Friday, September 19, 2008

Our first Weekly Report of the 2008-2009 school year

We had a good week! And may I just say, I HEART LESSON PLANS. Seriously, the lesson plans I made are helping me SO much, really keeping me on track. They make my days so much easier: Instead of having to start from scratch every morning, trying to figure out where we left off yesterday, what I had thought of but not written down for today, what we didn't do yesterday that I wanted to add in today, etc., I can just look at my Excel sheet and see where we stand. It's so freeing.

This week we did some combined history/science, reading Born with a Bang and discussing the Big Bang theory, space, matter, the planets, and more. Today we're going to watch a United Streaming video clip about the Milky Way. It's meant for high-schoolers, but is simple enough that Bella will understand the majority of it, and it will provide more fodder for discussion.

We also started using Queen's Language Lessons for the Very Young. I really like this resource, and I think Bell will too, when she gets used to it. The first few lessons had us discussing a painting and a poem, which she enjoyed. There's also a drawing to be done, which she always seems to balk at (she's a perfectionist, so she doesn't like to draw anything that's outside her comfort zone, which at the moment consists solely of flowers). I'm going to strongly encourage her to do the drawing though, because I'd like her to branch out a bit in this area. We'll see how that goes!

So far, she hasn't liked Spelling Workout, but that' s mainly because the handwriting frustrates her, and the first lessons are all handwriting. I let that fall by the wayside last year (bad mommy!), so we're going to go back to where we left off in HWT and start over. She seems to have forgotten everything we learned, so...Bella, meet Square One.

She loves Right Start Math, as always. When I say it's time for math, she cheers. (She gets that from her father, I'm sure of it.) The lesson have been very simple--we're still in the beginning, review portion of the book. It's nice to be able to rely on this great program that I know she enjoys.

We read our first lit selection, The Five Chinese Brothers, and discussed using some of the recommended questions in Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus. Both girls really enjoyed the story, and Bella liked answering the questions. We're also reading Mary Stewart's The Little Broomstick at bedtime. This is my all-time favorite children's book. I must have read it 20 times when I was a kid, and then I forgot the title for years and couldn't come up with the book anywhere. One day, around my birthday, a package arrived in the mail from my Aunt Sue, whose book it was that I'd borrowed repeatedly as a kid. She'd come across a hardcover version at a book sale, bought it for 50 cents or so, and sent it to me. I've been waiting almost six years for Bella to be old enough to enjoy this book, and I'm loving it every minute of it!

And finally, our REAL Science group has gotten off track temporarily, but next week we plan to go to a local nature center and do our plot survey. In the meantime, we kept ourselves busy with this:

Near as I can figure, she's some kind of sphinx, but I haven't found an exact match. Either way, she's the biggest, fattest caterpillar I've ever seen in my life. Julie spotted her on our patio and we looked her up, then stuck her in our caterpillar tent (coincidentally, also a gift from Aunt Sue and family!). If you look carefully at the jar o' dirt, you can see a hole where she burrowed down into it.

She'll spend a few weeks in there and emerge as a some kind of moth, and then we'll let her go. In the meantime, I have an open jar of dirt on my windowsill. With Julie around, that's just ASKING for trouble. Should be interesting!


Vix said...

I love LEsson Plans too! Those little boxes keep me so accountable. We are accomplishing much much more this way.b

zelda said...

Wow, I totally hear you on the lesson plans...what a difference that has made.

Great caterpillar shot!

Kate in NJ said...

Great caterpillar!