The past couple of weeks have flown by. I wanted to write up a quick post to mention some of the things that are going well for us at the moment. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be wrapping up another school year in four or five weeks!
Here’s what we’ve been up to the past few weeks:
Language Arts: In order to fulfill the requirements of our state, the kids will have to do some standardized testing. We always spend a bit more time brushing up on some grammar work at this time of year in preparation for those. We have been working on: Word choice (lay/lie, piece/peace, etc.), Adding endings (change the Y to I; doubling the consonant; irregular verbs), Comma rules, the 8 parts of speech
Spelling: The kids have been doing daily lessons from All About Spelling.
First Language Lessons: ED (Kindergarten) started the first volume of First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise. She loves it! The older kids have joined in on a couple of lessons… For example, we went over the location of a lot of the U.S. states and the kids are all memorizing the poem about the months: Thirty days has September, April, June and November… We had started working on the second volume while ED works through volume one, but have found that we can’t squeeze it into our day right now.
Writing Workshop: LD is editing and re-writing a 12 page story he wrote for Hubby for his birthday. DD and ED have been writing short stories. We spend about 20-30 minutes writing these days. Plus, they also spend time (10-15 minutes) reading a book about writing. More about that another time, but the writing workshop has become one of our favorite times of the day. Love that!
Math: LD is working on percents and fractions; DD is finishing up her math workbook and is doing timed division practice (4 minutes doing as many division problems as she can.)
Science: We take turns working on either history or science. We are currently working on a weather unit. I have a whole lot of science experiments and a weather packet to share with you next week.
History: We just finished reading about the Han dynasty in the Story of Ancient China by Suzanne Strauss Art. The kids absolutely love this book and beg me to keep reading each day. I’m thinking that we’re going to skip a huge chunk of time so that we can cover the Mongol invasions and Marco Polo before the end of our year. We’ve also been going over some of the geography of the region. The past few days we’ve been covering the countries of the former Soviet Union (because we were learning about the Silk Road).
German: I decided we needed to use a workbooks this semester (last semester we primarily used theBobo Siebenschlafer stories). We’ve been using Complete German Grammar and a conversation practice book that I got from a Thrift store called ALM German. I love the dialogues. The kids definitely need practice with those.
Reading: The kids read a lot on their own independently. I have a post to share with you on some of DD’s favorite chapter books. LD switches between Newbery books and his own selection of books. He read several of the Artemis Fowl books, but looking over at the table, I see he’s now reading Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (which we read aloud together years ago). We also listen to audiobooks in the car. We’re almost at the end of The Penderwicks.
Outside Activities: LD does team gymnastics, so he practices 16 hours/week. DD does parkour, aerials and Brownies.
My Health Issues:
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know that I’ve had terrible ear problems this year. I had surgery back in October that was plagued with complications (not the surgeon’s fault, just bad luck). I was allergic to the bone filler that he used; I got a horrible case of vertigo (called BPPV); I started having trouble with the inflammation in my inner ear and that exposed problems from my years and years of infections as a child. As a result, I wound up with a rare condition called semi-circular canal dehiscence (on the horizontal canal) which left me extremely sensitive to noise. Any noise including my own voice made/makes my eyes go blurry. For a long time everything jumped and moved when I walked around (the horizon line wouldn’t stay steady). That all meant that I couldn’t go out much, couldn’t drive and through February and March had difficulty being around anyone or talking. I had two more surgeries in March to try to address all my issues.
Things now are much better but are not completely fixed. While I’m now able to drive, I still have trouble turning my head to the left (it makes me a bit sea-sick) and my own voice reverberates in my ear when I talk. The nerves in my ear feel like they are on hyper-alert. I had a couple of different tests last week (an MRI and VNG test). Those show that March’s surgery did plug up the horizontal canal. But because I’m still having some issues (third window, it’s called), I have a 5th ear surgery lined up for the beginning of June. It has been a long road to recovery, that’s for sure!
We live nestled down in the woods, but the area around our house is cleared of trees. We have a LOT of gardens. We’ve been spending a lot of time and energy working outside. The kids pitch in some too. The past few weekends I weeded and mulched the strawberry bed, blueberry bed (we have a dozen blueberry bushes) and the gardens in the front of the house. Today I spent a couple of hours trying to weed and mulch the raspberry garden. I’m trying to get as much done as I can before my next ear surgery. I spread about 15 bags of mulch today (and at least 60 the past week!) What a lot of work to keep ahead of the weeds!! No wonder I’m sore!
Sometimes I feel like we have a deep, dark secret. My kids play A LOT!!! I’m not meaning electronic stuff; I mean plain old-fashioned creative playtime. They play inside. They play outside. Yesterday, for example, LD created scrolls with a secret (alphabetic and numeric) set of codes. He hid them all around the house. We had to hunt down the scrolls and decipher the secret message. The kids also took the huge box the new dishwasher came in and spent hours playing with the box. In the end, they piles every stuffed animal they owned into the box and then jumped into it.
They beg for more time when I’m trying to cajole them to get some schoolwork done. I know (and value!) the importance of play, but honestly I’m not comfortable with letting them play to the exclusion of schoolwork. The kids are great buddies (sometimes-HaHa!!) and will play all day if I let them. For me, it has to be a balance, though.
The kids are allowed about an hour of electronic time (roughly from 3pm-4pm before they head out for other activities). Some days it’s a bit more. Hubby and I have to kick them off and tell them to find something else to do at times. These days they spend most of their time playing Minecraft and watching you-tube videos on how to make rubber-band bracelets and stuff. We don’t really watch TV, although they might watch one or two movies/shows a week. We’ve been watching the Spider Man movies as a family movie night the past couple of Saturday evenings.
Well, that’s about it. I’ve stayed up entirely to late writing up this post and want to get up early to get another hour or so of weeding done before the kids are up and moving. I’d better bring this to a close. Hope you have a great day!
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