Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up ~ 2nd Quarter changes {Less is More}

 If you have read my Weekly Wrap-ups for the past nine weeks, you have probably seen a trend of cramming a lot into one week!

This week, however, I have noticed myself being much more laid back in the area of schoolwork. I am pretty certain it has had something to do with my newfound interest in the Charlotte Mason method. But, on top of that I have seen that with two children at home, learning two completely different sets of things (being 9 years apart in age), I am quickly overloading myself!

This past Fall Break was a great one for me. It gave me some downtime and some time to reflect on the past quarter. I realized that I was beginning to pause much more frequently to notice the education that was occurring all day long, without the aid of any school books ... the aha moments ... the learning from doing things they had interest in ... the application of things learned in books to real life! I would stop myself from hurrying Brynne along to go upstairs to resume workbox assignments because I noticed her stopping to count the number of stairs from the first floor to the second, or because she was just sitting at the coffee table writing her whole family's names on index cards to play school. Or I would skip one written assignment of Dawson's that we really needed to get to because he was enthralled in yet another documentary on The Military Channel.

I am realizing how smart my kids already are, and how they have been stifled {primarily by me} in their real-world learning because of the system and schedule we have always been following.

So this week, instead of dazzling you with our long list of things marked off our to-do list and planner, I will just tell you that lots of learning has been going on! ~~~ mostly by me. But I wouldn't be "ME" if I didn't give you a glimpse into the specifics of our week.

Brynne ~ 1st Grade

Brynne's letter-of-the-week is "D". She has done her tracer and writing pages, mini-book, Letter Bag, Letter Spiral and Collage letter decorated with 'diamonds' and 'dental floss'.

She continued to do lots of math workbook pages {because she loves them!} and we read lots of books highlighting the Letter D and books about Native Americans to finish our American Girl unit on Kaya, a Nez Perce indian girl. We concluded our Kaya unit by completing our very first lapbook!

We went to the library for homeschool story and craft time, where stories were read, "eyeballs" were made and cupcakes were eaten.

On Thursday we had PJ Day. All three of us stayed in our pj's all day and had school on the couch. {Eli had a PJ day at his school as part of Red Ribbon Week, so we wanted to have one, too.}

And today we started an ABC Nature Scavenger Hunt. This was inspired by reading the book Path of the Quiet Elk by Virginia A. Stroud. We only just started, and I hope to do it more formally over the weekend. After that we did some real-life learning by doing our grocery shopping.

She's already completed most of the little workbooks I had, so I went to The Dollar Tree today and bought 8 new books that I thought might challenge her. She also got a Strawberry Shortcake coloring book and spent much of her evening coloring.

Dawson ~ 8th Grade

My newfound philosophies have really hit home with Dawson. We are using A World of Adventure by Dorian Holt for our curriculum. Love it! It is designed for 4th-8th grade boys. I can see how it would be a little much in some areas for some 4th graders and there have appeared to me to be definite holes that needed to be filled for someone as old as the 8th grade. This first quarter I added a lot of busywork to the curriculum .. lots of extra busywork. Our days were long and cram packed!

After diving into the Charlotte Mason theory on education over the last couple of weeks, I see that Dorian Holt's curriculum follows the same premise. I thought it was "lacking" without all the worksheets and such. But what I am seeing now is that she bases her lessons on a piece of literature, with lots of additional reading, and inspires discussion (Or as Miss Mason would put it, "narration"). It's less about me teaching and more about me learning alongside him. I see some tweaking I can definitely do for him that will make his learning process much more enjoyable!

We are in the middle of our study on Ancient Greece. He doesn't like it as well as Ancient Egypt. And, neither do I. But, we're making it. This week he started an amphorae vase, worked on adding drawings to his Mythological Creatures, Gods and Goddesses notebook and watched some videos. He is also continuing on his journey of the history of Athens and Sparta, doing comparisons. He wrote a beautiful comparison paper of the two cities!

We have discussed that his favorite thing to learn in these ancient studies is about war and war weapons (thus his interest in The Military Channel). I have decided that if that's his interest then I will make sure he has supplementary reading materials about those topics from now on. I've got two books and a video waiting for us at the library. Last night we watched the 1962 movie, "The 300 Spartans".

In Science we have concluded our study of The Human Body Systems and have moved on to a healthy body ... diet and exercise. We will be working with this for the next two weeks and working on a First Aid project. We'll primarily be concentrating on The Food Pyramid by inputting his daily food intake into the PyramidTracker to see how his eating measures up to the recommended standards.

We have decided to limit his Spanish lessons to LiveMocha and discontinue using the textbooks we borrowed from one of his former teachers. He felt that it wasn't productive. He is also still steadily working on his typing lessons. We don't take it overly serious, but it's just a good idea for him to keep practicing typing.

We participated in Sketch Tuesday this week and Dawson drew something that you brush your teeth with.

He has expressed an interest in teaching Brynne about art and artists. He wants to start with Picasso.

In Math, he told me that he is really likes his Life of Fred assignments. He likes it beause the lesson sets are short, and each problem is shown in a real-life {albiet silly} situation allowing him to see the practical and useful side of what he is doing. (And I'm not spending 30 minutes grading his assignments each day, making him redo the ones he missed, and then regrading). So, we're both happy. And last night he even said that one of the problems was "fun". He actually used the word "fun".

And that's been our week. It's still been busy, but a lot less "we have to get this done" structured. To this structured gal, it's been a challenge. But I hope to be able to embrace this more laid back method. I can already see a less stressful environment with lots more smiles and laughs and "I love yous" ~~ and I'm talking about from me to the kids.

We are linking up to Weekly Wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Welcome back, Kris!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Food Pyramid ~ Healthy Eating Science Unit

Dawson is a terrible eater! Always has been!

As part of his study on Ancient Greece, he is doing a science unit on healthy eating. Of course that includes use of the Food Pyramid.

Have you ever gone to It's an amazing site that not only allows you to input your height/weight/age/exercise level for a customized food plan, but it also has a PyramidTracker link that allows you to input that information with your daily food intake so you can track how you are doing!

That's a project I am having Dawson do, starting today.

First he is using a food plan based on his information. It tells him how many ounces or cups of the certain foods he should be eating. Then he used his recommended food plan to come up with a list of foods he would eat in those categories. I told him to concentrate on breakfast, lunch and snacks. I'll be doing my two-week grocery shopping on Friday, so I'll be sure to buy the foods he said he would definitely eat.

Then I am going to have him track his food intake on the PyramidTracker site to see how he is doing.

He has a good range of foods in all of the categories except one .... vegetables! I am going to get him some V8 Fusion and some spaghetti sauce to use with pasta and on homemade mini pizzas. Otherwise, veggies are a no-go for him. Any sneaky suggestions, other than hiding it in his food (which I do sometimes)?

We will soon be studying the health care needs of Olympic athletes. This will all tie in nicely!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Never thought it would be like this ....

I never thought I'd be a homeschool mom. I didn't think I could do it. Heck, I didn't think I wanted to do it!

But I find it to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I am proud to tell others that I homeschool two of my children.

I never really thought I would homeschool any of the kids but Dawson. I especially never thought I would have the stamina for Brynne. We are so much alike. I just never thought we could do it together .. all day .. every day ...

But I think I am loving it as much, if not more, than she is!

All I know is public school and doing things the public school way. And, that's how I think!  I am a read-a-text-and-memorize-the-material-then-regurgitate-it-back-onto-a-written-test-after-you-have-done-two-weeks-of-multiple-busy-work-problems kind of girl!

I had heard of unschooling and eclectic and Charlotte Mason and other homeschooling terms. And since I am a non-conformist on my best day, I wasn't planning to conform to any of these styles. I was going to do it my way ... which is basically the public school way, with some give here and there. I knew that Dawson loved projects, so I planned to do as many of them as I could. And when Brynne came along I knew that she loved busy work (like mother like daughter), so I planned to load her up with that.

And then I came across Barb at Harmony Art Mom and Handbook of Nature Study. And then I read Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola. And this came after a summer of nurturing my very first vegetable garden (albiet small), and having a strong desire to have chickens (which we can never have here at this house), and after bringing 4 puppies into our home to make them part of our family, and sitting for hours watching birds in my backyard and loving my hummingbirds.

And then I started feeling a shift in how I wanted to school my children. I started to relate to Charlotte Mason's philosophy and to desire to know more.

And now I am soaking in every word of A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola.

I feel myself already moving in such a different direction, and it's only been two months of what I now consider to be a lifetime of homeschooling. And it has me even more excited about homeschooling than I every thought I would be.

How about you? Have you found yourself switching your philosophy?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ End of 1st Quarter {C, Kaya Lapbook, Digestion and Greek Myths}

This week was a different one for us. Dawson's 14th birthday was on Monday. Although I let him sleep in, we still had school that day. We tried to keep it as fun as possible. Our public school's Fall Break was Thursday and Friday, and continues until school resumes Tuesday, so we took/are taking those days off, too. We still got lots accomplished this week!

Brynne ~ 1st Grade
The 3 R's ~ Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic

Brynne started her weekly journal pages by finishing the sentence, "I like to eat ..." She put "Mackrone and ces" (macaroni and cheese) and drew a picture of it.

She did her workboxes full of daily phonics, mini readers, math pages and others. She continues to amaze me with how much she knows. Since we use my public school 1st Grader's homework for her lessons too, it has become very apparent to me that I am going to need to order a good Saxon Phonics instruction book. Sad that I don't know phonics rules well enough to teach them to her. I did print some off the internet (coding rules, digraphs, etc.) that helped me some. Anyone know any good, free, internet cheats?

For the Letter of the Week activities Brynne did her "C" workbook pages and mini book. She learned the rules for differentiating between the hard c and soft c sounds. She found "C" objects to put in her letter bag (cracker, cup, car). She decorated her "C" collage letters with cotton balls, craft sticks and Christmas confetti.

She completed her letter spiral by finding "C" pictures in magazines (coffee, cell phone, catapult), cutting them out, gluing them in, and writing the words.

On Monday we did a Muffin Tin Monday lunch for her letter-of-the-week. She had cheese pizza, cheese, cherry jello, crackers, chocolate chips, candy corn and chocolate milk.

On Tuesday we counted cars. I would put cars out in different groups (i.e. one car, then a line of three cars, then a line of four cars). I would then say, "What is 1+3+4?" And she'd count to answer the problem. Then we would subtract some. This game was her idea!

On Wednesday we took a break from pencil-and-paper school to play Candyland.
Math continues to be her area of strength. She loves it! Not only does she do lots of work pages, but she loves to play math games on Fun4thebrain. I am also trying to come up with hands-on math games for her to play with items around the house.

History ~ Kaya, an American Girl

We finished Meet Kaya, and instead of moving on to another book in the series, I decided that we would just spend extra time on our lapbook and read some books on the Nez Perce indians and appaloosa horses and read Kaya's World more slowly (it is a non-fiction book about the people and customs from Kaya's era). That will give us plenty of time to finish our study on Kaya and her people by the end of the month, and give Brynne plenty of time to decorate her lapbook to her liking. Then we will be moving onto another American Girl.

Out and About

On Wednesday Brynne and I went to our public library story and craft time. After listening to the reading of a couple of books, the kids made paper quill creations. Brynne chose to make a face. Coincidentally, her face matched her dress. (There wasn't much quilling going on, but she used her creativity and made what she wanted ... which is the point anyway.)

On Thursday my public school kids were out of school for Fall Break (and the older two kids left for the weekend) so I planned to take Eli and Brynne to a nearby town to the apple orchard. We were going to skip Lesson 2 and go straight to the current lesson of the The Outdoor Hour, because it was a lesson on apples. That didn't work out like we had planned. So, you can go here to read how our day panned out!

On Friday we went to our Homeschool Coop's gymnastics day at a local gymnastics and cheer gym. That was so much fun!!  Eli was glad to be out of school so he could join us! It was a little crazy, and they could certainly use more workers (or mom's paying attention to their kids), but Brynne definitely wants to go back next month.

Dawson ~ 8th Grade
We started out Dawson's week by letting him sleep in until 10:30 a.m. because Monday was his birthday. Yes, on the surface it looks like I am a mean mama/teacher for making him do school on his birthday. But, Fall Break started on Thursday and he was off school Thursday and Friday and will be again on Monday.

A World of Adventure

In Language Arts Dawson started working on nouns. He added some prefix vocabulary words based on Greek root words. Because we are reading Myths about how the world was created, we have been reading Genesis to see the truth about how the world was really created. {No, we don't believe that we have seasons because Demeter (the goddess of agriculture) stops doing her job during the 7 months each year her daughter Persephone is banished to the underworld and that spring and summer happens because she perks back up when Persephone gets to come back to be with her for 5 months.} The topic of evolution and The Big Bang Theory have been discussed. God created the heavens and the earth and it's irrelevant whether he did it in 7 days or a million years. He did it.

We are continuing our reading of Classic Myths to Read Aloud, by William F. Russell, Ed.D. Dawson added Demeter, Ares and Zeus to his "Mythical Creatures, Gods and Goddesses" notebook.We have found it very interesting how many modern day words are taken from Greek words in the myths.

In Social Studies Dawson read and studied (briefly) about The Trojan War and The Trojan Horse (we will cover that in depth later) and about attacks by the Minoans, the destruction of the Greek civilization during the Dark Ages, the arrival of the Golden Age, the beginnings of the theater and the evolution of the Greek government system.

In Science he finished his study of the Human Body Systems, doing worksheets for the remaining systems in his Body Systems notebook. For the Digestive System we did an experiment about whether you can swallow upside down and, if you can, why. We did an experiment about how enzymes are broken down in the stomach. And, Dawson made a Digestion Apron. 

(This isn't what he drank!)

We counted the painting of his Digestion Apron for Fine Arts and on Wednesday he completed his day by making Ambrosia {layering of strawberries, pineapple chunks, powdered sugar, coconut and orange juice}. It was a tad sweet for us.

Other Less Picture-Worthy Subjects

Fred Fractions, Good Typing and Spanish lessons were completed. I've got to get him back to reading in some personal reading time.

We have completed our first quarter!  I cannot believe it! It has gone by so fast and has been such a fun and excellent experience so far!!!

As always we are linked up to the Weekly Wrap-up. This week it's being hosted by Jamie at See Jamie Blog, while Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers is attending a much-needed retreat.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Outdoor Hour ~ Lesson #2

Our day didn't turn out the way we had expected ... it was better!!

I had intended for us to skip Lesson #2 and go straight to this week's topic on Apples. The kids and I planned to drive an hour away to a working apple orchard, pick apples, buy many varieties, have a picnic, go through the pumpkin patch, buy a couple more pumpkins, come home and bake some applesauce and cobbler.

I just happened to remember that last year the orchard was not open for picking because of the previous winter's ice storm. So I decided to call before we left. Guess what ... the orchard is not open this year either!  Ohhhhhh how disappointed I would have been {not to mention the kids} if we would have driven that hour for nothing!

I suggested we go to a park today instead and have a picnic there. And sweet Brynne said, "I know, we can take apples!" My little problem-solver.

It was here that I decided that we would do Lesson #2, as we should have done anyway. Lesson #2 is as follows:

Using Your Words
1. Read page 15 in the Handbook of Nature Study. (The Field Excursion) Read page 23-24 in the Handbook of Nature Study. (How to Use This Book) Make note of any points you want to remember. My favorite is "The chief aim of this volume is to encourage investigation rather than to give information." This is where many people misunderstand the HNS. It is not a field guide but it teaches us how to help our children with nature study.

2. "It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson, since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned." Challenge yourself to take another 10-15 minute "excursion" outdoors in your own yard again this week. Before setting out on your walk, sit with your children and explain to them that when you remain quiet during your nature time, you are more likely to hear interesting things. Brainstorm some sounds they might hear and build some excitement about remaining quiet during their nature walk this week. Take your walk and if they get rowdy, use the universal finger over your lips sign to get them to quiet down. Set a good example and be quiet yourself, modeling how to listen carefully.

3. After your walk, challenge your children to come up with words to describe the following things:
One word to describe something they heard. (For example: rustling, snapping, crunching or chirping)
Two words for something they saw. (For example: tall trees, frozen water, red birds)
Three words for something they felt. (For example: freezing cold wind, rough sticky pinecone)

We arrived at the park and picked a shady spot for our picnic. We nibbled a little and the kids wanted to play on the equipment for a bit. But it wasn't long before they were drawn to the geese and ducks in the lake.

We spent the next hour and a half walking around the perimeter of the lake "looking for clues", according to Eli. I instructed the kids to walk quietly and listen to the sounds around them. We heard water rushing, leaves rustling in the wind, airplanes flying overhead, ducks quacking, geese honking, leaves crunching as we walked. We saw lots of trees and ducks and geese and flowers and other birds and loose feathers and sticks (oh how Eli loves sticks). And we touched and felt as much as we could get our hands on {or faces in one case}.

When we were done exploring I had the children tell me in ONE word something they heard. Eli said "goose". Brynne said "leaves". I had them tell me in TWO words something they saw. Eli said "long bridge". Brynne said "picture tree". Then I had them tell me in THREE words something they felt. Eli said "white spider web ". Brynne said "soft goose feather".

After our walk we finished our lunch, talked about our walk, played some more, met some new friends and ran into another one from homeschool coop.

The day was just as it should have been!

{On a side note. I had just finished Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola. I had stopped at the library just before going to the park to return it, and pick up some other books I had ordered. When I got to the park I noticed that I had forgotten to return the book. At the end of our park stay I ran into a friend of mine, who has also just started homeschooling. I told her that today we were doing our nature study and explained it to her briefly. I told her about Barb's Handbook of Nature Study blog, but she said she has a difficult time getting onto websites because of some firewalls on their home computer. And then it hit me ... loan her the book! I am convinced that's why returning the book to the library had slipped my mind and why I had run into this friend on this day. She will love the book.}

We are linking up at Handbook of Nature Study. Go there to see other nature lovers!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Outdoor Hour

I am very excited that we will be participating in The Outdoor Hour sponsored by Barb at Handbook of Nature Study.

I am currently reading Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola, as recommended by Barb. It has certainly prompted my interest in being involved in a nature study. I am looking forward to ordering the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, the recommended field guide to use in our study.

Barb recommends that new participants do the first five lessons, then jump in with the whole group on their Lesson 6. That is what we did this week.

We did Lesson 1 which is as follows:

1. Read pages 1-8 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Highlight or underline anything that you as the nature study teacher find will help you in your guiding your children. If you read a sentence that you agree with, mark it so you will remember to come back to it when you need some encouragement.

2. "In nature-study the work begins with any plant or creature which chances to interest the pupil." So here is your challenge this week. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors with your children, even if it is really cold and yucky. Bundle up if you need to. Take a walk around your yard or down your own street. Enjoy being outdoors. After you come inside, sit the children down and ask them one at a time to tell you something that they saw on their walk. Ask them what was interesting to them. Maybe they picked up a leaf or a stick and brought it back indoors and now they can really take a look at it. Make a big deal about whatever it is that they talk about.

3. After your discussion, come up with two things to investigate further. For instance, if they saw a bird on their walk and they came inside and talked about it, ask them if they want to know more about that bird. You have a whole week to spend some time looking it up. Maybe they found an acorn or a berry on a bush that they were interested in. That could be your focus for the week.

4. After your nature study time with the children, pull out your Handbook of Nature Study and see if the item the children are interested in is listed in the index. If it is, look up the information for yourself and then relate interesting facts to the children sometime during the next week.

We live on a one-acre piece of property off of a bluff about 4 miles outside of town. It is a subdivision, but is full of nature. We spent our time walking around our own piece of property.

The first thing we noticed was a large grasshopper on our driveway. Brynne noticed that he was the colors of the grass and we discussed how God made the grasshopper to be the same colors as the grass so he could blend in, to not only protect himself, but to also enable him to hunt for his own food without being detected. Brynne is typically very scared of bugs, insects or anything of the sort. But our new friend sat very still so we could look him over. We were even able to get close enough to see the spines on his legs.

Then we walked out further onto our property and were amazed at the thousands of acorns all over the ground. We need a few hundred of them for a craft party at my son's school, so we started collecting them. I mentioned that the squirrels might be upset with us for taking their acorns which prompted a discussion about how the squirrels collect acorns during the season when they fall to the ground so that they have plenty of food to eat during the winter months.

She told me she was going to go look in our backyard. She came upon her favorite thing to do in nature ... swing!

Later Brynne drew and colored an acorn and we glued it into her new Nature Journal.

This week I plan to look up information on the anatomy of a grasshopper, to discuss the spines on it's legs, and which animals eat acorns.

This was fun! And I can't wait to dig deeper next week!

If you want to join in, go here to see how to get started!

We are linking up at Handbook of Nature Study.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Week 7 {Nature, Coop, Body, Gods}

I've decided to abandon the "Dawson Says" posts because he really doesn't have much to say every week and it's a struggle to get him to do it with a positive attitude {and I doubt anybody wants to hear attitude from a kid at the end of their own long week of, possibly, having attitudes of their own at home to deal with.} Soooooo ..... here's this teacher's viewpoint of our week:

Brynne ~ 1st Grade

The 3 R's ~ Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic

Brynne started her weekly journal pages by finishing the sentence, "I don't like to eat ... Mostar." Can you guess what that is? Hint .. she drew a yellow bottle, upside down. When you look at the picture straight on it has a capital "W" on it. (It's Mustard and, cleverly, the "W" is really an "M" since the bottle is upside down.)

Every day we got out the workboxes and completed workbook pages having to do with ABC dot-to-dots, sequencing, alike vs. different, Eli's (our public school first grader's) phonics homework page from the day before, and others.

For the Letter of the Week activities Brynne did her "B" workbook pages and mini book. She found "B" objects to put in her letter bag (balloon, block and book). She decorated her "B" collage letters with balloons and beads. She completed her letter spiral by finding "B" pictures in magazines, cutting them out, gluing them in, and writing the words.

She and her brother (and Crusoe) played a spontaneous game of "keep the Balloon in the air." 

They also built a robot out of Blocks.

In Math Brynne does lots of addition and subtraction problems, both from a First Grade workbook we have and from Eli's math homework from the day before that I copy for her. She is a whiz at math! She's also been playing math games online.

History ~ Kaya, an American Girl

Our first history lesson is on Kaya, a Nez Perce indian girl from the 1780's. She is one of the American Girl dolls. We started Meet Kaya. I thought we might read a chapter a week but we have read almost the whole book in just two weeks. So I now have the second book in the series to start. We will work on this until the end of the month.

While I read the book to her she did different activities for her lapbook. She colored different types of salmon (what they fished), colored a picture of a horse and named it "Daisy", decorated a teepee, did a salmon dot-to-dot {numbers 1-94}, and drew trees and insects on a page to show protection of the salmon.

We had a very interesting conversation yesterday that prompted a lesson on the 5 senses! One of the girls in the book is blind. Brynne asked if she could talk, since she was blind. Or if she could taste. I had her close her eyes and smell a crayon, and talk to me, and touch me and asked her whether she could hear me. We talked about how losing one of your senses makes your other senses stronger.

Out and About

On Wednesday Brynne and I went to our public library story and craft time. You can read about that here.

On Thursday we did our first lesson of the The Outdoor Hour. We started with Lesson 1 and will catch up with the group a little later. She was fascinated with the thousands of acorns we found in our yard and the grasshopper on our driveway. More on this in a separate post later.

On Friday we went to our first Homeschool Coop. Brynne had the opportunity to participate in "Fun Class", which this week was Theatre class. They learned all about the different types of stages, stage right and left, upstage and downstage. Then they got to play in the indoor playroom. When we left Brynne said she really had fun. I was glad to see two other moms I knew, who I didn't know attended the coop. It's going to be a fun thing for us to be involved in!

Then in the afternoon we went on a field trip with the group to a pumpkin patch in a nearby town. We decided to take Eli out of school early so he could go with us. You can see the pictures here.

Dawson ~ 8th Grade

Dawson's week was kind of a blur with all of the activity surrounding Brynne. Here's what (I can remember) he did:

A World of Adventure

In Language Arts Dawson did more paragraph re-writing using the method used by the Institute of Excellence in Writing. I just learned this and it made me very happy because it's a highly respected method, and it has great results! His paragraphs have been excellent! He also finished his spelling unit on the /e/ rules and completed some vocabulary. We read many of Jesus' parables, since we are studying fables and myths. Jesus used a similar approach with his parables.

On Friday we began our reading of Classic Myths to Read Aloud, by William F. Russell, Ed.D. This will be our literature text for the next several weeks. With this unit on Greek myths Dawson is making a "Mythical Creatures, Gods and Goddesses" notebook that will contain drawings of the various gods and goddesses we study, as well as factual information about each. He did his first drawing of Athena.

In Social Studies Dawson read and studied about Greek trading ports, the movement from myths to philosophy to science, watched a video about the layout of a Greek town (the acropolis, agora and temples), watched a video called "Clash of the Gods ~ Odysseus" from The History Channel, did some vocabulary from that episode and answered discussion questions. He also finalized his recipes for the Greek meal he plans to cook for our family this Tuesday night.

In Science he continued his study of the Human Body Systems, doing worksheets for each system in his Body Systems notebook. For the Respiratory System we did an experiment  and calculated that in his lifetime (as of that moment) he had taken approximately 81,993,601 breaths which would have filled approximately 20,498,401 2-liter bottles with air. For the Excretory System we did our Phoney Poo experiment. He watched some KidsHealth videos about the Reproductive System.

For Fine Arts, the majority of the week was spent studying the three types of Greek columns, called the Doric Column, the Ionic Column and the Corinthian Column.

He did a Sketch Tuesday entry for "Things you find in an art museum".

And he made a catapult.

Other Less Picture-Worthy Subjects

Dawson still continues to enjoy Life of Fred: Fractions. He did his first "bridge" this week and passed it allowing him to move on.

He continued to work on his Good Typing and Spanish assignments.


Dawson's 14th birthday is tomorrow. We are still doing school, although trying to keep it as fun as possible. Our public school's Fall Break is Thursday, Friday and next Monday, and he will get those days off.

As always we are linked up to Weekly Wrap-up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.