Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 5: Rome, Lego, Field Trip, & Baseball

Wow! I can't believe we're already finished with week 5. I think we're all finally settling into our new routine now. On good days, I've been able to get spelling, grammar or phonics, writing, and math with all three kids and do history or science together before lunch. That leaves the afternoon for art, fun projects, Five in a Row studies, extra books, activities, etc. The biggest obstacle to that is starting on time. I find that I get easily distracted by other things and then realize we're an hour behind before we even start.

I've already posted about the history we've worked on this week. We finished our study of Ancient Rome and made cookie dough Roman pillars for our fun project.

I am so glad I decided not to rush Colin to finish Spell to Write and Read. Last year, he complained every time he started a new list of words. This year I told him he only has to do 10 new words a day instead of the whole list (20). He's stopped complaining and finishes so quickly now that's he's not spending all his time whining about it. We're not doing much of the extra stuff since this is his 5th year in the program and he's already doing separate grammar and writing programs so he's still moving along pretty quickly and has finished 6 lists so far.
Caleigh is doing so well with SWR and I can see so much improvement from last year when I attempted to start it and quit after only a few weeks. She understands the dictation and is doing a great job with the markings. She's only missed 2 words out of the 80 she's been tested on and she got them both correct on her next test.

Colin- finding the area of parallelograms and triangles
Caleigh- reviewed minutes on clock and adding 2 digit number mentally; skip counting and adding with shortcuts
Molly- making patterns on geoboard, counting backwards, grouping to determine evenness and quantity

Caleigh is doing very well with cursive. We've been reviewing letters every day and she started learning o, g, qu, and e this week.
Molly is improving a lot. We're still working on capital letters.
Colin worked on the Julius Caesar chapter in Writing Tales. He's doing so much better retelling the stories and I'm so excited about how much neater his work looks. Before he was writing way too big and not paying any attention to spacing and lines.

Caleigh- pronouns
Colin- adjectives and adverbs; diagramming sentences

Molly is still working on learning some of the phonograms. She's got most of them, but there are a few that she misses every day. She's doing better with blending. For some reason she keeps having trouble with words ending in at. She sounds it all out correctly, but when she blends it she tries to add a d sound along with the t. She kept reading fat as fad. After I corrected her a few times, she told me that she knows what the word is, but she doesn't think fat is a nice word to say so she's just going to call it fad. That girl has an answer for everything.

We still haven't done much science except for Colin studying the eye. I finally resolved the issue of our missing caterpillars and they arrived today so we'll start studying them soon. I also have some science planned to go with our Five in a Row book next week.

Everything Else
Colin and his First Lego League team got all the pieces set up on their table this week. They built robots and started working on programming them.

We went on a field trip to the eye doctor. For part of the First Lego League competition, they have to do a project. They've chosen the eye. The doctor showed them all the equipment, took pictures of their eyes, and discussed the eye problem they've chosen. The kids all had a good time looking at everything and they did so well with the kids. They even emailed us pictures of the kids' retinas.

Colin also had his first baseball practice yesterday.

While he was doing that, the girls had a good time playing at the playground. I just hope it's a little cooler by the next practice.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ancient Rome

We took the last two weeks to study about Ancient Rome. We've been doing a quick review of SOTW 1 and have finally made it to SOTW 2 this week. I mentioned a little about what we were doing in last week's weekly wrap up.
Some topics we covered: legend of Romulus and Remus, Roman gods, gladiators, the Colosseum, Punic Wars, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Augustus Caesar, Roman numerals, emperors of Rome, Christianity, the weakening of the Roman empire, Rome being divided, and how the Roman empire fell apart.

I used mini books from the Ancient Rome unit study at Homeschool Share.

Notebook pages

We made Roman pillars from cookie dough. You can see more about that and what my little barbarians did to it here.

We also made an aqueduct. 

Some books we read along with Story of the World:
Vacation Under the Volcano (Magic Tree House) and the research guide
G is for Gladiator
Gladiator by Watkins
The Roman Colosseum
Colosseum: How it was Built and How it was Used
Cleopatra by Stanley
You are in Ancient Rome
Who Were the Romans?
Ancient Rome: Come and Discover my World
Costumes of Ancient Rome
Metropolis: Roman Town
100 Things You Should Know About Ancient Rome
Exploring Ancient Rome
See Through History: Ancient Rome

We added a lot of things to our new timeline that I've been meaning to post about for a while.

Cookie Dough Roman Pillars

In the activity guide for Story of the World, one of the suggested activities is to make Roman pillars from sugar cookie dough. I was getting out ingredients when I noticed that I had a package of cookie dough mix so I got that down instead. Apparently we don't make sugar cookies very often though because once I had it mixed up, I noticed that it said "best if used by November 2009." It was already mixed so I just told the kids it was old and they might not want to eat it. I think they all had to try a little anyway.

Colin wasn't interested in making the shapes for some reason, but the girls were very excited to play with dough. They started out doing pretty well.

But it soon started getting messy. I did get the pieces in the oven before it happened though.

The girls did say they were making volcanoes and I heard them talking about it erupting and covering Pompeii. I guess messes are okay if they're going to discuss what we're studying at the same time.

Finished product.

Since I had told them not to eat it, they decided to use Playmobil people as Barbarians and destroy it.

I'm not sure if the real Barbarians even did this much damage though.

After that, Colin lost interest, but the girls decided to crush the cookies so that they looked like sand.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yates Mill Harvest Festival

Saturday we went to the Yates Mill Harvest Celebration. They had lots of fun activities. There were crafts, games, corn husk doll making, wheat weaving, and demonstrations.

Caleigh making corn husk doll

Caleigh with her finished corn husk angel

Molly with many of the goodies she got there: bracelet, living necklace, corn husk doll, candy corn puppet

Wool carding

Touching the corn snake; I wasn't fast enough to catch Colin

Pumpkin bowling

They made these by braiding pieces of wheat

By the time we looked around and did the activities, everyone was hungry so we didn't get to take the mill tour. We'll have to go back soon to do that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Greek Festival

We went to a Greek festival tonight. It was really crowded and loud so we didn't stay too long. 

This one is a little dark, but you can see the musicians and some dancers.

Greek pastries
I got an assortment of pastries so the kids could do a taste test. Included were baklava, flogeres baklava, pasta flora, kataifi, kourambiethes, and thiples. None of the kids liked kataifi. Caleigh didn't like the fruit part of the pasta flora. Molly seemed unsure about most of it. Colin thought the baklava was best and both girls liked the kourambiethes most.

Week of 9/13-9/17: Rome and lots of time outside

We have moved on to studying ancient Rome. This week we read about the legend of Romulus and Remus, Roman gods, gladiators, the Colosseum, the Punic Wars, Julius Caesar, and Cleopatra.

The kids weren't sure they understood how an aqueduct worked so we made one from a cereal box and a paper towel roll. Here the kids are pouring water along the top to see how the water was brought to places needing it.

Colin and Caleigh played a game from the SOTW activity guide called Ransom Caesar. Colin said it was similar to Battleship.

Colin: reading gas prices, working with fraction of a cent, estimating square roots, and rounding for sales tax
Caleigh: Roman numerals
Molly: equilateral triangles, seeing 10 as a unit (learning to see 20, 30, 40... on abacus as 2 ten, 3 ten...)

Spell to Write and Read
Colin: two spelling lists and a test
Caleigh: spelling list, test, silent final e reference page, introduced more multi-letter phonograms
Molly: guess the word game, still working on memorizing the phonograms

Colin: reviewing adjectives
Caleigh: started working with pronouns

Molly: beginning sounds file folder games, blending sounds in 3 letter words

Caleigh: cursive letters a, c, d, g
Molly: finally holding her pencil correctly so we're working on capital letters in Handwriting Without Tears
Colin: In Writing Tales, he read Aesop's story, "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse." He did copywork from that, looked up vocabulary words, retold the story in his own words, and then wrote his final draft adding in his own details.
Colin has been studying the eye, how it works, and problems that can happen to it for his First Lego League group.
The girls have spent a lot of time chasing, looking at, and catching the many butterflies that are attracted to a tree in our backyard. That counts as science, right?

Besides a coloring page of Romulus and Remus being found by a wolf, we didn't get to art this week. My plan is to do it on Fridays, but we stayed at the park longer than usual and then had some errands to run after that.

Extra Stuff
The kids are trying to get all they can out of these last days of summer. They've spent lots of time outside.

playing in the sandbox

playing in sprinkler

We spent a few hours at the park today playing with friends. Now that we've been here for a few months, the kids have made some friends and many of them were at the park today so they had a great time playing.

Colin climbing tree
Girls with a sword being chased by the boys
This little boy chasing Colin was so funny. The big boys were playing with swords. He took Colin's little sword and chased them around most of the day.

This evening, we went to a Greek festival that's going on nearby.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I didn't get a good pic of Caleigh holding it, but you can see it in her hands in the background of this one.

Chad had to hold it before Caleigh would
Guy with bees covering his face