Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Weekly Wrapup (Week of Feb 13th)

Well, another week of school in the books..  We had such a great week this week and accomplished quite a bit while having quite a bit of fun in the process.

Homeschool Coffee Break
Linking up with...

As always, we start our day out with a daily drill that reviews both language and math skills.  I typically purchase these from the website because I can pick up an entire month of drills for relatively cheap.  Yeah, I could probably make my own drill sheets, but honestly, I have enough on my plate.  LOL   Here's what our typical drill sheets look like.

These sheets are from the February Morning Work for 3rd Grade 

Garrett's writing on top, Ashleigh's on the bottom
For general subjects like English, we're still working through our Daily Grammar from  This week, we worked on use of contractions and the kids ended the week taking a quiz to make sure they understood, which they both aced.  We've also added Eclectic Foundations Level B to our grammar lessons which have worked out really well for us (I will be posting a review with lots of information about Eclectic Foundations early next month so be on the look out for it if you'd like to learn more).  One of the components of the Level B is learning cursive writing and while we've used other cursive curriculums in the past, I've got to say that I have seen such an improvement in both Ashleigh and Garrett's writing - to the point that Ashleigh's writing has superseded my 17 year old.

With math, we completed week 6 from our 3rd Grade Master Books.. This week was a review of Word Problems which the kids have no issues with.

We're still working through Where The Sidewalk Ends for our daily poetry. I know some people will find this type of book as "Twaddle" but the kids are enjoying it.  I figure there's plenty of time for the more serious poets, right now this allows for a very simple way to bring a bit of a silly break into our routine between grammar and math.  This week, the favorite poem for the kids was "Boa Constrictor".. It probably helped that Mom acted out the poem on each kid as we read through it. Lots of giggles ensued.

For history, we're still working on our Ancient Greece unit from Homeschool in the Woods as well as America's Story Vol 1 from Masterbooks. We also added Walking with the Waodani which is a new review item that we will be working on.  We're REALLY liking this particular study about the native people of Ecuador.  This week, we discussed the five missionaries who lost their lives trying to spread God's word to the Aucu (now called the Waodani) people.  We also talked about some of foods that the Waodani eat, how they hunt and some of the animals that can be found in the jungles of Ecuador. This led to some really fun moments, as the kids went on a "hunt" with blowgun (straws) and poisoned darts (spit balls) to take down a vicious jaguar (their 17 year old sister).  We also talked about whether or not we would eat Palm Weavil Grubs (we all said we might eat them if they were cooked - as the study says they taste like pork rinds.. yum).  I think I might purchase the biography about Nate Saint (one of the original missionaries) from YWAM publishing for after this study so we can continue to learn more about his life and mission.

Ashleigh's drawing of a Vampire Bat that lives in the jungles of Ecuador.

With America's Story, we discussed both Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus this week, as well as some of the other early explorers of the Americas.

This week in our Ancient Greek study, we discussed the city of Sparta and then began discussing the Everyday life of the Ancient Greeks, such as what they wore and what they ate. To help reinforce this lesson, the kids and I moved the classroom to the kitchen and we prepared a Greek meal of Spiced "Wine" (grape juice),  Avgolemeno (Chicken Soup with Egg-Lemon Sauce) and Gyro meat with a Greek Salad, rounded out with Yiaourti me Meli (greek yogurt with honey and almonds) and Baklava for desert. All of which were a hit and turned out very good.  The kids always enjoy when they get to cook a meal for the family and while the soup originally didn't sound appetizing, I'm glad we took the risk with it as it was probably the 2nd favorite part of the menu (the "wine" being the first). 

To help reinforce our Greek Lessons with Garrett (and include something that he is really passionate about), I decided to enroll him in one of the classes through Skrafty Minecraft Education.  If you're not familiar with Skrafty, it is a family friendly Minecraft server that caters mostly to homeschool kids.  They also offer many different courses for various subjects like Math, Language Arts, Science and History.  It's something I've been interested in trying with Garrett, since he likes Minecraft so much, so I went ahead and enrolled him in the Greek Culture and Architecture class. This is a 4 week, self paced class that discusses a few of the things we've been covering in our Homeschool in the Woods course, such as Greek columns for example. At less than 5 dollars for the class, I felt it was a perfect opportunity to see how he would do with classes in this format.  For week one, for his build assignment is to build the Greek flag and to design a Greek restaurant. He just started the class on Friday, so I'll give him all of next week to complete the restaurant but he did the Greek flag pretty quick.  Looking ahead at the class, I would highly recommend it along with the Ancient Greek course we are doing as they cover many of the same things.
Garrett's Greek flag

Science has become the highlight of our homeschool day.  Since the program we are using is so hands on, it really has sparked their interest more than any basic textbook would have done.  This week, we discussed protists and viruses.  Then we broke out the microscope to view both prepared slides of various protists such as paramecium, volvox and amoeba. Two weeks ago, I went to the very small late that is on base and filled a 2 liter with some water in the hopes of getting some live protist to view but when I looked at a sample, was disappointed that nothing could be found. However, over the last two weeks, I have "fed" the sample with a plant based frog food.  The work paid off as when we pulled a sample this week to view, we found a very hearty group of paramecium as well as Halteria grandinella swimming around. It's one thing to look at a prepared slide - it's a completely different experience to see a live sample swimming around. 

We also took a sample of some algae water from our dripping faucet outside in the hopes of maybe finding some other protist (since orginally I didn't think my pond water had anything it it).. We found a really cool Rotifer in that sample.

While we're not yet in discussions about bacteria, we needed to prepare ahead of time for the upcoming lesson, which meant we needed to make some agar and prep our petri dishes.  So we made a batch of "beef jello" as Ashleigh called it and poured some small and large dishes.  After our dishes were ready, the kids then placed their fingers on the agar - first with unwashed hands and then with washed hands - and we put the dishes up inside a cabinet to allow them to grow.  We will see the results next week. 

Making Agar

Dishes poured and cooling
 We also had an activity where the kids learned how easily germs are spread and how handwashing helps to eliminate germs.  I had bought some glow lotion that represented germs and a small blacklight that illuminates the powder in the lotion.  While the kids rubbed the lotion on their hands, I paid attention to where they touched, such as Garrett rubbing his hands on the door frame of the bathroom. The blacklight showed where our "germs" ended up, such as on the washrag, on the door frame, on their papers and pencil, and on the faucet and sink.

Having Fun with the blacklight

Finally, the kids had a test covering the first 5 weeks of their science course.  After seeing the questions, I was a bit hesitant on giving this test - the kids proved to me that I shouldn't underestimate them.  Garrett scored a 90 (he missed 2 out of 20 questions) and Ashleigh scored a 100%.

A sample of the questions from their Science Test

Overall, we had a GREAT week of school..

So, what's on our schedule for next week?

Science: Discussing bacteria, fungus and yeast (and we will be making homemade ginger ale)
Math:  Introducing Column Addition and Adding Large Numbers (which will be a review for them)
History: America's Story: Settlements, Mosquitos and an Indian Princess
                 Continuing Walking with the Waodani
                 Continuing Everyday Living in Ancient Greece
Grammar:  Continuing with Eclectic Foundations Lvl B
                 Daily Grammar: Parts of Speech: Verbs
New Additions: Masterbooks Elementary Bible and English Grammar
                        Picture Smart Bible - Old Testament


  1. that was a great week of school. :)

  2. what a great week of school!! Love all the hands-on stuff you do for Science and History. I used to do a lot with foods from the different countries we studied, and Greek soup was a surprise hit here as well. Okay, *I* knew it would be delicious, but the kids were skeptical. ;-) Thanks for linking up with Homeschool Highlights!!



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