Saturday, February 11, 2012

Two Weeks in Review: 11 February 2012

We have actually completed 2 full weeks of school since we arrived here in France, but last weekend I wasn't organized enough yet to get a post up about you get two weeks at once.   We are doing a 4-weeks-on-1-week-off schedule this year, so we are already half way through our first "mini-term".   Now that we've got something of a daily rhythm going, I'll try to get a post up about our daily schedule sometime soon.   But in the's what we've been up to:

-Scripture Memory: Working on Joshua 1:8-9.  It seemed very timely and appropriate for our family right now!  We also continue to review previously learned verses, using a very slightly modified version of Simply Charlotte Mason's Scripture Memory System.

- Hymns: So far this year we have learned all of the verses of Blessed Assurance, and are now working on all of the verses of Holy, Holy, Holy.  We've known the first verse of it for awhile, and for some reason this seems to be a favorite of toddlers.  Both James and Elizabeth started trying to sing it before they could really even talk much!

- Bible Reading: In the morning, we are reading the short, illustrated Bible stories contained in the ESV Seek and Find Bible (which we got for Michelle on her birthday when she turned 6.  A lovely first "real" Bible.) and adding each character to our history timeline.   In the evening, we continue to read a short passage out of the book of Mark each night, often buddy reading with Michelle.

Circle Time
- Poetry: Nursery Friends from France (English translations of French Nursery Rhymes with lovely illustrations and little cultural notes sprinkled here and there.)
- God's World News: Early Edition
- Calendar Time in French

Table Time (The Basics)
- Cursive: Michelle continues to excel in Cursive.  We are up to letter I now.

- All About Spelling Level 1: We are part way through Step 12, which is halfway through the book.  Michelle flew right through the first half, but we are now getting to some more challenging material (spelling words with blends and constant teams), which was a little frustrating to her this week - she is used to sailing right through these.  I think it will reinforce her reading to work on carefully taking apart all the sounds she hears in each word...even if it takes a little more effort!

- Math: We continue to work through basic addition facts - we're about done with pairs that make 7, and ready to move on to pairs that make 8.

-Copywork: We aren't doing print copy everyday right now because of the cursive instruction, but do aim to do it a couple times each week (and will until we can switch over to doing cursive copywork).  We alternate between passages of my choice, passages of her choice, and copying a sentence that I have taken down from her oral narration (this often in our France book or nature journals.)   She loves being able to make an accompanying illustration in our new copywork notebook!

History, Geography and Culture
- History: We got our timeline set up last week (more on that in another post) and are now starting to read from some of our Heritage History selections.  This week we read and narrated about John Winthrop, Marquette, Christopher Columbus, and the legend of the proud king.  When applicable, we add figures to our timeline.

- Geography and Culture: For our France study, we are reading and enjoying the book Collette in France.  We read a chapter each week and add an illustration to our book about France.  We also look up on a map about any locations we read about, and this past week after reading about Paris we also looked up pictures online of the various Parisian landmarks.  We've also added various other things to our France book, such as a postcard we purchased of our city with a narration about some of Michelle's first impressions of living here.  (Her favorite thing about living here so far?  Going to the bakery to get bread!)

Science and Nature Study
Last week, we had a snowstorm so had an impromptu nature study on snow.  We read and enjoyed a picture book about snow crystals called The Story of Snow.  (James has repeatedly asked for it ever since.)  We also took a winter walk and used a notebooking sheet from here to record our observations about winter weather in France for our France book.

This week, I decided that we should do a study on pigeons since they are about the only wildlife we've seen here (I think in part because we are in an urban location and in part because it is so stinkin' cold!).  But go figure, the day we took our nature walk, we saw NONE.   All the way to the store and back and not a single pigeon!  Go figure.  Undeterred however, we explored some of the helpful links from here, printed and colored a coloring page, and pasted it into our journals.   So, all was not lost.  We've noticed them several other times as we've been out and about this week, so all's well that ends well.

Bottom line: I am enjoying nature study more than I ever have before, and finding it easier to be consistent.   This is a very good thing, given that at one point I despaired if we could ever get into it, as much as I loved the idea.

Art and Music
Composer Study: Debussy
Artist Study: Monet.   Over the past two weeks we've read through the book about Monet from the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artist's series.  Honestly, I struggle with doing art appreciation and it's not Michelle's favorite either.  But, we're trying.

What the Littles Did
We've done school in the afternoon several times because of my school schedule and actually really like this because it means that the little ones are napping. =)   But when they aren't napping, they are right there with us....

Family Reading
- Picture Book Highlights: Eloise Wilkin stories and various books from the Frances and Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka series.  I am amazed that Elizabeth sits so still and quiet for the longer picture books.  She loves her "stowies".

- Michelle's Reading: We started into the first of the Pathway 2nd grade readers, Busy Times.  The stories are quite a bit longer than in the first grade reader, so we are splitting them over two days for now.  She is often reading with Papa when I am at school, but I've been pleased with the narrations she has given me later.  We are also reading an American Girls book set in 1853 New Orleans called Meet Marie Grace together.

- Bedtime Read-Aloud: The Thomas the Tank Engine Collection

Some Goals and Plans for the Coming Week
We've got our French calendar vocabulary more or less mastered, so it's time to kick our French study up a notch.   I plan to do a monthly theme to learn phrases and vocabulary around, so I hope to add that in to our calendar time this coming week.  I am also hoping we will have time to go visit our local (French) library this week and see what kind of resources we can find there to enhance our French language study.

For more details about the specific curriculum resources we are using, please visit the Goals and Curriculum link at the top of the sidebar.

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