Sunday, April 29, 2012

See you in a week

As I've already told you, we'll be observing Screen-Free Week. It starts tomorrow, 4/30/12, and runs through 5/6/12. So, I'll be back & posting on the 7th. Have a great week!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Week in Review 4/27/12

This will actually cover 2 weeks - last week & this week.

It has been a busy & hectic two weeks. Last week, we officially started Jay's 3rd grade year. However, we only ended up doing school two days. Wednesday, I had a migraine. Thursday, I still had my migraine & Jay had a headache. Dea had a worse day, though. She wasn't paying attention to her breakfast & used syrup that had started to mold. She spent the rest of the day vomiting. In the afternoon, we took her to the ER, when it appeared that she had started to vomit blood. It turned out to be just coloring from the boysenberry syrup. Friday, we decided to take the day off to recuperate from the previous two days. Then, this week wasn't a full week either. Jay did no school on Wednesday. He claimed he had a stomachache all morning, then a headache throughout the afternoon. We also missed Tuesday due to total lack of sleep. Dea didn't manage to get much school work done these two weeks, either, and has managed to show me even less.

In other events of these weeks, we got a new kitten. He is 5 weeks old, all black, and is named Nightmare. As I type this, he is climbing my chair & trying to eat my mouse cord. He is a very frisky little thing. The vet said he is just fine - no ticks, no fleas, no injuries or illnesses. He wasn't fully weaned when we got him, but that changed quickly. He wasn't doing a lot of moving around when we got him, either. That has also changed. He was pretty much a rescue. A neighbor has an outdoor cat that they refuse to spay, and it pops out a new litter every year. So, they've been walking around the neighborhood giving the kitten to anyone who will take them. The reason I say it's kind of a rescue is that this particular family should not have pets. The mother cat is not well cared for, and I have seen the daughter treat kitten from previous litters in unacceptable ways. We also found a great vet. We had been very unsatisfied with the vets we had previously dealt with. This place, though, is much better. We took the dog in for a second opinion on all of the things wrong with her. Her knees are not as bad as we had been told, and can be fixed with surgery. Though surgery is not needed at this time. He aslo said that she does NOT have an allergy to grains. We had thought that her constant scratching her ears was from the grain allergy we had been told she had. She is on a homemade grain-free diet, but regularly sneaks cat food, bread tossed in the yard for the birds, etc. Apparently, she's been scratching her ears simply because they are dirty. He saw no mites, no infection, and no signs of food allergy. That means that she can eat real dog food!

As I said, Dea did, well... not much of anything these last two weeks. She got busted spending school time watching videos on YouTube, commenting on songs on Pandora, and visiting various other sites she has no permission to visit. That pretty much explains the lack of actual school work to show at the end of the day.

Jay: (the page where I listed his 3rd grade curriculum also has the abbreviations I'll use for each, in case you aren't sure what something is)
PP p.8-12
Metric1 p.16-24
TTM1 p.10-13
TTM4 p.9

Language Arts:
EG3 p.2-6
AAS3 step 3 & 4
CTD chap 1
discussed Metaphors & Onomatopoeia
vocab - diurnal, malady, hypochondria

LFCA chap 19

LS2 lesson 4 & 5

MC - latitude

Each week he chose a work of art & we studied & discussed it - what we liked & disliked about it, how it made us feel, what it made us think, the medium used, the colors, lines, etc. We learned who the artist was & when that particular piece was done. The two paintings he chose were: Aristocratic Children in a Carriage Drawn by Goats - Ferdinand Bol and The Scream - Edvard Munch.

N.A. flute

History & Science:
He read several books for these subjects. His new History topic is Medieval Times. His new Science topis is Meteorology.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Screen-Free Week 2012 Update

Screen-Free Week 2012 is April 30 - May 6. We will be participating this year.

Yesterday, my husband & I discussed what Screen-Free Week will mean for us. Unfortunately, it isn't logical to turn off all screens completely. Dea has to use the computer for her Writing class, since it's online. The Spanish she is supposed to be doing & the computer programming she claims to want to do both require the computer. If Jay decides to continue with either Spanish or computer programming, he'll need the computer. He also uses the computer to type his writing assignments. The DVD lessons are a big part of his Latin study and his ASL is currently entirely based on DVDs. I could just have them skip those subjects for that week, but I really don't want to. That seems irrational to me.

SO, they will be allowed to use the computer only for those uses which have no other viable option. They will be allowed to continue with any DVD lessons that are required or are a large part of their course. They will be allowed to use my Nook to read e-books.

They will NOT be allowed to play on the computer for fun. They will NOT be doing fun educational games that are not necessary to their education. They will not be watching TV for fun. We will limit their TV use to only the DVDs needed for their courses. They will not be allowed to use my Nook for the games/apps. They will not be allowed to suddenly ignore the real books they have & start only reading e-books, so they can use my Nook.

My husband will be using his tablet for reading e-books & for checking messages related to him working on people's cars. That will be the extent of his computer use outside of work. I will check my email 1-2 times a day, in case I get an important email that can't be ignored for a week. I will still use the internet for paying bills. I will use the computer for my online courses. I will post to my blog before & after, but not during the week. I will use my Nook for reading.

The TV will actually be on a lot. It will be on so that we can use it to listen to Pandora through our Roku. That way, we still get the background noise we need. We will not watch any TV, though, except for the DVDs needed for school.

So, TV & computer use will be limited to what is necessary. Their will be no extraneous use of either. We are not counting our phones in Screen-Free Week, since they are not Smartphones. I will not ban texting. That would just mean that we'd end up spending more time on the phone, anyway. We have no video games, so those aren't a problem.

So, that's our plan. I will actually be typing up the expectations & rules and giving a copy to each child, so they can't say they didn't know something was off limits or allowed. I know that some people plan activities for every day, to make sure they have something to do. We won't be doing that, though. We will check what is going on in the city, which we would do anyway. We will play family games, read, the kids will spend time outside, etc. We really aren't bit on 'structured' fun time. I prefer to be open & flexible about it, instead of planning every moment of fun we will have.

What about you? Will you be observing Screen-Free Week this year? If you will be doing it, will you be planning activities to fill the time or leaving it open?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Week in Review 4/13/12 End of grade 2

Dea went out of town last week. She didn't get home until Monday night, and I gave her Tuesday off to make sure she got enough sleep. She's going to spend part of her weekend doing schoolwork, to make up for what she didn't get done this week, since she slacked a bit all week long. So, this post won't have anything to do with her school, just Jay's.

This was our final week of Grade 2. As of Monday morning, he will be starting 3rd grade.

PP p. 1 - 7
Metric1 p.10 - 14
TTM4 p.8
TTM1 p.8-9

Language Arts:
AAS3 step 2
EG2 day 177-180
title page, illustrations, and assemble/bind book on Giganotosaurus for Writing
vocab - obstinate, anthropomorphic, superfluous

LFC A chap 18

ST vol 8 The Great Outdoors

MC equator
Geography games

LS2 lesson 3


made an electromagnet

It was an easy week. I have been dealing with a lot of pain this week. So, we took it easy most of the week and skipped a whole day. We are waiting until next week to start the new topic for History. We will start the new topic for Science either next week or the week after. Spanish and Computer Programming are his choices, and he does not have to do them. He will have to do Spanish in a few years, but he chose to do it now. I'm not sure that he'll be continuing with either of those in 3rd grade. He has always been fairly sporadic about doing them.

I have spent this week packing up the finished work from 2nd grade, getting it into the tote in which it will live. Now that he has finished the last little bit of 2nd grade work, I will get that put in the tote & get the tote put away. We are not taking a break between grade. He will start 3rd grade on Monday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Electricity & Magnetism (grade 2)


The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip
Benjamin Franklin: Electrified the World with New Ideas
I've Discovered Electricity!
Ben Franklin His Wit and Wisdom From A - Z
Circuits, Shocks, and Lightning
The Story Behind Electricity
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin
Electricity & Magnetism
The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin
How Does a Waterfall Become Electricity
Electricity: Turn It On!
Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions You Can Build Yourself
Electromagnetism and How it Works
Thomas Edison Wizard of Light and Sound


MSB Gets a Bright Idea
MSB Getting Energized
MSB Gets Charged
Bill Nye the Science Guy: Magnetism
Tesla: Master of Lightning
Nikola Tesla: The Genius Who Lit the World


Testing what's magnetic
seeing the magnetic field

magnetic pictures

draw & label parts of atom

Magic School Bus Electricity kit:
5 activities on Static Electricity : what causes it, how to get rid of it, see it make sparks, make it bend water, make it move cereal
testing conductivity of metals & fruits and which combination of 2 metals & 1 fruit create the most voltage:

Test conductors & insulators

4 experiments & 2 games from MSB kit, all dealing with circuits:

Creating an electromagnet

We also visited a ton of websites, but since I didn't list them as we visited, it would take way too much time to list all here. With future posts like this, I plan to write the post as we go, including the sites we use as well as the books, dvds, & activities. Hopefully, that will prevent the posts from having resources & activities missing.

Finishing 2nd Grade

This is Jay's last week of 2nd grade. As of April 16th, he will be a 3rd grader! In regards to the work, this means nothing. We've already started on the Spelling & Math for 3rd grade. He is only halfway done with his Latin, so we'll just continue it in 3rd, starting on the next level when this one is done. He finished History last week. He will finish his 2nd grade Grammar, Writing, and Science this week, by sheer coincidence.

He is thrilled about moving on to 3rd grade and keeps saying that he wishes today was the first day of the new school year. He is really looking forward to being able to say that he's a 3rd grader.

Of course, the kids are now on totally different schedules and Dea's year is not ending soon. This may seem more confusing, but I haven't noticed any problems with it, yet. Actually, Jay's excitement over his new year starting (plus the arrival of the new materials) has been getting Dea excited about her next year. So, maybe she'll get a move on with this year's work so she can get to next year.

He is getting so big and, in some ways, acting so grown up. There are times when I can honestly forget that he is only 8, like when I'm searching for Algebra programs for him, in case Life of Fred doesn't work for him. Or when he starts in with his encyclopedic knowledge of something. Or when I wake up in pain from one of my conditions, and he says "Mom you stay in bed and rest. I'll do my independent work. I can do (fill in the blank with the list of subjects he can do without me) while you rest."

Of course, there are other times when he is very much like a typical young boy, like when we're at the library and gets excited about a Goosebumps or Scooby-Doo that he hasn't seen or the next book in the Warriors series. Or when he gets excited about our read-aloud.

It is just so hard to believe that in a week, he will officially be a 3rd grader.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vikings (grade 2)

The 13th Warrior
The Viking Age: The Story of Civilization
Leif Ericson - Voyages of a Viking
The Viking Deception
The Vikings: NOVA

Viking Longship
The Gruesome Truth About The Vikings
Norse Mythology
Everyday Life in Viking Times
Traditional Tales from Norse Lands
The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God
What Did the Vikings Do For Me?
Why Why Why Were the Vikings so Fierce?
How People Lived in Viking Times
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings
History Dudes: Vikings
The Sea Singer (historical fiction)
Gods & Goddesses of the Ancient Norse

Explorers & Settlers Who Am I? (matching activity page) from Viking Activity book
Map Work (where the Vikings settled, routes they took, trading) from Viking Activity book
Raiding Word Search from Viking Activity book
Longship diagram from Viking Activity book
make Runestones:

build a Viking house: (it has no roof, so you can see the benches & fire pit inside)

Instead of doing a Viking Feast, we found out what foods they ate and just made sure we tried some throughout the study. This even included ordering cheese online from Scandinavia. By the way, Vasterbotten is a very good cheese, and Gjetost is phenomenal. Gjetost has the texture, color, and even subtle taste of caramel.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week in Review 4/8/12

I swear we never have a full week that allows us to do school work every day. This week, Dea left on Wednesday, after her volunteer time at the animal sanctuary. Her Grandma took her out to Indian Lake. She should be home sometime Monday. Tuesday, Jay threw a fit and got nothing done. My husband had Friday off work, and we spent part of the day at the Dr. I had a piece of glass in my foot, and the Dr had to make a half inch deep incision to dig it out.

Dea: Alg. - 3 lessons
EG10 - day 62-73
She also finished her first online Writing class, Writing Basics 101, with a total score of 82%!

Math: DD p.86 - 90. He has now finished the book! Monday he will start Perfecting the Point (decimals & percents). He will only be doing the first 30 pages of PP before switching to Finishing Fractions. Then, he will do all of FF before going back to finish of PP. We're doing it this way because we want to do fractions before decimals & percents. The first 30 pages of PP are about place value. Since he hasn't formally covered place value yet, I want to cover that first. He'll also be starting the books we got for story problems.
Metric Meas. bk 1 - p.7-9

Language Arts: EG2 day 171-176
AAS3 - step 1
Discuss Similes
Vocab: serendipity, intrinsic, ambidexterity

Latin: LFC A chap 18, a review chap that we will continue with next week

Logic: LS2 (Logic Safari bk 2) lesson 2, Word Winks, Fun with Logic, Original Logic Puzzles, logic games

Geography: IL state study, Geography games

Music: drums

History: build Viking house - He didn't want  a roof on it, so you can see inside it. We added multiple doors because we found multiple sources saying that their houses had more than one door, even though all floor plans we found only showed one door.

Science: testing conductors & insulators (a list of items Jay wrote up), 4 experiments from the MSB kit, 2 electricity games, bios on Ohm, Volta, & Faraday, start reading bio on Edison

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Online Courses

This year Dea started taking some online courses. Some are for personal interest, but others are for school. The only online courses she's taking for school this year are Writing courses. Writing is her weakest area, and she gets a bit sensitive to any criticism toward her writing, from me. However, an online course allows someone else to handle the grading/assessing aspect, which she deals with much better.

There are many free Writing courses available online (as well as many free courses for other subjects). However, most don't really have what we're looking for. We need a course that actually has an instructor, someone who can offer advice & constructive criticism, as well as assess Dea's work. Many of the free online courses don't have that. They may provide you with required readings, assignments, rubrics, class notes, etc., but we need courses that have teachers, for Writing anyway.

She has been doing Writing classes at Universal Class, an online, continuing education school that we get free access to through our public library. I have to say that I don't find the classes to be very rigorous, unless you go a bit beyond what is asked. The instructors, at least the ones whose info pages I've read, are actually qualified in the areas they teach, which is a big plus. The best thing, though, is that each class has an instructor. So, I don't have to be the bad guy, giving constructive criticism about her writing.

She'll be taking a few other courses through there next year. Aside from the 2 Writing courses she'll be taking (each class has a max time limit of 6 months, so I require 2 for Writing each year), she'll be doing Government, Economics, Accounting, and Geology. All will be spines, with additional resources and work added by us.  Gov & Econ will likely be supplemented the least. They will be supplemented on an as-needed basis. Though, Dea will be following the election, as well (that's why we're doing Gov this year). We have an entire Accounting program, plus several Accounting textbooks to supplement that course, and I'll be searching for some additional online resources, as well. Geology will be supplemented with additional reading, documentaries, and online resources. As for the Writing courses, I may supplement those, too. If I do it will be with online resources, as I already have her doing written assignments for other courses.

We do utilize many of the free courses available online, but they are just supplements for us, unless they are extra & not for a credit course. I simply don't feel that many of the available online free courses are complete, comprehensive, or rigorous enough to earn her a credit on her transcript. That's just my opinion, though. I don't mind that, either. It means that we can supplement, go more in-depth, personalize it a bit. As I've stated several times, I prefer it that way. I would rather utilize a less rigorous course that I can personalize, add to the areas we want/need to add to, go as in-depth as we want, making it more complete & rigorous. My problem with the expensive, 'complete' courses that may seem more rigorous, is that they never seem to meet our needs or what we're looking for.They may have too much emphasis in an area we don't feel needs much emphasis, not enough coverage of an area that needs more coverage, a strong bias that prevents any attempt at covering in a neutral way or that forces misinformation/missing information, or even teach in a way that is totally illogical and simply makes no sense for us.

Of course, there are some that may be great, but that I, for whatever reason, refuse to try. It could be that we have been less than impressed with other resources from the same company. It might be the price is simply too high to fit our budget. It might be that I consider it to be over-priced for what you get and would prefer to find another, more reasonably priced option. It could be that I simply don't have enough reliable reviews to get a feel for it. It's usually a combination of reasons, though.

So, we use UC because we have free access to it, it gives her the opportunity to learn from someone else & in a different way, and I can always supplement a course if we don't feel it is rigorous enough or is missing a specific element.