Sunday, April 25, 2010

We should really have picked new themes last week, but we seem to have decided to let the old ones roll over, and just added some extra math to the plan.

The Math Alive books from the library have been a huge hit -- there's one on how math is used in building, another on math in a variety of scientific fields, and so on. The only downside to the books is that Sarah wants to do each of the hands-on projects *immediately*, and I don't always have all the supplies available. I've convinced her to wait and do them all at once, next week, once I've gathered the stuff we need. She also wants to see me do all the Calculation Station math problems even if the math itself is a little above her head, so I wind up doing a whole lot of calculations in my head. Not always easy to shake awake all those old math skills when we're cuddled up cozy under the blankets, reading together!

We've also been doing business math. She decided to sell lemonade at the craft fair, and so we talked about how to price things -- starting by looking at the cost of supplies, then considering how much profit she wanted to make vs. how much people are likely to be willing to pay for a cup of lemonade. We've been doing other practical math, too -- measuring things, making maps, collecting data and then making graphs or pie charts or venn diagrams.

Since she wants to be doing more math problems that *feel* like math to her, as well, we've settled on Singapore math 2B after playing with their assessment tests together for a bit. I've heard really good things about Miquon as a supplement to Singapore, but can't seem to figure out which books to order. Maybe I'll take another look at it this week.

Besides math stuff, this week we talked about letter writing, about what goes into a formal letter or an informal letter, and how to form a paragraph. Sarah started working on a letter to my sister and will probably finish it up this week when we sit down for more writing time.

This week was also incredibly social. Monday morning we went to the homeschool gathering at the library (I was surprised to see so many friends there, as the previous times we'd gone we knew almost no one), then Fiber Arts, and then joined friends at their library for a storytime and an opportunity to play with a vintage typewriter! Tuesday I dropped Sarah off at K's house for fairy scouts. Thursday I dropped Sarah off at Joe's office for Take Your Daughter To Work day. And Friday was the craft fair, a long and wonderful day in the park with friends. It inspired me to try again to persuade Sarah to try out going down to homeschool soccer on Wednesday. Even if she decides not to play, I think it sounds like a wonderful day for hanging out with friends.

Oh, and then yesterday was G's birthday party, so we had another long day with different friends.

Sarah's birthday is coming up so soon. I can't believe she's going to be nine! She's just gone through two huge growth spurts, and I can feel her gearing up for another one. I feel as if I'm going to turn around and find a young lady in my house.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wow, it's a long time since I've posted here. We've been quietly busy.

We followed up our under-the-sea month with some more time at an aquarium (Camden, this time -- it's the first time we'd made it there, and I can see why it's so popular, despite the distance and circuitous route we had to take to get there).

We picked up two nice bags full of books at a used bookstore in Montclair, and we've been doing a lot of reading, going through our new books as well as returning to old favorites.

I've been reading Wrinkle In Time aloud at Fairy Scouts, and we had a lot of fun reading bits of The Universe together -- particularly the What-If bits that talk about what sorts of aliens might thrive on different planets (appropriate, given our regular alien-of-the-week club!).

This week we've been tracking our nutrition using the worksheet provided by the USDA. Mostly -- and no surprise here! -- confirming that we need to work on Sarah's veggie intake. It's also confirmed our recent decision to be a little more careful about sugar intake.

I picked up a few books on puberty and Sarah's been working her way through them, mostly on her own. She particularly liked the American Girl book on the care and keeping of your emotions.

We've been getting into Montclair a lot in the afternoons. Sarah comes with me when I volunteer at GSE, and she enjoys examining all the organizational charts, pretending to be the CEO of her own company (drawing and then X-ing out the employees as she fires them!). Afterwards we walk over to the used bookstore, or up to the fair trade tea shop or library.

I'd like to be getting into the city more, as the weather gets even more beautiful, maybe coordinating field trips with small groups of friends. We still haven't made it to the Met for our gods-and-goddesses visit. Maybe next week.

Today we're doing a math assessment test together, to help us choose our next math book -- Sarah's been asking for more math, and while she and Joe continue to do their math adventures together regularly, I'm thinking I'd also like to pick up some books for us to work through together, during our playschool time in the morning.

It makes me sad that so few people read this. That's not a request for comments -- it's more that so many relatives love to hear about what Sarah's doing or ask questions about homeschooling in general or our approach in particular, but even when I send them the link, I know most of them never come over to read the journal. It's a shame -- it would give them a much better sense of her weeks, and it would be a great place to start a conversation with her about what she's been up to. She and I have been talking a lot, recently, about how to start conversations (she often comments that she wants to talk to people more, but can't think of anything to say). My advice: any time you're going to see someone, spend a few minutes beforehand thinking of a funny/interesting story you can tell, one interesting thing you've learned/read recently, a specific question you can ask about something you know they've done recently, and at least one upcoming plan of your own you can talk about. I used to do that, myself -- maybe I should start doing it again...