Friday, March 26, 2010

Week 12 2010 - Spring Break

We are in the midst of our first week of a two-week Spring Break. We needed the break as everyone was beginning to express signs of the end-of-winter blahs. The kids spent a lot of time this week re-discovering their inner creativity and just enjoying life.

My mom came up to spend most of the week with us and take us on some field trips.

Tuesday we went to Marbles Kids Museum, where the kids all had a blast. We had not been all winter because of one thing or another.

Mary loves the clothing design area

Emily trying her hand at some surfing

Pure Joy - good thing I brought him a change of clothes

The future exotic animal vet

My pirate - Mary "Reed"

Wednesday was the trip to the NC Zoo. The weather was perfect for this trip - low 70's and low humidity. We almost had the zoo to ourselves for the day.

At home this week we've been brushing up on our bird identification skills, listening to recordings of bird calls and trying to identify the birds in our backyard. Lots of time spent on the deck, having dinner, putting together puzzles, reading and painting.

The big girls have been working with their friend in the afternoon to create a book series featuring our cats...

We are finishing off the week with lots of reading. Before she left, my mom took us all the the book store and stocked us up on new reading material. Mary 'found' "The 39 Clues" series and is excited to try out all the clue tracking.

It has been a busy, but fun Spring Break. Next week - cleaning!



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ice Skating

Took the girls ice skating for the first time ever today. I don't know if it is because of the amount of time the girls spend on their in-line skates or just natural athleticism, but they took to ice skating like ducks to water...

We'll definitely have to go again!! It was a lot of fun watching them go.



Friday, March 19, 2010

Week 11 2010

This was a tough week, bookwise. All of us are tired and worn out from our winter. After we wrap up a few things today, we will be going on Spring Break for the next two weeks. We have about 20 days left to meet attendance requirements for the state, and are on track to finish our history before Mary leaves for her first camp in June.

We did get out this week, a Girl Scout outing to hear the Symphony on Saturday, visiting the museum on Tuesday and going to the lake on Wednesday. Those were great outings, but they didn't make hitting the books any easier when we were home.

Mary is reading The Phantom of the Opera for her free read this week. She is also working her way through Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale by Laurie Myers for her history reading. Once she finishes that she already plans on reading Who Was Sacagawea? by Judith Bloom Fradin.
Katie read Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo. She likes this series and is ready to go back to the library this weekend and check out a couple more. She is currently reading one of the Amber Brown books by Paula Danziger, but I can't remember which one and she took it to bed with her last night.

I am excited to see them reading easily and without fighting it so much. They say they are enjoying the phonics/spelling lessons now and it is making it easier for them to figure new words out. Reading still isn't high on Mary's list of what she wants to do, but I'll take it.

For phonics/spelling we are drilling phonic rules, syllables and practicing sounding out two- and three-syllable words. I also added to our lesson reading random passages from classic literature that I write on the white boards. This is for them (Mary and Katie) to read silently to themselves to decode any 'new' words and then read aloud smoothly and fluently. They are doing great and really like us ending the lessons this way.

Because both Mary and Katie had writing assignments (copywork and free writing) in their Grammar books (Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons) we put WWE aside for this week. Instead I used their reading texts to practice narration from. I even got two good paragraphs out of Mary yesterday for her writing assignment on birds. Katie thought it looked like so much fun that she wrote on of her own.

Katie's reading this week was the poem My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson. We talked about why he used certain descriptions, how shadows are formed and outlined her her shadow on the wall.

Mary's read about Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt in her reading book. She compared the two in how they both overcame disadvantages in their early lives to become successful men. She really liked the phrase "Pluck and Perseverance" used to describe the two men.

In history we covered China during the late 1700's and the Opium Trade, and then moved on to Napoleon. We spent most of the week talking and reading about Napoleon. On Thursday, Mary completed a short, simple outline of Napoleon's life that we worked on together. Today, she still needs to complete Chapter 4 in The Story of The USA workbook on Pacific Coast Settlements.

Mary began division in her Math this week. She is not having any big problems with understanding it at all, but her weakness is in her multiplication facts. Even though we have reviewed and drilled, she just did not understand why I wanted her to memorize she does ;-).

Katie is continuing her work on subtraction facts above 10. She is doing a great job, though she does not enjoy it at all.

We did not get to any science work on Jupiter and Saturn. I'll just move that forward to when we return from Spring Break. We've spent lots of time on nature and birds for science this week.

As for the little ones, they have had a fun week. Loved the outings, played a lot outside in the nice weather we are having, and playing games with each other.

Emily and I did do a couple more lessons in her MEP math program and she has been "reading" a couple of Dora the Explorer books from the library this week. Her read aloud this week has been Mr. Popper's Penguins, which all the girls have actually been enjoying listening to. She is continuing to do well with her handwriting and spent most of the week practicing her 'b'.

Today, we'll review our phonics/spelling lessons to this point, finish history and do some more math. We have to go pick up Mary's and my glasses from the optometrist. Katie's came in, but did not pass inspection so they have to be sent back out. Then I need to spend some time on Girl Scout stuff.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Physics and Nature Day

Or, you could call it park day. Whatever. We were much more motivated to get outside today than to sit inside with our books.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day Out!

We took a much needed day off from the paper and pencils today and headed over to one of our favorite museums. By coincidence, it happens to be Katie's half-birthday. We made it into a small celebration.

The first stop was the Fossil Pit. Being over-cast and cool, we had the entire area to ourselves for quite awhile.

The little ones just like digging holes.

Mary has the technique down for finding the tiny sharks' teeth mixed in with the rocks.

After a half-an-hour we had found about 30 teeth and it was getting too cool for us, so we headed for the Butterfly/Insect house.

Checking out the colorful, poisonous frogs.

Look at these HUGE Cockroaches!

Interested in the close-ups of the fruit flies eating.

Munching caterpillar!

We love, love, love the butterfly atrium in the winter. While everything is gray/brown and cold outside, it is such a relief to walk into someplace warm, bright and colorful.

After the butterfly house we took a lunch break. And then came back to 'play' in the actual museum.

The kids are loving the new math exhibit they added this past year.

We also watched the crash demo of a child in a booster seat, strapped in properly, versus not in a booster. Hopefully the point was made to the children why I insist on them being belted in correctly.

Then, we stopped by the preschool area to give the little ones a chance to blow off some steam. But, the museum was soon overrun by three bus loads of middle school students let loose on the place. So, we called it a day ad headed home.

On the way home we stopped by the store and picked up some flower bulbs and seeds for the children to plant. They have been wanting to do some gardening, so I figured today would be a good day to do it.

It was a great day off from 'school' !



A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.