Day 174

N and C dragged their feet into school today. They spent much of their time in geography singing “boots and cats and boots and cats” and “oontsa oontsa oontsa.” Thank goodness there wasn’t much one-on-one instructional time for me, because they are definitely feeling summer coming!

N (age 11):

  • Math: N is still, once again, woefully behind in her math. But that’s not stopping me from plowing on ahead. The worst-case scenario for her is that she won’t be allowed in the pool next week until she’s all caught up (I’m also planning to use the pool as blackmail to get the girls to clean their rooms in the morning). She warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on measurements (weight, volume, length, temperature, etc.). Her lesson was on geometric transformations (i.e. rotation, translation, and reflection). She remember learning it before. We used some tangram pieces to illustrate each transformation in a concrete way. She was assigned a lesson review.
  • Spelling: N practiced her words using the prefixes “trans-,” “un-,” and “dis-.”
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Science: N and C researched Shen Kua and his contribution to science, and wrote about it.
  • Geography: N and C filled out their Middle East maps and all the countries they know so far in their Southeast Asia maps. They learned about the country of Malaysia today. I couldn’t find information on Malaysia in either Time for Kids or National Geographic Kids, so I had to settle for a combination of National Geographic and the CIA World Factbook to piece together a lesson for them.
  • Music: N practiced her scales and the song she was assigned this week.

C (age 9):

  • Math: C is also woefully behind in her math. But, again, I’m plowing ahead. For mental math, C learned a new strategy for addition problems (e.g. for 35+8, 35+5 makes 40 and 8 can be divided into 5+3, so the problem becomes 35+5+3). She was very annoyed to be learning this new mental math method and was quite uncooperative and grumpy through the mental math process. The lesson was much easier. She reviewed the times tables for 0, 1, 2, and 5. She completed a worksheet on multiplication and was assigned a lesson review.
  • Spelling: C practiced her words with different spellings of the long “e” sound.
  • Reading: C read Little House in the Big Woods for 20 minutes.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • Geography: Combined class with N.
  • Music: C practiced her chord transitions to G7 and the A note.

S (age 6):

  • Math: S and I counted to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s using the 100-number chart. For her lesson, she acted out addition and subtraction story problems using counting bears. The kids always love using the counting bears in math. The hardest part is tearing them away from the bears for the next subject.
  • Reading: S reviewed the letter “n” with a worksheet from The Measured Mom. We sang the alphabet song together and S located the lowercase “o” on our alphabet poster. While she colored a picture of an otter curled around a lowercase “o,” I read her three poems, emphasizing both long and short /o/ sounds as they came up. We played “Silly Sentences” again. I said an alliterated sentence and S told me the beginning sound of the words used in each sentence. I read another chapter of Anne of Green Gables and her Usborne Book about sharks.
  • Writing: S copied lowercase “o” on a custom worksheet.

Day 173

We were so excited to get our Pampered Chef delivery today. There were individual-sized pizza stones, and the kids had to have pizza for supper. So, instead of blogging about our school day, I made pizza dough and pizza sauce and toppings. A good portion of the day was spent catching up on all the independent work that N and C had put off for the past week.

N (age 11):

  • Math: N played catch-up and then reviewed finding the areas of complicated polygons. As I suspected, she didn’t retain much from the day before.
  • Spelling: N completed the workbook introduction to her next lesso, which is words using the prefixes “trans-,” “un-,” and “dis-.” She also learned the meaning of each prefix.
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Bible: N and C recited their memory verses, the books of the Old Testament, the books of the New Testament through Colossians, and the twelve tribes of Israel. They learned about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Some of the Egyptians left with them, the rest gave them all manner of wealth just to get rid of them.
  • Science: N and C copied definitions related to weathering and erosion.
  • History: N and C learned about the end of the ancient kingdom of Israel and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. They located Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Haran on a map. N did supplemental reading and took notes.
  • Music: N practiced her scales. She’s already mastered the song for her newest lesson, so I’ll start her on the next song next week. I also purchased the BlueNote app for her so she could practice reading music daily.

C (age 9):

  • Math: C played catch-up on some of her independent work as well. She warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on addition. In her lesson, she learned the three properties of multiplication (commutative, zero, and identity properties) and learned how to use a multiplication table. The multiplication table was not a hit. She found it distracting and cumbersome.
  • Spelling: C practiced her words with different spellings of the long “e” sound.
  • Reading: C read Little House in the Big Woods for 20 minutes.
  • Bible: Combined class with N.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • History: Combined class with N. C didn’t do any supplemental reading or notes.
  • Music: C practiced her chord transitions from G7 and the A note.

S (age 6):

  • Math: S practiced counting to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s using the 100-number chart. We also recited the Presidents, because I’m not going to say “no” when a child asks if she can recite the Presidents. The lesson was on identifying the largest and smallest shape, and on covering half a shape.
  • Reading: S reviewed the letter “m” with a printout from The Measured Mom. We sang the alphabet song together, and she located the lowercase letter “n” on the alphabet poster. While she colored a picture of the letter “n” and a nest full of baby birds, I read her three short poems and emphasized the /n/ sound in them. We played “Get Out of the Wagon.” I gave her sets of three picture cards, with two cards having the same beginning sound. She identified the picture card with a different beginning sound. I read her a chapter of Anne of Green Gables.
  • Writing: S practiced writing lowercase “n” on a custom worksheet.

Day 172

Attention spans meandered like rivers on a flood plain today. And there was a fly in the classroom that was ever so much more fascinating than me droning on about weathering and erosion and the symbolism of Seders. We finished work pretty quickly, but I’ve yet to ascertain how much was actually learned. I guess we’ll see tomorrow. C has requested that she keep going with classes for two more weeks after we finish school, because she wants to start school two weeks later than everyone else in August. Of course, the pool’s not open yet. Her idea might seem less palatable when kids are swimming right outside the classroom window.

N (age 11):

  • Math: N warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on percent/fraction/decimal equivalents. Her lesson was on finding the area of complicated polygons. She was putting on quite a show of being tired, by slumping and looking at me through half-closed eyes. She gets her dramatic flair from me. I think she paid more attention to her performance than the lesson, but she stumbled through it and I’ll review it with her in the days to come. She was assigned a lesson review.
  • Spelling: N did the workbook activities to introduce her to the next lesson.
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Bible: N and C practiced their memory verses, the books of the Old Testament, the books of the New Testament through Colossians, and the twelve tribes of Israel. The lesson was on the origins of Passover and the symbolism of the Seder plate.
  • Science: N and C learned more about erosion and weathering. We looked at pictures of Zeugens and Inselbergs (most notably, Ayers Rock in Australia). We talked about the formation of rivers and underground springs. We looked at pictures of clints and grikes as we discussed chemical weathering and acid rain. And we began an experiment to demonstrate layering of sediment in riverbeds.
  • Geography: N and C filled in their Middle East maps and all the countries they know so far on their Southeast Asia maps. Today’s country was Cambodia. We talked about subsistence farming and the importance of the Mekong River to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Social Studies: N and C began their group study on the state of New Jersey. I divided up the work between the two of them and sent them on their way, warning them to not be “weak links” in the group project and giving them an anecdote about a group project I did in college with a “weak link.” And then I told them not to call each other a “weak link,” because I can totally see that happening.
  • Music: N practiced her scales. Her new lesson involves skipping “line notes” and skipping “space notes.” N is always frustrated at the introduction of a new lesson, but she usually masters the lesson within a week.

C (age 9):

  • Math: C warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on subtraction. In her lesson, she learned to visualize multiplication as repeated addition. Visualizations like today and yesterday are a big help for my right-brained learner moving from concrete to abstract concepts. She completed a lesson review.
  • Spelling: C practiced her words with different spellings of the long “e” sound.
  • Reading: C read Little House in the Big Woods for 20 minutes. I loved the Little House books when I was her age!
  • Bible: Combined class with N.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • Geography: Combined class with N.
  • Social Studies: Combined class with N.
  • Music: C practiced her chord transitions and the A note.

S (age 6):

  • Math: S used the 100-number chart to count to 100 by 1s and 10s. Together, we counted to 100 by 5s. She counted backwards from 20 to 1. The lesson was on counting nickels through 25 cents. Lots of counting by 5s today.
  • Reading: S did a review sheet on lowercase “l” from The Measured Mom. We sang the alphabet song together and S located lowercase “m” on our alphabet poster. While she colored a picture of the letter “m” and a boy looking at the moon through a telescope, I read three short poems. I made sure to emphasize the /m/ sound in the poems. We played the game where S had to pretend to pack all the picture cards beginning with the /t/ sound so I could go visit my friend Terry. She does very well with beginning sounds now. I read a chapter of Anne of Green Gables to her. S is continuing to work her way through her collection of Dick and Jane books using a special reading strip designed to isolate lines of text and help with visual processing difficulties common in dyslexia. One of the first stories I remember reading as a little girl was a Dick and Jane story about their cat sitting on the television set. I’m so excited that S enjoys reading the same stories I read as a child!
  • Writing: S practiced writing lowercase “m” on a custom worksheet.

Day 171

Second to last week. Kids all around us are getting out of school already, and the girls are getting antsy. I’m trying to think of the things that I need to do over the summer. I’m going to continue classes with S, particularly reading, because she needs so much more repetition in order to make things stick. And I’m going to continue Bible lessons so I can start where I want to be next year. And I’m going to have N and C fill out maps of South America, Central America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia at least once a week to make sure they don’t forget their geography. I’ll encourage reading on their own. N is anxious to get through the Harry Potter books so she can see all the movies. C showed an interest in the Little House books (some of my favorites from when I was her age!). I had to push Spanish to the back burner for N about eight weeks in because of time constraints, but I think I’ll reintroduce it next year and have her do it as a combined class with C.

N (age 11):

  • Math: N warmed up with a worksheet on linear measurement conversions and some mental math. She had a short lesson on two-step equations. She breezed through it. On to lesson review!
  • Spelling: N had an assessment. She asked if she could be assessed orally instead of writing the words. I told her she should probably write them down so she can visualize the words. She ended up choosing an oral assessment and making two mistakes that she would have most likely caught if she’d done the test on paper. Lesson learned, I hope.
  • Writing: N finished up her observations on a rotting strawberry.
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Bible: N and C were introduced to their new memory verse (Exodus 20:12). They reviewed all their verses, recited the books of the Old Testament, recited the books of the New Testament through Colossians, and sang the twelve tribes of Israel song. The girls learned about the ten plagues of Egypt. We discussed the purpose of God continuing to send plagues as opposed to simply making Pharaoh let the Israelites go.
  • Science: N and C began learning about erosion from wind and water.
  • History: N and C learned about the Pax Romana and the origins of Christianity. They mapped the locations of Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. N did supplementary reading and took notes.
  • Logic: N learned about the bandwagon method of propaganda. She then identified “appeal to pity,” “appeal to fear,” and “bandwagon” techniques from examples.
  • Music: N practiced her scales and her song. I’ll teach her a new one tomorrow, because I’m running out of time today.

C (age 9):

  • Math: C warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on subtraction. She practiced drawing fractions in order to move from the concrete to the abstract. She completed a lesson review.
  • Spelling: C did the workbook introduction to her next spelling lesson, which is on different spellings of the long “e” sound.
  • Reading: C read Goddess Girls: Pheme the Gossip for 20 minutes.
  • Bible: Combined class with N.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • History: Combined class with N. C didn’t do the supplemental reading or notes.
  • Music: C practiced chord transitions to G7 and the A note.

S (age 6): Flashcard Day! S has also been working her way through Dick and Jane books. It’s helping her to feel like she’s accomplishing something with all of the work she’s been doing with letter recognition.

Day 170

After today, we only have ten school days left. I’m not feeling as burnt out this year as I have in years past. Maybe it’s because I’m not pregnant or caring for a newborn!

N (age 11):

  • Math: Although not a “Fun Friday” subject, N had to complete some worksheets, a lesson review and an assessment. Sigh.
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Bible: We’re a bit ahead in Bible, so I was just going to do a quick review of the verses, the books of the Bible that N and C know so far, and the twelve tribes of Israel. But, N and C wanted their lesson as well, and I’m not going to stand in the way of educational curiosity! They learned about Moses and the burning bush. We talked about Moses using all kinds of excuses to try to get out of what God told him to do, and we talked about the excuses people use to do the same now.
  • Science: N and C did an experiment to show how erosion causes mountains to rise in the earth’s mantle, causing a constant (albeit extremely slow) cycling of rocks on the planet.
  • Geography: N and C filled in their South and Central America maps for review.
  • Social Studies: N finished up her part of the group study of Pennsylvania.
  • Art: N and C practiced the stippling technique using oil pastels to draw a scene from a coral reef.

C (age 9):

  • Reading: C read Goddess Girls: Pheme the Gossip for 20 minutes.
  • Bible: Combined class with N.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • Geography: Combined class with N.
  • Social Studies: C just has to copy N’s work onto her project sheet.
  • Art: Combined class with N.

S (age 6):

  • Math: S used the 100-number chart to count to 100 by 1s and 10s. She counted backwards from 10 to 1. Today, she was introduced to the nickel. She compared and contrasted the coin to a penny and a dime. Then, I demonstrated counting by 5s to her. Together, we counted by 5s to 100 using the 100-number chart.
  • Reading: S reviewed lowercase “k” with a printout from The Measured Mom. She sang the alphabet song and located lowercase “l” on the alphabet poster. While she colored a picture of a lowercase “l” with (what else?) leaves, I read her three poems, being sure to emphasize the /l/ sound. We played “Silly Sentences” again. Even with baby R (age 15 mos.) distracting her, she was able to pick out the beginning sounds. She was a bit bored with the game, so I had her come up with a few alliterated sentences of her own. This was a little harder than identifying the sound when listening. I read her a chapter of Anne of Green Gables.
  • Writing: S practiced writing lowercase “l” on a custom worksheet.

Day 169

N didn’t want to sit in the classroom to finish all her independent work. I encourage my kids to think outside the box when looking for solutions, and to try to problem-solve. N came up with a schedule for getting her independent work done. She set start times and break times and deadlines for herself. And then she started mowing the lawn. Until she decided to visit the kids across the street. Until she decided to visit the retired couple a few doors down. And while I appreciate her well-rounded social life, she didn’t get her independent work done. So, it’s back to the classroom until she’s finished with her independent work for the day. Failure is a good teacher. And N is always one to get back on the horse.

N (age 11):

  • Math: N warmed up with a worksheet on fraction/decimal/percent conversions, and moved on to an assessment (which she didn’t finish yet, because it was scheduled for a time when she was visiting one of our neighbors. She’ll have to finish that up tomorrow.
  • Spelling: N practiced her words using vowel digraphs “oi,” “oy,” “ou,” and “ow.”
  • Writing: N finished her introductory paragraph and continued to write observations on her rotting strawberry.
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Bible: N and C reviewed their memory verses, the books of the Old Testament, the books of the New Testament through 2 Corinthians, and the twelve tribes of Israel. The lesson was on the birth of Moses, his adoption by an Egyptian princess, the murder he committed and attempted to cover up, and his marriage to the daughter of the priest of Midian.
  • Science: N and C researched this week’s scientists, James Hutton and G. B. Airy.
  • Geography: N and C filled in their Middle East maps. Then, they filled in all the countries they’ve learned so far in their Southeast Asia maps. Today’s country was Vietnam, which we found on Time for Kids. We talked about Communism and the concept of fairness versus the reality of human nature.
  • Music: N practiced her song for the last time before we move on to the next song in her lesson book tomorrow.

C (age 9):

  • Math: C also had an assessment today, along with a worksheet on addition. She completed it, and I’ll review it with her on Monday to insure that she doesn’t need a refresher of any of the concepts we’ve learned so far.
  • Spelling: N gave C an assessment. She got one word wrong.
  • Writing: C made corrections on yesterday’s writing assignment. She’d written the sentences in past tense, so I gave her some examples of present tense sentences and had her re-write them.
  • Reading: C read Goddess Girls: Pheme the Gossip for 2o minutes
  • Bible: Combined class with N.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • Geography: Combined class with N.
  • Music: C practiced her chord transitions and the A note.

S (age 6):

  • Math: S used the 100-number chart to count to 100 by 1s and 10s. She counted backwards from 10 to 1. Her lesson was on measuring length using nonstandard units. We used linking cubes to measure various objects lying around the classroom.
  • Reading: S reviewed lowercase “j” using a worksheet from The Measured Mom. She sang the alphabet song and located lowercase “k” on the alphabet poster. While she colored a picture of a “k” with kids flying a kite, I read her three short poems, being sure to emphasize the /k/ sound when it came up. We played a game called “Silly Sentences.” I said an alliterated sentence, and S identified the prominent sound in each sentence. She’s gotten to where she does pretty well with identifying beginning sounds when she hears them. I read her a chapter of Anne of Green Gables. I think I’m enjoying the book more than she is, but her comprehension is increasing. She just doesn’t like Anne. She calls her a “blabbermouth.”
  • Writing: S practiced writing lowercase “k” on a custom worksheet.

Day 168

The heating pad and stretches are starting to do the trick. My back muscles are not spasming as much as they did yesterday. Today, being a Wednesday, was a historically easy instructional day for me. The older two had a lot of independent work, and I only had a little bit to teach. N no sooner got caught up on her work than she started asking to “take a break,” “run to the neighbors for a few minutes,” etc. I forbade it, telling her that I didn’t want to see her work pile up again as soon as she got it down to a manageable amount.

N (age 11):

  • Math: N warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on decimal/fraction/percent conversions. Her lesson was on using proportions to solve percent problems (e.g. “Thirty percent of the paintings were portraits. If there were twelve portraits, how many paintings were there in all?”). N enjoys doing proportion problems and was able to figure out most of them using mental math. She completed a lesson review.
  • Spelling: N practiced her words using the vowel digraphs “oi,” “oy,” “ou,” and “ow.” I think I’ll give her an assessment tomorrow.
  • Writing: N finished the introduction to her paper on change and jotted down some observations on her rotting strawberry.
  • Reading: N read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Bible: N and C started learning the week’s verse (Exodus 20:11). They recited the books of the Old Testament and the books of the New Testament through 2 Corinthians. We sang the song about the twelve tribes of Israel. The lesson introduced the Israelites’ enslavement in Egypt. We discussed civil disobedience, and the potential consequences and rewards of engaging in it.
  • Science: N and C copied science definitions related to the formation of mountains.
  • History: N and C learned about Caesar Augustus and how he became the first emperor of the Roman Empire. They mapped out the boundaries of the Roman Empire. N did supplemental reading and took notes.
  • Music: N practiced her scales and continued practicing the song that introduced sixteenth notes.

C (age 9):

  • Math: C warmed up with mental math and a worksheet on subtraction. Her lesson was on finding a missing number in an addition or subtraction problem by forming fact families. She likes to streamline the process of things, and she needed some help streamlining the forming of fact families. Encouraging her to take her time seemed to fall on deaf ears, so I instead helped her find shortcuts to forming fact families (making sure that she understood the concept). She completed a lesson review.
  • Spelling: C practiced her words with different spellings of the long “o” and long “u” sounds.
  • Writing: C finalized her list of sequential actions from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
  • Bible: Combined class with N.
  • Science: Combined class with N.
  • History: Combined class with N.
  • Music: C practiced her chord transitions and the A note.

S (age 6):

  • Math: S used the 100-number chart to count to 100 by 1s and 10s. She counted backwards from 10 to 1. Her lesson today introduced her to tangrams.I showed her how to use her tangram pieces to make a square, and she copied it. Then, she used the tangram pieces to make her own shapes. She named each of the pieces (e.g. triangle, square, parallelogram).
  • Reading: S reviewed the lowercase “i” using a printout from The Measured Mom. We sang the alphabet song and she located the lowercase “j” on our alphabet poster. While she colored a picture of the letter “j” and a jar of jam, I read her three short poems, being sure to emphasize the /j/ sound when it came up. We played “Get Out of the Wagon” again (same game we played yesterday). I read her some more Anne of Green Gables. Her listening comprehension is improving.
  • Writing: S practiced writing lowercase “j” on a custom worksheet.