The past couple of weeks have been fairly calm.
Crocuses blooming in late January; daffodils are just about to burst. I'll miss them in the spring. I'm not sure what to think about this weather. I think I miss winter a little, but who can complain about bare feet and crocuses, ever? I like that Duncan ran inside during a run-around-the-house break and said, "Come outside with me!" He made me close my eyes so he could lead me to the crocuses. Someday he will be a good husband. He knows the language of flowers.
Duncan and I are studying China, and Monday was the beginning of Chinese New Year. We found all kinds of activities at Activity Village. Neither of us have been in a crafty mood this week, but we've enjoyed reading about the Year of the Dragon. We finished reading Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze and started on a biography of Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China. We're also in the middle of watching The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, based on the life of Gladys Aylward, and Wild China. Both are excellent and available on Netflix streaming. We decided not to do a lapbook for China since we did such an elaborate Japan lapbook, so we have been really concentrating on map skills. I like to lay our Asia Mark-it Map out flat and have Duncan find different cities, bodies of water, etc. and mark them. Somehow he can visualize it better when it's on the floor rather than on the wall. Seems more hands-on, I guess.
Duncan finally got the word "groceries" right in spelling. That was the exciting academic achievement of the week. Besides that breakthrough, everything continues on as usual—math, grammar, handwriting, etc. Homeschooling seems so easy with just one full-time student. See my Day-in-the-Life post on Simple Homeschool here, if you want to see a typical day.
This was our last week before our preK-8th grade co-op classes start back. Duncan will be taking literature circle, art, creative writing, boys' game club, and Lego club. I just realized that he's not taking a science class; but since he took two last semester, I guess we're OK. We'll do natural science this semester at home.
Laurel is already 3 weeks into her second semester co-op classes. She does fabulously in all her classes: physical science, British Lit, European history, drama, and art appreciation. She's also taking a "just desserts" cooking class. She's already had loads of experience in baking, cake decorating, etc (she made the cupcakes above for a Moms' Night Out I hosted), so this is just a fun class for her. In fact, since the new year began, she's been cooking supper once each week. I can't believe how lucky I am to have someone else preparing dinner in the middle of the week! I could definitely get used to this.
Math continues to be the bane of her existence. Lately I've been throwing in a few Kahn Academy algebra videos for her to watch to hopefully shed some new light on some particular math stumbling blocks. She really does get it; she just would so much rather be doing almost anything else.
We're also going to start working on her personal finance credit. She'll be doing the Money Management badge in American Heritage Girls, which is very similar to the Boy Scouts Personal Finance badge. Kahn Academy has a fantastic series on finance, which looks way more than adequate for a half-credit. I really need to think about German, too. I had planned to start that with Laurel this semester, but the book I wanted shot up in price in one of those weird Amazon.com jumps. I'll have to rethink that.
In the British Lit class that I teach on Fridays, we're learning about poetry and preparing to write a research paper. Analyzing poetry is not my favorite thing to do or teach. As a poet, I was always a bit cracked up and often flabbergasted to hear my poems analyzed in workshop. I often wonder what all these dead poets think of our endless dissections. Still, it must be done. Somewhere in their academic careers, they'll need to at least be familiar with the words rhyme and meter and even iambs. And so I give them a taste of it. On the composition side of things, we talked about quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, and then practiced a bit of paraphrasing. They have all picked novels for their research papers, and we're going through writing a research paper step-by-step.
In other news, we had a new baby in our family this week!
Soren, my great-nephew, was born last Saturday, the day before my Dad's (his great-grandfather) 87th birthday. My niece and her husband brought Soren and his big brother Judah, almost 2, over to visit yesterday. So sweet to have all these little babies gracing our family! We have still another one to look forward to in March. My brother Stephen, who is two years older than I am, and his wife are expecting their first baby then. He'll be a first-time father at 48! And a very, very good one, I'm sure.
Our co-op starts back in earnest on Monday, with hundreds of kids taking a full day's worth of classes. I'll be teaching literature circle and 2 creative writing classes. That means this weekend will be filled with preparing for a crazy day on Monday!
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