Monday, April 29, 2013

Thinking About Geography

A few weeks ago, some family members took a trip to Ireland. They posted on Facebook every day of the trip to tell us where they had been & where they were going. They posted pics & videos. Every place that was mentioned, every thing they said they saw, I looked up. I loved learning about all the cool stuff they were seeing. I loved looking at the pictures & videos. I loved reading about the places they visited & sights to see there. That trip inspired Dea to plan a trip to Ireland, a trip we aren't actually taking because we don't have the money & my husband won't get on a ship or plane. She is loving planning this trip, despite knowing the chances of ever taking it are slim to none.

Yet, Geography was one of my least favorite subjects in school. It is also one Dea's least favorite subjects. I'm pretty sure it is the only subject Jay doesn't enjoy. Why is it that none of us like Geography as a school subject, yet we love learning about other places? I figured it out. It is because Geography is always approached in an academic manner. It includes curriculum, text books, and boring facts. Do I really need to know the chief imports & exports of every country in the world? No. Do I really need to be able to name all the states & their capitals in alphabetical or reverse alphabetical order? No. Do I care about the exact square footage of a country or its exact population? No.

Do I care what historical sites we could visit if we went there? Yes. Do I care about national parks, museums, theaters, art galleries, and zoos that we could see there? Yes. Do I care what kind of food we would be eating while there? Yes. Do I care how much things would cost there, what currency is used, and how the monetary unit compares to US$? Yes, Yes I do.

So, what if, instead of studying Geography from an academic, schoolish approach, we study it with a travelers approach? This is what I have decided to do. I will implement it this year. Instead of a boring state study, we'll research where in each state we would want to go, what we would want to see, etc. We will plan trips to each state. Also, instead of forcing him to limit it to the states, I'll let him choose wherever he wants for each trip. It may be a state, a country, a whole continent, multiple countries, or even a single city. I think I will also switch Dea's Geography to the same idea. That way, maybe we will all enjoy the subject a bit more.

Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

New plan for Geography:
Each year child chooses 6 places - cities, states, countries, islands, continents
Child then plans trip to each place
For first 2 years, Jay will include: sights to see (historical sites, monuments, parks, museums, zoos, libraries, galleries, theaters, etc.), festivals or events to enjoy, language spoken, currency, places to stay, and food to eat
For first 2 years, Jay will plan trips lasting 1 week
After first 2 years, will add travel, cost/expense, time of year, and climate, and trips will be planned for 3 weeks each (this is the version Dea will do)

Reading Through the Alphabet - L

Archvillain - Barry Lyga

The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Trying to make sense of the jumbled mess in my head

I generally work all this stuff out in my own head. Then, I bombard my poor husband with all of it & ask for his opinion. Of course, he often can't really give me an opinion. He gets lost in my 20+ minute explanations and my many digressions. I often have more ideas pop into my head as I ramble it all off at him, which just confuses him further. I thought this time I'd write it all out here instead. That way, I can edit, rearrange, and fix whatever I need before anyone else is subjected to it. This will, hopefully, make it far more orderly & understandable.

I've been working out what to do for each of Jay's subjects for 5th grade. Yes, I know we're only a few weeks into 4th. However, I have less than a year before I need to purchase the materials for 5th, and there is plenty of planning to be done. I considered putting it all in one post, but quickly changed my mind. This will be a series of posts, exploring my thoughts, plans, and ideas for his 5th grade plan. I don't know if these will help anyone else, but they should help me. If nothing else, they should provide a bit of insight into how I plan these things out.

I will start with Foreign Languages. This one is fairly easy. He will continue with Latin & ASL, and we are adding in Spanish. ASL will be very easy to plan. He will continue with Joy of Signing, and I will pick up the other puzzle book for him to do.

Spanish will be a little, but not much, more work. He will be using Tell Me More for Spanish. However, I do want to add something to supplement, just a little something that isn't on the computer that he can use for practice. I'm thinking of getting a workbook. I know it won't line up with the lessons in Tell Me More, but it will provide additional exposure to the language & practice writing in Spanish. I am also thinking of getting the Spanish in a Flash flash cards, Bingo, and word search books for fun vocab practice/review. I don't yet know if I will get all three sets of the Spanish in a Flash products or just one or two sets for 5th. That will most likely depend on budget.

Latin will also take some planning. I want to let him go a bit easier in Latin next year. He will be finishing off Latin for Children Primer C this year. That is the last level of that program. So, I figured he could go lighter in Latin for a few years, so he can put enough focus on Spanish. My plan is to use part of Cambridge Latin. I figure, if I get him the student texts, the workbooks, and the readers for the first 2 levels & use the Cambridge Latin Course site as a supplement, that should be enough for a year of light Latin study. This way, he can keep using, reading, translating, and practicing the language, possibly even progressing a bit, without taking focus away from the new language being introduced that year. If I do this, I would do the same thing for 6th, but with the 3rd & 4th levels. Then, when he hits 7th, I would get the rest of the materials for each level (audio cds & teacher books) and do the program completely through, the right way.

Of course, depending on budget, I may just have him use the Oxford Latin Course, since we already have all of it. Then, he could maybe do Cambridge (completely) after Oxford. That would prevent me from having to buy any Latin materials in the same year I have to fit high school Chem, Auto Maintenance, elementary Chem, etc. into the budget. My reason for not wanting to do this is that Oxford is the program Dea is using (albeit rather sporadically), and having both of them working from the same materials will be difficult (to say the least). I would prefer to only do that as a last resort.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Already Planning for Next Year

So, now that this year is under way, I am thinking ahead to next year. As I've explained, we had to make a large cut to the school budget this year. This meant that several things were replaced with less expensive, or free, options. Instead of buying 2 levels of Easy Grammar this year, we are using Mad Libs, free online worksheets, books from the library, and a copy of Grammar Land that I found as a free download. Instead of buying 2 levels the Stack the Deck Writing program, I am just assigning Writing throughout the year. Instead of buying 2 levels of All About Spelling, I bought one level & we are also playing word games, such as Scrabble & Boggle. We changed our topics for Science & only bought a few things, relying mostly on the internet & library for resources. We skipped books we had intended to buy for History, and will rely mostly on the library & internet for that subject, as well.

Anyway, I have no intention of cutting the budget for next year. So, I am working on figuring out what to use. I had originally planned to go back to Easy Grammar & Stack the Deck next year. However, Jay has told me that he wasn't really enjoying those by the end of 3rd grade. I don't believe everything has to be fun, but I also know that if my kid is bored out of his mind he won't be learning. The writing assignments in Stack the Deck were often pointless. Easy Grammar is very repetitive. So, I am looking into other options for those areas. I am thinking about Brave Writer for Writing, but I'm still not sure about it. It isn't one of those options that is cheap & won't be a big deal if you buy it. So, I really need to do a lot of research on it before committing to purchase. I have been looking at blog posts explaining how different people apply it. I have been reading at the Brave Writer website & blog. I have been reading reviews of it. So far, everyone who has read it seems impressed. Though, several also mention using other Writing programs & just using what they learned from this to tweak the other programs. That is far more money than I am willing to spend on Writing. It appears to have a rather relaxed approach to writing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, I don't specifically agree with waiting until high school to start academic writing. I believe that both creative & academic writing can & should be started in elementary school. So, I'm not sure that this book is really for me. I really wish it was something I could find at my local library or borrow from someone, so I could read it without having to spend so much money. Maybe I will just pull out some of the (near a dozen) books we own on writing & piece something together myself.

Week in Review - 4/26/13

Monday - This is not a good start to the week. I spend the day in bed fighting a horrible headache & trying not to vomit. Dea spends her day much the same. No school gets done. Well, Jay does  read a book on dinosaurs for Science, but no other school gets done.

Tuesday is still not a full school day. I have a headache. I stay in bed until 10:30am. Then, Jay reads from his third required reading book - The Incredible Journey. The kitchen faucet breaks. Luckily, we have a new faucet sitting here that we just haven't gotten around to installing. So, my husband & I install the new faucet. Dea's head is really hurting today & her stomach still isn't handling food. She tries to do some school today, but doesn't get much done. My stomach isn't handling food, either. I tried some saltines last night, and that led to me waking up at 4:30 with the taste of vomit in my mouth. I'm sticking to liquids. My husband picked up some Ensure for me yesterday & some soup & broth for Dea. She doesn't seem to want the soup, so plans to stick to the broth. I let her have one of my Ensure today, and it seemed to make her feel a bit better. So, my wonderful hubby is stopping at the store after work today to pick up more Ensure for us, though I'm still sticking mostly to water.

Jay plays Math games & watches MathTv after lunch break. Next, we watch an episode of Clash of the Dinosaurs. Jay does chapter 6 in LOF Elementary Physics. Jay doesn't want to skip all of the work from yesterday, so we are trying to do some of it today. We do two Mad Libs, one for yesterday & one for today. Literary Elements is next. This week's picture book for literary elements is The Three Little Dinosaurs.

Since I am sick, Jay's school will not be a full week. We have decided to skip Latin, ASL, and AAS this week. After Literary Elements, he does lesson 2 in Perplexors & Logic Safari 3. Spelling & Vocab are both games today. We play Boggle & Word Sweep, each for 30 minutes. To end the school day, we do art. We pull out a book on van Gogh & find four pictures in it to look at & discuss.

I stay in bed late again Wednesday morning. Again, it is a short school day. Jay does Math games & MathTv. Next, we play Scrabble for Spelling. He's decided he wants us to keep track of his scores for Scrabble & Boggle, so he can see how he is improving. Online games for Grammar & Vocab are next, followed by a Mad Lib. Jay chooses to do History next. We start by watching The Mayflower Voyagers. Yes, it's a Peanuts special from the 1980s, so we aren't talking totally accurate. However, it is the only thing on Netflix streaming that we could find that is related to the "Mayflower". We look through 2 colonial cook books I borrowed form the library & a few colonial cooking sites to find some recipes we want to try. We have a list of 12 recipes. He next does the bridge in LOF Elementary Physics. He gets more than one wrong, so will be doing the 2nd try tomorrow. After a break, I have him choose a page from the picture book we used this week for literary elements & write down every noun on that page.  He then read a book for History. During his hour of reading today, he finishes The Incredible Journey.

Our initial list of required reading was 21 books with reading levels ranging from 4th - 8th grade (one possible exception to the reading level range, as I can't find a level on it anywhere). I had to eliminate one after doing some more research & finding out that it had sexual content I don't feel is appropriate for my 9 year old. Since we are only halfway through week 2 of the school year & he has already finished 3 books from the list, I'm pretty sure that the list won't last the whole school year. So, I spend some time today looking for more books to add to the list. I end up with an additional 22 books to add to the list. This puts the list of required reading books at 42. I know that sounds excessive, especially in addition to the near 200 resources for Science, over 200 resources for History (including historical fiction), and whatever books we use for all the other subjects. I just want to make sure we have enough for the year & to provide him with plenty of good options. Plus, at the rate he is flying through them, there still may not be enough for the whole year.

By Thursday, I'm a bit tired of this week. Jay does Math games, MathTv, and Grammar games. Then, we do a Mad Lib. He does the 2nd try on the bridge in Elementary Physics, and will be rereading the chapters & doing try 3 tomorrow. He reads a book for History. We cannot do Music this week. The Music Theory program only worked on one computer in the house, and that computer died a quick & painful death over the weekend. So, until we buy the newer version, which will work with the operating systems we currently have, there is no Music class. So, all that is left is the last of Language Arts. We play a game of Word Sweep for Vocab and Boggle for Spelling. There is a teleseminar tonight from LearningHerbs, with Rosemary Gladstar. I signed up for it days ago, & Dea & I listen to it. We unfortunately have some trouble hearing & understanding some of what was said, so I am hoping they put out a transcript of it, or fix the sound & offer a copy for download.

On Friday, I order the new version of our Music Theory software (Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory 3.0). I also find out that the teleseminar I listened to last night will be available to download (hopefully, the sound is better & I can catch the parts I missed yesterday). We try crock pot oatmeal this morning. The kids really like it. Jay wants to help prep it each night. It's what they've decided on for breakfast for the week.

Jay does Math games online. He skips MathTv, because he doesn't like starting a new section on Fridays. We play a game of Letter Zap for Spelling. Then, he rereads chapters 1-6 in Elementary Physics & does the bridge. He scores 100% on the bridge. We do a Mad Lib, & then he does Vocab & Logic games on the computer. He reads a book on Ohio for Geography. I let him stay up a little late tonight, because the kids want to play a game of Wild Craft.

Because this week has been wonky, due to me being sick, I have not bothered to track how much time was spent on school each day. Honestly, I'm just happy we got some school done & didn't waste the entire week. We did not stick totally to schedule. We did not do everything that was planned for the week. It was not an ideal week. However, we didn't throw in the towel. We didn't just blow school off for the whole week, just because I wasn't feeling well. We chose specific things to skip & did our best to fit in the rest. It was far better than it could have been.

Reading Through the Alphabet - K

The Ghost's Grave - Peg Kehret

The Journal of Professor Abraham Van Helsing - Allen Kupfer

Monday, April 22, 2013

Well, at Least it's Not the Plague

Sunday was an awful day. Dea had an episode. It was hours of screaming, yelling, stomping, slamming doors, throwing things, "I hate you," "my life is miserable," " I don't care if I live or die," that kind of stuff. It was the worst one we've dealt with in years, but nothing unusual for us. After dinner, she went straight up to her room. A few hours later, she threw up. The vomiting continued & she also complained of shortness of breath, headache, burning in her stomach, and being lightheaded. So, it was off to the ER. However, before we left, while waiting for my husband to get home & trying to get Dea to give me a complete list of her symptoms, we checked on WebMd to see what it said might be wrong. One of the things it listed is the Plague. Yes, that plague, the plague that took out a large chunk of the population in the Middle Ages. Really?! Now I know why I don't check our symptoms on WebMd.

While waiting for test results in the ER, I started vomiting. So, Dea & I sat there joking about how we both had the plague, while we waited. It turns out it is just a stomach bug, though all her test results came back normal. So, we both have some nasty stomach bug. We didn't get home until around 4:30 am. My husband stayed home from work today to take care of us.

I hate being sick. I'm really just hoping that my husband & Jay don't get this. On the bright side, though, at least it isn't the plague.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Week in Review - First Week of 4th Grade

This is our first week of 4th grade. I have been sick this last week & fighting a headache since the 7th. So, I'm not too sure how this week will go. Well, let's get this week started and see how it turns out.

Monday starts early for me. I wake up a little after 4am & cannot go back to sleep. Plus, I still have my headache. We decide to do Science & History in the afternoon this year, since we are upping the time to 3 hours each. So, our morning will have to include other subjects. He has also requested doing Math in the afternoon.  After his breakfast of oatmeal, we get ready for our first day of 4th grade. He requests Logic as the first subject. Logic today consists of Lesson 1 from Logic Safari 3 & Lesson 1 of Perplexors level A. After Logic, we move onto Language Arts. We start with Step 19 in AAS 4. Then, we do a Mad Lib. Next is literary elements with picture books. I have literary elements & descriptions written out on index cards. Before starting the book, we read over the literary elements that he should look for in this book. This week's book is Hogula! Dread Pig of Night. We read through the book & he tells me where he saw/heard the literary elements we discussed before reading. Next, he reads the introduction to Grammar Land. He finishes off Language Arts by playing vocab games online. He takes a break & the kids wash the car.

After lunch break, Jay does online Math games & watches some videos on MathTv. We then watch some videos from AoPS. Next up is Science. We start by discussing the plan for the Dinosaur study. Dinosaurs will be the topic for the 1st half of the year. He chooses his first project & gets started on it. The project he chose is 'Plan a Dinosaur Theme Park,' you know, like Jurassic Park but without all the death. We start by coming up with a list of what needs to be done. Then, he starts choosing which dinos he will have at his theme park. He reads a book on dinos, and we watch Dinosaurs Alive!: IMAX on Netflix streaming. We got some of those detailed coloring books that have info, not just pictures. He chooses a picture form one of the 2 dino ones & colors it. Next is Math. Today's Math is chapter 1 of LOF Elementary Physics. It is time for another break. After this break, we do ASL. We are not doing the book in order. We choose to start with the chapter on food. Finally, we do chapter 20 of LFC Primer B. The only thing left is his hour of reading, so he does that. He reads his first required reading book for the year - The Gruesome Guide to World Monsters (I let him choose a few of his required reading books, and this one was his choice).

Total School Time -   6.5 hrs
* This part is really just for me. When I planned out the year, I used estimated times for each subject. There are a few that are definite times, like the hour of reading & 30 minutes of vocab games online. However, most of the actual times will vary by day. So, seeing how our actual time spent compares to the estimates used for planning will help me get a better idea of how much time to really expect a day to take.

Tuesday starts with Jay complaining about having to wash his bowl & make his oatmeal. Eventually, we get started on school. We start with Language Arts. First, he does Grammar. He reads chapter 1 of Grammar Land. I then assign him to highlight all nouns in that chapter. He has the whole week to do it, so only does 3 pages today. Next, we do a Mad Lib. Dea joins us for a game of Boggle. While Jay does vocab games on the computer, Dea and I get lunch cooking.

After lunch break, Jay plays online Math games, watches MathTv, and we watch videos from AoPS. Next is Science. Today, we focus on Herbs. He will study Herbs all year, in addition to the study of dinos (1st half of year) & Marine Biology (2nd half of year). I bought him 2 coloring books for his herb study, similar to the ones I got him for dinos. He chooses one picture to color. We discuss the plan for the study, what materials we'll use, and the activities/projects. One major project will be the reference binders we'll be creating with our study. Dea is also joining us for the study of herbs. We get the binders set up. Jay starts reading the first book on herbs. It is one of the 2 books on herbs our library had in the kids' section - Medicines From Nature. For Art, we discuss the study & choose the 1st artist we will study. He chooses Vincent van Gogh. We look up a few of van Gogh's paintings online & discuss them. Latin is next. We again watch the dvd lesson for chapter 20, and Jay does another page in the book. Now, it is break time.

Since he finished The Gruesome Guide to World Monsters yesterday, he starts on the 2nd book from his required reading list - Secret of the Andes. We continue with the chapter on food in Joy of Signing,.We end the school day with chapter 2 of LOF Elementary Physics.

Total School Time - 5.5 hrs

Wednesday starts with Language Arts. We do AAS4 Step 20 followed by a Mad Lib. Then, Jay goes on the computer for Grammar games & Vocab games. After lunch break, Jay does Math games, & MathTv. We don't watch AoPS vids right now because we're having some problems with internet & tv, probably due to the thunderstorm. Next, we do ASL. We watch the dvd & practice food signs some more. Jay works on the 1st puzzle for the chapter in the puzzle book. Latin is next. We continue with chapter 20.

After a break & a snack, Jay does chapter 3 in LOF Elementary Physics & works on his assignment for chapter 1 of Grammar Land. Then, we do History. This year's History is U.S. History. We focus on Christopher Columbus this week. He reads Columbus Reaches the New World. We finish off History by watching Christopher Columbus: Explorer of the New World on Netflix. For Logic today, we play a game of Go Mental. We end the school day with quiet reading time. He is still reading Secret of the Andes.

Total School Time - 6.5  hrs

Thursday starts late for us. All of us slept late. School start with Language Arts. We play Word Sweep for Vocab. We do a Mad Lib for Grammar (I figured a day off from other Grammar work would be ok). Then, the kids play Letter Zap ( a Game Wave game just like Boggle) while I make bbq wings, buffalo wings, asparagus, and noodles for lunch. After the lunch break, Jay does Math games & MathTv. We don't watch AoPS videos today. We normally watch them on Plex, a personal & online content manager app. We have a Plex channel on our Roku, so we can watch videos on the tv. So, I just add the AoPS videos from YouTube (it won't add them from the AoPS site, for some reason) to our Plex queue, and we can watch them on the tv. Well, yesterday & today Plex hasn't been working for us. I can't access our Plex account online & the Plex Roku channel won't load. So, I was going to have him just watch the videos from the AoPS site online, using his computer. However, he decided to be whiny about the fact that I expected him to watch them on the computer, instead of hooking the computer to the tv so he could watch them there. So, I decide that he just didn't need to watch them today, at all. Instead, he uses his computer to do Music - Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory. Next is another meltdown, this time over where to start the dvd lesson for ASL. This leads to him being sent to his room until he calms down & can speak to me in a respectful, civilized manner. By the time he comes down, it is snack time, which takes him 40 minutes due to him screwing around. Finally, we get ASL done. He follows that with LOF Elementary Physics chapter 4. Then, we take a break.

Latin is next. He works some more on Chapter 20. Then, we move onto History. This does not go well, as he is being obstinate & refusing to listen to, or think about, anything. I end up sending him to his room after he tells me that it is a waste of time. I am too frustrated to deal with his crap right now. After we both calm down, we finish History. We read Christopher Columbus and discuss it as we go. Then, we read an article  from a very different point of view & discuss that, as well. We are done with Columbus. Next week, we will be starting on the colonial period. He finishes the school day with his hour of reading, finishing The Secret of the Andes.

Total School Time - 7 hrs

Friday is expected to be the shortest school day of the week. We do grocery shopping on Friday, and that takes a good chunk of time that would otherwise be devoted to school. So, I planned for that & scheduled less work for Fridays. School starts with Math games & MathTv. We finally have everything working together again, so we watch AoPS videos. Next, he goes on the computer for Vocab games & Grammar games. While I was explaining to Jay that his break needed to end so he could do the rest of his schoolwork, he threw a fit & stomped off to his room crying. So, I guess this break will last a bit longer. He finally calms down & does ASL. Next is Latin. He finishes chapter 20. Chapter 5 of Lof Elementary Physics is next. Then, we end the school day with Geography. Geography is easy today. All we do is choose the first state he'll study (Ohio), & then he plays Geography games on the computer.

I guess we weren't quite done with school after all. I had planned for us to play Scrabble today for his Spelling. Since the day was taking so long, and he was being so whiny, I didn't think we'd get to it. However, we did fit in a game, a bit longer than planned, too.

Scheduled but not done: 1 hr reading time (this time is meant for reading his required reading books & Historical Fiction. he didn't have either to read today. may have to alter the specifications for this hour), a Mad Lib (kind of forgot this one)

Total School Time - 5 hrs

Whew! It has been quite a week. We did finish most of the work planned, Friday being the only day we didn't accomplish everything. I love when a school year starts out on a good note.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Last Week of 3rd Grade - Week in Review

I have not done a Week in Review post for the last few weeks. There really hasn't been much going on lately. The main reason I'm doing this one is that this is our last week of 3rd grade. School work is incredibly light this week.

Monday starts with everyone sleeping in a bit. After breakfast, the kids go out side to play. When they come back in, Jay gets upset because his dad threw out a toy of his yesterday, because Jay threw it at his dad during a tantrum. He goes to his room to calm down, then hangs out in my room reading. I throw together some spaghetti & garlic bread for lunch & do some work in the kitchen while it cooks. Dea replants the Aloe plant we bought yesterday and helps me take out garbage & recycling.

After lunch break, Jay goes on the computer for Math games & MathTv. While he's on the computer, Dea & I do 2 miles. Then, Jay & I watch some videos from AoPS. After that, Jay does a few pages in Metric Measurement & Latin. I had a headache yesterday. It has been hanging out in the background today, just a twinge here & there. Now, however, it seems to be gaining strength again.

After they spend some more time playing outside, Dea works on school & Jay watches some tv. I get the 4th grade work on Jay's shelf of the school bookcase & reorganize my school basket. I pull all the teacher books/answer keys for 3rd grade & make sure all finished work is in the school tote. I put all the teacher books/answer keys for 4th grade into my basket along with the planning/recording notebooks.

Much of the day is spent playing outside. We are truly enjoying the beautiful spring weather. We also play a game of Go Mental. It's one of the new games we will be using for school. We hadn't had the chance to play it yet, and I thought today seemed like a good day for it. While Jay is reading before bed, he gets mad at me for doing the rest of my miles. He wanted to do them with me, but couldn't do them that late. I guess I'll have to do some when he can join tomorrow.

Tuesday we all sleep in again. We've been getting rain storms in the early mornings, and that makes everyone sleep better. The kids spend the morning playing outside, until Jay's reading time. Dea helps me with lunch - barramundi, pierogi, and corn on the cob. After lunch break, Jay does online Math games, MathTv, AoPS videos, a few pages of Metric Measurement, and Latin. Both kids then join me for 1 mile of my 2 mile walk. I'll do the rest later tonight.

The kids go outside to play & have their snack. I cut up the watermelon & cantaloupe. I am all about the summer foods today. To me, cantaloupe, watermelon, and corn on the cob are some of the best summer foods. Watermelon takes me back to summers spent visiting my aunt & uncle in Ohio - watermelon seed spitting contests in the backyard, baseball in the backyard, my first time trying coffee, friends, museums, great memories, and one of my first crushes. Cantaloupe & corn on the cob remind me of the big family B-B-Qs. When I was a kid, we would all get together at my grandparents' house for a big B-B-Q. There were water balloon fights, killer volleyball, lawn darts, meat & corn on the cob on the grill, tons of fresh fruit & veggies, our family & friends of the family all together.

Again, much of the day is spent playing, though not much time is spent outside. It is gray & chilly out today. We try out another of our new games today - Game of Knowledge.

Wednesday starts with an awful headache. I stay in bed until after lunch, trying to get this horrible headache to go away. Jay does online Math games & MathTv. We watch videos from AoPS. He does Latin & the last few pages in Metric Measurement. Dea does her school work. I finally admit that I am sick & need to rest, so do virtually nothing all day.

Thursday doesn't involve much. I am still sick. It's nothing big, just a cold, but it is really wearing me down. I did not workout yesterday & I also take off today. I spend the day eating soup, drinking tea (and some really awesome hot chocolate), and trying not to be too irritable.

Friday is our last day of 3rd grade. All Jay does for school today is finish the chapter in Latin, play online Math games, and watch AoPS videos. Dea goes grocery shopping with me, and it takes forever (3 hours & we only made it to one store). I am exhausted, and my headache is getting worse. I hope this cold is gone by Monday.

Jay is now officially finished with 3rd grade. He is now a 4th grader!