Weekly Wrap-Up: Maps and Stuff

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We survived our first week back to school after a long Christmas break. We more than survived, really; it was a good week. Dictation and other work went more smoothly on Monday, thanks to the gianormous pencils given to the kids by their grandparents.

We’ve begun Story of the World, Volume 2 about the Middle Ages. Brianna has been a little disappointed this week that we haven’t jumped right into kings, queens and castles, but I’ve tried to explain that we have to spend a little time bridging the time period we were studying (Ancient Rome) with what we will be studying (the Middle Ages).

Everyone did seem to enjoy the rather gruesome tale of Beowulf. I’ve made a mental note to check for the movie in Blockbuster. I have no idea what it’s even rated, but I thought I’d see if Brianna might be able to watch it with some possible editing by Mom and Dad. I know Megan and Josh probably won’t be able to at all. Has anyone seen it?

In science, we’ll be studying the Earth and space this year. The first unit was basically just an introduction, so we talked about the continents and the oceans and will be working on memorizing those (the younger guys — Brianna knows them). To that end, we labeled a map. I had a little place mat with a labeled world map that I was going to use, but not everyone could see it. So, I tried to draw a map on the white board. I’m going to post in here, in the interests of full disclosure, so that you can see why we trace our maps for our salt-dough maps, instead of doing freehand. See?


Hey, they got the idea.

Wednesday, we resumed music class and co-op, and Thursday I introduced the writing mini-offices, which you can see in action here:

writing mini-office

Surprisingly, Josh and Megan both loved them! I got no complaints from either of the kids Thursday or Friday…and they were writing some good stuff. Right now I’m only requiring two sentences, but I plan to increase it as they get more confident. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot and Megan would probably willingly write more (I’ve told them that they can), but I didn’t want to overwhelm Josh, for whom imperfection of any sort is very difficult.

Reading is going well. I’ve been having Josh and Megan do some “reading warm-up” with Phonics Pathways each day, then, reading to me from a book of their choice. I let Brianna choose between two books set in the Middle Ages: Adam of the Road and A Door in the Wall. She chose Adam of the Road and will be using that for her daily reading and writing the dreaded book report on it when she finishes (her first one, really — an assignment in her Jump In book). Nim has enjoyed both the letter matching and number matching games that I made for her.

I have committed to getting back into the habit of keeping our timeline updated. I had printed off some pages that were designed to be used in a timeline notebook. I was going to put them on our bulletin board, but I didn’t like the way it looked once I got it up. So, I went to the local school supply store to buy a nifty “create your own timeline” set I’d seen.

They were sold out.

So, I found sentence strips that are erasable! You use a dry erase marker on them. I thought these would be perfect for me, since my biggest hang-up with timelines is figuring out where to place the lines and dates. Since it’s erasable, I can start over easily if I mess up. The only problem, as I’ve discovered, is that the lines get erased when people get against them.

timeline sentence strips

So far, it’s not been too bad. I figured that I can always go over the dates in permanent marker once I’m satisfied that they’re spaced right. And, the sentence strips will be handy for other things, such as letting Nim practice writing letters and numbers.

Today we started our study of the United States. My plan, for now, is just to go through the states, one at a time, on Fridays. We’ll read a book about that state and learn some facts, which we can work on memorizing through the week until the next Friday when we choose a new state. We’ll also be doing some sort of project with each state — a recipe or a craft. Yes, I realize it will take awhile to complete the study using this method, but I finally decided that, well, we homeschool; we’ve got all the time we need.

Today, I simply introduced the study. I showed the kids the pages we’ll be using, explained how we’ll set up the notebooks and we made an edible map of the United States (more on that in a separate post later):

cookie map

Wouldn’t you know I was out of blue food coloring? That’s why are Great Lakes are green. Or maybe it’s algae. While the map baked, we read one of Megan’s favorite books, The Scrambled State of America, played The Scrambled States card game and listened to a CD featuring the states and capitals.

states books

All in all, I think it was a very good week.

How was yours? Be sure to post about it and sign up with Mr. Linky. If this is your first time to join us, be sure to read the Weekly Wrap-Up guidelines.

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Oh! And, don’t forget: tonight at midnight is the deadline for this week’s Homeschool Showcase. If you’ve had some fun in your home school and you’ve posted about it, be sure to submit a post.

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  1. Sounds like you had a great week.

    Beowolf is great but a little gruesome if I remember correctly. We did let our Josh watch it and he was 8 at the time but he likes gruesome stuff like that whilst it would have scared the wits out of Ellie.

    I would say if possible pre-screen it before your younger guys see it. Only you know whether they would enjoy it or be scared by it.

    I love your writing mini-offices and will definitely give that a try with my two as they need to do more writing than they have been doing lately.

    Long may the good weeks continue for us all!!!

  2. Sounds like you have some fun and creative projects going on! Studying the oceans and planets sounds interesting to me now that I’m grown. As a kid all that school stuff was sooo boring to me, but then I was in public school too.

    I’ve been doing the Weekly Wrap-Up for several weeks now but haven’t been able to link back to your page or leave a comment the last few times when I’ve been on my husband’s work computer (which has issues).

    Anyway, I’m glad you all had a good week!! Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Looks like your week went well. I really love the cake! And, I’m sure the Great Lakes taste just fine – even if they’re a little algae-covered.

  4. What a great week!

    I LOVE the edible USA.. what a fun idea. I had also forgotten about the scrambled states. We have been learning them too.

    Also, I copied your writing office and G is doing wonderful with it. Thanks so much for all that you share with us. πŸ˜‰

  5. Love the cake. It is way out of my league but I still love it. I am not jealous..well maybe a little. πŸ™‚ hugs, Jen

  6. It looks like y’all had a great week! I would love to read more about the cake! That is AWESOME!!! I would love to do that with my kids. I never would have thought of that!

  7. Hi! Scattered and having to spread myself thin today… I’ll be back to read everyone’s posts! I can’t wait! I had a lot of fun with Weekly Wrap-up this week. πŸ˜€

  8. Hi Kris-This is my first week participating in Weekly Wrap up. I love your idea for the mini writing desk! I am thinking of adapting your idea for my daughter who is on the autism spectrum and needs lots of visuals to help her in the classroom.

  9. Our library has an animated version of Beowolf – is that what you’re referring to? My kids were pretty young when they first saw it (ds was 4, dd was 7), but I think because they already knew how the story ends, it wasn’t too scary for them. Definitely pre-screen though – “gruesome” is a pretty accurate description for some parts.

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