The bleak winter term is almost over and we soon get to take the most-appreciated break week of the year: a week off in February. The end of our sixth week is always when I most love our year-round schedule. Looking forward to a whole week off keeps me going that fifth week and I can postpone things, knowing I have a week to catch up coming soon.
You know you’re a homeschool mom when you swoon over your two-year-old’s pencil grip.
Now if I could get her to give lessons to her brother.
We spend most of our sixth week of Elementary Lessons (a sort of mini-co-op with one other family) in review. After all, The Seven Laws of Teaching state that “No time is wasted which is spent in review.”
Above is hangman, which we play with our Words of the Week from that term.
This year we’ve done a fun “Word of the Week” practice that we’ve all enjoyed. Each week I give them a good word they probably don’t know, we learn it, use it, then next time we come together they give me sentences they’ve created and we talk about whether or not the sentence works. They get a point for every correct usage in a complete sentence – and points are paid weekly in Skittles or marshmallows.
I’m not really big on vocabulary as a subject, really. Since we do Latin and lots of reading, I think that adding a program for vocabulary is just busywork and an unnatural way to learn good words. However, when planning for our lesson time, I wanted to have something fun and game-like to start off each of our two-hour blocks, and “Word of the Week” is what I hit upon. As much as we are learning awesome words (this term’s words were recalcitrant, voluble, ensconce, heinous, and ignominy), we are also learning that words are fun to play with, words are fun to collect, and good words are fun to use.
That said of vocabulary, in middle school I did the Vocabulary from Classical Roots set, which did help me quite a bit in knowing how to figure out new words I encountered. For us, this is covered by Latin, but if you aren’t doing Latin, I do recommend Vocabulary from Classical Roots as a 5th-8th grade supplement to understand those prefixes and suffixes we derive from Latin and Greek.
Also, vocabulary.com is where I go to play the pronunciation of the word and read the little sentence or two with examples for the words I’ve picked, so I don’t have to create a script or lesson from scratch myself.
I also had them write out all the names they could remember from this last term – whether names from Bible, history, or science – a la Charlotte Mason.
We also play Jeopardy, but where they do all the review work. I write names from the term’s readings on index cards – one name per card – and then they each take a few home and have to craft a question where the name is the answer. Then at the next class they ask their questions and others guess (or, better yet, know) the name. It’s been a good gauge for how well they’ve been paying attention, and they think it’s fun. It’s way better than a test or questioning exam, too, because they don’t feel put on the spot by a teacher and they’re doing all the work themselves.
Have I already told you that this trampoline is a winter-time, four-year-old-boy lifesaver? It’s still true. It qualifies as our best purchase this season, for sure.
Knox’s checklist (which he insisted upon having) says, “Jump on trampoline, counting to twenty.” It’s great. And, since his counting isn’t totally linear, sometimes he jumps longer than twenty and sometimes I can say, “Oh, you missed several numbers. Go try again.”
Pictures like that just make me so happy.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
We all have our share of obnoxious behavior, poking one another, bickering, etc., etc., etc., but it is the moments like this that deserve to be photographed and remembered.
It is the putting all that bickering and poking to rights that makes these pictures possible – more possible than if we all put on an outward show of Being Good.
Let’s remember that when the gray days and gray attitudes never seem to end. We’re not giving up; we will hold fast and see fruit.