Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up (in which we don't have much to wrap-up)

Local schools have been on a week-long fall break. I've discovered that it's a losing battle to keep Cullen's attention while squeals and laughter of playing neighborhood children can be heard from outdoors. Actually I'm not mean enough to keep him in while all of the fun is obviously out there!

Though we still managed the basic reading and math almost every day, as well as reading about and discussing our solar system and early colonial life, this has been more of a break than not. I just remembered that we also learned about direct objects in grammar. Okay, maybe we actually did more than I thought!

 Here is a quick shot I snuck of the kids, my little guy as catcher, working out the details before a game of wiffle baseball. Cullen has spent so much time on his bike and scooter and running up and down the street, that I suppose I could count extra P.E. for the whole week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekly Report (a light week and a cemetery)

This past week, we really only had about a third of the usual academic work. Then there were days that I call "Life Skills Days" in which we cleaned out and reorganized Cullen's drawers, closet and various piles of stuff.

While there isn't much to report as far as school work goes, other than we made a bit of progress in the usual subjects, we did have a memorable, impromptu outing. Finding ourselves near the Marietta National Cemetery with a little time to spare before an appointment, we drove in, parked, then walked around to explore. There are veterans buried here from the Union Forces during the Civil War and from just about every war since then. Near a beautiful marble pavilion at the top of the hill is a section of closely placed stones in memory of those whose remains never made it home from World War II. One of these is for my grandmother's brother, George E. Walker, who was held as a prisoner of War for some time, then lost at sea. His stone is in the first row facing the walkway. I was surprised at how easily we found it.

Cullen was in quiet awe at the sheer number of graves. He made a point to read as many of their names as he could when we passed by. We have yet to study a war with any detail, expecting to get to the Civil War in our curriculum either late this year or next fall. While I want to be careful not to overwhelm him with too much detail for his age, I would very much like for him to understand that war is nothing like the video games portray - that there are real people, real families affected in terrible ways. In learning about someone in our own family who was lost and terribly missed, I think he understood just a little bit better.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The 25th Annual Great Allatoona Lake Clean-up

Early Saturday morning, Cullen and I joined some fellow scouts at Proctor Landing in Acworth as part of the longest-running organized conservation project in the country. The clean-up covered the shore areas of as much of the lake as possible, including a couple of counties and an huge number of volunteers.


We scoured the ground for even the smallest bits of trash...

mostly finding bottles, cans, plastic food wrappers and thousands of cigarette butts. Our most unusual finds included a camouflage t-shirt, a dangly earring made of can pull tabs, a couple of rubber balls and a boiled egg yolk hardened to the point that it felt like a rock. (You would think some animal would've eaten that.) We watched a group of scouts from another pack toting, inexplicably, a stray door from a port-a-potty up from the water's edge!

I only had my phone for photos, and this is by far the oddest shot I've ever taken. I think I was moving forward as I snapped. Looking at it makes me a little dizzy! Anyway, this is Cullen and his Cubmaster, Rob.

We live very near the lake, as do most of the scouts in Cullen's pack, so it was easy for each of us to really care about taking care of the area. After we had covered our assigned area, we gathered at a picnic table. The boys were most surprised and incredulous that there so many beer bottles had been thrown into the woods.They had trouble understanding why those folks didn't use one of the very evident trash cans. Honestly, I wondered the same thing.

Here's our group of kids - the boys and a few sisters that joined in. They seemed to each have a sense of accomplishment, as the difference they had just made was very evident to the eye. Of course, they were eager to get a commemorative patch, too. I have to say, the whole event felt as much fun as work.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up

I've been struggling with whether or not to do weekly wrap-up posts, as they are not easy to make interesting most of the time. They are a great way for me to see that we actually did accomplish a few things, despite my paranoid version of perfectionism! So if you'll bear with me, I think I'll give it a whirl.

The biggest hits for the week with Cullen all had to do with our unit on space and the solar system. We've been reading from several sources, and got in on an astronomy workshop at the Tellus Museum nearby. Even though it meant staying up really late, this event was very interesting and informative. Though the cloud cover prevented us looking through the big telescope at Jupiter, we did get to see inside the observatory, learn about the night sky in the planetarium, (good weather guaranteed in there!) and hear talk on Jupiter and its moons - with giant photos on screen - by an astronomer. Cullen ran down afterward to ask for his autograph. The classic styrofoam model was fun for me, too, because my little guy let me paint a planet or two!

You are here...

Our history study has focused on early colonists and Native Americans for the past couple of weeks, with Jamestown, Pocahontas and the Powhatan the week prior and with the Mayflower, Separatists & Strangers, Squanto and the Puritans this past week, with a bit of map work included. Some of our favorite books have been:

For math, we are primarily working from Singapore 3A and learning multiplication facts. The computer game Timez Attack is Cullen's favorite way to practice - no surprise here. We currently only have the free download, but I'm planning to purchase the full version just because he enjoys it AND it's working!

We are using some new things this year for language arts, which I'm very pleased with so far. Look for more detailed posts soon on All About Spelling and especially about MCT Island level series. I am LOVING both, and Cullen asks often to do lessons from these. We are also giving Wordly Wise Vocabulary a try with an easy, unrushed schedule. Cullen is currently reading The Whipping Boy.  

I've not yet added in Latin, but plan to do that this week. Also, we'll get back on track with some memory work with a poem and scripture verse. Enrichment classes are still a favorite part of his week, with chess, acting and a Lego simple machines class every Wednesday.

It seems I've misplaced my camera somewhere, and I'm lost without it! Hope to have it in-hand very soon. My phone doesn't take the greatest photos, as you can see. Maybe it's in my car...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Cullen's Favorite Things

Cub Scouts...

A new super-cool comforter for his bed...

Playing chess with big brother...