Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Report: Week 4

It's hard to believe it's already the fourth week of school. It is our first week of going "full speed ahead" on eighth grade studies. Due to Labor Day, we had a four day week. Here's what is going on so far:

Bible: We are continuing The Young Person's Guide to Knowing God, reading one devotional each day. We have a new hymn for this week and next week: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. Our verse this week is 1 John 3:16:  We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our live for the brethren. We also read Dangerous Journey this week - a retelling of  Pilgrim's Progress.

Art: Rocket Boy continues his co-op Atilier Art class. This week they worked on sketching.

History: The focus on the week was the Boer Wars, which were precursors to the practice of Apartheid in South Africa. Reading, writing a summary, time line and map work were the order of the day.

Language Arts: Rocket Boy read "If" by Rudyard Kipling and placed a copy of it in his History Odyssey binder. We started the 8th grade Lightening Literature program this week. The first work is "A Crazy Tale," a short story by G.K. Chesterson. This appears to be a meaty course, introducing many things to which Rocket Boy has not yet been exposed.

Math: I took the plunge and ordered Math U See last week. Will it work? We'll see! After he completed the placement test this week, I decided to have Rocket Boy do a quick review on adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals. I know he doesn't need another full year of these concepts, but wanted to make sure that he had a refresher of sorts before he begins Algebra I. Toward that end, I have selected some pages in various Key to Fractions booklets. He is doing very well on this review.

I spent the afternoon of Labor Day making sure I understand how the Math U See program works. I must say, the manipulatives are challenging me a bit - I am not a visual person, but Rocket Boy is, so I think these will be a great help to him. It's good to get out of my comfort zone every now and then, so I am going to do my best to adapt.

Public Speaking: This was week three for the speech & debate class. They covered impromptu  speeches. In this category, the speaker is given a topic and then has a short time to come up with  a speech on that topic. I think the thinking time is around two minutes. He has homework to do in that this week, but is sure that he doesn't want to compete in this category. It does sound as if he is interested in competing with a platform speech as well as debate. Perhaps he will pick up a humorous interp. piece as well. There is no class next week, so it will be a bit of a break before the debate instruction starts hard and heavy.

Physical Science: Now underway, Science Explorer's Physical Science. Pretty tame assignments this week - reading and questions. He is doing a great job on this!

Rocket Boy went on a bicycle ride with his Boy Scout troop this past Sunday afternoon and had a ball. Every year Rocket Boy tries something a little different that requires us to get more supplies. This time is was a pack that attaches to his bike and a spare tube, tool set and hand pump to go in it. We also sprung for the camel back hydration system, which he said was fantastic.

Yesterday at FLL, they worked on strategies for the robot runs and on constructing the robot base. With two new team members this year, this team of six is having to learn to work together all over again. Tomorrow they will begin their work on the research project.

Next week we will be adding Monday tennis, so the busy schedule picks up even more.

As I mentioned before, we had a lot of work done on our house this summer. This included interior paint and new flooring throughout the house. Downstairs we replaced carpet and vinyl  with hardwood flooring & had the existing hardwood flooring in the dining room and foyer refinished. Upstairs we had the old carpet replaced with new carpet. It was quite an adventure. Between the paint and flooring, we had to pack our house up. We decided to de-clutter while we were at it, and the result is fabulous. We have a few more loose ends to tie up, but I think as soon as we tie those up, we'll find more! Here are some pictures of our dining room/school room. I took them with my phone at dusk, so they aren't the greatest pictures, but I hope they give you a glimpse into our setting.
This is looking  from the living room into the dining room/school room.
Here is my wonderful bookcase. See the wonderful empty shelves? Room to grow! The canvas boxes on the bottom shelves hold (l to r) games, science supplies, extra school supplies and art supplies. On the next shelf up, you can see our brand new Math U See program. If you look close, you will see TWTM beside our DVD basket! Above that, on the left I have some books for our book basket this year. My own supplies are in the plastic drawers and the box beside it is for completed school work that needs to be checked.

This is Rocket Boy's desk. It used to be in his bedroom, where it collected junk. We brought it downstairs to replace a folding table that had his computer on it. The shelves hold his school books. On the top left shelf  are the books he will read as part of his history, science and literature. The bottom left shelf holds his textbooks for science and math as well as the over-sized Atlas and Kingfisher History. His clipboard rests here when not in use. That is where his assignment sheets are kept and he checks them off as the day and week progress. The top right shelf holds his reference materials and the shelf underneath holds his binders. There are a lot of binders this year - last year he had two, and the years before that only one. It's amazing how course work can change from one year to the next. 
This is the view from the dining room into the living room. My computer comes downstairs with me when I have lesson planning to do. In the living room you can see the comfy couch where we read and the fireplace where we warm our tootsies during the winter. 
Here you can see the nifty window panels. They operate on a multi-track system. They are lined and block a great deal of light, heat and/or cold. They replace some old, faded, flimsy vertical blinds. 
Here is what it looks like when the window panels are open. Between the window panels, the lighter color of paint and the reflections from the wood floors, we have a lot more natural light than previously. We are very excited about how things have turned out and are looking forward to a great school year.


MissMOE said...

Are you really a homeschooler? I've never heard of a homeschooler with EMPTY shelves! ;) ! I love your space.

Kristine said...

Sounds like it was a good productive week. The dining room/school room is beautiful & I'm SO jealous of the empty shelf space!

TechWife said...

I don't think that the empty shelves will last us a very long time!

Robyn said...

Great week and what a nice school space! I like to see people's spaces. Thanks for sharing yours!

Karen said...

I really enjoy reading blogs featuring kiddos older than my 10yo, so thanks much for sharing. And your new space is gorgeous!

Sarah said...

Your school space looks great.
How often is your FLL team meeting? We were hoping to keep it at one 2 hour meeting a week for most weeks, but now I'm wondering if that's really possible.

TechWife said...


We meet twice a week - on Thursday nights for 3 hours for robot and on Saturday morning for 3 hours for research. After they have their research project nailed down, they will start to do research & robot at every practice. Ideally the week before tournament we meet 2-3 times to do a presentation run through and then timed robot runs. Sometimes robot work ends up being done that last week as well.