Friday, March 25, 2011

Our 27th and 28th weeks! March 14-25, 2011

Yes, two weeks in one :)  I took an internet break last weekend because the weather was gorgeous plus I had a pile of really good library books. Once Monday came around, I didn't feel like posting a super-late weekly report to the thread on WTM.

We've hit a really nice groove during the past weeks.  School is going very smoothly with lots of learning and laughing.  There haven't been any outside-the-house activities or weather-related high school delays/cancellations to confuddle our schedule.  Yippee for normalcy!

  • celebrated Pi Day by doing various "Einstein" level circle problems from Zaccaro's Challenge Math
  • conquered multiplying/dividing inequalities in equations
  • solved multi-step inequalities
  • worked on GCF, equivalent fractions and LCM for monomial expressions
  • watched Bill Nye Birds from the bird watching unit (that library request took a loooong time to come in)
  • As part of Chapter 10: Inside Earth in CPO Earth Science, Daisy created a scale model of the earth's interior on adding machine tape
  • investigated buoyancy and mountains (floating of the earth's crust on the mantle--Investigation 10B)
  • watched Bill Nye Earthquake (that request came in too quickly lol)
  • and studied wave motion through metal and plastic slinkies.
  • Then we moved on to Chapter 11: Plate Tectonics.  Studying this chapter was fantastic fun!  Truly!
  • Daisy investigated Plate Tectonics (11A) using a bathymetric map, which shows underwater topographic details.  She connected mid-ocean ridges, rises and deep ocean trenches to approximate the location of the main tectonic plates.  Adding earthquake and volcano locations by plotting longitude and latitude helped to refine the tectonic plates.  Finally she colored in the actual plate locations after consulting her textbook.
  • Fascinated by the information on Pangea and continental drift (section 11.1), we viewed an online animation of continental movement
  • watched the fascinating History Channel production of How the Earth Was Made, which covered the formation of the earth 4.5 billion years ago through the retreat of the last ice sheets 10,000 years ago
  • explored evidence for plate tectonics (Investigation 11B)
  • discussed sea-floor spreading
  • watched all four hours of National Geographic's Amazing Planet, which covered earthquakes and volcanoes, underwater features such as subduction zones, and destructive forces like water/wind erosion and glaciers
  • explored the different types of plate boundaries
  • and read Dance of the Continents by Roy Gallant.  Whew!

  • Daisy studied the medieval African kingdoms of Ghana and Mali.  She read the chapter in Human Odyssey, chapters 9 and 10 in Oxford Press's African and Middle Eastern World, and parts of The Royal Kindoms of Ghana, Mali and Songhay by Pat McKissack.
  • I had spent the previous week compiling a list of medieval historical fiction featuring female protagonists.  Last week Daisy caught up on the reading for the preceeding chapter of Human Odyssey by reading Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher (the Shahrezad story), Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen (Arabia), and Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett (fictionalized account of Anna Commena, a 12th century Byzantine princess).  Daisy enjoyed the first two very much but found the third to be quite sad.  She said she wouldn't read it again.

  • This week began our study of Europe in the Middle Ages with barbarians, the monks and preservation of knowledge, Charlemagne and early Ireland.  Daisy read the relevant chapter in Human Odyssey, chapters 1 and 2 of The European World, Beowulf as retold by Rosemary Sutcliff, Charlemagne and the Early Middle Ages by Miriam Greenblatt, and the March 2009 issue of Dig magazine on early Ireland.
unit 10 in Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop A

worksheets and online games to review grammar and punctuation

  • see history, above
  • Daisy read her way through The  Hobbit and all Lord of the Rings books.
Best of the week(s): no contest, science rules once again!

Worst of the week(s): the horrible cold poor Daisy has been dealing with :(

Coming up next week: Daisy will be taking the Iowa standarized tests through a local homeschool academy Monday-Wednesday mornings.  We will only be doing science (duh) and history next week for school.  On top of that, next week is tech week for the ballet's production of Persephone so Daisy will be busy from 5-9pm each day!  The Boy will learn the remaining college decisions by this time next week and will switch to "which do I choose?" mode.  He also has work days scheduled for his Eagle project---at last!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Girl vs Lower Mantle

After creating a scale model of the earth's interior (1mm:1km), Daisy measured herself against the different sections.  The lower mantle won!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Planning for next year (6th grade)

It's hard to believe I have to plan already for our second homeschooling year.  It seems like I just finished planning for this year!  Some subject are all planned, one subject is purchased, but others are still uncertain.

First the planned:

  • Art of Problem Solving Introductory Algebra (website), most likely only the chapters that correspond to traditional Algebra 1 (I think to around chapter 15 or 16)
  • finishing up Ed Zaccaro's Challenge Math (though we might finish this year)
  • continuing with competition math books such as Math Olympiad Contest Problems Vol. 2 and Competition Math for Middle School
  • continuing with Patty Paper Geometry
  • Math Olympiad with the homeschool group
  • I will investigate the possiblity of MathCounts.
  • Continuing with CPO Science, Daisy will use CPO Life Science.
  • I'll teach her botany from my class resources. 
  • Science Olympaid (division B) with the homeschool group
  • K12's The Human Odyssey Vol. 2: Our Modern World 1400-1914  (purchased!)
  • Oxford University Press series The Medieval and Early Modern World (library)
  • other library resources including but not limited to Calliope magazine issues, biographies, documentaries on DVD, and historical fiction
  • We will finish  So You Really Want to Learn French Book 1  from Galore Park (we're learning French together).
  • We will start Book 2.
  • I will try to track down some French language stories/books not written for an early elementary audience...
And the uncertain:

English/Language Arts
  • vocabulary: Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop B and perhaps Vocabulary Workshop C
  • grammar:  ?????  continue with Voyages in English/Exercises in English ?????
  • writing:  in search of a formal writing program.  Will check all sources in person at the Northeast Homeschool Convention in June.
The Non-Academic
  • ballet
  • flute---I need to find an ensemble that we can afford and that doesn't meet on Saturdays (ballet conflict).
  • art---all local art classes for homeschoolers are scheduled for mornings, which I keep sacred for schoolwork (unless it's my monthly coffee with my friends haha).  I think I might get Artistic Pursuits for next year.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

College news for The Boy

The life of a high school senior applying to college is rush, rush, rush, followed by wait, wait, wait.  The waiting has ended this weekend with two acceptances in the mail:  William and Mary as a Monroe Scholar and American University with a Presidential Scholarship of $20,000.  Congratulations to Jamie!  Hard work does indeed pay off.

Back to waiting----for the aid letter from our state school and news from two other universities...

Our 26th week! March 7-11

We can almost pretend that it's spring :)  The grass is greening, there is a red haze in the woods from the swelling maple buds, robins visit our yard during the day, and the witch hazel around the corner is in bloom!

School went well this week, despite having to adjust our schedule for my monthly coffee with friends (Daddy wasn't available to teach so Daisy took her books and work to her little cousin's house for a few hours) and the very last Math Olympiad test of the year.

I finally typed up the Human Odyssey Vol. 1 and The World in Ancient Times / The Medieval and Early Modern World schedule we've been using this year.  It's found in a separate page here on the blog---check the top bar for the link.  I'm going to add the supplemental resources we've used as well, but those probably won't be added until later this coming week.

The school work wasn't very photogenic this week.  My apologies!

Daisy has finally hit the first roadblock of her life in math----solving inequalities using multiplication and division.  The concept of having to flipflop the inequality sign was apparently mindblowing.  We will spend Monday on additional problems until she totally gets the concept. 

She did some ratio and proportion problems from her competition math books on Wednesday and Thursday.  Math Olympiad ended with cookies brought by other kids.  She informed me that next year she would be providing the treat one month.  I was asked by the Math Olympiad coordinator to assume leadership next year but I had to decline.  I cannot in good conscience sign the Statement of Faith required by all in leadership and told her so.  Oh well.

We finished Chapter 9 (Earth and Time) and moved into Chapter 10 (Inside Earth) this week.  On Monday, we learned about using tree ring data to date trees, and to understand climate, ecology, and past civilizations.  Daisy completed the chapter activity on relative and absolute dating.  Tuesday was the Chapter 9 assessment.  Wednesday was a full science day:  Investigation 10A using balls, fruit and a boiled age to create models of the earth; Bill Nye "Earth's Crust" dvd; and investigating Mount St. Helens pre- and post-1980 eruption.  Thursday Daisy read and discussed the first section in Chapter 10 (Sensing Earth's Interior), learning about p-waves, s-waves and seismology.  Then Friday we woke to the news of the earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunami---------that became science for the day.

The week Daisy completed the study of the medieval Islamic world with the expansion of the empire to the year 1000(ish).  She learned about Islamic scholarship, mathematics, medicine, art and mosques.

Books used this week include The African and Middle Eastern World 600-1500, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) Muslim Physician and Philosopher of the Eleventh Century by Aisha Khan, and Mosque by David Macaulay.

I spent many hours this week researching fiction books for the medieval period.  Daisy prefers to read books with strong female protagonists, which complicated the search somewhat.  With the aid of wonderful posters on the logic stage subforum of the Well-Trained Mind forums, I've come up with a great list for the rest of the year.  Having an extensive library system to draw from is such a gift!

The rest of the schoolwork was really boring and I don't feel like writing about it lol.

Much free time was spent again perusing Steven Caney's Ultimate Building Book.  I think we'll have to add a copy to our home library.

Daisy is away camping with her Girl Scout troop this weekend.  They're working on "camp skills" like cooking in coals, in a box oven, and on sticks!  Daisy and Daddy packed all her gear into the smallest backpack.  Here she is trying it on:

Best of the week: science.  It was a nice hands-on-y week.
Worst of the week: I'm still not feeling 100% healthy.  Stupid cough.
Looking forward to: Pi Day on Monday, learning about medieval Africa, visiting the library multiple times to pick up all the items requested this week, and planting pansies!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Week of Feb 28-March 4 OR What we've been doing for the past months!

It is so nice to be back blogging!  I've missed this activity and missed reading about what my homeschooling friends have been doing :)

What happened here?
Teenagers played in leaves.

We hosted Thanksgiving, as usual.
Daisy spent hours creating gnomes and Gnomeville out of fabric scraps, beads and other goodies.

Nutcracker (no pictures--on the phone still, oops)

We held the traditional cookie decorating with the cousins.

Followed by the traditional Christmas morning top-of-the-steps photo.  Guess who had to be woken?

Followed by the traditional gigantic brunch, present-opening and dinner at Grandpa's.  (I'm in the red, btw)

Daisy's dearest friend and her twin visited from Georgia for several days of silliness around Daisy's 11th birthday.

And then it started to snow.  And the teens were off school.  A lot.

Older Sister turned 16 and we hosted a Mystery in the Library party for which the guests all dressed as characters from classic books.  I highly recommend Merri Mysteries!

And it snowed some more.  Yes, teens home from school.
And I was sick from early January until last week.

But what happened with homeschooling?

--Challenge Math chapters on Area and Algebra
--from a pre-algebra text: powers and exponents, simplifying equations, solving multistep equations
--a few bits from Patty Paper Geometry
--contest math problems
--Math Olympiad competitions in December, January and February

Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome were the focus of our study from Thanksgiving through February.  This week we began our studies of the medieval world with the Byzantine Empire (Constantine and Justinian/Theodora) and the rise of Islam (the geography of the time, life of Muhammed and the basic tenets of Islam).

Ancient Greece sources used:
--K12's Human Odyssey Vol. 1 part 2 chapters 8-9, part 3 chapters 1-4
--Oxford Press The Ancient Greek World almost every chapter, I think
--Calliope magazine Oct 07 issue "Ancient Olympics"
--Calliope magazine May 06 issue "Persia Rise and Fall"
--Calliope magazine Jan 10 issue "Parthenon"
--Dig magazine March 08 issue "Alexander the Great"
--Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliffe  (as literature)
--The Wanderings of Odysseus  by Rosemary Sutcliffe (as literature)

Ancient Rome sources used:
--Human Odyssey Vol. 1 part 3 chapters 5-10
--The Ancient Roman World chapters 1-8,10,11,13,15,18
--Calliope magazine Dec 07 "Heroes of Ancient Rome"
--Calliope magazine Nov 05 "Rome's Master Builders"
--Calliope magazine Sept 05 "Buried by Vesuvius"
--Rome in Spectacular Cross-section by Stephen Biesty

And this week we used
--Human Odyssey Vol. 1 part 3 conclusion, part 4 introduction and chapters 1 and 2
--Oxford Press The European World 400-1450 chapters 1 and 3
--Oxford Press The African and Middle Eastern World 600-1500 chapters 1 and 2

After reading about poor Odysseus, Daisy switched over to mythology in preparation for the National Mythology Exam (which she took on February 23).  She primarily studied Greek mythology using D'aulaires' Book of Greek Myths and some internet resources, plus a study guide by the Mythology exam people.  As a fifth grader, she was only required to take the main portion of the exam and the Ancient Beginnings subtest.  She had decided early on to take the Norse subtest as well, so she studied from the D'aulaires' Book of Norse Myths.

Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop Level A units 1-9.  This series is/has been used by my teens, though only Levels F-H.  I'm hoping there's a good correlation between the S-O vocab and The Boy's pretty darn good ;) SAT critical reading score that will carry over to his sisters!

Jeepers, I can't remember.  We haven't done "official" grammar since before I was sick.  Whoops.

Michael Clay Thompson's Building Poems sections on stanza, simile and metaphor

After NaNoWriMo in November, she hasn't done any writing outside of history and science classes.  I think November took a lot of her and I don't know if she'll do NaNoWriMo next fall.

We're through Chapter 4 in Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn French 1.  We haven't done any new French since mid-January though, as I was coughing way too much even to speak English for sustained periods of time.  We'll resume next week.

So what could be left?????  That's right, it's
When last we left you, Daisy was studying Chapter 7: Oceans in CPO Earth Science.  She then moved into Chapter 8: Mapping Earth, for which we did Investigation 8A Topographic Maps (a picture FAIL, sorry) and skipped 8B as it required a group activity and some specific-to-CPO ocean depth diagrams I didn't feel like reproducing the week before Christmas.  Duh.

After Christmas break, we focused totally on her Science Olympiad events.  It was such a luxury to have the time during the day for studying and practicing as last year we had to do everything in the evenings and on the weekends :)  We spent between 30 minutes and 2 hours each school day from January 3 until the competition on February 12, reading library books (at one point we had 40 books checked out...), visting websites, watching DVDs, and experimenting in the kitchen.

Daisy participated on the local homeschool group's team.  They actually sent one team of fourth graders and two teams of fifth graders!  There were 52 teams total participating in this Division A Science Olympiad.  Her events this year were Chemistry Crime Scene, Food Science, Ocean Life and Estimation.

For Chemistry Crime Scene, she had to identify seven mystery white powders (baking soda, cornstarch, sugar, salt, plaster of paris, sand, limestone) and two combinations of two powders using three liquid reagants (water, vinegar, iodine) and a hand lens.  Then she had to match fingerprints left "at the crime scene" and determine through chromotography what marker had been used to write a note.  This was the most enjoyable event to help with! 

A chromotography afternoon:

The Food Science event was in a test format, with stations for each question.  The topics covered ranged from digestion to healthy eating to specific vitamins and minerals.  Having rocked Fruits & Vegetables as a fourth grader last year (first place) proved to be a great help.

Ocean Life was another test format but as a powerpoint.  There was a mix-up with the start of the event as the supervising teacher was ill that morning.  All that could be found were the actual powerpoint and the answer key but no questions.  Yikes!  The substitute actually made up questions as the powerpoint progressed.  Daisy wasn't really happy about that.

Estimation was the hardest to study for, in fact she only did a few hours total.  Another powerpoint test format, Daisy and her partner had to answer questions like "how many people, hand-in-hand with arms outstretched, would reach from the earth to the moon?"  

The result:

second in Chemistry Crime Scene and fourth in Food Science!

Next year Daisy will participate in Division B for middle schools (grades 6-8) on the state level.  The homeschool group usually does very very well in Division B, with their A team often moving on to Nationals.  Could you imagine?!

The day after Science Olympiad I read in the newspaper about  the Great Backyard Bird Count -----science for that week!  Armed with a checklist of birds likely to be seen in our area during February, a pile of field guides from the library, binoculars and a new feeder in the front yard, we practiced identifying birds prior to the count days.  Alas, we only spotted four different species during our 15 minute period on the Monday (Presidents' Day).  Perhaps the birds knew that the last snowstorm of the year would arrive just a few hours later?!

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Another snow day.  No pictures this time of my beautiful Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' (aka red bud) coated in snow.  I was so tired of it by February 22nd.

We continued with more birding the rest of last week.  I found a fascinating new library book Global Birding: Traveling the World in Search of Birds with amazing photos of fantastic birds.

Next school year, I think I'll have Daisy keep a notebook of birds she sees. Ornithology is often a Science Olympiad event ;)

Back to CPO Earth Science this week for Chapter 9: Earth and Time.  We conducted Investigation 9A Sedimentary Rocks and Relative Dating (soil-sand mix in the container):

The second picture didn't turn out so well, but there was another sand layer and a second soil layer on top of the first, below all the water.

Investigation 9B: Time and Tree Rings wasn't a photogenic lab, sorry.  It was fun, though!  We didn't have a microscopic tree cross-section slide nor a nicely cut cross-section of wood, so we just used google images for that part. 

So what's up for next week?  Solving inequalities, the last Math Olympiad competition of the year, the spread of Islam, medieval Islamic mathematics, sciences, and arts, a return to grammar and French, and moving on to Chapter 10: Sensing Earth's Interior with a Bill Nye dvd and Investigation 10A: All Cracked Up (modeling the earth with familiar items).

Have a great weekend!