Friday, October 23, 2009

Week 8, Toronto trip, Week 9!

It's been a while since my last post because we took a week off in mid-October for a road trip to visit my in-laws in Toronto, something we have never done in the fall due to conflicts with my kids' school schedules. No longer an issue! My husband usually has some sort of fall break period so we took advantage of it and of our flexible schedule. So our week 8 was split into two, with two days occurring before we left for Toronto and the remainder completed after we returned. Just a couple of photos with highlights of our trip which included an apple-picking outing (brr! chilly day! but yummy apples...can't beat that fresh-off-the-tree taste!) and a visit to the Ontario Science Center. Thanks to Uncle Mike and Auntie Esther for taking all the photos since our camera is currently in disrepair!

The downside of returning mid-week was t
hat I felt the need to jump back into school while trying to dig out of travel clutter, no easy task. As such, it was a somewhat disjointed week and probably not one of our better ones in terms of retention and creative activities. But we were back to normal by week 9. So I'll just combine our week 8 and week 9 updates!
  • Harry completed Singapore Math 1A and did well on the placement test I used to gauge his progress. He only had a little trouble with the ordinals and once I explained them to him, he was good to go. It feels great to have that foundation under our belts and now on to 1B! So far he is cruising through the new book, which I think is reflective of all the work we did starting this summer on firming up his math facts. He is still not perfect at them, but he's so much better than where he was at the end of 1st grade, which has been very gratifying to see.
  • We've kept up with our usual mix of Classical Writing Primer, First Language Lessons, handwriting and spelling...nothing particularly exciting to report here, except that I'm seeing much nicer printing from Harry when he tries his best. He has also started cursive and that's been going slowly but steadily.
  • In Adventures, we learned about Benjamin Franklin, including a number of facts that I never knew outside of his experiments with kites and lightning (he was the founder of the academy that became the University of Pennsylvania; he founded the first public library; he founded the first fire department, etc.) Quite the remarkable inventor, not to mention statesman and ambassador! Now I better understand why he is one of only two people depicted on U.S. currency who was not a sitting president (Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill being the other).
  • George Washington was our focus for week 9, and as I speak the older two boys are enjoying a Nest Entertainment video on Washington, who is crossing the Delaware at this very moment. I usually let the boys watch an educational history video on Fridays if the Adventures curriculum recommends one. It's a fun way for them to end the week after reading and hearing so much about the main characters. They also made their own version of tricorn hats to emulate those that were in style in Washington's day.
  • We also did a brief study of rocks and the composition of the earth. This was the topic that first introduced me to the complexities of talking about the age of the earth. I've discovered that there is a strong contingent of homeschoolers who believe the earth is only about 5,000 years old. I can't say that I agree, but this is not an area that I have done much research in to find out what those in the "Young Earth" camp have to say. I'm sure I'll write more about this in future posts. For now, I just explain to my kids that there is a wide range of beliefs about the age of the earth and none of really know for certain--aside from God, that is--how old the Earth really is. I know that will not be a sufficient explanation for very long so I better get reading up on this topic myself!
  • Lastly, this week we broke out the watercolors to paint trees and leaves, a perfect activity for the season, which is something we haven't done in quite a while. Even Dobby wanted to get into the act! This is Harry's depiction of our neighbor's tree, then Ron's depiction of I'm-not-sure-what! =)

Meanwhile, Dobby is just having fun being a part of it all!

As always, we continued in our other subjects as well--Bible, Latin, Mandarin--as well as getting acquainted with Tchaikovsky (Harry is captivated by the 1st piano concerto and says he wants to play it someday. Wouldn't that be wonderful?) and learning what that word "macaroni" in the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is all about ("macaroni"= fancy hat worn in England at that time). Who knew? As I have discovered, it's never too late to learn new facts! =)

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