Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 10

Week 10 was a busy one for us filled with exciting field trips!  We went to Gettysburg on Tuesday (that deserved it's own separate post which you can find here) and to the local 911 Dispatch Center on Wednesday.  We owe a big Thank You to Granddaddy for coming out to watch Allie so we could participate in the Gettysburg trip!!  The 911 trip was a little harder as I had to chase and uncooperative 2 year old around the building.

Our Group at the end of the Gettysburg Trip
911 Call Center
In the "Situation Room" learning what it's used for
For writing we learned the proper way to compose a letter and wrote Thank You letters to our Ranger from the Gettysburg trip.
Working hard on our letters
The finished product
In math both kids continued with multiplication.  Megan is working on multiplying by 2 digit numbers and Michael is working on learning his multiplication facts.

In science we started learning about the skeletal system.  Did you know that bones are constantly reforming and in 7 years the equivalent of all news bones are grown?  We also began cutting out our skeletons to make our models.
Cutting out skeletons
We have a busy weekend ahead.  We will be spending this afternoon at Michael's soccer tournament cheering on team Germany and hoping that The Machine makes it to the championship game Tuesday night and we then will be heading out for a haunting Halloween night of Trick or Treating tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pickett's Charge

Today was field trip day.  We got to go to Gettysburg and reenact Pickett's Charge.  I've been to Gettysburg many times in my life but never experienced it like this.  Getting to hear about the men that were fighting while walking the path that they took.  It was an awesome experience!  The kids in our group were members of the 28th Virginia Regiment, each was assigned the name of an actual soldier and found out their fate at the end.  Megan's soldier survived but Michael's was captured during the retreat.
Our General Robert E. Lee
The Park Ranger that led our tour talked to us about our Regiment and the war.  She explained that the soldiers had likely never left Virginia and that while they were fighting for what they believed they were mostly part of the war because of their strong loyalty to their state of Virginia.   They had complete faith and confidence in General Lee who believed (to their detriment) that they were invincible.
In formation and ready to start our journey.
We then went about 200 yards to the place where the soldiers met up with other Regiments and waited for their orders.  They arrived to this point at 10am and had to lie on the ground until the orders finally came down at 1pm.  Can you imagine how scary that must have been for those men to lay there waiting for 3 hours having no idea what they were going to have to do next and wondering if they were going to survive the battle ahead?  

Rather than lying down on the ground she had the kids take a knee.
Here we had turned the corner and were headed toward the enemy.  Our Ranger was showing the kids the ammunition that the soldiers used.
Getting ready to cross the street and make our charge.  The one red tree off to the right in the distance is  The Angle
Getting ready to charge!
I tried to upload video of them charging but it just wasn't working.

Our group at The Angle after the charge
It was a great day and a wonderful trip!  We are so lucky that we live close enough to experience it.  Finally here are some pics we took on our trek back to the car.  Enjoy!  :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 9

Week 9 was a fairly boring one for us.  I'm not complaining though, boring is a nice change of pace!  :)

Both kids had Math tests this week.  Michael got a 100% and Megan a 97%!  They are doing wonderfully and making great progress.

In History we continued learning about Gettysburg in preparation for our trip on Tuesday.  We learned that  the equipment the soldiers had to carry around with them weighed over 55lbs, that they had very little to eat, and that disease ran rampant through the camps.   A lot of the soldiers were very young men who had to deal with the reality of killing another person and possibly being killed themselves.  The men held strong beliefs but this was not an easy time for them.  On Thursday we got together with some of the others going on the trip with us and created our Regiments flag and learned how to march together in line.  We are really looking forward to our trip!

In Language Arts we started a daily edit, writing work, and continued with new spelling and vocabulary words.  

In Science we finished up learning about DNA.  Did you know that if you untangled and stretched out the DNA in ONE human cell it would be 3 feet long!?  We learned a little about how police can use DNA to help catch criminals and how cells split apart and make new cells.

MamMom & Grandaddy are back from their Mediterranean vacation and we have spent all week oohing and aaaahhhing over the beautiful pictures and amazing sites they saw.  We can wait to see them this weekend and hear all about it first hand.

It was a great week for Megan who got her braces off!  She was very excited to eat popcorn for the first time in a year and a half.  :)
Non metal Smile

If you are anywhere near our area we hope you are able to get out and enjoy this unseasonably warm Fall weekend!  We will be spending it partying for the end of soccer season, Halloween, and celebrating the baptism of my beautiful niece.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 8

After our adventure in deschooling last week we cracked open the books again (much to the kids dismay).  We did all of our regular lessons but I won't bore you with those.  ;)

Our week included Dad's birthday on Wednesday!  We all helped make his cake. 

We got many great books at the library and couldn't get home fast enough to start reading.

In history we are setting aside SOTW for the next 2 weeks to learn about the battle of Gettysburg.  On the 26th we will be headed there on a field trip to reenact the battle of Pickett's Charge.  I am the proud mama to 2 Privates in the 28th Virginia Regiment.  After reading about the battles the kids decided to fight it themselves with army men.  Megan was the Union Army and Michael was the Confederate Army.   

Setting up
Ready for battle
Fighting begins

We have been enjoying the wonderful fall weather and watching the leaves change color.  Megan decided to bring the outdoors in and gathered some leaves to make impressions.  

Finally, Allie has been dying to do "school" so I got this for her.  She now happily sits at the table with us and does her work.  :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thoughts on Deschooling

What is deschooling?  The best definition I found is this - the process by which you and your child adapt to having abandoned the traditional concepts of learning.

After completing 7 weeks of school and everyone being a little burned out, I felt like we needed to go back to the beginning and allow ourselves a some time to relax and deschool.   So we have shelved the school books for the week in favor of some more relaxed, natural learning and fun.  The kids are loving it.  So far this week they've done an art project, been detectives, played a million games, built a fort, and watched about 20 episodes of Beakman's World on Netflix instant streaming.  They are learning through play, they are using their imaginations, and they are having fun.

Yet here I sit, discouraged and feeling like a failure for not insisting they do their math, vocabulary, science, and history lessons.  It's not like they're behind and I certainly haven't abandoned our books forever, just one week.   So I have come to the realization that it is me that needs to deschool.  It is me that needs to let go of the traditional school mentality and remember than we are homeschooling for a reason.  Public school was not working for us so why am I trying to recreate it at home?

Now is the time to for me to give the love of learning back to the kids.   Now is the time to embrace this journey we've decided to take.  Now is the time to change my thinking and discover that learning can be accomplished in many different ways.

Deep breath, relax, and here goes nothing...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 7

It's hard to believe we're in week 7 already!  It was a week full of torrential downpours and distracted children but in the end it all turned out okay.

The kids took their 4th Math test of the year, both did great!  I wasn't so sure about Horizons Math a few weeks ago but am learning to like it more and more as they add in multiplication and word problems.

In Science we learned about DNA and even made our own!
We started by coloring our toothpicks to represent the Adenine & Thymine and Cytosine & Guanine in our DNA.

Next we poked our toothpicks through at one inch intervals on our strand of DNA (2 - 1 inch wide, 2 ft long pieces of construction paper taped together)

Last we taped one end of our DNA strand to the wall and twisted it to make the double helix.

In Language Arts we learned about Interjections and diagrammed even more sentences.  :)
We began using the book Write Away for writing and learned about the 5 steps in the writing process.  We also brainstormed ideas for a story and chose our favorite.  Megan is going to write about Art and Michael is going to write about Soccer.

In History we learned about the Jewish people, Shamshi-Adad and The Story of Gilgamesh.  We haven't had many projects for history lately and the kids seem to be losing interest.  I'm hoping to get them back next week when we start learning about China.  

Megan completed her project about Mexico.  She did a fantastic job.  :)

She also made homemade Salsa for Nachos which we will be having with our tacos for dinner tomorrow.

Michael brought home his first project from art class.
View from the front
View from the right
View from the left

It looks like I'm not the only one that had an off week.  Check out the weekly wrapups of others.  
I am looking forward to the weekend and having a chance to regroup, recharge, and get organized for next week.  

Have a wonderful weekend!!