Friday, August 12, 2016

Week 2 ~ Finding Our Groove

We had a great second week of school. I kept myself in check and didn't push the kids through subjects at all (ahem)! One of my major goals -- okay the most important goal to me this year -- is to relax and let the kids learn at their own pace. I will still be directing what they learn (with a bit of their input), but we will be working at whatever pace they set. If they are enjoying a family read-aloud immensely, then we will continue it even if it is more than the two chapters I had planned. Furthermore, if I find something isn't working or there is a lack of interest, we will learn the bare minimum required and in a way that sticks for them. I very much felt like I was dragging my son through his education last year. I do not intend to work harder than him for a minute this year. This is his education, after all. This year is all about learning what needs to be covered but also reigniting the joy of learning that has been fading in recent years.
We discovered which will float. The one with sugar has a higher mass and therefore sinks.
What we did this week ~
  • We read the interesting parts of Washington, DC History for Kids: The Making of a Capital City with 21 Activities. We will do some of the activities next week.
  • We read and did the first five chapters and review pages of Life of Fred Fractions.
  • Anne did 10 pages in Math U See (fractions).
  • We very much enjoyed our new family read-aloud, Anne of Green Gables
  • We watched the movie, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. It is not nearly as good as the book.
  • Dean began his at-home lessons on the piano. I was pleased to see how much he remembered from when he took lessons as a six year old. He is working independently through an adult beginners book.
  • Dean learned two new songs from his guitar book.
  • Anne started her Writers in Residence program and her new cursive handwriting book.
  • We did a little bit of science and wrapped up density and the introduction to the periodic table of elements.
  • Dean did one lesson in his independent U.S. history course and did the activity for the lesson (tying three different kinds of knots). 
  • Dean did a few lessons in Wordly Wise 3000 Book 9.
  • We went to a local small aquarium that was about the size of a storefront. However, they had a really neat display of shark eggs held up to the light. You could see the baby sharks swimming around in their eggs.
  • We did cotton candy science.
Cotton candy science
Shark eggs
The main thing that the kids wanted to do this week was work on their back to school 550 piece Harry Potter Puzzle. Anne was especially in love with the puzzle and picked it first every day. They spent hours working on it this week. This is where I had to struggle with letting them go at their own pace. I struggled with whether or not this activity was educational enough. So I did some research on jigsaw puzzles. I knew they were good, but I didn't realize how many benefits they had. Here is a list of what my kids are working on this year that is covered by jigsaw puzzles: 
  • social interaction
  • analysis
  • categorizing
  • attention to detail
  • collaboration
  • flexibility (I will try another area when I get stuck)
  • concentration
  • memory retention
  • organization
  • contrast
  • patience
  • perseverance
  • spacial orientation skills
  • sequence
  • sharing behavior
  • problem solving

The list of educational benefits was much longer, but this is my kids' personal goals. So doing a puzzle was a win-win in our home. They were learning and loving learning. That is my ultimate point. 

Lastly, Dean did a great job on his physical therapy evaluation. He doesn't need to go back for 10 months!! We are so happy that his at-home program is working.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorites!! (Both book and movie.)

  2. Sounds like a great start to a new year. Hope the whole year goes this well!The shark eggs were really cool.

  3. oooh! Cotton candy science, floating/sinking sodas, harry potter puzzles-- sounds like an amazingly fun week.

  4. Anne of Green Gables is my all time favorite book series! You are far more productive than we have been, but we are starting very slowly -- reading, language arts, and math.