Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: In Which I Give Myself a Strong Lecture

I don't know what it is about this year. I mean, I know we have had a huge transition with our move to the Arctic and all, and honestly because of the move, I've never been more thankful we homeschool. The kids didn't have to walk into a new classroom in a new building with 25 new faces staring at them, and most importantly, I do not have to get up at 5am to shovel snow so we can get the car out to get them to school! On the other hand, I have really had a SERIOUS case of the homeschool blahs. It's not that the kids have been lacking academically; we are following right along with our curriculum, especially our core subjects. It's just that I have lacked my usual creativity and enthusiasm. And worse, I have not engaged the children as deeply as I should in their studies.

So this week was the week I sat myself down and told myself things had to change. These are my children, after all. They are my job right now, my ministry. How can I be so apathetic in my approach?

To combat this apathy, I have tried to say no to the huge amounts of time I spend on the computer, and I am trying to say yes more to the children. In addition, I am trying to bring in some of the fun, more creative activities I used to be so good at discovering and implementing.

The big thing we did this week was really very simple. Since we began a new month, I decided to start Carschooling's History on the Go calendar. If you sign up for the free calendar, you will receive a monthly email which lists by day important events in history. In addition, it includes links to information and activities pertaining to the subject.

We actually rescheduled February 1. The activity that day was Bubble Gum Day, but when I went to the official website, the "holiday" was set for the 4th. We had a busy day scheduled on the 1st anyway (which ended up being snowed out). So on the 2nd of February it's no surprise that we learned about Punxatawney Phil. We read about the history of the holiday, learned facts about groundhogs, and watched a few videos of the Pennsylvania festivities.

February 3 is Norman Rockwell's birthday, so we studied him and examined some of his artwork. We discussed the allure of the artist due to the fact that he focused on everyday people doing everyday things and threw in some humor to boot. The kids then drew their pictures of scenes from everyday life. It was like pulling teeth to get even one of them to share his creation with me. Which is appropriate because Michael's is about teeth. He finally let me see it but didn't want me to have it in my possession for any length of time because he knew I would take a picture of it. Well, why wouldn't I? Look how cute it is!

Friday, the 4th was our Bubble Gum Day. We watched how bubble gum is made, and we got to chew bubble gum. Of course Alex, who has never in her life wanted to even try bubble gum wanted to today. But she has braces. So I let her suck on a piece!

In addition to these activities, I finally brought back the Estimation Jar.
2-4 estimation jar

The children must guess how many are in the jar. Then we take out a handful and count them so they get an idea of the quantity of just a sampling. They then have the option of changing their guess. Finally, we count them to determine a winner.

2-4 gumballs

For our last Bubble Gum activity, the kids wrote Didactic Cinquains. A didactic cinquain follows this format:

One word, subject of poem

Two words, adjectives describing title

Three word phrase giving more information

Four words, feelings about the subject

One word, synonym or other reference for the subject

I had the kids write their cinquains and then draw a picture about bubble gum. Then they cut out and pasted their cinquains on to their picture. Here is Alex's:

Chewy, gooey

Blow big bubbles

Yummy, squishy, sweet, popping


As far as our other activities go, this week in Chemistry was another treat week. (I promise not every week adds to your waistline!) We studied Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Since Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air we breathe, we did an experiment with egg whites. We noted on our lab sheets what plain old egg whites look like just plopped in a bowl. Then we whipped them up and documented the change. Of course we couldn't let them go to waste, though, so we added lots of sugar, a pinch of salt, and some mini chocolate chips.

Our meringues were delicious.

2-4 meringues

And as we munched on them, we had this question to consider: What would happen if you mixed egg whites in the vacuum of space?

Weekly Wrap-UP

Hosted by Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.



Our Side of the Mountain said...

Aren't the homeschool blahs, well, blah? I had to change up some of the "things" we were doing this month to add some "spark" back into our days too. Looks like you had a fun week though with history activities!

Jessy - from Weekly Wrap-up

Carrie Thompson said...

I too added some "theme" to make it exciting! YOur week looks Awesome! congratulations on combating the "blah"!

tsinclair said...

You really kicked up up a BIG notch this week.
Sounds like fun...and reminds me of the work, and the joy of homeschooling. :-)

Blossom said...

Hmm our week (since feeling like 'burnout' is coming) was more scaled down. One of my kids was gungho for his work (ulterior motives lol)and the other -and me!- were just like "eh, ok".
So, what'd you come up with to the question??? That was a great question btw. :)
Have a good weekend :)

See Jamie blog said...

Those merengues look yummy!

I've had to give myself a few pep-talks lately, too. I think it comes with the territory.

Brownie said...

I'm seriously into the homeschool blahs. Partly because I'm feeling the pinch about getting a "real" office job, other work isn't coming in and Red goes to PS. We are seriously considering sending Blondie to PS next year. She's excited about the thought, hubby is all for it. I think a chapter is about to end in my life. So sad. But we must to what we must do.

I love how creative you are with your kids. Those meringues look great!

Have you ever checked out Ambleside online? It's a great resource and there is an artist schedule that I found helpful.

5thsister said...

You are so very clever! What terrific ideas!

I think there's something about this time of year. When I home schooled I'd feel the same way...and after Easter? Well, I would totally burn out at that point. That was when we did core subjects only and then went on lots of field trips as we all were pretty stir crazy by then!

Mommy2Four said...

I love meringues :) Great shots, and such creative school ideas! Love them!

Lorraine said...

I'm impressed! great job.
By the way, do you know there's a Norman Rockwell museum nearby? It's less than 2 hours if I remember correctly, in a quaint, picturesque New England town. It's a beautiful spot in the road, complete with his workshop.

Ellen said...

Despite your blahs, looks like a good week to me. And those meringues (which I grew up calling forgotten cookies)... those are my favorites!

LaDonna said...

Thank you so much! I have been looking for a calendar like this!

wdworkman said...

You definitely fought the blah's with a fun week. February always seems to be when it hits here too - the holiday excitement is over, but Spring is nowhere in sight.
Janet W