Saturday, February 1, 2020

Term One: Week One ~ Let the Learning Contine

Our 2020 School Year has officially begun! We are excited to continue our learning and to establish a better daily routine again. Lots of free, unstructured time is good for awhile, but well before the summer school holidays finish, the boys and I are ready for the routine and structure of a school term.

 I'm so happy that the boys are still really enthusiastic about First Day and Last Day school photos as it is so much fun to see the growth and change through the school year.

 We got started straight away, early in the week, with written work. In these two photos Munchkin (left) is working on his writing assignment... While Monkey (right) gets started on a math unit.

One major change this school year is that Monster will be doing a majority of his work independently. I am obviously still available if he needs help or further instruction, but he is now responsible for managing more of his time and making sure he finishes all his assigned work by Thursday lunch time (the end of our structured school week). Hence, I have made my desk in our home office available to him during school hours so he has a quiet place to work. 

We enjoyed some citizen science in our front yard this week. A rather large spider (see photos further down the post) has built a beautiful and elaborate web spread between our front verandah and our large fig tree. We noticed one afternoon that a large and colourful beetle of some sort was trapped and wrapped in the web. We decided to investigate in the evening to see if we could see the spider. 

The Tibouchina tree along our driveway continues to regenerate well from the rain we received a couple of weeks ago, and thankfully more rain is in the forecast for next week. 

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset one night this week... after playing around with my manual settings I was able to get this photo, which is pretty close to what it looked like live and in person. 

 My sad attempts at photographing the spider when it came out after dark. Monster actually got the best photo but I haven't been able to get a copy of his photo yet.

Back to schoolwork...
I am SO pleased with the writing program that we use. It is worth its weight in gold. It has taken Monster from being unwilling to write more than one sentence without tears and tantrums (back when he was just 7 years old), to a Year 9 student who is writing better and better as each year passes. Our AP (the Dept of Ed person who registers us for homeschooling every two years) was very pleased indeed when she saw his work samples from last year.

Now Munchkin is just beginning his journey with IEW and he is SO enthusiastic about it, which is a nice change from the frustrations with the other two boys.  So the above photo is the original paragraph her was given. His assignment was to make a key word outline, choosing a maximum of three important words from each sentence. Then we put away the original paragraph, and from his key word outline, he was to rewrite the paragraph in his own words. After that, we work on dress-ups or decorations that we add to the paragraph to make it sound better. Munchkin is starting with adverbs (we call them "ly" words) and he was given a long list of adverbs and instructed to put one adverb in each sentence, making sure that it made sense and didn't make the paragraph sound incorrect or goofy.  I was very pleased with his result, which you can see if the photo below. 

One extra side note... you might notice that he omitted completely the sentence in the original about pig meat being pork. All my boys LOVE to eat pork, but they dislike that a meat that they love to eat, means that one of there favourite animals has to die. Anyway... 

Because Monkey and Monster have been using the IEW system for several years now, they write different, and much longer paragraphs. They were each assigned a narrative re-write of the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff!  I was rather impressed with each of their paragraphs for the beginning of the school year.  Above is Monkey's paragraph...

And this is Monster's rewrite of the story.

 Friday was our first homeschool group meeting for this school year. We have a HUGE group now (close to 40 families and over 100 children ranging in age from newborn to 20 yrs), so sometimes smaller groups gather on the Friday. This week, some people gathered at a park with a river, while others of us gathered at one of our favourite playgrounds with a man-made water feature.
First it was lunch time so they played card games while they ate... 

Then it was time to get wet... wet... 

WET!!  They had a glorious time soaking each other, it was a great way to keep cool on the very warm day, and they dried quickly as well!! 

 Munchkin is REALLY enjoying a couple of Zac Power series that we got from a friend...

He also borrowed these books from the library for some fun reading over the summer. 

 More Zac Power reading...

 Munchkin is also trying to borrow all 22 Minecraft Zombie books from the library so he can read them in order... but while he waits he just keeps re-reading them!!

 A boy who lives around the corner from us gave the boys this series and they all love it, but only Munchkin is interested in re-reading it.

Independent reading for Monkey this week... he is like me when it comes to reading and can only read when it is quiet and there are no distractions. Hence, he reads a LOT less books than his other brothers who can block noise and distraction out when they read. 

We haven't started all our read alouds yet, as we've been watching the Australian Open tennis tournament, but we'll do LOTS of reading aloud from next week. But we did read this beautiful book about the Koala Hospital that is located up in Port MacQuarie, and all three boys enjoyed The Three Billy Goats Gruff, just for fun! 


LOTS more independent reading for Munchkin!!  He is also LOVING the Treehouse series. 

Finally the one book Monster read independently this week... his reading has slowed down as he works on managing his time for his schoolwork load this year.

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