Weekly Review-- Mini Vacation Week

We hit the books pretty hard on Monday knowing it might be the only day we'd have time for actual schoolwork-- so school might have lasted two hours that day.  We had another busy week where the calendar looked pretty full before it even began.  Yet my boys surprised me and managed to get just a bit of work done most of the days this week even if it was just a math worksheet or a quick reading of a book here and there.  Mostly we focused on making fun families memories this week and we succeeded in a big way!

History-- We read Patrol; An American Soldier in Vietnam, The Wall, Vietnam ABC's, and Two Lands, One Heart to further our study of Vietnam and the Vietnam War.  By far our favorite was Always With You; the true story of a young Vietnamese girl that survived the bombing of her town and ended up partially blind and in an orphanage.  It was both poignant and gut wrenching to read about her struggles.  We read a few more chapters in High Time for Heroes and learned some more about Florence Nightingale too.

Reading/Language Arts-- We finally finished Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.  We listened to How to Speak Dragonease  & How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse while in the car. Evan and I have been reviewing all the Dolch sight word lists and have landed on the 2nd grade list to study-- meaning he's on grade level?!  We've played a few word games and he's read a few books this week.  We read Come to the Zany Zoo, No Kisses, Please!,  Hi, Fly Guy! and Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl.  Alec just about finished the first book in the Seekers series, started the second book in the Dragon Keeper series; Garden of the Purple Dragon and read Duck for Turkey Day (one of our Vietnam books).  Ian read a few more chapters in Divergent and Aloha, Salty.

The boys all had a fun morning playing with Mad Libs and reviewing noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and plural noun.

The older two boys spent a morning working on spelling; Alec is onto the next list and Ian is only about 1/2 way through last year's spelling book.  I'll admit I'm not the greatest when it comes to being diligent with spelling.  I'm hopeful that they'll pick up most of the spelling rules just by being exposed to so much reading.

Evan spent a morning practicing writing the whole alphabet.  I noticed over the weekend that his penmanship really needs some work and it's mostly because he never writes.  I'm hopeful small, quick tasks; just one a week, will help.  My goal is to not overwhelm him while practicing this task he hates so much.

Alec and I played a round of Harry Potter Scene it and then the other boys wanted to play a second game!  We may have finished with the series but Harry will forever live in our hearts and the boys just had to start re-watching the movies too.

Evan and I played a few more file folder games for reading; I'm trying to get back into the habit of playing a reading game with him every day that we do schoolwork.

Math-- Each of the boys worked on a few pages in their math workbooks.  They all worked on a few timed review sheets of basic math facts too.  The older two boys played a game of Multiplication Squares; a fun take on an old family favorite game!

Evan spent a few days working with coins again- identifying them, telling me how much they're worth and adding them up.  He also learned to plot points on a grid.  Alec has been learning about negative numbers and Ian is learning all about converting weights back and forth from ounces to pounds and adding up the weights in simplest form.

They all brought their money with them to Great Wolf lodge and tried to figure out the best use of it; knowing ahead of time that we were not going to splurge on everything for them.

Science-- We went on a nature hike this week.  We hiked in the woods for over an hour checking out all the differences in the woods after a big rain storm.  We saw frogs, upturned tree roots, and the gradual changing colors of the leaves; a sure sign is fall is approaching.

So cool; this tree was missing bark and new
sprouts were sprouting up where the bark
was cut! 
Just sitting and observing the woods around him 

The boys also all picked the topics they want to work on for our annual homeschool science fair.  We spent an afternoon talking about possible topics, thinking up activity ideas, looking up books and resources and thinking up coordinating snack ideas for each topic.

We went to the apple orchard and picked apples, reviewing what we know about how apples grow before our field trip next week.

Yummy apples! 
We spent a day at the beach looking for sea creatures, observing the seagulls and watching the crash and roll of the waves; you can read about that here.  Alec got a new card game in the mail called Chomp! all about ocean food chains and both him and Evan played a few rounds this week.

An amazing sandcastle that we watched one man
painstakingly work on for the day
We FINALLY had time to actually do a fun science experiment on Monday.  We made rainbow paper using black paper, sunlight and clear nail polish-- you can read all about it here.

our rainbow paper

Physical Education-- We went through an aerial adventure course over the weekend.  We all had a wonderful time negotiating the moving obstacles, facing our fear of heights (that might just be me!), and zipping down the zip lines.  The two hours flew by and we all agreed it was something we wanted to go back to next year.

The boys also went to karate this week and we spent another day at the beach boogie boarding, swimming, and jumping over the waves.

We had a mini family vacation and checked out the Great Wolf Lodge which led to lots of swimming, playing, walking, and another aerial obstacle course for the boys.  The boys spent quite a bit of time riding bikes, running around playing tag, and playing on our swing set too.

Art-- We made some lovely "stained glass" windows this week.  The older boys used pictures they found on the web and traced them with black glue, then painted them in.  My youngest son mixed glitter glue and food coloring for a really fun and vibrant abstract look.  All in all it was fun to get messy again; you can read all about it here.

Life Skills-- The boys spent some time cleaning the house this week and doing laundry.  They also did a really great job packing their own bags for vacation.  Ian had his all packed and ready to go first; without any help, without being asked, without asking any questions either.  He thought ahead to what we were doing, where we were going and how long we'd be gone and figured out for himself everything he would need.  Ian has also been helping my husband cut wood for the winter and spent a day working with his grandfather too.


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