Friday, May 6, 2016

Term Two: Week Two ~ May the Fourth Week and Other Fun Stuff

Our second week of the new term, but our first FULL week, so I decided to jump into the deep end as I planned a full schedule of schoolwork for the boys.  We had some bumps along the way, but generally speaking we did well and I'm impressed with the amount of work we got done.

I am making a concerted effort to start our "school" portion of the day by reading three chapters of the Bible.  Ideally I would like to get to the point where we start our DAY with reading the Bible - but at the moment, the boys need to eat and get morning chores done first or it just doesn't happen. 

 We are reading Grimm's Fairy Tales this term.
I think the book on the right is the real thing as I can't find any "author" other than Grimm's, whereas the book on the left says they've been retold by someone.  So we are reading both and comparing how the stories are different.  What I am learning (since the boys haven't watched nearly the number of Disney movies yet that I have) is that the REAL fairy tales are VASTLY different from the Disney adaptations.

Munchkin worked on some writing this week.  I kept it simple and just printed out an Aa page and the number 3 as he mentioned last week that he didn't know how to write that number.  I don't push written work on Munchkin at all so whether he finishes or simply loses interest, I let him move on to another activity whenever he is ready. 

This activity works on letter recognition and also fine motor skills.  He had the option to colour the circles with highlighter, or stick a circle sticker in them.  He came up with his own method and drew circles around the Aa's AND stuck stickers on them! 

The boys are using an old, spare laptop these days for their Reading Eggs and Khan Academy work.  Reading Eggs changed the Reading Eggspress component of their site (the section for older readers) and Monster is much happier with it now as he has more options than just read a book and take a comprehension test. 

Monkey and I sat at the table and worked through one page in his math book each day. 

I planned ahead and got out independent learning games and activities that Munchkin could entertain himself with in the playroom while I worked with the older boys on their written work.  This week Munchkin enjoyed a counting game, and alphabet matching game, and the Design Discoveries shapes activity that was my brother's when he was younger. 

When Munchkin tired of his independent activities it was time for him to do a little bit of Reading Eggs.  Again, I don't expect any specific amount of work from him.  His only rule is that he must complete one stepping stone before he can play any of the educational games on the site.  

For writing this term Monkey is doing copywork.
He alternates between copying sentences from quality literature (Dr Seuss this week) and coming up with his own sentences to accompany a picture from a magazine.  At the beginning of the week he chose a picture page to write about. He dictated the sentences to me, I wrote them down on a scrap piece of paper, and then he copied them onto the lined paper below the picture.

Monster worked through one page in his maths book each day.  I'm going to have to step up my game a little bit now that he is doing Year 6 maths.  I had a quick glance at his book over the weekend to make sure I knew what topics he would be covering, but I learned that I need to start having a bit more than a quick look so that I make sure I know how to teach the information clearly and thoroughly.

 We did some art!!
It was rather simple, and I should probably be trying to plan more elaborate art projects for the older boys, but for now I just want to establish the habit and then we can get more creative! So this week was penguins and spiders.  Monday afternoon we did the initial painting and then laid everything in the bath tub to dry thoroughly before putting on the embellishments.

Monster is studying Ancient Egypt and Australian History for history and geography, but these topics are a bit too advanced yet for Monkey.  I wanted to come up with something fun and exciting that would include him a bit more, so I decided some mini units (as way of introduction) would be just the thing.
This week we started out with Antarctica - all three boys have an interest in that area of the world and the animals that live there - and it was a HUGE hit.  
Above is the selection of books we read this week.  We started with the Alison Lester picture book as our opener (she is a BRILLIANT author) and then read the non-fiction titles above.  I was quite pleased with the content and quality of all four books, but then both of the Peter Gouldthorpe books had been recommended to me by a very trusted friend so I knew we weren't going to go wrong with those.
We didn't get a chance to read all the books our library had available about Antarctica so this first unit will extend into week three as well.  Then we will decide if we would like to move off in another direction, or dig deeper.

 Another fun fine motor activity for munchkin.  Yet again, he made his own "rules".  He didn't want the dots to show (even though the point of using the cotton bud/Q-tip was so it would be dot painting) and instead laid the paint on super thick so you wouldn't be able to see the little circles anymore!!

 Tuesday afternoon we did a science experiment and turned thickened cream into butter. The four of us took turns shaking the two jars since it took about 20 minutes for it to form.

Our finished product and the buttermilk as well.
The boys tasted the butter but weren't keen to try the milk. 

This is a GREAT science experiment book. Our favourite librarian held it back for us when it arrived with a recent order of new books and we are LOVING it.  I'm looking forward to trying a different experiment every week this term. 

Once it sat in the fridge for a few hours it actually looked like the real thing... though I noticed it didn't spread as smoothly as the butter we buy from the shops. 

 Wednesday was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth) so I promised the boys a Star Wars afternoon once all their chores and regular school work was done.  After lunch they watched some episodes of Clone Wars on Netflix and then they enjoyed this cute R2D2 craft I found on Pinterest.  The top (single) photo is Munchkin's finished product, the middle is Monster's and the bottom two are Monkey's.  They older boys made realistic looking R2D2 on the front and then used their spare pieces to do something a bit more artistic on the back.

After much recent frustration about behaviour during read aloud time, I think we are finally getting a system worked out.  Munchkin still needs LOTS of reminders to stay quiet and find an activity if he needs to move, but the older boys are getting MUCH better.  Friday Monkey worked on his 200 piece puzzle and Monster played with the Magic Mosaic game while I read three chapters of the Bible, two Grimm's fairy tales (including three different versions of one of them), and an Ancient Egypt book in relative peace and quiet and with only ONE interruption. 

 Monster made all of these designs while I read.
I LOVE that this game is being used and loved by my boys even though it is EASILY 30 years old.

 Late Friday afternoon we finished off our crafts with some embellishments. 

Munchkin's finished products 

Monkey's finished products 

Monster's finished products 

 Monster's independent choices for the week.

 Thanks to LOTS of new book orders coming in at the library we enjoyed LOTS of picture books this week.  Some were brand new and some were old favourites.

 Monster and I enjoyed these two books about Ancient Egypt.
The one on the left was a myths and legends book and the book on the right offered information about all sorts of aspects of life during Ancient Egyptian times.

 Monster's read aloud chapter book on the left...
Monkey's read aloud chapter book on the right.

More GREAT picture books, including new Pamela Allen books. 

 Finally, one of the many different versions of Rumplestiltskin we read, and an excellent non-fiction book about technology in Ancient Egypt.  Both boys found this book fascinating as they previously believed that technology only referred to things that require electricity, like TVs and computers. They seem to equate "technology" to current day civilizations that have modern conveniences, rather than to ancient societies who helped pave the way.

Monster's progress on his newest 1000 piece puzzle. 

Monkey worked on two different puzzles this week.
The top photo is a 200 piece puzzle that he worked on during the day and the bottom photo is a 300 piece puzzle he works on in the evening while I read aloud to him.

All in all, a GREAT week and I'm pleased with the amount of work we accomplished.  We didn't start our nutrition unit, or do the Lego challenge or the STEM challenge I had planned for this week, but I feel like we are learning a lot and having fun!  Looking forward to what week three has in store for us!

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