spine this week. (Truth: It’s going pretty slow.) We also kind of gave up on one of the human evolution books we were reading—the level of detail is simply too much for right now. We did, however, continue with our survey of world religions. We talked about Hinduism and read a few books including a Hindu folk tale. (We’re kind of into folk tales around here. Not sure how or when that got started.)

This week we got more into our study of mammals, concentrating on marsupials. We finished the Life of Mammals series on Netflix as well. The Senior Agents are currently undecided as to what types of animals they would like to move onto next.

Having wrapped up our study of the muscular system, we decided to take a brief break from looking at the individual body systems to tackle germs. (This was totally prompted by randomly running across Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs at the library.) There are several experiments to try, so we’ll likely continue with this for at least another week or so. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fluffy
(Yes, we had a wedding ceremony)
We read several fun books this week about the use of color in art, and learned a bit about how folks used to make their own paints (often with super-expensive and/or poisonous substances). Then we messed around with paint on our own. Because, messing.

This week we looked at stringed instruments. We also did a little mini-review of some of the other instruments we covered so far. Agent E continues to practice her keyboard skills daily. She only knows the first few notes, but The Imperial March is on her list of must-learn tunes.

So much for our run of decent weather and getting outside daily. Rain plus cold means we need a new plan and we need it soon. Our enthusiasm for exercise videos kind of fizzled. The few days it wasn’t pouring this week, we did make it out for a walk around the neighborhood. But we definitely need to work on options for our second New York winter. We spent way too many days inside last year.

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