Tag Archives: DidThisWeek

Week 1 of Fall 2016 – What We Did This Week

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.


I frequently count games as math — they require a step-by-step process and logical thinking. There’s often some kind of number-based scoring.
  • Exploding Kittens
  • Coup
  • 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:
    • Saturn
    • Mars
    • The Milky Way
    • Andromeda
    • 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.

Social Studies:

  • 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.

This Week in Homeschooling #2 (2011)

Our illnesses finally broke this past week, so posting was delayed while we actually went out and saw people and did things. It is so wonderful to finally get out of the house!

So, for the week of January 8th through the 14th, this is what we did:


  • The Boy learned about dividing by 4 and reviewed multiplying 2-digit numbers… which he forgot he ever learned. I had to show him papers from a few months ago to prove he did. I guess we’ll take a little detour to review that and firm up his addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts.
  • The Girl is working on simple addition and subtraction, practicing counting larger groups of things, and just beginning telling time. They also played together with a Reader rabbit math game and did a few puzzles.

Language Arts

  • The Boy reviewed the grammar we were working on before we all got sick, including: action vs. linking verbs, subject and predicate, the direct object, and subject vs. object pronouns. He also diagrammed two sentences.
  • He also practiced writing by sending email and chat messages to friends and family. He read some Calvin and Hobbes to himself and listened to me read The Mysterious Benedict Society.
  • The Girl is starting All About Spelling to learn the sounds the letters make and played a lot of Starfall. They both played a lot of Madlibs.
  • The Girl enjoyed whatever books her dad read to her, a High Five magazine, and an audio recording of Just So Stories.

Social Studies

  • We finished Story of the World (part 3) Chapter 16, and learned about the new scientific farming. Yay Jethro Tull! Seed drills and crop rotation.
  • We also talked about the “Tragedy of the Commons” and how that relates to the agricultural revolution.
  • We watched two episodes of “Engineering an Empire” which covered some history of ancient Greece and the Aztecs.
  • Plus we talked about how in different cultures, colors have different meanings.


  • We’re finally beginning our new Science book, with a lesson about Brownian motion and diffusion.
  • We watched an episode of Rough Science about panning for gold, making a scale, and making a metal detector (and, of course, “Engineering an Empire” had a lot of science and engineering content).
  • We built a fire in the fireplace and talked about the chemistry of fires.


  • Still taking it slow, but we did play outside in the snow and went to gymnastics. We talked about the importance of stretching, safe stretching, and tried out the exercise balls we got for Christmas.


  • Thanks to our illnesses, we talked (again!) a lot about hygiene of washing hands, how viruses spread and things like that.
  • Also, the importance of brushing our teeth when we eat candy all day long to make our sore throats feel better.
  • We talked some more about how babies are made, chronic illnesses, and fire safety.


  • Just free-form singing around the house and listening to whatever was on the radio or iTunes, mostly. Sore throats and coughing don’t work well with music.


  • We read two books about different sorts of art (Paintings and Landscapes)
  • Did a lot of coloring and stickers and making paper snowflakes
  • Talked a bit about why artists pick this color instead of that color (which ties in with how different cultures use color).
  • The Girl followed the instructions in her magazine to make a crown (with some help).


The Girl did some worksheets about tools people in different jobs use, matching things that go together, and most importantly the different seasons and which clothes you wear in those seasons. The Boy learned about fixing things, especially the plumbing, and practiced with his drill and hacksaw.

Whew! Next week we’ll have better lesson plans and really get back to school.

This week in Homeschooling #1 (2011)

There are a few reasons to write up what we do every week here. First, it’s a good way to record it for later — for portfolio reviews, for next time I’m teaching the same things, for the kids once they are older and maybe want to read a few things about what we used to do. Also, new homeschoolers are always looking for a little peek into what life as a homeschooler is — and while I’m by no means “typical”, it’s always interesting to see what other people do. The kids can also use this as their own publishing platform, as they like. Plus, I like to do the week’s planning on Sunday, so Saturday is a great time to figure out what we did this week, so I know what to work on next week. And finally, it’s a way for family and friends to see what we’re up to, so they can feel connected, or so they can offer any sort of tie-ins they might have with our lessons. For example, grandma can often contribute pictures of important monuments and museums in Europe.

Moving on, this week was on the slow side. Everyone’s had fevers and coughs, so they have mostly been hibernating, not doing a lot of “official” learning.

We watched a show about flying dinosaurs! The Boy worked on division a little, and we all enjoyed looking at some fractal snowflakes (I made a few, but the kids seemed a bit daunted by the idea). He also wrote countless emails to friends and family. He used his new drill and hacksaw to build things, and he’s currently at Home Depot to buy more PVC and wood while his dad gets some tools to help the two of them fix the plumbing. We talked more about hygiene and sickness, two issues that come up a whole lot around here. 😉