Agent Homeschooling 2015-2016: Week 21

Wrapping up a kinda sorta light-ish week as we move into Thanksgiving break. Because we homeschool year round, we are on track to far exceed the minimum number of days required in our state. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—and quite honestly I don’t even think the Agents would notice—but it does leave us a lot of flexibility as far as days off. So we will not be doing any structured “school” next week, although I have a feeling the change in routine may backfire. Time will tell.

Here are some things we worked on this week with Agent E {4th} and Agent J {2nd}:

  • {math, 2nd} Skip counting and basic multiplication, plus an introduction to multiplying a two-digit number by a one-digit number. She is also re-reading Life of Fred: Cats.
  • {math, 4th} Place value of larger numbers, partial sums {she was not impressed with this method}, and more multiplication and division word problems. This week she read Math: A Book You Can Count On! by Dan Green, part of the fabulous series of Basher Books. {Seriously, check it out. The titles are awesome.}
  • {math, 4th and 2nd} Life of Eratosthenes, the person who first calculated the circumference of the earth. For a fun read check out The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky.
  • {language arts} How to write a story. We love Look At My Book by Loreen Leedy for its great step-by-step, kid-friendly instructions. The Agents plan to use their week “off” to compose their own fiction stories.
  • {Spanish} Using pronouns and creating plurals. We’re on book two of the Brighter Child Spanish workbooks and of course have been watching our pal Little Pim as well.
  • {geography} We’re still enjoying our geology study; yay, rocks! Yesterday was the monthly homeschool workshop at our Barnes and Noble and the topic was . . . geology. We did not plan it that way, but it’s cool how it worked out. {Check to see if the Barnes and Noble in your area offers a program for homeschoolers. The Agents really enjoy it each month.}
  • {history} Socrates. We finished reading Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates by M.D. Usher.
  • {science} Rabbits, hares, and pikas. Agent J has an affinity for “bunnies” so we decided to take another week on this particular group of mammals. While we supplement with other books, our spine for our animal studies is The Animal Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of Life on Earth, by Smithsonian and DK Publishing. We are simply working our way through the mammals section in order. Next up: Rodents.
  • {science and history} Charles Darwin. We finished up Darwin {With Glimpses into his Private Journal and Letters} by Alice B. McGinty and have several other books about his contributions on our list. The evolution of life on earth has been a favorite study topic of ours ever since Agent E first saw the Human Origins exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History during our trip to Washington, D.C. a year ago.
  • {health} Circulatory system. Of course this included a viewing of the corresponding KidsHealth video on the heart. {This is a great site for health topics for kids that you should definitely bookmark.} Our spine book for health this year is Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia by DK Publishing.
  • {music} Handel’s Messiah. We listened to the Classical Kids CD of the story. This is the third one we've tried, and quite honestly the Agents are not super thrilled with it. {For the record, I thought they were pretty cool.} We’ll probably go back to simply reading out of our spine book {The Children's Book of Music by DK Publishing} and listening to samples.
  • {art} Brief biographies of Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, and Andy Warhol. This concluded our reading of 13 Artists Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel, and we now have 13 Sculptures Children Should Know {same author} waiting in the wings.
  • {world religions} We’re continuing to read from What Do You Believe? each week. We actually went back and started the book over when we decided to buy it after having it checked out of the library for the maximum number of renewal times. It is a really wonderful book for introducing young children to faiths around the world.
  • {Thanksgiving} In anticipation of the holiday next week, we also began 1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac {a National Geographic Society publication}. This came highly recommended from a fellow homeschooler and has so far proven very interesting. Definitely not your typical Pilgrims and turkey story.
  • {PE} Agent A {age five, kindergarten this year but not usually included in these update posts} has developed a love of walking laps around the neighborhood. Each lap is approximately a quarter mile. We usually do five, because, well, five. Some days we do more; a few days recently we did ten. Hoping to get in as much outside PE as we can while the weather is still cooperating.

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