Sunday, May 26, 2013

Time for a Break

We are taking the week off school. Saturday we spent the day at a baby shower for my little sister. We helped set up, clean up after, then hung out talking to some family members, so it took pretty much all day. Sunday is an all day concert that my husband took Dea to, with my older sister & her husband. Jay and I are spending the day watching movies, playing games, and may even make s'mores as a special treat. Monday, my husband & Dea are working a brat stand for the Dyslexia center my sister works at. Tuesday, my husband has off work, though he may be going in for a few hours. Since we now are leaving Fridays for extra work, make-up work, and only requiring Math & reading, there would only be 2 days that we'd be doing school. Since a 2 day school week seems so pointless, we are just taking the week off school. At some point this week, I will sit down & plan out the details for next week. Other than that, we'll relax, maybe go hiking, and just enjoy the break.

Week in Review, Week 6, Grade 4

Sunday, after a family game, we all went outside to play. The weather was beautiful. There was a fantastic breeze (which was so nice after all the yard & house work we did). Within thirty minutes of us coming inside, there was a major storm, a severe thunderstorm warning, and a tornado watch. Due to the tornado watch, we all slept on the main floor of the house, in case we needed to head to the basement. The kids woke me up this morning & almost immediately started fighting. How nice to start the day listening to them bicker. This week, I have taken control of Dea's schedule. She starts the school day 30 minutes before Jay. She starts with Geometry. I want her to do this subject while her dad is home, so she can ask him for help, if needed. I don't like Math, and so prefer to let my husband, who went further in Math & enjoys it, field questions as much as possible for Algebra and up. Once she is done with her Geometry lesson, I look it over to make sure it is complete. Then, she gets the answer key & checks her work. She is done with her Geometry & on break by the time Jay starts school. Jay starts the day with Geography. We start a list of things to do while there. Next, both kids do their reading. Jay is reading a historical fiction for History, and Dea is starting Life of Pi, her new book for Lit.

Dea does half of her Writing after lunch, followed by ASL. Jay starts the afternoon with Science. This week, we are focusing on Herbs for Science this week. He starts by reading Herbal Drug Dangers. We then start with the Herbal Medicine Making Kit we got from We put in the DVD and watch the lessons. Dea joins us as we head into the kitchen to start our Echinacea Tincture. After a snack & break, Dea does Geography & finishes her Writing. Jay throws a few tantrums, and we get back to work on school quite late. When he finally gets to work, he starts with Logic. Today's Logic is less 6 in Perplexors A & LS3. We've decided that, since his tantrums took so much time, we will work straight through to dinner, to get as much done as possible. So, after Logic, he hops onto the computer for vocab games. After a break, Dea does Psych. Jay does chapter 17 of Elementary Physics next, followed by Latin chapter 24. Then, we go over the signs on the first 3 pages of chapter 20, as those are the ones we will be focusing on this week. After dinner break, Dea does Government & online logic games. Jay & I do Language Arts. We start with Literary Elements, with the book Deep in the Jungle. Next, we do Mad Libs, copywork, a noun worksheet, and chapter 7 of Woe is I Jr. We end the school day with AAS4 step 26.

The kids wake me & continue to come in to tell me things until I get up. I stay in bed as long as I can, because I am very congested (I forgot to pick up ginger this week & I get horribly congested without daily ginger). When I come into the living room, Dea is reading Life of Pi, despite the fact that it is not yet time for school. She stops reading and plays until school time. We shake & check on our tincture & top it off. Again, she starts 30 minutes before Jay. She has actually requested to do this, so I'm not fighting it. She starts school with Geometry. Jay starts with vocab games online. Next, we practice ASL. For ASL today, I make a sign & he has to tell me what it is and then use it in a sentence. The kids take the dog for a walk around the block before it gets too hot & humid. It's been in the 80s here lately. We've been hit with storms over the last few days, and are expecting to continue to get storms for much of the next week or so. With all the storms coming in, it gets really humid. They go do their hour of reading. Jay is reading his historical fiction & Dea is reading Life of Pi. We cut the hour short for both of them. Jay has finished the book he was reading & will wait until tomorrow to start the next. Dea finished reading the chapters she was assigned to read today. So, both kids help make nachos for lunch.

After lunch, Jay does Latin. Then, Dea joins us for a game of Boggle. I don't generally tell them my score, and Jay is always pressing for it. However, I'm really trying to get him to understand that it isn't about beating me. It is about improving. Dea does Geology, and Jay & I do Science. Today, we are making the Healing Herbal Salve that came with the Herbal Medicine Making Kit from While the oil is infusing with herbs, Jay reads a book for History. Dea works on her research paper. We've decided to do our Poetry Tea for dinner today. So, to fill time before that, Jay does his copywork, chapter 18 of Elementary Physics, Mad Libs, and his noun worksheet. Dea does vocab games online. Instead of tea, we have homemade lemonade we made this morning. It is just too hot for hot tea, so we figure we'll do lemonade, iced tea, or sun tea in the warmer months. Jay colors a picture in Color Your Own van Gogh, reads from a van Gogh biography, and reads chapter 8 in Woe is I Jr. Dea can't do Government today because her instructor hasn't responded to the assignment she submitted yesterday. So, she skips Gov. & moves onto Latin.

Wednesday starts with the kids fighting because Jay told Dea she needed to walk the dog & she got upset that he was bossing her around. After breakfast, they go out to play, which leads to another argument. Dea starts school with Geometry & online logic games. Jay starts with online vocab games, ASL, & Latin. Then, Jay reads another historical fiction & Dea starts making lunch. We have decided that she will make a meal at least once a week. She has to plan the meal, make sure we get what we need when we do grocery shopping, and prepare the meal herself. Today, she is making lamb chops, loaded baked potatoes, and salad.

After lunch, both kids choose to start with History. Dea goes onto the computer to research. Jay reads a book on Jamestown. Then, we watch the first episode on disc 1 of America: The Story of Us. Dea takes a break halfway through History to read Life of Pi & have a snack. Then she finishes History. When Jay is done with History, he takes a break & has a snack. After his snack, Jay uses the computer to visit sites for History. Then, does Grammar. The three of us play a game of Boggle for Spelling, and Jay does his copywork. While we make dinner, the kids also make smoothies & smoothie popsicles. The popsicles are for their breakfast tomorrow & Friday. Yes, I am fine with them having popsicles for breakfast, as long as they are homemade ones. The ones this week are made with chocolate almond milk, honey orange Greek yogurt, and whatever fruits the kids chose to add. They go play outside before coming in to finish school. Jay chooses to Logic and leave Math to last. Logic is finishing lesson 1 of Advancing Through Analogies. Math is a bridge in Elementary Physics. Dea does ASL & Latin.

Today starts just a little late. Once things get going, Dea starts Geometry. She decides she doesn't want to do the work & lies to me about being done, so she can go hide out in her room with her iPod. I find out she didn't finish & inform her that I'm pissed about being lied to & that she will finish the lesson tomorrow along with doing the lesson that was planned for tomorrow. I tell her it is time to read from Life of Pi, and, because she is pissed about being busted in a lie, she gets attitude, throws her clipboard, and yells, "WHY DO I HAVE TO READ THIS BORING BOOK ANYWAY?" I am trying not to react to her attitude or to feed it, so I respond simply, "Because I said." I hate saying that. I always hated it when my parents said it to me & swore I wouldn't say it to my own kids. Unfortunately, especially when one is throwing a fit, it is sometimes the only answer that prevents or stops an argument. I try to use it sparingly, though. I prefer to explain things to my kids, be open & honest with them. This wasn't a legitimate question, though. This wasn't her really wanting an answer. This was her trying to pick a fight. If I had given any other answer, she would have argued it. She would have kept arguing, yelling, and complaining until I snapped & screamed at her. It would have caused a fight, which is part of what she wanted. It would have delayed her having to read it, which is the other part of what she wanted. There is no argument to "Because I said," so she sits down quietly to read. Fit avoided, for now.

Jay starts the day with Music & vocab games. After lunch, Dea  works on her research paper. Jay does History. He starts with a journal entry from the trip to the 'New World.' Then, he reads a book for History & visits sites for History on the computer. After working on her paper, Dea takes a break. When Jay is done on the computer, Dea uses it for History. Jay & I do ASL followed by Grammar. The kids take a break & play outside. After the break, Dea does Latin. Before dinner, Jay & I do Spelling. Today, he finishes step 27 of AAS4, which is the last step. So, he has finished level 4, and we will be starting level 5 next week. Level 5 is the only level I bought for 4th grade, so once we are done with that, we are done with formal Spelling for the year & will fill all of Spelling with games like Boggle & Scrabble & review of the cards from AAS levels 1-5. After dinner, the kids do a Freewrite. Jay does chapter 19 of Elementary Physics while Dea & I work on her Grammar.

Friday morning, the kids & I do grocery shopping. By the time we get home, it is lunch time. This is a big part of why our original schedule for this year had less work planned for Fridays & why Fridays have almost no work planned with our new schedule (which started this week). The kids are each expected to do a Math lesson & their reading. They can choose to do extra work or use the day to make up work they didn't finish during the week. They still need to do housework, of course. When not doing school or housework, they simply need to find ways to entertain themselves, mostly without screens.

They spend part of the day playing outside. While out there they put out some water for the neighbor's dog. The neighbors don't take care of their dog. She is left outside virtually all the time, often not even in their yard, just hanging out in the parking lot next to their house. She digs through their garbage for food. Yesterday, the little girl that lives there told Dea that they ran out of food for the dog over a week ago & haven't gotten more for her. I'm not sure if the morons even have water out for her, as I have never seen any. So, my kids water her daily. We've fed her some of our dog's food on several occasions. Our dog is a small dog, though, and we get small bags of food for her. So, we are picking up a big bag of food for the neighbor's dog today, so our kids can put some food out for her every day, without risk of running out of food for our dog. Animal Control has been called on them several times, by us & at least one other person. They never do anything about it, though. This family also has a couple of overweight chiuauas, who have run down the middle of the street on multiple occasions (a very busy street at that), because they are not supervised either. Plus, the kids that live there regularly stay home from school, just because they don't want to go & their mom apparently doesn't care if they go or not. We have had problems with this family since not long after we moved into our house. One of the boys that lives there (I had always thought he was the oldest of the kids, but was just informed today that they have a teenage brother who also lives there, though I have never seen him or heard mention of him until today) bullied Jay for years.

Jay does chapter 20 of Elementary Physics & finishes his historical fiction. Dea finishes that Geometry lesson she didn't finish the other day, does the next lesson after that, and reads in Life of Pi.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Week in Review - week 5, grade 4

Monday starts with some minor revisions to our housework chart. Dea had dishes 3 days a week & I had them the other 4 days. My husband had the counters, stove, microwave, & floor every day. My husband & Dea have switched. Dea would only do 1 load of dishes a day, and most of what was in the load would need to be rewashed. So, we were constantly behind on dishes dishes, because this family dirties far too many for me to keep up with, if I am to do anything else. Seriously, I was washing at least 3-4 loads of dishes on each of my 4 dish days, and we still were never caught up on dishes. With the dishes never being completely done, it was difficult for my hubby to get his kitchen work done. So, he decided to switch. Now, the only dishes Dea needs to do are her own (each of the kids has their own set of dishes & silverware & has to wash their own). My wonderful hubby even stayed up quite late last night to get us fully caught up on dishes. I wake up to a mostly clean kitchen, and I didn't even have to do the work to get it that way! So, I get up, change the housework chart, assign everyone's housework for the week, put some orange slices in the water pitcher in the fridge, and get out everyone's honey, chocolate, and ginger (we each take a spoon of cinnamon honey & a piece of crystallized ginger for our health, & a piece of dark chocolate because it allegedly helps cognitive function). Dea spends much of the morning before school looking through a book of Renaissance costumes, since she has outgrown her old garb & needs an outfit (or two) to wear to an SCA event my mom is taking her to later this year.

Jay starts school with Logic. He does less 5 in both Perplexors A & LS3. We then do ASL. He wants this to be the last week for Food & Related Words. So, he is going through the whole chapter Mon-Wed & doing a test/assessment on Thurs & Fri, to see if he has mastered the words. If he has not mastered all of the words in this chapter, we will continue with this chapter next week. If he has mastered all of the words, we will start a new chapter next week. Dea starts school with Geography. Jay then reads. He is still reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. I go into the kitchen to make lunch & some other stuff. Dea helps me in the kitchen. I make a roast, potatoes & carrots, and asparagus for lunch. While lunch is cooking, we get a jar of pickles packed & set it on the counter to cool before going into the fridge, and I make salsa.

After lunch break, the kids both do Science. Dea works on Psych, using my Intro to Psych textbook & a human brain coloring book, then moves onto Writing. Jay starts with coloring a page from one of his Dinosaur coloring books while watching Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia: IMAX on Netflix Streaming. Next, we work on planning his theme park. Today's focus is the food & drink options available. He finishes Science by reading from Bone Wars. The kids take a break & go outside, while I clean the back entrance. Nobody ever really cleans this entrance, so I decide to really scrub it. I grind some mint & rosemary and mix it with baking soda. I then put some of that into a spray bottle with hot water & use that to clean the entrance. With a tooth brush & a rag, I scrub the entrance clean (walls, trim, floor). Next, Jay does chap 23 in Latin, followed by a Mad Lib & copywork. At this point, it is time for dinner. Dea decides to make grilled cheese sandwiches. After dinner, Dea finishes her Psych. Jay & I fight our way through AAS4 step 24. I don't mean we fight as in he is having difficulty understanding something. I mean we fight as in he is intentionally being obstinate & obnoxious because he wants to do Vocab first, & I want to do it last. So, since I overruled him on this, he is being as annoying as he can be, talking to me with attitude, yelling at me, arguing with everything I say, speaking as quietly as possible (because he knows I have some hearing loss & can't understand him when he does that),etc. A trip to his room gives us both time to calm down, and we finally get through it after his return to the living room. Next, he does a noun worksheet, and I ignore all the obnoxious noise he makes while doing it. For Math today, he is doing a bridge. He was scheduled to do it last week, but we didn't get to it. He reads the chapters leading up to the bridge, for a final review, and does the bridge. He scores 9/10, so he moves onto the next chapter tomorrow. We read The King Who Rained, for Literary Elements, and end the school day with a game of Word Sweep. I do a 5 mile walk. After both kids are in bed, I start painting the trim at the back entrance. I decided it was ugly & needed to be painted while I was scrubbing there earlier. We haven't painted this area since we moved into this house, so it was still the ugly, faded, yellowed colors from the previous owners. I will do the walls at some point, but the trim is enough for now.

Tuesday begins with everyone in a good mood. While Dea gets her breakfast & pills, I get our honey, chocolate, & ginger set out. After the kids eat, we hang our flowers to dry (the kids bought me a dozen roses & picked some feathered tulips from our yard for Mother's Day). My chamomile mint infused witch hazel is ready to be strained. So, Jay & I take care of it while Dea works on her bedroom. It looks kind of like muddy water, but it smells fantastic & feels so good on the skin. The kids go outside & pick some lilacs & dandelions. They hang up the dandelions to dry & put the lilacs in a vase. The kitchen smells so good. Jay starts his school day with vocab games on the computer. He then does his reading early, so he can help me with lunch. He finishes The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland. Today's lunch is kabobs, buttered noodles, and baked beans. Jay helps me with the kabobs. We get two platters of food ready - cherry tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, beef kielbasa, french bread, & fresh mozzarella. Everyone gets to assemble their own skewers, so everyone gets exactly what they want.

After lunch break, Dea work on housework.  Jay starts Science. We start with watching American Experience: Dinosaur Wars. Next is working on the plans for his dino theme park. Today, we plan what he will have in the gift shops. I have to talk him out of some stuff, like furniture.  He finishes Science by reading from Bone Wars. He does ASL while I cut up a watermelon. We do a Mad Lib, followed by chapter 23 in Latin. Chapter 13 in Elementary Physics is next. For our Poetry Tea, we have 5 different books, cinnamon cake, watermelon, and Rooibos Tea. Jay throws a fit about being expected to read some of the van Gogh biography for Art. Eventually, he does read form the biography, then colors a picture in Color Your Own van Gogh (and complains because one of the pictures shown in the front of the coloring book, in full color, does not show the correct colors for that painting). We were going to play Boggle, but I am not in the mood & my headache is rather sound sensitive.

My headache is still there when I wake up on Wednesday. So, I ask the kids to stay out of the room for much of the morning before school. I simply can't take listening to them argue right now. Every time they come into the room, they start fighting about something. Dea starts school early, yet still does virtually nothing that she needs to do. Jay chooses to start with ASL. We then sit down with lesson 1 of Advancing Through Analogies. Last week, we did the first #1-5, so this week we focused on #6-10. When we got to #10, I was annoyed at his screwing around, and he didn't feel like looking up the words he didn't know, so he guessed. That was the only one he got wrong. He chooses to argue with me about that, trying to claim that he didn't guess. He gets very disrespectful & ends up spending the rest of the morning in his room. When he comes down for lunch, he gets sent back upstairs because he refuses to behave & just stands directly in front of me as I try to get his plate to the table. When asked to move, he moved to another spot where he is still directly in my way.

After lunch break, Jay reads. Today's book is The Pepins and Their Problems. Dea is writing down all the books she has been reading & using for school this last week or so. When he is done reading, Jay does History. He starts with writing a journal entry as someone traveling by ship to the "New World." Dea, instead of doing school, is looking at patterns & thinking about what color her garb should be for the event my mom is taking her to later this year. While Jay reads a book for History, I look for the legend of the cornhusk doll, as I am hoping we will make some this weekend. We put in The Untold Story of the Mayflower (we didn't finish it last week), and I set out a selection for snacks - cashews, Conchas, air popped popcorn, and fresh fruits & veggies. We take a break and discuss next week's meals & the grocery list. Jay hops onto the computer for vocab games before dinner. After dinner, he flies through chapter 14 in Elementary Physics & does his Latin. Dea is working on her research paper. She has two large papers due this year. For each, she got to choose from a list of 10 topics. The paper she's working on currently is on whether or not it should be illegal to use animals in sports & entertainment. She hasn't had dinner yet, so she does that now, while Jay and I start Language Arts. We start with a Mad Lib and AAS4 step 25. He finishes with a noun worksheet & a copywork page. We decide to finish up our housework. When we take garbage & recycling out (it is a 2 person job in our house), we stay out for a bit. We water & check on the herbs & check on the lilacs. The kids stay out to play with the neighbor, while I come in to finish my dishes & do my walk. It is such a warm day that we decide to have a scoop of ice cream before the kids get ready for bed.

When I wake up Thursday morning, the headache is blissfully gone. I make eggs & toast for breakfast, and the kids play until time to start school. I spend the time reading.  Dea works on her research paper & does vocab games online. Jay starts the day with Grammar, which consists of a Mad Lib, noun worksheet, and chapter 7 of Woe is I Jr., followed by chapter 15 of Elementary Physics. He heads into my room to read more of The Pepins and Their Problems. Dea cleans off the table in the office, again. The cats sprawl out on it & decide to use it as a spring board to get onto the nearby bookcases. Dea & I clean off the tops of the bookcases, so they can be up there without knocking everything down.

After lunch break, Jay does Music. The kids play a game of Scrabble for Spelling, and take a break for a snack. For History today, Jay reads an article on Jamestown in a Smithsonian & designs a flag for Jamestown. They go outside to play. Dea watches a dvd for Geology. Jay & I start his ASL assessment. He is doing okay, but has not mastered all of the words, yet. So, we will not be starting a new chapter next week. I inform him that what he is really missing is using the signs. He hasn't been using them outside of 'class' this year. I tell him that, since he has been introduced to the signs & had time to learn them, we will practice them over the next few weeks. We will start with the first 2-3 pages & use those words as much as possible. Once he can consistently do them properly, without prompting or clues, we will move to the next 2-3 pages, and so on, until the chapter is mastered. He then works on Latin, chapter 23. He does Latin games on the computer until dinner. After dinner, they go back outside. When they come back in, Jay does vocab games on the computer. All Jay has left for school is Freewrite. For today's Freewrite, I ask them to write a list of things they are interested in & know something about. I figure we can refer back to these lists, if they are ever stumped for something to write about for a Freewrite. We spend much of the evening watching videos for songs from Disney movies on YouTube.

Friday morning the kids wake me up because they really want to go grocery shopping. Before I get out of bed, Nightmare (our youngest kitty) decides he wants me to pet him. So, he jumps on the bed behind me and flips around while I reach behind myself to pet him. When I turn over so that I am facing him (after 10 minutes of having my arm behind my back, I wanted a more comfy position while petting him), he decides he's had enough petting & leaves the room. He only wants you to pet him if it makes you uncomfortable. He likes to sit on your shoulder, like a parrot, but with his butt facing your head so you can't turn to face him. He also enjoys lying on your back, while you are standing. Seriously, if you bend over or squat down anywhere near him, he will jump on your back & lie down, so you can't straighten back up. Anyway, I get up, and we do grocery shopping. The only school that gets done in the morning is Jay's vocab games. After lunch break, Jay & I finish his Ohio trip plans. He has planned a 2 week vacation that truly sounds fun, and I honestly wish we could take it. His planned trip includes kayaking, diving to shipwrecks, spelunking, digging for fossils, seeing a flyer built by the Wright brothers, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, seeing a play, hiking, staying at a haunted reformatory, a zoo, a Science museum, and more. Since finishing the plans doesn't take us the full hour scheduled for Geography, he plays Geography games online to finish the hour. Dea reads for Lit. After a ridiculously long break, Jay does the next chapter in Math & finishes the chapter in Latin. Dea apparently fell asleep while reading. They have dinner, and I tell Jay to go entertain himself. Dea decides to read some more.

I am seriously considering redoing our schedule to make Friday a make up or game day, since we have more trouble getting school done on Fridays. Not sure if I will be able to, though. I am also taking over scheduling Dea's days, as she doesn't seem to be doing a very good job & decides to take a break after 10 minutes of work.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Week in Review - grade 4 week 4

Monday starts with a 3 mile walk. Dea joins me for miles 1 & 2, and Jay joins me for miles 2 & 3. Then, the kids play outside for a bit. Before they come in, they harvest a bucketful of dandelion heads, which we will later use to make dandelion pancakes. Dea starts school with Geography. Jay starts with Logic. My hubby takes Dea to her appointment today (they're checking on how her new med is working & if there are any side effects), so I can make lunch. Jay does his hour of reading while I cook. He is reading his first Historical Fiction for History this year - The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce. I make baked chicken, potatoes with onion & apple, grilled asparagus, and grilled dandelion leaves (to use as a bed for the chicken) for lunch.

Starting today, we have instituted a ban on non-essential screen time during the week. After a few weeks, we may allow a smaller amount of screen time back in, but only after school & chores are done.  I am really just tired of being asked if they can watch tv or go on the computer on every break. We've always had limits on tv & computer use, but they still ask all the time. Plus, Jay often determines whether he wants to go play outside after lunch by first finding out if he can use the computer. He is starting to rely a bit too much on screens for his entertainment. Yesterday, even after being told 3 times that he had already watched enough tv, he still continued to ask, and asked at least once to go back on the computer after using all of his computer time for the day. The tv has been on all day. However, it was first used to play the Walk at Home dvd we walked with this morning, and has since been used to play Pandora through the Roku. So, even though it is on, we are not watching it, just listening to it.

After lunch, Jay wants to go outside, but Dea whines because she doesn't want to. Their dad sends them out to clean the yard. Dea comes in repeatedly to complain about the way Jay is cleaning the yard, mainly just because she doesn't want to be out there (which she repeats every single time she comes in to complain about Jay). They both end up in their bedrooms for their attitudes. After the lunch break, Dea finishes Geography, then reads some more from Pet Sematary. Jay & I work on his dino theme park plan. He reads a book on dinos. We watch an episode of Clash of the Dinosaurs, and he colors a picture of a dino.

After a short break, Jay does chapter 10 in Elementary Physics. We then do Language Arts. We start with the picture book for literary elements. This week's book is A Chocolate Moose for Dinner by Fred Gwynne. Jay loved that it was written by Herman Munster. We discuss the differences between homonyms, homophones, and homographs, find all the homonyms & homophones in the book & discuss the meanings of all of them, discuss what idioms are, find all the idioms on the book, and discuss what they mean. Next, we do AAS4 step 22. That is followed by a Mad Lib, a grammar worksheet, copywork, and reading the introduction to Woe is I Jr. Dea joins us for ASL. Then, Jay does Latin & Dea does Writing & Government. Done with school for the day, they head outside to play. When they come back in, they start a game of Monopoly.

Tuesday starts with a 4 mile walk. By the time I'm done with that, I am sweaty & need a shower. As I'm drying off after my shower, I am listening to Jay & my husband argue. Jay ends up spending much of the morning in his bedroom. He is obstinate today. He is arguing about everything. He is dragging his feet on everything he is asked to do. The last time I send him to his room, I tell him to stay there until lunch. Today's lunch is baked chicken (the other half of the package from yesterday), fresh green beans (raw), grilled fresh pineapple, and homemade pasta salad. Dea does get some work done before lunch. I'm not yet sure what she did first, as she started while I was in the shower, but then she did Latin.

After lunch, Dea reads, and I play Letter Zap with Jay for Spelling. He does a grammar worksheet, his copywork, and reads chapter 1 of Woe is I Jr. before we do a Mad Lib. Next, we watch the last episode of Clash of the Dinosaurs and he colors a picture. Next, we take a little break from work, and do a Poetry Tea. Next, Dea cleans her bedroom, and Jay does ASL, Latin, and chapter 11 in Elementary Physics. We end Jay's school day by reading from a biography on van Gogh.

Wednesday starts very early. Well, actually, Tuesday never ended for me. I was not able to sleep at all. Around 4:30 am, I leave the bedroom & curl up in the living room with Pet Sematary. I also start looking for books to add to the list of possible books for Jay's required reading for 5th grade. I put lunch in early, as I am slow cooking lamb breast. Dea starts school with vocab & logic games. Then, she works on History. Jay starts with Logic. Today, Logic takes a little longer, as we are starting on analogies. We start on lesson 1 of Advancing with Analogies, but only do a third of it. I am taking it a little slow, as he is new to these kinds of problems. Plus, they do have some words that simply aren't part of his everyday vocabulary, such as covert & isometric, so he has to look up words he doesn't know. Since I make him use a real dictionary, not an online one, it takes a little more time. Of course, it would have only taken about half the time it did if he had stopped whining about how it was going to take forever to look words up & had actually done it properly (you know, without flipping 50 pages when he only needed to flip 2 to get where he needed to go). He chose to fight, which made it take longer. After Logic, he went to read for his hour of reading time. He finished his historical fiction yesterday, so today he is working on The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Dea helps me in the kitchen. We make a batch of pickles & get fresh green beans ready to steam. We decide to have more of yesterday's pasta salad.

In the afternoon, Dea gets some housework done & a little bit of school. Jay mostly plays games. I take a nap because I am freakin' exhausted.

Thursday starts with an hour of playing outside. We play lawn darts. We play catch. We practice our knife throwing. We decide to do double work in some areas today, to make up for what didn't get done yesterday. Jay's school day starts with Language Arts. He does 2 grammar worksheets. We do step 23 in AAS4. We do 2 Mad Libs. He reads for an hour from his current required reading - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. After lunch break, Jay does 2 pages of copywork & reads 2 chapters form Woe is I. Next, we do ASL & Latin. He does chapter 12 in Elementary Physics. Next is Music. This is his first time using the new music theory software, so it takes a little extra time, as he needs to go through the tutorial before starting a lesson.

We get Dea to join us and play a game of Word Sweep. Next, we do a Freewrite.  After a snack, it is time to start History. However, Jay is being obnoxious & gets sent to his room. I curl up with a book until he's ready to work. Once he is ready to do History, we get started. He finishes reading a few books. We start watching The Untold Story of the Mayflower. One of his activities is to write journal entries as though he were a young boy making the journey over to the 'New World.' He does the first of those entries today. Then, he asks to go on the computer to visit History sites, and I say yes. In my spare time, I am looking for books to add to that list of possible required reading for him for 5th grade. I am having a rather difficult time with this.

Friday starts early, again. On the bright side, we get grocery shopping done before the stores fill up. Not much school gets done today. Dea reads some, does vocab games online, and works on Psych. Jay does vocab games online, reads, and we spend a few hours doing Geography. However, Dea & I are both exhausted. Around dinner time, I put in Jurassic Park 2 for Jay to watch. I was planning on letting him watch all 3 movies for Science anyway. So, he watches the movie, and I doze. That is the end of school for the day. There is more that I had planned, but we are all simply too tired for a full day of school.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Birthday & Poetry Tea

Last week was my birthday. Instead of going out to eat at a restaurant, I made an awesome meal.
 So much better than we could have gotten from any local place we could afford.

We had Coq au Vin. 

Fantastic sides - roasted asparagus, corn, and saffron mac & cheese. The mac & cheese was made with 3 cheeses - Fontina, Asiago, and Colby. The cheeses went quite well with the saffron in the sauce, & it was delicious.

 And this is the Tiramisu-inspired dessert. It is basically an eggless Tiramisu recipe made in individual serving glasses. I probably should have used smaller glasses, so they would look full, but these are what we have.

Last week we also had our first Poetry Tea.

 We pulled out the nice for china for it.

The Monsterologist book was borrowed from the library, but the others are ours. 

We had two treats with out tea. One was Lady Fingers. The other was tea biscuits topped with Mascarpone cheese, fresh mint leaves, and either Lingonberries or Blueberry Preserves.

We do have a tea pot that matches the china, but I much prefer to use my nice cast iron one. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reading Through the Alphabet - M

Blue Mountain Trouble - Martin Mordecai

Mary Reilly - Valerie Martin

Language Arts Thoughts

Language Arts is one of the more challenging subjects for me to plan. The reason it is difficult for me to plan is because I want them to enjoy this subject. Unfortunately, this subject requires many different materials, at least for us. I have never found an all-in-one Language Arts program that I like. Neither of my kids are at the same level for all aspects of the subject. Plus, my kids actually need different approaches for different aspects of the subject. So, in order to plan this subject, I need to plan each aspect separately. While both kids love reading, they have never been overly fond of writing. Dea fights quite a bit about required reading, or even suggested reading. Jay has been just fine with required reading. Spelling is a bit of a challenge for both. Their vocabularies have always been exceptional. Grammar can be insanely boring, for both kids. I have to take all of that, and more, into account when planning Language Arts.

Required Reading/Literature:
For Dea, it is Literature. She's in high school, and we have already chosen the reading selections for the Literature part of her high school English courses. In other words, there is nothing for me to worry about planning here.
For Jay, it is required reading. This is the first year we have done required reading for Jay. He is doing very well with it. He has enjoyed all of the books he has read so far for required reading. Since he is not fighting about the required reading books, I would like to continue with it. The book list for this year started at 21 books. We are only 3 weeks in, and I have already had to double the list to make sure he has enough to get him through the year. As I start planning the book list for next year, I am thinking I will make a list of approximately 100 books. The books will be at reading levels between 5th & 10th grades. I will mark off any that he reads throughout this year, as fun reading. That will hopefully leave enough books for me to finalize a list before 5th grade starts.

This one is easy. We will continue to use All About Spelling.

We like a mostly informal approach to this. The kids have always had large vocabularies. This makes formal vocab programs unnecessary & boring for the kids. It also means that most programs are below their level.
At most, we do a "word a day" thing, where they are introduced to a word they don't regularly use, every day. They are then encouraged to use the new words in their writing & conversations.

Ugh. This is one of the most challenging areas. Most Grammar programs are boring. The more bored the kids are with the material, the less effort they put into it & the less they retain. In my experience, Grammar programs are often dull & repetitive. This year, we are using Giggly Guide to Grammar for Dea. She is enjoying it much more than anything else we've used. Jay's Grammar is pretty informal this year. We are using Mad Libs, worksheets I print, and a few books from the library. For next year, I want something a little more formal than this year, but still more likable than in the past.
I'm thinking Jensen's Grammar for Dea, supplemented with the high school level of Caught Ya! Grammar With a Giggle series. Jensen's is supposed to be comprehensive, and GWAG should add in a little fun.
Adventures of Genius Boy & Grammar Girl sounds like a good program to use as the main grammar work for Jay. I plan to supplement with the lower levels of GWAG. We will also include Mad Libs, as well as the game You've Been Sentenced, for both kids.

This is the other part of Language Arts that is challenging to plan. Neither of the kids particularly likes to write. I looked into Brave Writer, but have ultimately decided against buying it. I am, however, getting some ideas from the site & blog. There are some ideas that I really like & plan to implement (actually, am already starting to implement, since we didn't really have much planned for Jay for Writing & Dea could always use a bit more writing work). We have started doing the weekly Poetry Tea. We are also starting a weekly Freewrite. We will also try to add in some fun writing assignments/games. We will continue with daily journals. Every month or so, we will have a more academic writing assignment. These will start (for Jay) with focusing on proper paragraph structure & work up to reports & essays. This way, they are not just doing creative writing, but also working on the kinds of writing that are required in high school & college.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week in Review - week 3, 4th grade

Monday starts with the kids fighting over what to watch while they eat their breakfast. After breakfast, we get started on school. Dea starts with Geography. I have put in place a new way to do Geography (I'll post about it later today), and she is thrilled with it. Jay & I start with a picture book for literary elements. This week's is Switch on the Night by Ray Bradbury. Next, we discuss concrete vs. abstract nouns, and Jay does a worksheet on them. We do a Mad Lib. AAS4 step 21 is next. While I get lunch cooking and do some dishes, Dea does Geometry & Jay does Logic (lesson 3 from both LS3 & Perplexors A) and vocab & grammar games online. He also chooses to play some online logic games.

After lunch break, Dea does ASL. Jay does math games & MathTv, followed by videos from AoPS. Dea starts her new book for English today - Pet Sematary. Next, for Jay, is Science. We start with coloring a dino pic while watching an episode of Clash of the Dinosaurs. We follow that with some work on the current project - plan a dino theme park. We end Science with reading a book. During this time, Dea does Writing & Government. Dea is now done with school for the day. Next Jay & I do ASL. We continue with the chapter on "Food & Related Words." He does chapter 7 in Elementary Physics next, followed by chapter 21 in Latin. At this point, we take a break, as there isn't time before dinner for anything else. He plays until dinner. After dinner, he goes on the computer to play for a little bit. Then, he does his hour of reading. He starts the 4th required reading book - Al Capone Does my Shirts. Not long before Jay goes to read before bed, we watch the 1st episode of Colonial House. Jay found the first episode rather boring, and I had to tell him that we will watch another one or two before we make up our minds about it. We will watch the next episode around lunch tomorrow. If we like it, we will watch the whole thing this week for History. I would like to stretch it out more than a week, but that would be difficult. We can only check out dvds from the library for a week, and they no longer allow renewals on dvds.

Tuesday also starts with the kids fighting. I'm rather tired of my days starting like that. Jay does Latin & ASL. He then goes into my room to do his hour of reading. During lunch, we watch episode 2 of Colonial House. After the lunch break, he does online math games & watches some videos on MathTv. Then, we do Language Arts. We start with penmanship & a worksheet on common & proper nouns. We follow that with Mad Libs and Letter Zap. Then, he does vocab games on the computer. After this, the kids take a break. They ask to play outside, but then change their minds & end up inside because Dea decides to take a nap. I doze off. Two hours passes and it is looking like we won't be getting to Science. Jay does a chapter in Elementary Physics and Dea does a lesson in Geometry. Next, Jay starts reading a biography of Vincent van Gogh. At this point, he decides that he will finish reading Medicines From Nature during his hour of reading before bed. So, he will still be doing some Science. When he is done reading the book on van Gogh, we watch episode 3 of Colonial House. They play in the sprinkler until it gets dark.

Total School Time: 6.5 hrs

Happy Birthday to me! Today is my birthday, which means a limited amount of school. The morning has no school. Dea has an appointment, and I have an awesome lunch to make. Lunch is Coq au Vin, saffron 3-cheese mac & cheese  (with Colby, Fontina, & Asiago cheeses), roasted asparagus, corn on the cob, and a tiramisu-inspired dessert. Lunch is filling & delicious. During lunch, we watch episode 4 of Colonial House. After lunch break, Jay does math games & MathTv. Then, he does chapter 9 in Elementary Physics, followed by a worksheet on abstract & concrete nouns, and penmanship. The rest of the day is fun stuff. We do a Mad Lib. Then, we do our first ever Poetry Tea. My Rainbow Resource order arrives today, with the new software for Music. I install it while the kids play outside. Next is a game of Boggle for Spelling. We watch another episode of Colonial House. My computer is having issues. It keeps overheating & shutting down. So, I will have to use it in spurts of no more than an hour & shut it down in between uses, until the problem is fixed or I can afford a new computer. Normally, it is on most of the day, whether in use or not.

Thursday, I don't want to get up. I stay in bed late. It is a fend for yourself day for lunch, as I didn't pull out anything to thaw. We chose to skip school today, as Dea & I are both exhausted, and were all fairly grumpy.  We watch the remaining episodes of Colonial House. We play Go Mental & Budget. We do some gardening. Other than that, we don't do much today. I am still having computer issues & can only be on for short periods of time.

Friday we again take the day off. We are simply too busy with life & too totally exhausted to do school today. My sister picks up my laptop so her wonderful husband can look it over for me & see if it can be fixed or not.

Saturday is the Special Olympics. We go to support my 1st step-mom's husband's daughter. She is a wonderful young woman. She takes home a bronze & a gold medal! We spend the day with family we haven't had a chance to for the past few months. The Olympians are so very inspiring & enjoying themselves so much. It really is a fantastic day! My sister & brother-in-law bring my laptop back to me tonight. It just had a lot of dust & gunk built up deep inside it, which was causing it to overheat. He cleaned it out & reassembled it. It is working fine & should be fine until we can save up for a new one (in computer years, this laptop is pretty much a dinosaur). Yay! Great ending to a wonderful day!