Friday, March 9, 2012

My New Habit

Last Friday, I summarized my homeschool week in a blog post.
It was cathartic. It made me realize I do a few things well. I think I need to make it a habit.
So, here goes:

This week I read...The Shadow Children series to preview it for my 5th grader.
(Yep, all seven books.)
Book 2 had a slight romantic twist at one point. It's the only section of the series that deals with romance - and it irritated me. My husband laughed as I quipped, "I don't mind if someone gets shot, but WHY did they have to put that part in about kissing?" (Guess that tells you what I'm most worried about my boys facing in this world.)
I decided to allow my son to read the series...and we are discussing each section as he goes.

Side note: I was reminded (again) that I should not be allowed to read fiction.. Nothing gets done if I have a good book (or 7) least THIS time I could say it was "for the sake of my children!"

In Our Homeschool...
Our family has been obsessed with Schoolhouse Rock lately. It's the only thing I will let them watch/listen to in the car. It amazes me how much actual knowledge is crammed into those entertaining videos.

I shared here about a brainstorming activity we recently did to name the "new-to-us" car containing the DVD player. This week, the boys learned that brainstorming can lead to further "breakthroughs" that never made the original list. We had Lolly on our list as a potential name (from a Schoolhouse Rock video); but as we drove around running errands, we played off that idea and decided that Mr. Morton was a better fit.

Mr. Morton is a big, respectable guy with a white top and a cinnamon-colored tie...and he finds a family with whom he can live "happily ever after". It's a perfect name for our big, respectable car with a white top and cinnamon body who found our family to live with - happily ever after. "Welcome to the family, Mr. Morton!"

Math/English/Social Studies
Our boys take gym and music at the local elementary school.
Because of this partial enrollment, they were required to participate in Indiana's state testing this week. This meant that I had a few hours of quiet coffee drinking (while I tried not to get an ulcer).
My oldest has "been there, done that, and scored well", but my youngest spent the week a bit worried - and Mama felt it. I discovered that I should NEVER go grocery shopping when I am deep in prayer over my children. I came home with a cart-full of junk food. Cheese puffs, snack cakes, Sprite...I didn't even realize how much I slipped in the cart "for the boys" until I got home and looked around.
They have no doubt I was thinking about them. I bought enough that they would almost agree to taking state tests EVERY week if the pay-off was always this good.

With all the "serious" testing, we had some fun in other areas this week.
We pulled out the book, American Adventures: True Stories from America's Past, 1770-1870; and read about the Orphan Train, camels used by the American military, and Emperor Norton (the emperor of San Diego).

American Adventures: True Stories from America's Past, 1770-1870

We also read excerpts from American History Mysteries (grades 4-8). A grandfather and his 2 grand-kids travel the USA solving historical mysteries.

My youngest thrives on this kind of history. He really paid attention to the camel stories since he loves animals, and the mysteries were relational enough that he climbed right into the interactions. (My oldest just loves ANYTHING history-related...he's easy in this area.)

Geography - 
We played a few rounds of "Defend the Country" for Geography.
It is not a game you can buy at the store. It is a game my husband made up (at bedtime no less, so the boys could be RILED up before he threw them in bed.)
I digress...It is the PERFECT way to teach little boys Geography.
We have a 5 foot wide world map hanging on my son's wall.
We also have a set of GEO cards. The cards are not necessary if you are more geographically knowledgeable than I am. (My kids once asked me where Lower Slabobia was, and I had to pause a second before I realized that Slabobia is NOT an actual country. At least it was only a second...they kept the babysitter busy for at LEAST 15 minutes.)
GEOTOYS GEO-116 GeoCards World
At first, Clay would say, "See if you can hold your finger on Brazil for 3 seconds while I defend the country."
The boys would then find Brazil on the map index, use the grid to locate the country, and put their finger on it...all while their father was jostling them, or tackling them, and making the task quite difficult. They worked as a team and got quite good at knowing their countries without having to use the grid.
After learning that Georgia is more than a state in the south, we started having races to see who could locate (and yell out) the CAPITAL of a country first.
Today I said, "What is the capital of...UGANDA?!" They pushed each other, threw stuffed animals to distract each other...and giggled a lot while being "educated" about Africa. (Warning: this game should only be played when children and parents are in good moods...otherwise it can get a bit violent - "game over.")

I've been thinking about...spring projects, warm weather and school outside on the porch. We had a few days of sunshine and 60 degree temperatures this week which got me skipping down the driveway and dreaming about daily meals cooked on the grill.
I think my dreams are a little ahead of reality, so I'll just grab another cup of coffee and let my planning for warmer days carry over into excitement for TODAY.

Have a good weekend!

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  1. My daughter loves the Shadow Children book! As they get older if just gets harder and harder to find books for them!

  2. Love your "Defend the Country" game! What a great way to learn! In fact, you do lots of fun hands-on stuff! :D And School House Rock rocks! LOL

  3. It's very helpful and encouraging to me to write a weekly summary of our homeschool days! Glad you've started doing it, too. :)

  4. I wonder why I haven't seen Mr. Morton before? Thanks for sharing. Visiting from WUHC.

  5. Looks like a good week! We love School House Rock too :)

  6. I love the creativity you put into your plans!!! I would have to say that the country your boys made up would have kept me busy longer than 15 minutes :)


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