It’s fall! Time to schedule some school ideas so I don’t end up on Wednesday some time opening random books while my kids stare at me, hoping I can find something to teach them. (There is no “open and go”. Homeschooling can only be as good as the work you put into it!). I find it amusing how Julie Bogart from Bravewriter said this years ago, and it’s so true: Classical in the fall, Charlotte Mason in the winter, Unschooling in the spring.
This week, from 8/21-8/27, I’m going to call our first week of the 2016-2017 school year. I now have an 8th grader, 5th grader, and 1st grader, to give you a rough idea of their ages.
I try to sum up what we did, but I frequently forget incidental things that I never planned or wrote down — such as when we discuss things at dinner. Plus, the kids often do things on their own or with other adults that I might not even know they did — like calculating how much space the new swings will take up with dad or making puns with their grandmother.
In general, this was probably a light week for fall, but it’s nice to ease into things and not go overboard. We had a guest visiting, so the kids were on their own to play a lot.
- Watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- Free-wrote a list of things to do at the beach. (They did this all on their own, I had nothing to do with it….)
- Played Apples to Apples.
- Learned about Pig Pen codes and wrote some notes to each other using them.
- Middle Kid read Vacation Under the Volcano, a Magic Treehouse book.
- Littlest Kid read some short picture books to herself.
- Exploding Kittens
- The Resistance
- Ordered a new science kit for the oldest. We received the chemicals and supplies and put them away. We talked about safety with them, since there’s some strange acids and bases, and some toxic things in there.
- Read a short article about why there are so many ties in Olympic swimming events. It was a really good example of why significant figures matter — not all numbers really mean something.
- Had a nice astronomy night in the backyard and saw:
- The Milky Way
- Ring Nebula
- Open and Globular Clusters
- Not sure what else. I was half asleep.
- Read a little of a skywatching book to learn about how you can you your thumb, fist, and hand to measure degrees of distance across the sky.
- The Oldest also got excited about making crystals, so he looked up how to make salt crystals and grew some in the basement. They ended up pretty small, so next he can design some experiments to figure out why and how he could grow some larger ones.
- Read Story of the World Book 1, Chapter 27 about the beginnings of Rome and the Etruscans.
- Grandma gathered together an album of pictures she has of an Etruscan tomb they happened upon when driving through Italy one day and we looked at those.
- The girls and I did some related activities:
- Braided wigs made of yarn to show up some fun roman hairstyles. We looked them up on Google, and the girls were amazed at some of the elaborate ways they styled their hair. (We’re not done yet — making a really nice yarn wig takes a lot of yarn and a lot of time!)
- Clay animals for saturnalia presents.
- A nice fasces bundle. First we looked at the one on the dollar bill that Oldest Child supplied, then some online, then the Youngest Child made one out of craft supplies.
- Started the Which Way USA book about Rhode Island. The Oldest Child looked up Rhode Island on Wikipedia and learned that Rhode Island had the first all-marble dome built in the United States. One of the famous people mentioned in the puzzle book was Julia Ward Howe, so I found a recording of the Battle Hymn of the Republic with an interesting slide show of related pictures. We listened to it while we did the puzzle book and the Oldest Child provided some dramatic interpretive dance… kind of.
(Did you know that Julia Ward Howe was still alive the last time the Cubs won the World Series? Mark Twain, too…)
- Last week we talked about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke… so this week provided a hands on lab for the girls. Soccer practice was hot and miserable, and we brought a ton of water and learned how to just not run as much and take a lot of breaks in the shade.
- The Oldest Child learned a lot of safety with chemicals, the proper way to take off lab gloves, and fun things like that.
Too hot to do very much this week. We’re all pretty much tired of hot.
- Soccer practice for Middle Kid.
- Running around outside and going to the local park.
The girls do tons of art when I’m not looking. Drawing, chalk art, flower arranging… who knows.
- We also got out the poster paint and did some painting.
- The yarn braiding, clay animals, and things we did for history also count as art!
Nothing really organized for music this week.
- We listened to some music, sang some other songs together.
- Learned about the Battle Hymn of the Republic, of course.
- Watched America’s Got Talent — it’s interesting to hear different styles of music we might not play around the house, or see how different people interpret songs. We also like to, um, critique the singers we don’t think did a great job.