We’ve had a good few weeks since the New Year. Not every day is perfect of course, and not every piece of work hits home, but we’ve had quite a few threads of work that the girls have been enthusiastic about.
Our new work plans are still working well. I’m really happy that we’ve moved away from the more restrictive contracts. The girls are choosing their own work more, and using the open spaces to choose more open ended work – which they didn’t do before. I like that within a particular skill they can choose a way to practice. We are working towards a division of responsibility where I am responsible for providing the information, and they are responsible for internalizing it.
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We’re also enjoying our homeschooling schedule! Last week was President’s Week – supposed to be vacation week. It just happened that both girls were finishing up writing projects, we had a little bit of geology to finish, and the week before they had both got really excited about a new math concept. We decided to keep going through the vacation week and take our break the week after. In addition, I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series aloud non-stop since Christmas, and delaying another week let us finish the series over vacation before we dive into reading Greek Mythology. I think that was the deciding factor for the girls!
Here’s what got the girls so excited they were willing to delay vacation a week (it was the Harry Potter):
Daisy had a big breakthrough. She’s been making some great connections between different math jobs, and has mentioned a couple of times that she doesn’t need the materials. I showed her how to notate her carries as she used the golden mat and she was off! She’s been working on this all by herself, she’s super enthusiastic about it, and she’s even given her dad a lesson! Daisy doesn’t love to work alone, so this has been a big deal for her.
Fungirl started Hands on Equations in January and has really enjoyed it! She’s never really liked all the hands on materials and I think it’s because, historically, she’s always already been ready for the next level of abstraction. This has been something completely new for her. I only intended to introduce the first couple of lessons to get a feel for how ready she was, but she ran with it asking for a new lesson each week. The program plans only 7 lessons each year over three years, but Fungirl wants to keep going! During President’s Week she not only finished up the last lesson for 3rd grade, but started attacking the algebra chapter in Challenge Math – with the HOE materials!! She’s been really excited by it and has enjoyed giving her grandad updates on what she’s been doing!
I don’t have many pictures of our writing work, but both girls were very involved with writing over the last few weeks. Fungirl spent most of Fall flitting from one writing project to another without really producing anything. A month or so ago she decided she wanted to write her own version of Harry Potter. During her first two writing sessions she basically re-wrote the book, just changing the characters to dogs and some of the names. We had a really good chat about why that wasn’t really her writing, and what ideas she had – and she’s been plodding away ever since changing the story, adding her own details, and coming up with some really fun ideas. I genuinely look forward to reading each installment when she lets me take a look.
Daisy has been writing How-to booklets based on some writer’s workshop lessons I downloaded. These also resonated with her, and she’s enjoyed them. So much so that she did not want to go back and pick her favorites to make into a book the week before President’s Week. She asked for one more week of writing How-to’s, and was the first one to make me think that we might want to push our vacation out a week. As it turned out, after one more week of writing she was so proud of herself when selecting and editing works to be placed in a final book!
Adding one more week also let us spend some time reviewing what we’ve learnt in History so far. It was a nice change of pace! We played Conquer Mesopotamia from Story of the World, talked our way through the Montessori History Question Charts (What DID We Do All Day has a great post), and it just so happened that the Homeschool History podcast for the week was on Ancient Egyptian religion. We listen anyway, but the girls loved anticipating what he was going to say! I also had time to put together a new map for our upcoming Ancient Greece unit, and we were able to find several places we’ve heard about so far!
So – those are the highlights of and reasons for our “extra” week. They were well worth it!