Thursday, August 12, 2010

Starting Early: Week 1 and 2

Our school year doesn't officially start until next Monday, but I decided the kids needed something to do with their time other than beg for more computer time so we started early.  It also gives us some breathing room for when the lead work is completed on our home.  The fact that we don't have all of our curriculum yet didn't deter me, nor did the fact that my planning wasn't complete.  I just jumped right in with the subjects we had available and figured I get the planning done eventually in the process.

I was reasonable, though, in assuming we'd start off slow and build up to full days.  I'll add in subjects as we receive the additional supplies I'm waiting for.  In the meantime, we've completed two partial weeks of school.  Here's what we did:

Language Arts

We covered grammar, vocabulary, poetry, literature, and writing.  In grammar, both kids covered basically the same things: an introduction, nouns (common, proper), pronouns (subject, object, demonstrative, possessive, interrogative), and adjectives, including articles.  Mika's reading also included singular and plural nouns and antecedents.  In vocabulary, each kid completed a chapter each covering five Latin stems.  Mika's book also reviewed the first five stems from last year.  In poetry, we read the introductory pages explaining that poets often use sounds to convey the things they are talking about.  We using a "reading companion" from an 8th grade textbook to cover some reading comprehension skills this year, and read/discussed the first selection from that.  It was a short story set during the Civil War.  (I got this textbook and four reading companion workbooks for free; they were brand new.)  In writing, they completed their first assignment in U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Volume 1: a poem about America.


Mika and Sam are both working on finishing last year's math lessons.  We got behind between having a three year old, an infant, and friends moving away.  Mika is nearly done.  She worked on a lesson in finding an unknown when there is a fractional coefficient.  Sam completed 2 1/2 years worth of curriculum last year and is working on the last half of prealgebra; he really wants to get to his algebra.  His lessons including finding the greatest common factor using prime factorization and adding polynomials.


We've covered half of the first chapter of Apologia's Zoology 2, which is about swimming creatures.  We read about nektonic and benthic animals, plankton, surface currants, deep ocean currents, and salt vs. fresh water. 

We completed a simple activity demonstrating how wind causes surface currents which form gyres.  Kids always love simple demonstrations like this.

We also are working through Real Science 4 Kids: Chemistry 1 at Sam's request.  We completed the first chapter which covered atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, and the Periodic Table of Elements.  We read through the short, simple chapter, took an easy test I wrote (Mika got 100%, Sam got 97%), and completed the accompanying Kogs 4 Kids vocabulary chapter.

Also in the science arena, I would include our garden.  The kids, especially Sam, are really enjoying watching the vegetables grow and picking them as they ripen.  It's been a great, hands-on learning experience for them.

Fine Arts

It is my goal to do more fine arts this year.  This is one of the subjects that I feel I have really neglected.  My goal includes three separate areas: art projects from Art Projects for Kids (many of which are based on the work of actual artists), drawing lessons from Draw Squad (we started this last year but didn't get very far), and some basic orchestra/composer using Story of the Orchestra and a CD set that I own.

We completed this patterned hand project last week.  It took four sessions to complete, but the kids think the final product looked cool.

This week, we completed this Dubuffet inspired Cow with a Subtle Nose.  Mika's is the one with the pink background.  Sam's is the one with an orange background; we love his tiny head and feet. 

We can't forget PE...also called summer fun with friends.  I'm making sure they still have time for fun while the weather is nice.

And...we gave Madelynn some driving lessons.  : )

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