It almost feels like the verge of spring here, despite several days of very cold weather and flurries. The skies are blue, and it feels lovely to be outside today. I think we all are feeling a little spring fever already!
These past few weeks have flown by; if you would like to see what we were working on in weeks nineteen and twenty, please see here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2016/02/04/weeks-nineteen-and-twenty-of-homeschooling-eighth-fifth-and-kindy/
Kindergarten: Having a forest kindergarten program two days a week has been really wonderful for our extroverted little guy. At home, we have been working with a winter/early spring circle at home, the story “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” and drawing, painting, bread baking and being outside hiking.
What I have been contemplating a lot is this balance between the older children and what they need academically and socially and what our littlest guy needs. Our oldest will be 15 this summer…and that seems a long way from 6 right now… How do we resolve and balance those needs? Is there even a way to do this? I have spoken lately to quite a few mothers of completely extroverted third children who would do fabulously if the entire day could be structured around them, but what do you do if the whole day cannot be structured around them? Still contemplating deeply.
Fifth Grade: We finished Ancient China and have been fully immersed in Ancient Greece. We have studied the land of Greece, wet on wet painted the land and wrote a summary, and drew some forms to decorate our main lesson book pages. We have gone through all the major gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, and then our fifth grader picked one myth to re-write. Our fifth grader chose to re-write the story of Dionysus and the pirates he changed into dolphins as our major summary. We moved into the minor gods and goddesses toward the end of this week and next week will choose another myth to re-write. For the drama component, we are lucky enough to be working on a play with a group of homeschoolers about the myth of “The Labyrinth”, which is a good opportunity. We will head through more mythology next week, including the labors of Hercules, the Odyssey and more in the next few weeks. We have also been tying geometry into each day and looking at geometry within the context of the Greeks. We may not have time for a long geometry block, so I think to tie this into Ancient Greece may be a way to work a little more into our school year. We are also working with all four processes, measurement, fractions and a preliminary look at decimals right now in math along with spelling and spelling rules. We finished reading “Understood Betsy” with its focus on New England and are now reading “Strawberry Girl” by Lois Lenski with its focus on Florida.
Eighth Grade: In the past two weeks, we have continued our Geography of Asia block. We went back and focused a lot on modern Chinese history, especially Chairman Mao and Chaing Kai-Shek, the cultural revolution and more. Our eighth grader made a timeline about Chinese Revolution along with a pencil drawing to practice drawing people. Our eighth grader has been reading “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck and we have used this to look at characters, theme, symbolism and more in a piece of literature and then as a read-aloud we are reading “Red Scarf Girl” which focuses on the Cultural Revolution of China. In weeks 19 and 20 we had also covered Korea and Japan ; we also studied Daruma dolls and their meaning and Japanese Buddhism. We studied Vietnam and included a beautiful picture of a water buffalo to encapsulate our reading of the book “Water Buffalo Days”; looked at Borneo; Oceania and its continental, high and low islands; the continent of Australia; and compared and contrasted the Australian Aborigines and the New Zealand Maori. Our main project for Australia is to complete a diorama and report of the Great Barrier Reef. After this block our eighth grader really wants to move into World History, so we will be doing that as our next block.
In math, we are still working on ratios and proportions – especially as they pertain to blueprints and scales for a map. Spanish still continues to come along. The 4-H District Project Achievement is coming in the first weekend of April at the 4H center. Our eighth grader is presenting a speech on the Get Outdoors Program and the Junior Ranger Badge Program in Outdoor Recreation.
I would love to hear what you are working on this week! I am glad we are a little more than halfway through the school year.There were many points so far this year where I felt completely under water trying to juggle children of such vastly different ages so although we still have quite a few weeks of school left, I am hoping it will be successful.
As always, I enjoy reading what your family is doing and how you approach each grade. Your son’s forest school sounds wonderful! We are currently doing a block on Africa with my 5th and 2ns graders (at different levels, of course). This was an unplanned block, but family is unexpectedly traveling there, and we wanted to learn more. We finished up Ancient Egypt and instead of moving to our next block, we just moved beyond Egypt into other parts of Africa. This ties in wonderfully with another Fables block for my 2nd grader. I am needing to spend some time re-evaluating the rest of our year, as we are solidly more than half way through now. I can’t believe it!
I love Africa in any form for all grades! That sounds great, Nicola!