Sunday, January 17, 2016

Creation to the Greeks: Week 2

Looking back on our second week of school this year, I see that we have become a little more comfortable with the process. Our days are proceeding more smoothly; we are transitioning from one subject to the next with less fumbling; and we are able to tighten up our schedule somewhat.  That's a good thing because even though we had fun last week, each day seemed to take forever!

Mister E is pretty resistant to the increased workload of first grade versus kindergarten.  He's not very gung-ho about writing or worksheets or reading books. (He already knows how to read quite well, just doesn't choose to spend his time doing so).

Since he's only six, I am trying to keep things pretty light. My main goal for him this year is to improve his handwriting, so I try to give him lots of fine motor activities.  Thankfully he loves Legos and spends quite a bit of time with those during his free time, so I know the fine motor skills will come up to par in time.

I borrowed an M&M pattern book from the library and bought a "shareable size" bag of M&Ms. That was, as you can imagine, quite a big hit with both kids.

While Mister E had was doing his M&M math, Miss M was busy with math of her own. Each day Monday through Thursday she drills basic math facts from one of the four operations.  Monday is addition; Tuesday is subtraction; Wednesday is multiplication; and Thursday is division. On Monday and Tuesday she used Wrap-ups on Wednesday and Thursday this week she used Fruit Ninja Academy: Math Master.  

Long division is not new to Miss M, but because of the holidays and the fact that her math lessons have been focused on other types of math lately, it's been a while since she actually did any long division. I wrote this silly mnemonic device on the marker board to help her remember the steps.  It was a hit, not only with her, but also with her little brother who walked in, read it, and dissolved into giggles.

When Miss M was practicing division by 10s and 100s, I explained that the answer is just like the original number, but with a zero or two knocked off. When I looked up, I discovered that she had drawn a cartoon with a stick figure picketing zeroes and the numerals 1 and 5 laughing at them!  Oh dear!

We continued learning about Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. Mister E thought it was really sad that Cain killed his brother and offered several things he could have done instead even though he was jealous of his brother.  (Even mamas like to color sometimes).

We also continued learning about the properties of light. This week we found out that light is radiant energy and that when it is absorbed by dark colors it does not vanish, but is transformed into thermal energy.  Here you can see our black and white trash bags laid over a small plant stand in the tiny bit of direct sunshine we had all week. The green bottle is just acting as a paperweight to hold everything in place. After five minutes the black plastic was noticeably warmer than the white.

We seemed to get in a lot of art and music this week!  We drew more lines, this time using them for shading and to sketch pencils and paint brushes.

We learned a little about Vivaldi and dug out Hubby's 25-year-old electric keyboard for the kids to practice on. Mister E figured out how to pick out the Godzilla Theme Song and practiced it daily!

Sometimes in the middle of lessons you just need a wiggle break. It's been much to cold to go out and play for long (not to mention the hassle of getting all bundled up!), so I put on some get-the-body-moving games using the Xbox.  We all three joined in a rousing round of Track & Field with Kinect Sports.  That'll get the heart pumping!

On Friday my mom came to visit, so we quickly pushed through our few lessons (we had bumped a few things from our Friday schedule to Thursday to be sure we had plenty of time to spend with Nana), and spent the rest of the day shopping for new colored pencils (which are apparently sold out all over Kansas City!) and making a shirt for the little girl Miss M and Nana sponsor through World Vision.  She's just the same age as Miss M and lives in the Philippines, so we created a pretty little tshirt with Proverbs 17:22 in Tagalog.  "A cheerful heart is good medicine." Mister E did not care to join us (he was busy with his music), but the other three of us each participated in making the artwork for the shirt using fabric crayons.

It was a great second week and we are looking forward to week three and our (out of season) celebration of Rosh Hashanah!

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