Friday, September 24, 2010

Our fourth week in review: 9/20-9/24!

I cannot believe that it's been four weeks already!  Depending on my mood and how things are going, it feels like either four years or four days LOL

Two really fun labs (scroll down) this week (well, fun for us geeks here...) and an end to Sumerian civilization:

More of the same: review, reinforcement and extension of pre-algebra topics.  This week featured conversions between fractions and decimals incl. repeating decimals, fun with scientific notation, different types of graphs (actually covered in science) and a really neat picture book about Roman numerals, stumbled across in the library.   Following an activity in the book using different coins labeled as various Roman numerals, we challenged each other to write increasingly complex numbers.

This week Daisy learned about the evolution of Sumerian writing (Human Odyssey chapter 5, Ancient Near Eastern World chapters 4 and 14), and wrote her name using the Ugaritic alphabet (dating to the 14th century BC), found in the October 2006 edition of Calliope.

Her "tablet" was much smaller than we had planned.   An Epic Fail while making a salt clay recipe resulted in a need to use the very last little rectangle of Sculpy clay in the house.

The legal and court systems, the rule of King Sargon, the code of Hammurabi and the rise of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar were also studied.  The second craft-type project was to replicate two of the animal figures found in the gorgeous mosaic arches of the gates to Babylon.  She followed the directions in Hands-on Ancient People,Vol.1 and created

Some liberties were taken with the paint colors, historically speaking ;),  but she added more details.

To finish off the Sumerian unit, she began to fill out a chart "Comparing Cultures" from the student pages which go with the Human Odyssey text.  The chart when full will compare Sumer, Egypt, Indus Valley, and China in terms of geography, economy, religion/philosophy, knowledge/arts, technology, government/law, society and history.

Ah, pronouns.  Agreement with antecedents, intensive, reflexive, subject, subject complement, object.  Nothing new for her yet in this section (continued next week).

First week of beta-testing SWB's new curriculum, Writing with Skill.  Daisy isn't enjoying herself because she doesn't really like the mechanics of writing.  She's able to write without thinking too much about it, though I believe she needs to practice the techniques and methods of writing.  I didn't know she was already skilled at outlining.  Oops.

Gilgamesh!  Specifically this version of Gilgamesh found through our fantastic library.  Daisy found it to be an enjoyable if easy read, following up with a really good discussion.

Science (the best for last!)

(Monday) We continued with Chapter 2, The Science Toolbox.  Investigation 2A (aka lab) involved SI units---estimating and measuring different masses (equal measures of sand, salt, flour and water), estimating and measuring distance and area (since I couldn't find a single meter stick or metric measuring tape in the house, we used items like a post-it pad, box of pencils and a book), and estimating and measuring temperature of liquids.

(Tuesday) section 2.3 systems and models, with discussion of independent/dependent/control variables and a Daisy-designed experimental procedure to see whether salt or fresh water would freeze sooner.

(Wednesday) section 2.4--graphs of various types (bar, pie, line) with additional practice drawing line graphs

(Thursday)  Investigation 2B: Modeling a river!  I will put this lab into a separate blog post tomorrow :)  Since we don't own a fancy stream table, I modified the lab to use an extra large paint tray liner.  Lots of pictures will be included!

(Friday) Wrapped up chapter 2 with a reading about hydrogeologists (each chapter finishes with a feature on modern-day scientists and their research) and the chapter assessment, done orally as with the first chapter.  For subsequent chapters, I will have her write out the answers.

Best of the week: Why didn't I start homeschooling her sooner???  History and science are SO enjoyable!

Worst of the week: the moaning about following a writing curriculum.  Sheesh!  You'd think this child had never had a writing assignment in her life (not true---they did a lot of writing in 3rd and 4th grades at the school).  Next week she'll do similar assignments to this week, as I've already prepared her.

New for next week:  We're going to start with Michael Clay Thompson's Building Poems with the poetry section from Figuratively Speaking as a supplement, probably once a week.  Today the new-to-us French books and CD arrived, so I hope to add 10-15 minutes of French, to start, each day.  We'll learn together and then practice on Older Sister when she gets home from school.  Next week will also be her first Earth Explorers class (9-15yrs) through the local state park------Geology: Rock ID and Collection.  I am in hope of a quiet 1.5hr to either sit outside ALONE or to sit in the car and listen to NPR ALONE.  Unfortunately, I think I will probably be schlepping to the high school to pick up Older Sister, take her home, and return to the park.  Oh well!

Thanks for sticking with me during this oh-so-long weekly wrap-up!  Please stop back to see our "stream table" in action :)


  1. Science sounds awesome! I love the history/art mosaics. And the books. Oh my! I'm heading to my library site so I can put all these on hold. Great week!

  2. The mosaics came out so pretty! I think my son would love a project like that. I know the WWE can seem like drudgery, but the skills taught are oh so good. (have you listened to the audio on elementary writing?) I'm trying to do it with the textbook across the curriculum, but I'm getting more and more tempted to just purchase WWE 2 and go from there. ;)

    I enjoyed reading about your week, and I own Figuratively Speaking, and I didn't even know there was a poetry section, so I'm off to go look at this again.

    Have a blessed week!

  3. I love the mosaics!
    I really like your idea of having a Best of the Week and Worst of the Week.
    I love the science you sounds very hands on and something my two girls would love.

  4. What a great week. I love the mosaics!

  5. Ditto what Gifts for Girls said!
    Those mosaics are fabulous!

  6. I liked your "best of" and "worst of" too! I agree the mosaics turned out great!

  7. Beautiful mosaics!! I'll have to look into that project book when we go back to ancients next year. We haven't started science yet this year. I really need to get back into it. My kids love experiments so much. Thanks for sharing your week!