Monday, March 26, 2012

Celebrating 7, and Rome wasn't built in a day...

Over the weekend W turned 7 years old. His party will be next week, but he had a fun time on his birthday going out for lunch, getting fish to finally add to the tank (black neon tetra and two snails), going to a dinner at church, and then having dessert at home. In addition to the fish, he got a lego game: Minotaurus, Peanuts figurines to act out his favorite comic stories, and an Absolutely Lucy book (thank you Aunt Cassy!) I have been taking pictures but unfortunately the puppies have chewed the camera USB cord and it is no longer working to transfer them, so we will have to deal with phone photos until the new cord arrives.

W has been learning about ancient Rome through The Story of the World. He and I put together the Haba version of the Coliseum, and read about gladiators. He then acted it out with lego minifigures.

our Coliseum

In SotW, a fictional character called Servius is taken from his rural village, and forced to become a gladiator or face execution. He does not want to fight, but faced with death, he continues with the training, and eventually is put in the arena. When he overpowered another fighter who was on the ground at his mercy, the audience "booed" because he did not kill him. Servius would rather die than kill another man. Although Romans are notorious for being bloodthirsty, there were some exceptions, and I appreciated that the author chose this chapter to add some compassion to an otherwise brutal scene. W is not into blood and guts either, so it helped him relate to this ancient society and feel empathy for Servius and the other people forced into being Gladiators.

W read the book Fun with Roman Numerals by David A. Adler (pictured above). It is a colorful introduction to the concept of Roman Numerals. We are also reading City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction. This is best as a parent-read-aloud selection. The illustrations are marvelous, and the text introduces technical terms and concepts while inspiring play building with blocks.

For a Math update, W has been upping his work a couple pages more per day in Math-U-See Alpha, so I think that is more challenging for him while still being reasonable. I think at this rate we will be able to start the next book, Beta, during the summer. He requested to keep going with Math over the summer (at least for most "at home" days) after some frustration picking it back up in August last year.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March Math

Ch 12 E (p. 145 of Alpha)

W is finishing up Chapter 12 of Math-U-See, so I thought I would share a couple examples of his work here. Math-U-See has a test and Xtra fun book to go along with the textbooks, and W loves the Xtra fun pages. This one involved a crossword puzzle, and got him excited about writing letters when usually he prefers to use the digits. As you can see, he still writes backwards sometimes but as long as I understand that he knows the number and concept, that is what matters at this age.

                                          MUS Alpha Ch 12 Extra (from test booklet)

Other math supplements include math themed games, verbal math problems, real world examples, other worksheets like connect-the-dots by numbers, and online math games. I try to fit in "something" math each day, and a little bit frequently seems to be working well with W.

C likes numbers and counting, but at 3 years old he often "forgets" numbers as he is counting, or they wind up in the wrong order. I figure he's got a couple more years until he's ready for the Math-U-See Primer. ;)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Astronomy Skywatch

We had homeschool friends over on Saturday for a skywatch. It had rained all day long, but kept saying it would clear out and lo and behold it did! We were able to view Mars, Venus, Jupiter, several constellations, and star clusters. The moon was waxing gibbous, so there was a lot of moonlight. There was also a lot of snow and slush, but the warmer temperatures helped delay it from icing up. The kids had a lot of fun. W said his favorite star was Polaris. W has been reading Stars by H.A. Rey with me and it is a nice way of understanding more about constellations.

Our next event with our Astronomy Club will be later in April, during the Lyrids meteor shower on the 21st-- hoping for clear skies! There will be a new moon so it will be easier to view more stars if the weather cooperates.