Friday, June 29, 2012

Math and Granola and 300 Spartans

 It was a pretty good week. 

But I'm ready for the weekend.

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Starting school at 6:30am means math with granola...

A perfect combination.

 Fractions have been mastered (I hope),
and we've moved onto perimeter and circumference.
Since we use several different resources for math, we spiral a lot.


For extra practice, we've been using Cool Math -
a really great, free math site. Lu loves it.

We're almost done with our  

I still have very mixed feelings about these.

The spelling I think we'll keep using next year,
but the grammar is just kind of... blah.
Yet, to its credit, Lu does know his grammar.
Maybe I'll just use half of it or something.
So much repetition is definitely unnecessary.
Ugh... I think I'd already come to this conclusion.
Why don't I listen to myself?

This is a History Channel documentary - not the movie. We watched it as part of our studies on the Persian Empire because, unlike the movie, it focuses more on the Persians than on the Greeks.

We did also watch the movie, 
but had to cover Lu's eyes and mute a few scenes.

We're working on doing one huge time-line for
Ancient Middle Eastern Civilizations,
before we start on Ancient Greece
(I can hardly wait!)


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 One of my favorite fruits - Pitaya 
(no idea what it's called in English) is in season.

 A lovely snack!

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There is no end to amazing insects around here. 
Today we found this crazy cactus-looking crawler.

Isn't he gorgeous!

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And Lu is reading the last chapters of 
Little House on the Prairie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Team Work

Lu's been participating in La Cambalacha's social art program since he was crawling. It's a space for dancing, singing, circus arts, theater, painting, making, and playing. 

But I especially like the team work exercises, and that he gets a chance to do something in a group - activities that are not competitive, where the kids learn how to work together.

He sometimes has a hard time with some of the boys, because they can be rough. But he's learning to deal with them, and he's also learning that it's okay to play with the girls. Last week, he came to me saying "Mama, you were right when you said I should see the girls as people instead of just as girls." (Um, yeah. I'm cool and I'm a girl. Right?) 

Now, he's been playing tag with the girls instead of soccer with the boys, and with his help, the girls not only took over all the yard space with their game, but some other boys joined in too!

He's very interested in girls right now, but don't tell him I told you. It's funny to watch, because most of the other boys don't want to be seen even talking to a girl, let alone playing. Some of them - the real tough ones - actually sat down when they realized that their soccer field had been overtaken, instead of just joining in the conquerors' game like most of the others ended up doing.

The other boys aren't teasing Lu though. They know that he can play hard soccer too. I think they realize that he's getting the girls' attention, and they're also at the age where they're starting to want it, but have no idea as to how to go about getting it. They're watching Lu and learning (hehe).

I love that he's becoming that guy - the one who gets (as in understands) girls. And the absolute best is when there's also a girl in the group who gets guys. Those are the two who will lead the group upward and onward, beyond stale gender roles and divisions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where In The World?

Last year, for geography, we focused on the Americas. We mostly used outline maps, and Lu did learn all of the countries - north, central, south, and the Caribbean Islands - but, he didn't have as much fun with it as he is having this year.

We started European geography with Head of the Class. Lu really enjoys the short videos, and he's making a chart of each country's language, population, and flag. But then I remembered Sheppard Software's Free Geography Site, and gave it another go. Last year, Lu played with it a bit, but it didn't grab him like it has now. He was on it several times over the weekend, and has been on it every chance he gets these past two days. He learned all the capitals of Central and South America, and he's learned to locate all of the European countries.

 I mix in some homemade quizzes.

Each continent has different levels and keeps your score. Lu will do one level several times because he insists on getting 100% at least five times in a row before moving on to the next level. He's kinda wacky like that.

He takes it very seriously and likes to challenge us to geography battles to show off his superior geography knowledge. Cha was much impressed when he saw Lu locating Slovakia and Slovenia in the blink of an eye. And the great thing is, I get to play and learn too!

It's an awesome site, I highly recommend it.
If you're anything like me,
and you haven't done much world geography with your kids yet,
you might be thinking -
"OMG, that must have taken forever to memorize."
You will be surprised at how quickly they learn with this program.
Lu learned all of Europe in about 4 hours.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Don't Forget the Life Skills

We've been starting schoolwork at the undogly hour of 6:30 am. We're both wide awake at that time, and have much more focus for sit-down work. This means that we've been finishing at around 11am (not including our afternoon history sessions), and having lots more time for life skills (aka - help your parents and learn how to run a house).

Washing Walls

Making Oatmeal

Doing Laundry

And Making Sushi
(with the sweetest visiting cousin)

And you know what?... He loves helping. 
It gives him a sense of worth. He becomes more independent. 
And he grows - in all directions. 

So, don't forget to make time for the life skills.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bottoms Up for Cyrus the Great!

We're coming to the end of our studies on Ancient Middle Eastern Civilizations. In many ways, these have been even more exciting than Egypt and China. The power struggles, the surprises, the little guys fighting their way up to the top... very exciting times indeed!

We learned about the fierce Aramaeans and their control over the trade routes between Egypt and Mesopotamia; the Phoenicians - masters of the sea; the Israelites' incredible journeys and struggles for their homeland; the Hittites and their city-states on Anatolia; the Assyrians' transformation from bullied to bully; King Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans; and, finally, the Persian Empire and Cyrus the Great.

We were very taken with King Cyrus,
a way progressive dude.

After we finished our reading on the Persian Empire, I was struck with a most unusual desire for snack food - which we never have in the house, and I never... well, hardly ever buy. We put on our rainboots and rainjackets, and headed out - into a storm - to the store. We got crackers and cookies, paté, caramel chews, juice, some chocolate, and a beer (for me). It was a wet and muddy adventure.

We got back home, prepared our snack-fest, 
and sat down to some History Channel via YouTube.

Cha was home early from work and watched 
a real treat.

The documentary is only 45 minutes long, but it took us about twice that long to actually get through it because we stop and talk, and look things up - and that's my favorite part (that and the beer). 

So yeah... 

watching documentaries together on rainy afternoons 
is lovely,

the Persians were amazing, 

occasional snack food is the best,

beer is perfect,

and homeschooling a boy who loves history is totally awesome. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Comic Strip Style Summary

Lu finished his graphic summary on Robin Hood.

 He chose 15 moments from the story,
wrote them in his notebook,
and then typed them out on a Word table.

Then he drew and drew.

Lu has a desk in his room which he doesn't usually use for working on homeschool stuff, but today he wanted to. Last year, he would work in his room quite often, and get his work done. But it has been, this year, that if I'm not nearby to continuously call him out of daydream-land, he doesn't get much done. Our subjects are also more difficult this year, so we're usually either working together, or Lu is working alone but asking lots of questions. I have the online dictionary open pretty much all the time nowadays.

After lunch, he kept at it, but back in our usual space. 

It's nice, once in a while, to have a day of one long project to focus on... no running or rushing or checking the schedule... Just one thing all day. Stick to it and get it done, calmly. So nice.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Soak, Scrub, Rinse, and Hang

The other day it dawned on me... 
 He hasn't learned to wash clothes! 
This cannot be! 

A boy needs to know how to wash his clothes,
his socks especially...

We hand-wash here, because it's the local thing to do.

First we soak.

 Then we scrub, and scrub, and scrub.

 Lu decided to go ahead and wash his hat.

 The rinsing is very important!

Wring it out, and put some muscle into it!

... and hang it out to dry.