Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Writing Assignment

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Good-bye, week.  Hello, weekend!  I guess they can’t all be gorgeous spring weekends like the last one.  Don’t you just hate those last few remaining cold snaps that you know are coming, but still are never really quite prepared for?  I mean, it’s not freezing or anything, but it’s much cooler, rainier, and yuckier than this time last week.

Oh, well.  It’s still Friday, so it can’t be all bad!

It’s been another pretty mundane week, but that’s okay.  Fun exciting is preferred, but mundane will always be taken over chaotic exciting.

Brianna is still plugging away at biology – I’m really thinking that Apologia is not the best fit for her.  We’re probably going to be making some drastic changes in the next few weeks, but until then, we’ll muddle along.


She’s started reading Animal Farm for history this week as she learns about communism.  I really don’t remember any required reading in high school.  How sad is that?  I was required to read Silas Marner in junior high (back in the old days before it was called “middle school”), but books like Animal Farm, Jane Eyre, and Catch-22 I read on my own, for fun, just to see what all the fuss was about.

I actually remember enjoying Animal Farm.  Sure, it was rather dark, but it was a fairly easy read and I got the symbolism.  I’m not sure Brianna feels the same.  I’ve pretty much decided, if it assigned, she’s going to hate it and deem it boring.  If she chooses to read it, it’s great.  That would be all well and good if she’d choose more Shakespeare and less anime cartoons.


Josh and Megan are on the flowers unit in scienceIt’s kind of cool to, for once, be at the right place in the science curriculum for the right time of year.  Flowers are starting to bloom here, so we can get pretty hands-on with the unit.  Does that mean that we haven’t had to put off the science lab again today because I didn’t have the right type of flower (one with visible, easy-to-recognize parts) for us to study?  Um, no, but we won’t discuss that.

We did skip one unit, a while back, on butterflies.  I’m hoping that, by the time we finish the flowers unit, the butterflies will be cooperating.

In history, Josh and Megan have been learning about the Revolutionary War.  We read <George, the Drummer Boy.  While, I’m fairly certain Brianna read both of those when she was around Josh and Megan’s ages, I don’t think we ever read them back-to-back, so I never realized that they are about the same moment in history from two different points-of-view.  Josh and Megan found each of the books very interesting – as in, they actually paid attention and were able to answer questions about the books.

Today, we took a little break from IEW and I gave Josh and Megan a rather open-ended writing assignment.  I tried to make it high-interest and suggested things like: tell me about your favorite video game and why you like, tell me about an unusual animal you’d like to have for a pet and why, convince me to let you get a certain pet, game or toy.


Josh wrote about his favorite video game – no surprise there.  What did surprise me, however, was how well he expressed himself.  I mean, wow!  He was creative with his wording, the paper was structured well, and he, for the most part, used correct capitalization and punctuation.  I give Easy Grammar the credit for the last part, but if the other is an example of the type of foundation IEW is laying, I’m impressed!

On a personal note for me, I went running with a friend yesterday.  I told her when we started that my goal was to run two miles without stopping.  Well, the built-in pedometer on my heart rate monitor is apparently way off.  I ran 2.8 miles without stopping!  That’s based on my friend’s GPS and the posted distances for the course we were on.

I was so excited!  My next 5K is next Thursday.  I’m hoping, if the course is mostly flat, to be able to run the whole thing without stopping.  I’m not sure I’ll make it, but it’s a nice goal to shoot for.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend with your families!  Oh, and yeah, the pictures didn’t really have anything to do with the post.  I just hated to leave you with another photo-less Weekly Wrap-Up.

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  1. Hi Kris,
    I enjoyed your post! We just finished homeschooling last spring. 🙁 I liked your open-ended writing assignment! Those kinds of assignments, in my IMHO, facilitate children finding their writing 'voice.' Especially when using a writing curriculum as structured as IEW it is nice to change things up a bit. Sometimes I would also give an assignment like "Write everything you can think of about …." and I would set the timer for varying amounts of time according to the age of the child. After freewriting they could go back another day and edit as necessary.

    Have fun homeschooling! It goes really fast! (Most days, anyway, lol)

    Dana Wilson
    [email protected]

  2. I LOVED Animal Farm (which I read in Jr. High). I worked out that I liked one assigned book each year, and I still remember them: To Kill a Mockingbird (8th), Animal Farm (9th), Lord of the Flies (10th), The Scarlet Letter (11th), and Pygmalion (12th). Okay, Pygmalion is technically a play, and yes, I did imagine it all as a musical. But still. I think thoroughly enjoying even one book a year when you don't have the life experience to really understand a lot of classics is pretty good. Don't be discouraged.

  3. Great week! Count yourself lucky, we woke up to snow after 70 early this week, sigh! I dont remember a lot of the required reading either-unless they showed a movie. Sad, eh? Hope my kids pick up a better love for reading!

  4. In high school I had to read Alas Babylon, The Scarlett Letter and Farenheit 451, but that's all I remember. Oh and they still call it middle school in MD -at least in the part of MD near me 🙂 Yay for the writing, reading and running. Sounds like a VERY productive week to me!! 🙂

  5. Amber and I just finished Animal Farm. Poor Boxer! We both found it a heartbreakingly sad book on so many levels. Amber tears up every time she thinks about Boxer. I am really glad we both read it, though…but I wouldn't read it again. She's reading Sense and Sensibility next and that's one I would definitely read again.


  6. I'm like you–I can't remember any of these classics. Did I read anything in high school? As a matter of fact, I can't remember how the books that I read with my older kids turned out now that I'm rereading them with the younger ones! I'll blame it on mommy brain.

  7. Another 5K! Impressive. I love your goal setting.

    I have never thought about Sam, The Minute Man and George, The Drummer boy being related like that! I am going to have to find our copies and reread them both to the kids.

  8. Sounds like you're on the right track with your writing curriculum. I've heard great things about IEW but have never tried it. And it seems like I have an Easy Grammar book, but who knows! We use Writing Strands – and I say that loosly because we haven't used it in a while. We WILL get back to it soon!

    Your pictures are great, and I actually like that they have nothing to do with your post!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  9. The older boys really like Landmark Baptist for Science. We started using it last year (or maybe the year before) and when I gave them a choice what to use the next year they chose it again. I was certain that Apologia wasn't going to be a good fit for them. ;o)

  10. Sounds like one of those weeks that is a pleasure to live: ordinary life at in all its ordinary goodness. Good on you, doing another 5K so soon – and I love your little "caveat." Cracks me right up. Does the FTC really care about Amazon links? Maybe I'd better swipe your little caveat, LOL!

  11. It's funny, I read and reread your post trying to figure out the photos. I didn't catch that they were unrelated- although I know I read that sentence more than once!!
    Will be interested to see what you choose for science. I've already decided that it wouldn't work for us…and really made 'no choice' my choice! I'm still working on it.
    Have a great weekend! Oh, and it's snowing here in WY 😉 Glad you aren't 'freezing' haha

  12. That is so cool that you ran 2.8 miles! I'm jealous, I used to run competitively, but my knees no longer like me to run. I miss it. I do bike and enjoy that, but it isn't quite the same.

  13. I remember Sam the Minuteman and George the Drummer Boy, they were delightful. IEW is hard work but it does such an excellent job, I am a fan. The new theme based ones make it so easy to implement too. Good luck on your 5K and have a great week.

  14. We are muddling through a few things here, too. I'd love to hear what you end up going with for science for Brianna because I'm making some of those decisions for Lindsey right now, too.

    And yay for another 5K coming up! You rock! One of these days maybe I'll actually use that Couch to 5K app on my phone. 😉

  15. I HATED Animal Farm in high school! Was required reading and I pretty much set out to hate anything required. Wonder what it would be like if I read it today? This is my constant struggle w/HS…a balance b/t putting things in front of my children I want them exposed to and not making things so required in order to squash the learning bug.

  16. I zeroed in on your comment about Apologia. It seems everyone uses it for high school, and I'm wondering how long I can postpone it. I'd love to hear more about why it's not working.

  17. I'd love to hear about when you suggest starting IEW and which product/package you went with:) If there is a post you an direct me, that's fine too:)

    I've just heard great things about it and I struggled to be a good writer until college. And I've noticed that I've slacked a bit in our writing assignments! I hope to do some creative writing/journaling this summer for my oldest 🙂

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