Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homeschool Update -- what we're doing


Thalia is to Chapter 8 of Jacob's Geometry. We've reached the point of needing to sit down and discuss the answers to many of the assignments rather than simply checking off right or wrong answers. That's the nature of the subject, as far as I'm concerned -- various answers to the questions have varying degrees of rightness, and we need to discuss which answers are good, better and best. Which takes forever, but is a better learning experience, but is annoying, but is great that we have the opportunity to do this in a one-on-one environment, but... but... but....

Annabeth decided to use Life of Fred Fractions this week. She says that while working on RightStart Geometry she forgets all about what the Fraction book teaches, and while working on LoF she forgets what the Geometry book teaches. I think it might have more to do with the long, dramatic break in using LoF. We shall see how this works this spring -- Thalia said one of the problems she had with RightStart Geometry was that she had forgotten how to do fractions, decimals, and percents by the time she got to the end of it, and constant review would've helped.


Thalia had no Composition class this week due to snow. Theoretically we should've listened to The Iliad, but we didn't. She worked on Analytical Grammar High School Reinforcement, choosing to work on the Shakespeare volume.

Annabeth had her usual Creative Writing class. Since she claims that it is practically useless, I had her work on the Junior Girl Scout badge Write All About It. She did task #2, composing 3 story starters, then set a time for 15 minutes and did a free write on one of the starters. She also worked on Junior Analytical Grammar. We started this after Christmas, so she's only up to articles and adjectives.


Thalia's Biology class was cancelled, but they're forging ahead with the work. Over Christmas she grew radish seeds for an experiment. Apparently all they needed to do was see how many were yellow -- one batch was grown with natural light, the other was grown in darkness. It struck all of us as a sort of lame experiment -- so many cool things they could've discussed but didn't. What happened when the ones started in darkness were exposed to light? How quickly did that happen? Why do the seedlings tend to bend towards the light? Why does Mom keep using terms like "etiolated" and "auxin" when looking at these? (although I skipped the discussion of red and far red, because frankly I never liked that unit when I studied it way back when)

Annabeth also considers her science class a bit lame due to lack of homework (Annabeth, age 11, considers a lot of stuff lame). So we're supplementing with Junior Girl Scout badge work. We decided that Thalia's radish seed experiment counted towards the Science in Everyday Life badge as task #4, Forces of Nature (soak some bean seeds overnight and place them in a film canister, leave for a week and look at them).

We also worked on Making it Matter, making polymers out of Borax and glue plus various other additives. Borax, glue, plus table sugar is really runny, and remains soft and slightly slimy for hours:

while Borax, glue and baking soda sets up almost instantly:

We took a look at ball bearings using this idea, which is pretty much exactly what task #4 Moving Parts is trying to describe doing (a picture is worth a thousand words -- it would've been a heck of a lot easier to figure out what they were trying to accomplish if they'd included a drawing like that in the badge book). Except I simply stuck a chopstick to the top of the plastic lid using a piece of duct tape. We messed around a bit with various sizes of marbles to see what would happen. Annabeth found this fascinating.


Thalia is taking an art class at a co op.

Annabeth is working on various art badges in the Junior Girl Scout badge book. We've been using warm up exercises from Donna Young (the pdfs at the bottom). These remind me of Waldorf form drawings in a way. Then we work on whatever else strikes our fancy. So far we've worked on the Drawing and Painting badge item #7 How You Look at It by making a perspective drawing as explained in Mark Kistler'sDraw Squad. We've also worked on #4 of the same badge, What's Your Line, by making a rendition of this project from the amazing blog Art Projects for Kids.

Activity #4 requires 2 lines drawings, and I think it would be cool to make the second one something using black paper and white ink or pencil, but we'll see.


Thalia continues to read SWB's History of the Ancient World and continues to compare various civilizations to species on Star Trek. And we continue to read Story of the World 4 as a family, having completed the section on Martin Luther King, Jr. just in time for Monday.

Then, of course, we did dance, piano, musical theatre, drama class, voice lessons, had a snow day full of sledding, went ice skating, etc. And probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. Not bad for snowy, cold week.

1 comment:

Jesse, said...

Girl Scouts bring back such fond memories! Do you have a troop of mostly homeschoolers? I should look around for a homeschool friendly troop around here....