Here's what we did this week!
One highlight...the boys' activity crates from KiwiCo came this week! They come on a monthly basis; Micah's was pirate-themed and Caleb's was "another way of seeing things" (optical illusions and things like that). There's something different every time so they're usually excited when we get another one!
Reading: Caleb is almost done with Hooked on Phonics! The 2nd grade level is shorter than the other levels. This week we reviewed sounds such as "spl," "squ," "kn," "wr," and soft "c" and "g." We have a few more pages, a story, plus a book left, then we'll try something else. I also encourage Caleb to read on his own; this morning before I got up he got into bed with me and started reading one of his books out loud. He finished it later on during lunchtime and has asked me about five times if I want to read it too, so I'm going to read it and then I joked with Caleb that we could discuss it like we have a book club!
Language Arts: This week he had a test and he did better. We started the fourth chapter in his workbook, which right now focuses on writing instructions using time-order words ("first," "then," "finally," etc.). He wrote out the steps of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and we also discussed the importance of putting all the steps in the right order.
Spelling: Caleb did Week 7 of his spelling words and got 9 out of 10 correct on his test! He only missed "gave," and as usual, he had the correct letters but in the wrong order. Later on at the library I overheard him ask Micah how to spell "tiger" (so thankful that Caleb wasn't embarrassed that his younger brother knew how to spell a word and he didn't!), and told me later that he didn't know there was a "g" in "tiger." I asked him if he could hear the "guh" sound in the word, and he said no. Not sure if this is something that just comes with practice or what. I can tell he knows how to read and/or spell words by memory, which is fine, but he's going to have to know how to sound out words too!
Word of the Week/Journal: Our word of the week was "gaze."
Math: We continued in his workbook. He had his third math test on Wednesday and only missed one problem!
Bible: We started Lesson 4, which is the second part of "What is God Like?" We discussed more attributes of God, such as omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence (the book also provided easier versions of these words, such as "all-knowing," "always present," and "all-powerful"). On one day, we made a Mobius strip (a loop with a curve in it) so show that God has one "side" (He's always good) and no end, just like the strip. I also helped Caleb with a crossword puzzle.
Zoology: This week we continued our study of the farm habitat and learned about chickens and spiders! For the demonstration, I wasn't a fan of the suggested activity in the book (leave half an apple in a jar without a lid outside and see if insects help break it down...a great experiment, but it didn't really have a lot to do with spiders!), so I searched online and found something a little more fun. I had Caleb drop a sugar cube into a clear disposable cup I had drawn a web on; I told him the cup was his web and the sugar cube was a bug that just got stuck. We then poured a little leftover grapefruit juice on top of the cube (just enough to cover it), and I explained to Caleb that once a bug is trapped, the spider uses its fangs to inject digestive juices into the bug to make it easier to ingest. We used a drinking straw to "stab" the cube, and once it was mostly dissolved I told Caleb to be the spider and suck up the bug! Once he drank it up, there were a few undissolved sugar deposits on the bottom, and I told Caleb that was like the bug's wings and other body parts the spider doesn't eat. Overall it was a fun way to demonstrate how a spider eats! We also watched the original "Charlotte's Web" for fun.
World Cultures: This week's country was Venezuela. Caleb filled out his country fact sheet and we read some library books, including one about Angel Falls, the world's tallest waterfall which is located in Venezuela. We also listened to traditional Venezuelan music called "joropo," which features a guitar, harp, and maracas. I've been using Pandora on my tablet to access music from a lot of the countries we've studied so far (reggae from Jamaica, salsa from Cuba, samba from Brazil, etc.). For a craft, we worked on torn paper collages of Angel Falls, and for the food, I made a shredded Venezuelan beef recipe I found in Cook Your Way Around the World, only I used my slow cooker to cook the beef ahead of time. Caleb also helped me make the Brazilian cheese rolls that we were supposed to make last week; I found the tapioca flour at Publix and it's a very easy recipe to follow. Neither kid liked the cheese rolls (go figure) but they seemed to like the beef, which I served on white rice.
Read-Aloud: We read The 52-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths this week.
How Does A Spider Eat? Activity (Being Great With Mrs. Bates)
Angel Falls Collage (Kid World Citizen)
Brazilian Cheese Rolls Recipe (Our Best Bites)
I finally changed the chalkboard this week! The movie "Rio" was the inspiration; we watched it this week as part of our study of Brazil and one of the boys' favorites quotes is when the main character complains that all samba songs sound exactly the same to him (then chants "tico, taco, yah, yah, yah!" to prove his point).
Reading: We kept plugging away at Hooked on Phonics. Caleb practiced some of the more challenging sounds this week, such as "igh," "shr," and "scr."
English: We finished up Chapter 3 this week and did a review on Friday. Caleb learned about common and proper nouns, capitalizing titles, and how to separate nouns in a series with commas. There's also a cumulative review that covers what we've learned so far this school year, so I think we'll do that first thing next week and then do the Chapter 3 Test. If it were a math test, I'd be fine with Caleb doing a test on a Monday, but language arts confuses him a bit so I'd rather not jump into a test after a weekend without more practice first.
Spelling: Caleb learned List 6 of his spelling words. He got 8 out of 10 correct on his test. He spelled sheep as "seep" and queen as "qeen." This is telling me that he still often relies on reading by sight rather than sounding out the word, since he remembered most of the letters of the words but not all. We'll continue with this curriculum though because overall he's doing so much better!
Word of the Week/Journal: Our word this week was "variety." Caleb wrote about his bird feather collection, plus part of a bird poem.
Math: We continued in his Horizons math workbook.
Bible: We continued learning about the question, "What is God like?" We learned about God's attributes and how that relates to ourselves, and at the end of the week we made an envelope to paste into his journal; inside the envelope were little pages where Caleb wrote his answers to the questions the book asked this week ("Does God exist?" "How many gods are there?" "What does God look like?" and "Is God a person?").
Zoology: This week the Sassafras twins went to a Canadian farm! We learned about cows and bees. Caleb filled out his animal report sheets for each animal and also put them on our food chart. For our scientific demonstration, we made butter in a jar! The directions in my manual were odd (they had you add water with the cream but then also had you periodically pour it back out), so I looked it up on Pinterest and found that really, you just add cream to a jar (and a little salt if you want), then shake it! Randall was home from work that day due to Hurricane Irma, so he also helped with the shaking. After several minutes, we could feel it getting thicker, but when we opened it up we saw that it was whipped cream. After a few more minutes of shaking, we had butter! It's very good too...I've been putting it in our rice and on top of biscuits and toast all week.
We also colored in beehives later on that week, and looked up a video on "waggle dancing," which is a dance bees engage in to communicate to each other. When a bee finds a great flower with lots of nectar, it flies back to the hive and gets the other bees' attention. Then it does a figure-eight kind of dance while wiggling around; scientists have studied the movements and have found that the dance tells the bees how far to fly AND at what angle in relation to the sun!
World Cultures: This week's country was Brazil. Caleb filled out his country fact sheet and we read a few books from the library. As mentioned before, we watched our copy of "Rio," which takes place in Brazil and also prominently features Rio de Janeiro's annual "Carnival" festival. It's a funny, entertaining movie and while it's fictional (the main characters are talking birds!), the animators did a great job showing the landscape and culture of Brazil (including the famous Christ the Redeemer statue). One night I also made a Brazilian meat stew out of the Eat Your Way Around the World cookbook. I wanted to make cheese rolls (pao de queijo) as well, but they call for tapioca flour and I couldn't find it at first. I've gotten a few leads about stores that carry it so if I find it we'll just make them during the next week or so.
Read-Aloud: We read The 39-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths this week, and have the next installment ready for next week!
Butter in a Jar directions (Little Bins for Little Hands)
Beehive Printable (Pattern Universe)
Honeybees Waggle Dance Video (YouTube)
Country Report Sheet (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Carnival Masks Printable (A Moment in Our World)
Here's what we did this week! We had Monday off for Labor Day and had a light day on Thursday, but still managed to get pretty much everything done.
Reading: We started the Blue Book in Hooked on Phonics and learned sounds such as "oi," "oy," "ow," and "ou." Caleb also earned a couple of stars on his chart!
Language Arts: We began Chapter 3 of our English curriculum. Since the previous chapter had been about the process of making a story, I decided not to test Caleb on this. When we attempted the Chapter 2 review last week, he got confused on certain concepts (like do you make a word web when planning the story or editing the story, or at what point do you edit?). We will definitely visit these concepts again later in the year, so I decided to just move on to the next chapter. We studied nouns this week, as well as when to add an "s" or an "es" to plural nouns.
Spelling: We did List 5 in our spelling curriculum. Caleb got 8 out of 10 correct!
Word of the Week/Journal: Our word of the week was "palindrome." We had fun looking up different palindromes, and we also read a book already in our homeschool library called Mom and Dad are Palindromes! Caleb wrote a very short journal entry for "palindrome" (he wasn't really into writing that day but I made him do it anyway), then chose a short animal poem the other day.
Math: Caleb took his second math test at the beginning of the week and then continued on with the lessons. On Friday we revisited the concept of "carrying the 1" that we learned in first grade. Caleb had forgotten but caught on eventually after I helped him with the first few problems. The workbook also reintroduced telling time, and Caleb is great at that!
Bible: Because of our crazy week (including Caleb having a very late night on Wednesday; he went to his first Braves game!), we only got to one Bible lesson this week. We began Lesson 3, where we'll start to learn about what God is like.
Zoology: We continued our journey in the desert this week, focusing on the spiny-tailed lizard and the fennec fox. I helped Caleb fill out his animal record sheets, his desert habitat map, and his desert habitat fact sheet. We also did a scientific demonstration about the fennec fox, which has very large ears to help cool it down. I improvised a bit since the demo required the use of an instant thermometer, which we didn't have, but it still worked. I let the water in the kitchen sink run very hot (yet not too hot to touch), and filled up a pie plate and a coffee mug. I told Caleb the pie plate represented the fennec fox's big ears and the coffee mug represented smaller ears. He touched the water in both vessels and confirmed they both had hot water. We then left them for about ten minutes while he worked in his logbook. After ten minutes, I told him to dip his finger in each one again. This time, the water in the pie plate had cooled down and the water in the coffee mug was still pretty warm. So the more surface area, the faster the water cools. In the same way the big ears of the fennec fox help cool it down during the hot desert days (while also giving it excellent hearing!).
World Cultures: This week's country was Guatemala. Caleb filled out his country fact sheet, including coloring the Guatemalan flag. The flag has several objects in the middle so we looked up the significance of each one on the internet, something I think we'll start doing for each country's flag since so much symbolism and significance went into designing each one! For our craft, we made worry dolls. We read a library book (one Caleb has checked out on his own before!) about a little boy who worries so much he can't sleep. His grandmother gives him some worry dolls and instructs him to tell a worry to each doll and then they'll do the worrying for him so he can sleep. This is a tradition in Guatemalan culture, almost like what a security blanket or favorite stuffed animal would be in our culture. We used wooden pegs, embroidery thread, pipe cleaners, markers, and little stickers to decorate our worry dolls. I made a girl and Caleb made a boy, then later on that night he got the supplies back out to make another one!
We also made two traditional recipes: champurradas (sugar cookies with sesame seeds on top, traditionally served with coffee so you can dunk them!) and Guatemalan hot chocolate. I did most of the latter recipe since it involved melting tablet chocolate (a hardened disk of pressed sweetened cocoa powder) with milk and cinnamon on the stove. They were both delicious and perfect as an afternoon snack.
Read-Aloud: We read The 26 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths this week. We managed to read a lot of it Thursday morning when Caleb was still fuzzy from his late night (on that day, we didn't do any school till the afternoon!).
Art: We haven't gotten to our art curriculum since the first week! Not stressing that much though, since our other subjects often include some kind of artistic elements too. It would still be cool to incorporate different artists and styles though, so I'm going to take it week by week and see what we can fit in.
Country Fact Sheet (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Worry Doll Craft (Actually Mummy)
Champurradas Recipe (Flaming Tortillas)
Guatemalan Hot Chocolate Recipe (Global Table Adventure)
Here's what we did last week!
Reading: Caleb continued in Hooked on Phonics and finished the Green Book! We were surprised that he's already halfway through, but we're also finding that the second grade level is just quicker (thinner books, less material, etc.).
Language Arts: This week, we finished Chapter 2 and Caleb wrote a story! With my guidance, he made a word web on his trip to the zoo last year. We then used that web to list details and form a short paragraph. I helped him proofread it and by the end of the week he had his final draft!
Word of the Week/Journal: This week's word was "eavesdrop." Once Caleb understood the definition, he remembered a part in the movie "The Jungle Book" where some of the elephants are trying to eavesdrop on their leader's conversation. So he wrote about that in his journal one day and then copied an animal poem excerpt another day.
Spelling: Caleb learned his Week 4 List and got 10 out of 10 words correct on his test!
Math: Caleb continued working in his Horizons Math workbook.
Bible: This week we finished Lesson 2. We learned more about how we know what is true, and Caleb did a few activities in his workbook, including a mini-book!
Zoology: We started our time in the desert this week! The two animals we focused on were the camel and the cobra. Caleb filled out animal record sheets for both and also added them to our food chart. For our scientific demonstration, Caleb learned how the design of the camel's feet help them to walk on the sand. Using salt for sand, Caleb used a pencil to push in two cardboard circles (one about the size of a dime, to represent human feet, and the other with a bigger diameter, to represent camel feet). The bigger circle was a lot harder to sink into the sand. So we learned that the bigger the foot, the bigger the surface area and therefore the easier it is to walk on the sand without sinking in. Caleb made a similar connection with snowshoe hares walking in the snow!
World Cultures: This week's country was Jamaica! But first we wanted to finish Cuba, so on Monday we did our Cuban craft that we didn't get to last week. I made a rough sketch of a Cuban tody bird on posterboard and gave Caleb paint and a colored printout of the actual bird as a reference. He also had paintbrushes and some cheap toothbrushes to help give the brushstrokes a more feathered texture (Walmart had a six-pack of "Dr. Fresh" toothbrushes for $1!!).
We might do something similar for the Jamaican tody bird, which is similar in size but not in color! For Jamaica, Caleb filled out the country sheet and we listened to a lot of reggae music on Pandora. We read a fun story featuring Anansi, a trickster spider who shows up in a lot of fables in both Jamaican and African culture. As for food, Caleb helped me mix up a jerk seasoning blend of herbs and spices (we left out the cayenne pepper though!) and I used it on our slow cooker chicken drumsticks that night. It was a very interesting taste! We also mixed up a homemade version of "Ting," Jamaica's grapefruit soda. We combined equal parts grapefruit juice and Sprite, and also added a little sugar to cut the tartness. Caleb liked it but Micah did not. Both recipes came from our borrowed copy of "Cook Your Way Around the World."
Read-Aloud: We finished The 13 Story Treehouse this week and are moving on to the sequel, The 26 Story Treehouse.
Extras: We also recently started doing Mad Libs as a "brain break" about halfway through the school day (usually between spelling and math!). I found a junior edition that just deals with nouns, adjectives, verbs, and miscellaneous (in the case of our book, animals!). Caleb has a lot of fun coming up with different things to make the story funny, plus it's good practice for remembering parts of speech. I also got out our continent puzzles this week; I got them off Zulily during the summer but wanted to save them for school. I got out the North America one for Caleb, and even though it was one of the harder ones he still went back and tried the other continents. My only rules for these puzzles are: never work on two continents at once (it would take forever for him to sort out the puzzle pieces!), and watch Micah with them (he likes to lose things).