Here's a little post about what we've been up to of late:
YES! We have finally finished book 4A in our Singapore Math curriculum. We did a bit of review in this book before moving on to the B book. The beginning of the B book is relatively easy, and gets harder in the next few weeks.
We finished a unit about heat, sources of heat and how to use energy wisely. D even took the children outside to do an experiment about the sun's rays using a magnifying glass and some paper! The boys loved that.
Spiderman velvet posters and iron-together beads. Crayon drawings. Mostly art is a fun subject in our school at this point, though I probably ought to buy an actual curriculum. We find quite a bit to occupy ourselves in the "how to draw" books, though. You'd be surprised at how detailed those can get.
Trains and the Wild West. We learned about how the train operates using steam and coal. We learned some cavalry hand signals. We made our own "brand" that would discourage cattle rustlers. We listened to songs from the time period. We also examined maps from the time period and talked about the Coffeyville robbery. We're technically done with the academic part of this series of lessons, but I think we'll revisit some of our curriculum and read books about Jesse James and the West.
We're finished with BJU Grade 3 Unit 13, dealing with the difference between adverbs and adjectives and reviewing comma placement. Unit 14 entails writing a biography. Emperor wanted to write one about God. I was able to talk him down from that, to Satan, to Michael, to about John the Baptist. (*whew*) You'd be surprised at the number of resource materials available from the library about him! Certainly much more about him than George Westinghouse. That's Elf's choice, because the air brake is an exciting invention!
Yes, I found almost nothing at the "juvenile" level about Westinghouse, but plenty of technical books he probably won't understand. Bummer. Maybe there will be pictures, so we'll check these out anyway. It may be that we have to learn to REVISE our topic ideas when things don't work out. That's something I didn't learn until I went to college.
We finished Bram Stoker's Dracula!! Finally! Now, we're reading Boomtown. Elf is actually having more trouble understanding what is going on in the text than he did with Dracula. There are many idiomatic expressions in Boomtown. Things you and I would just pick up, that he needs help on. Dracula had more advanced vocabulary but was very literal. Boomtown is a funny book. Elf and Emperor keep imagining that it isn't real. Then I would show them the pictures, and they'd think it's real. They're not sure if it's a true story or not. It's one of those stories that is impossible to believe, but because it has a PICTURE in it... welll... "Is this true, Mom?" Of course not. But I get asked that question occasionally anyway when someone wants to be sure.
Emperor just finished an ABeka book titled, Growing Up Where Jesus Lived. It actually isn't a religious book at all, but the fictional story of Jacob going to Jerusalem to Passover and detailed explanations of what Jewish life was like when Jesus was alive. I would highly recommend it even to those who aren't believers, who just want a background text about life in Israel. I learned a lot from it myself.
Elf is still working through one of the ABeka third grade texts as well. His book has short stories about historical characters and legends and fables. Sniffle warning, because some of the ABeka stories make me cry. So does The Velveteen Rabbit.
We just finished Unit 2 of our BJU Kit A. I can't believe the children did well on the test, but then again, the curriculum is geared toward younger children. I need to get more consistent with teaching Spanish, but I am one of those teachers who likes to do EVERY activity in every book... so much so that even though we homeschool all year, I fall behind! The children are learning and enjoying it, too.
We even went to lunch a bit ago and ordered real Mexican food! And Emperor tried something new! Elf... well, we love Elf. I think he had a burger or something. :]
I count most of our Bible hours toward reading, as we are working from the King James and reasoning in our workbooks about what we read. Sometimes we sing songs. We're doing BJU Grade 4, so the work is more challenging and we are going at a slower pace. So far, I have NOT liked BJU 4 as much as 3, because the Bible stories seem more "split," if that makes sense. I think we will take a whole book next unit and read it through rather than doing a chapter here and there and working on that. Sure, you get bored during the begets, but I think there is something to be said for taking a work as a whole and evaluating it that way. When that sort of thing is taken to extremes, you get "friends" who comfort you when a loved one dies with Bible verses that are aimed at Jewish people being dragged into captivity and have nothing at all to do with the fact that you've faced a loss.
No, BJU stuff doesn't go that far with the pat verse, but it is a curriculum that is meant to be done in one school year. We're not limited to that. We can take longer or skip lessons if we so choose. I'm choosing to stretch things out by reading a whole book every now and then. It took us *almost* forever to read through Acts as a group. I was continually explaining this or that, giving background and that sort of thing. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does slow down the reading.