Revival to Revolution Units 6-10

Princess E has been scrambling to finish unit ten.  She is a bit behind due to some poor choices, but I am hopeful that her new school surroundings will help prevent that.  Although she wants to do school in her room, she has proven over the last several months that she cannot handle that, no matter how much she kicks and screams and cries to the opposite.  So, DH moved her back up to the desk in the living room/school room, moving all of Princess L’s stuff to a basket.  (She ends up doing her work mostly at the kitchen table anyway.)

Princess E has been learning about the kings during the Seven Years’ War – George III, Frederick II and Louis XV.  She read about the Boston Massacre and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  She is finishing up learning about the effect the Declaration had on Europe.  She has really enjoyed her story time books – The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart and John Paul Jones The Patriot Pirate.  She is starting The Reb and the Redcoat.  For science, she built a circuit.  But, she did this while I was otherwise occupied so I have no photos of it.  She has been reading about Thomas Edison and his contributions to American science and our way of life. 

In math, she finished the Middle School One class, and was pleasantly surprised to begin Middle School Two at 80% proficiency.  She is aiming to begin Middle School Three after Christmas, and Pre-Algebra by Easter.

I promised to talk a bit about our literature classes.  We are using Teaching the Classics (TTC), the literary analysis method used by Adam Andrews in his Center For Literature as well as offered by IEW.  We spent the first five weeks watching the DVDs and following A Syllabus for Literary Analysis.  We only did the part that covers TTC.  We will do the Windows to the World portion in another year or two.  I want them to be a little bit further along in their writing skills before tackling that part.  For the last two weeks, and until our Thanksgiving break, we are using children’s stories to practice making Story Charts and answering questions from the Socratic list that is included in TTC.

Here is what we do on the whiteboard.

Then we fill it in.

Here are two more for other stories.

One thing that we do with each story that the princesses are having a lot of fun with is identifying the conflict.  In his seminar, Adam Andrews suggests listing the conflict as a question.  Since my kids have watched a lot of old Underdog cartoons (because it is DH’s favorite cartoon from childhood) they are used to the narrator cliffhanger questions right before they went to a commercial.  They have fun picking this out and reading them very dramatically. 

After our break, we will work with a few easier chapter books that I hope to take two weeks for each book.  After February, we will pick out a few longer and more difficult novels to finish out our year.  I own Reading Roadmaps, so we will pick some from there.  I will use this to plan out our next year’s books.  I hope to eventually work in Laurie from Teacups in the Garden’s idea of a Literary Club CafĂ©.  My kids LOVE hot chocolate, so I think we’ll plan to sip hot chocolate will we have our Socratic discussions after we have done our story chart on the whiteboard.


Resurrection to Reformation Units 6-9

Princess S has been enjoying (from what I can tell) working on these units.  She started out learning about the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim invaders.  She learned about the reign of Charlemagne and the Northmen (Vikings).  She finished up with learning about the Great Schism.  For her history projects, she has done a lot of baking.  She made some loaves of bread that had Scriptures hidden inside of them.  She made colorful Marzipan cookies.  She made a fun card game called Lord of the Castle.  But her favorite project was making a shield with a coat of arms.

She thought it looked more like a puffin that what she wanted it to be. 

In Math, she is on lesson seven and should finish it up by the end of the week.  In Latin, she is up to lesson 10.  Since we had to completely start over, she is doing one lesson about every two days.  She is still in the review process.  In science she has learned about grubs, earthworms and moles. 

For Grammar, she has finished up Grammar Voyage and has begun Practice Voyage.  Here is the MCT way of studying grammar.

She begins with a sentence, “Taking the wheel, the captain laughed unexpectedly at the mate.”  The first thing she has to do is label the part of speech for each word in the sentence.

You’ll notice she left “taking” blank.  She wasn’t sure about that one, so I told her that we would come back to it as it would become more obvious as we went along.

Next, she labels the parts of the sentence – subjects, predicate, objects and complements.

The third step is to label the phrases – prepositional, appositive, gerunds, participles and infinitives.  This was where she started to realize what “taking” was.  When she could identify “taking the wheel” as a participial phrase, she started sorting things out.

The final step is to identify any clauses, the structure and the purposes of the sentence.  So, this sentence has one independent clause, and is a simple declarative sentence.  For the rest of the school year she will do three sentences a week using this process.  We all enjoy it so much more than diagramming, and my elder two princesses are grammar whizzes as a result. 

On Wednesdays, Princess S has an art class and a writing class at a co-op of sorts.  Since HOD schedules four work days in each unit, we do not do HOD on Wednesdays.  Instead, on Wednesday afternoons Princess S and Princess E and I do vocabulary and literature.  We usually do vocab first.  I put up the three stems we are studying on the whiteboard along with a list of words that have the stems we are working with.

First we underline the stem we’re working with.  Then we underline any stems we have already worked with, and finally underline any other stems.  Next, we use collegiate dictionaries to look up the meanings of the stems that are new or that we haven’t had yet.  The fun part is using those definitions to come up with a short definition of the words themselves using the definitions of the stems.  For example, bio means “life” and log means “speech, study of, written work, or word”.  So biology becomes the “study of life”.  I will post about our literature program when I post an update on Princess E next week.


Bigger Hearts Units 5 & 6


The last two weeks were busy ones for Princess L.  She is still working on her vision therapy, and we may finally had a break through.  Dr. Dean discovered a problem with her divergence ability. So we have some reading exercises with special lenses to force her to have to diverge in order to read.  We are also working on some memory exercise to stretch her visual memory skills.

Princess L just finished her first red jewel for her Sky Stormer Awana book.  She is a whiz at memorizing her verses, and is so proud to be a third year Sparkie and able to help other kids that might need it.

For history over these last two units, Princess L has been learning about Myles Standish, Squanto, William Penn and Benjamin West.  Her favorite science activity we did was an experiment using lotion and sugar to demonstrate why we need soap and warm water to effectively kill germs on our hands.  She is absolutely loving the story Baby Island!  She wants to read it first everyday, but I’m such a mean mom I usually make her wait. 

For math, she has just finished the level 2 facts and will begin the level 3 facts on Monday.  I have also decided to make Math Rider a regular part of her Wednesday morning activities instead of doing any workbook pages.  She typically finishes two pages in her book each day, and then every other day we do flash cards.  In grammar, we just finished Kiss Grammar lesson 19 in the second grade workbook. She seems to be having a bit of trouble identifying complements, so for a change I wrote all her sentences on the white board and required her to verbally ask herself the questions out loud. “What is the action?”  (Climbs) “Who climbs?” (Boy)  “Boy climbs what?”  When she said them out loud she got every single one correct.  But when she reverted back to trying to do them without saying the questions out loud she got some wrong.  I hope I convinced her that saying them out loud is the best route for her to take for now.  However, she usually completes her grammar page by herself while I’m working with Princess M, so I’m not always there to make sure she does it out loud. 

In spelling, she has just Level 2 Step 9.  She is a great speller during spelling.  Once spelling is over, she will spell the same words completely wrong once again.  I’ve heard from a few others who have kids like that, but it’s a new and frustrating problem for me.  One skill that she has improved on greatly over the past few weeks is the vocabulary box.  She looks up all three words in her dictionary and writes the definition on the page.  Then she has to choose one word to use in a sentence.  This is the part that needs work because she typically just tries to restate the definition.  It has taken some Socratic questioning to pull out of her a sentence that will work.  But her ability to look the words up in the dictionary is so much better than at the beginning of the year.  In another few weeks I think she will manage it on her own completely.

Here are a few pictures: