Year 2, Week 3-5

I did TRY to post this two weeks ago, but the website wasn’t working, then I lost part of my post, and then . . . things got busy again.

Anyway, we did the readings for weeks 3-5 as scheduled, and most of the extra stuff. DOB has asked me to start coming in and helping out at the office a couple of afternoons a week, so we are working to accommodate that.

Deux seems to be gradually growing accustomed to reading to himself; I think by the end of the year he will be doing fine. I am doing a few more of the readings that I had scheduled for them, but we are making progress. Also he is doing much better with very short cursive copywork. Duchess has really taken off with cursive–she is starting to use it as her primary method of writing, even in her free writing. I think she will be ready for dictation in January as I had hoped.

An Island Story remains the favorite, especially the Battle of Hastings. It amuses me that the violence is apparently an issue for some. Not the ducklings. Deux was dragging his foot about another reading until he said, “Wait . . . will there be more fighting?” and raced off to get toy soldiers to act it out. The Dover coloring book has several images from the Bayeux Tapestry, which they all colored as we read, and then we looked at a website that showed it piece by piece. Even the twins were enraptured. Our sympathies are all with the Saxons. Who says that history is always written by the winners?

Ambleside Online officially made a change that had been unofficially discussed this past summer . . . stretching out Burgess Animal Book and moving Pagoo to Year 3. So, although I refused to do it this summer because that was the one book I already had planned out, I decided to do it now even though it will mess up all my printed assignment sheets and copywork. đŸ™‚ Two chapters a week is a lot to absorb; this way Deux can do more of it himself, and I think they will get more out of it. They were happy with the change. I will survive waiting for next year for Pagoo, just like I will survive waiting for next term for *Wind in the Willows*.

I have been trying to mix it up with math these past few weeks–sometimes we still do the pages from the arithmetic book as written, but sometimes I will approach the same concepts in a different way. One day we were supposed to be doing calculations with pints and quarts; instead we found appropriate shapes to represent pints and quarts and worked out how many different ways you could measure a given number of pints, using only pint and quarts to measure with. (For instance, if you needed to measure 6 pints, you could do it four ways: 6 pints, 1 quart and 4 pints, 2 quarts and 2 pints, 3 quarts). After we had tried this with increasing quantities their guesses went from close to exact to not being guesses any more as they deduced the pattern. So that was a bit of real mathematics, which is all too rare in elementary school, and I think it sufficiently reinforced the relationship between pints and quarts.

We have also discovered a fun and simple game: Take a deck of cards, two players each hold a card to their head without looking at it, and the third announces what the sum of the two cards is. By looking at each other’s card, they deduce the amount of their own. With slight modifications, we can do this for differences and products, too. (We are practicing the vocabulary in particular, not just the operations.) For next week I have a new variation to try–they each draw a card, then tell me the sum, difference, product, and quotient of the two cards. Then I have to guess BOTH the cards.

Another math activity we did was a more practical one: we have been keeping our main variable budget categories on the refrigerator. At the end of the month, we each guessed the total (discussing some strategies for estimating), then added them up to see who was the closest. I showed Deux how to use the calculator to do the addition. They found this quite interesting and I can see it being a monthly event, to the better mathematical and financial education of all.

Our music and art studies seem pretty minimal to me, but we are doing something. The science lesson was on vertebrates and invertebrates and interested them greatly.We made a very long list of animals on the board in different categories. Then I started looking things up on Wikipedia and had my mind blown by how many and diverse the forms of life are and how complex it all is.

A few things slid this last week, but we carried on pretty well and also squeezed in a harvest carnival (including them designing and assembling their own costumes), a long-awaited visit from the cousins, and me working three half-days. This week I’m only working two half-days and they should both be afternoons; I hope we can just get school done in the mornings like we are supposed to and then they can enjoy their free afternoons with the babysitter, hopefully including playing outside, arts and crafts, and reading stories, which they enjoy with her.

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