Our Work- 5/28/2021

My goal was to write one of these “Our Work” posts each month. Whoops! Here’s our wrap up post for the end of the year.

I gave no new lessons this week. The girls had a two-week work plan listing all the projects that needed completing before school “finished” for the summer. The biggest goals were:
– Finish a Mr Popper’s Penguins novel study
– Finish our history timeline
– Finish a diagonals of a polygon investigation
– Finish a non-fiction writing project (Daisy)
– Finish the verb grammar box (Daisy)
– Be comfortable with Bead Frame Subtraction (Daisy)
– Finish lower elementary sentence analysis (Fungirl)
– Finish the set of Hands on Equations lessons (Fungirl)
– Finish The Long Division Station (Fungirl)
– Abstract to writing out Test Tube Division (Fungirl)
– Come to a stopping point in divisibility work (Fungirl)
…and a couple of other little review points.

I finally threw a novel study into our homeschool at the last minute! I have to say, we all really enjoyed it. We chose Mr. Popper’s Penguins because Daisy loves penguins. While the work I planned was aimed at Fungirl, I knew that choosing a book about penguins would keep Daisy engaged. I have the BraveWriter edition of ‘Arrow’ for Mr. Popper’s Penguins but I also purchased a great interactive notebook unit from Teacher’s Pay Teachers. The unit is aimed at 4th-7th graders, but we had no problems adjusting the work. Daisy dictated sentence summaries to me, while Fungirl was able to write her own. Daisy was able to participate in all the creative challenges. Fungirl planned, researched and wrote a really great author biography essay that I was really happy with. She and I have struggled to find a writing groove this year so I was really, really happy to finish with this high note. My late-in-the-year realization is that she really needs a lot of scaffolding in the planning stage and also the components of a paragraph or essay. I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising, but some things take time to realize!

All year I’ve liked our History Quest: Early Times curriculum. I like the organization of it and the flexibility, but the suggested work hasn’t really resonated. Inspired by our novel study interactive notebook, I purchased Curiosity Chronicle’s Interactive Notebook/Lapbook pack. We only covered about 2/3 of the HQ curriculum this year, and Curiosity Chronicles covers roughly the same time period. Grabbing the product on sale was worth it to evaluate for the future. We really enjoyed making a lapbook to go along with the Ancient India chapters. When I bough this, I also bought their timeline kit. We decided to build a timeline of the civilizations we’d covered so far. I made an extra sheet of images for some of the pre-history and early topics HQ covered that different from CC. You can grab the PDF here, if you’re trying to combine the two. Moving forward, I think we will continue to combine the HQ text with the CC work.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been using my SVG Equivalence Plates, (printable version here) our Fraction Circles, and a compass to draw polygons. We’ve been counting the number of vertices, edges, and diagonals. It’s been a nice creative project. As a culminating project, Fungirl and I made a list of all our data and looked for a relationship between the number of vertices and the number of diagonals. We used this formula to calculate the number of diagonals in the decagon.

Daisy asked a question quite a few weeks ago: “What’s the difference between a whale and a dolphin?” Well, I had an idea that I wanted her to do some informational writing, so this question seemed like the perfect jumping off point. She’s spent about a month looking at books about whales and dolphins, zooming in on one small topic, and writing details in her own words. A couple of weeks ago I typed up all the facts she’s accumulated. We cut them up and sorted them into a Venn diagram to discover the similarities and differences. She wrote two more pieces – one on similarities and one on differences. This week we finished up by adding a table of contents, drawing some pictures for the cover, and binding the book – love my binding machine! This book is wonderful, and such a great end of year project for her.

In math, I wanted Daisy to be comfortable enough with bead frame subtraction to be able to take a break a come back in a month or so. We snuck in some extra practice, mostly with her sat on my lap! When we return we’ll pick up here, then move to the golden mat for notation work.

Back in January Fungirl started the first set of Hands on Equations lessons. We’ve both loved them! It was always one of the first jobs she chose in the week. She’s taken the work over to my parents’ house a couple of times to show my dad. When she finished the first set of equations, she insisted on moving forward. I actually asked her to slow down – I found some additional exercises, so she worked through those, essentially going through the first 7 lessons twice before moving onto the second 7 lessons. Unfortunately on the very, very last problem in 21 weeks and 14 lessons we hit a wall where she was asked to subtract a negative number from another negative number, and we haven’t covered that yet. (Hello summer topic!) It was a shame to leave that one problem, but all her grown ups have been emphasizing what great work she’s done. I think she’s really proud of herself.

We also spent most of the second part of the year working through division and divisibility topics. Fungirl could already divide multi-digit dividends by a single digit divisor using short division, but needed practice. Based on a review of a similar product by McHomeschool, I purchased The Long Division Station from TpT for her to work through as independent review. Alongside this we worked together through test tube division problems with multi-digit divisors. We finished the summer in a really comfortable place. Two weeks before the end of our year she declared that she was done with test tube division and was just going to write it down. We got some practice in and she’s at a place where she can do multi-digit long division on paper with an old problem to refer back to. She’ll keep practicing over the summer.

Overall, we’ve really had a great first homeschooling year. I’m sold and can’s wait to keep going next year! (That’s a bit misleading, since we are for sure year-round schoolers, but we will do less work in the summer!). I feel like we did A LOT this year. Next year, with less COVID, I can see that we’ll be more social and less academic but we’re in a great place to be able to do that. I’ve learned that I need to do the work too, and provide visual references for the kids so that they know what’s expected. I’ve learned that we like to work in notebooks to create work we can keep, and that we probably need to incorporate more writing – especially for Fungirl, especially in social studies. That’s ok 🙂