We’ve had an uninspired few weeks around here. Left goes through seasons, and Meatball was in a season of push back, everything was boring, she’d done it all before, nothing was ever exciting. So, we re-group. We ended up ditching a writing project that wasn’t going anywhere, a few assignments that weren’t finished, or weren’t finished well, and trying to give more freedom to choose work – of course met by comments of “I don’t care.”
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Luckily, we’ve just finished a great week. Two weeks ago we started an Ancient Egypt unit. We had some discussions about Meatball choosing how to present her work, and that at her age presentation begins to be important. Last week involved some hands on activities and this week involved a lot of drawing so I think that really helped. I also think that’d we’d had a few weeks of just moving through the required work with nothing really exciting outside and we were all just a bit bored. Jumping into Egypt really seems to have kick-started our learning enthusiasm again.
I will do a wrap of of our Ancient Egypt work when we’re all done – I think we’ll be diving in through the end of the year – so here’s a bit of a sneak peak!
Our week started strong with a new activity. Inspired by a post in a Facebook group, I put together a 4-compartment box. One compartment held 4 quarters, one held 10 dimes, then 20 nickels, and 100 pennies. We played this game all weeks – mostly Cheeseball and I, but Meatball played too. One player found an item around the room and asked to purchase it. The other player wrote out a price ticket, and the first player had to lay out the exact change on the hundred board. Cheese could make her way to the total any way she liked. When Meats played, she was required to get to the goal with as few coins as possible. This was a fantastic game. I noticed that Cheeseball seemed to prefer to skip-count by fives to her goal, not choosing dimes when they were an option. It was also interesting to see how she chose to get to her goal number.
Meatball spent A LOT of the week working on her assigned Egypt research for the week. She was tasked with finding and in someway presenting information on 6 Ancient Egyptian gods or goddesses. We’d chatted the week before about how she wanted to display her work for this topic, and she’s chosen to put together a book. For the gods, she chose to dedicate one page to each god/dess. She spent almost all of Monday morning on research (just taking a couple of breaks to play the aforementioned money game) then decided she was going to draft-draw each deity, color, and add her notes. She really worked hard on this all week, drawing in the evenings before bed and for a good chunk of our work time.
Last week we built and flooded our very own Nile River. I didn’t have grass seeds on hand, so we used some alfalfa seeds from another projects. One morning this week I noticed we had a lot of alfalfa sprouts growing…but also a blade of grass! We’ve been doing some botany work this year and have talked about properties of monocots and dicots, but hadn’t had a chance to discuss their cotyledons (first leaves) so we had a look and noted the information in their nature journals!
Meatball had a lesson on the effects of multiplying and dividing decimal fractions by multiples of 10, then did some follow up work with decimal addition and subtraction and fraction multiplication by a whole number. It all went really well. She seems to have a great grasp on the concepts, and had a great attempt at reducing her answers as far as possible.
With our buddies, we had a hilarious science lesson, swinging each other around to demonstrate the concept of gravity assistance for space satellites. We also looked at the effects on amount of energy on the size of impact craters, and worked on some Picasso artwork. During playtime they started playing Ancient Egypt Guess Who. I love it when they don’t realize it’s learning related!
One morning this week Cheeseball presented me with a piece of paper titled “Adding to 10” where she’d listed several math facts. Fantastic! She’s really beginning to internalize these equations. She also did a little on the multiplication board this week, and really enjoyed playing the dot game. She a leveled reader about Egyptian gods and goddessess to me, and showed some beautiful handwriting when labeling her Egyptian god/dess work.
Meatball worked through part of a language packet based around the short novel, Geronimo Stilton and the Curse of the Cheese Pyramid. Not particularly factual, but fun. We discovered that she’s not had much experience with figurative language, so I’ll start to pull that in. She had a lesson on triangles as the constructors of other shapes – which we’ll come back to when we look at pyramids.
Overall, we were all happy all week. Our work time felt pretty relaxed, but the kids were engaged all week. Throughout the week I read the entire National Geographic Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters & Mortals, which they complained on and off about, but at the end of the book, Cheese said she’d really enjoyed it. The week was a lot of fun!