Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Winding Down the Year

We are finishing up our penultimate week of lessons chez nous.  The girls are a bit down because today is the last day for the ps kids, and we don't finish until next Wednesday, but that's the way the schedule worked out.  Next year, our county's ps calendar is only 175 days, so I'm wondering if homeschoolers' requirements will drop to that number or remain at 180.  Only time will tell!

This week, we plugged along in their BrainQuest workbooks, tackling a smattering of things.  For math: adding fractions, double-digit multiplication, multiplication word problems, and some geometry for Tiny Girl; improper fractions/mixed numbers, multiplying three-digit numbers times two-digit numbers, and geometry for Miss Priss.  They've also had fun (yes, fun!) with spelling, vocabulary, and grammar exercises in their BrainQuest workbooks. That being said, I would not consider these workbooks a full curriculum. But they've served as a refreshing change for our last few weeks of lessons.

The partial products method, which I've mentioned before, has really worked well for Miss Priss in multi-digit multiplication.  I created an explanation sheet for her to use as she worked through the problems, to help keep the steps straight.  By Wednesday of this week, she no longer needed to use the "cheat sheet."  I like using partial products because it separates the multiplication and addition operations.  First, you solve for the different products (partial products). and then you add them together, resulting in the final product.  This method makes more sense to Miss Priss than the more traditional method, which mixes multiplication, regrouping, and addition operations.  Moreover, the partial products method more fully and clearly explains the "why" of each step instead of merely showing a student how to come up with the answer.  For example: 452 x 63.  When considering the digit "5" in 452 multiplied by the digit "6" in 63, she has learned that she is actually multiplying 50 times 60 (not 5 times 6, which is the way I learned it in school).

Other lessons have continued as usual.  The girls' last piano lesson for this school year was this week.  The recital is next Tuesday evening, so they are continuing to practice their pieces, as well as a few new ones for the summer.  They have continued their Rosetta Stone French.  Both girls have been reading a lot, even bringing their books to the table at lunchtime, a habit I enjoy as well.  We informally "finished up" our Latin studies for the year by simply not doing any more lessons.  (Good grief!  How's that for a fabulous work ethic?)

We finished Russell Friedman's The Adventures of Marco Polo yesterday.  After reading the final chapter, "Did Marco Polo Go to China?", we decided that he most likely did, with Miss Priss being the most skeptical and Tiny Girl the most convinced.  We also finished Theseus's adventures in Charles Kinglsey's The Heroes.  The girls have really enjoyed this selection, which is part of the AO Year 3 curriculum.  We are still enjoying Diane Stanley's autobiography of Leonardo da Vinci; I hope to wrap it up next week.

Our garden continues to grow; we now have five or six watermelon vines growing and about eight cucumber vines.  I've already asked some friends if they'd like a plant or two.  Our little garden box isn't big enough for all this bounty!  The zinnias and foxgloves have really taken off, too.  I'll be giving some of those away as well.

We finally foiled the squirrels who had commandeered our tray feeder.  Our bird sightings had dropped dramatically while the pirates were in residence.  Now that the squirrels have to content themselves with feeding on the ground, we're seeing more feathered friends, such as this young female cardinal.  Note (if you can see it) her dark beak.  Full-grown cardinals sport bright orange beaks, so we know this one is still on the young side.

Swim team started up this week, so we'll be busy with that through June.  Tiny Girl's riding lessons will continue through June as well, only she'll be riding in the (cooler) mornings.  And that's about all for our activities.  Yippee!

Hope you had a great week with your families.  Happy Summer!

1 comment:

  1. I really hope to start my girls with piano lessons next year.

    And hurray to foiling the squirrels! That's hard to do!


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