Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Homeschooling Week 4

Week 4 is in the bag. Like literally, it is in Phi's school bag to be turned in today. This week had it's ups and downs. Math was much more manageable this week. Same amount of pages, but we only had to do the even numbered problems. So half the work. It was review so I was okay with it. Like last week Phi got through the reading in a day. 

This past week I also incorporated spelling into our schedule. Phi's teacher does not do weekly spelling tests, instead she gives us a spelling rule they are working on and a list of words that follow that rule. So we did a few practice tests and I made a few worksheets with the words. 

Our science assignment was to observe birds, identify one and list 3 traits for that bird.  We decided to use this assignment as our "field trip" Saturday. Our Aunt Tawny recommended we head over to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Great tip! (Thanks Aunt Tawny!!) Only about 30 minutes from our house this hidden little place in the middle of the desert was amazing. There are different trails you can take from a 5 hour big hike through dirt, or a 15 minute hike through the marsh on a deck trail. We opted for the 15 minute trail. Of course the weather was super hot (like 99!). We took a bunch of water bottles and our portable mister. The night before Joey had bought Phi a cheap pair of binoculars. For Louie we made her a pair out of toilet paper rolls. You know to avoid fighting. 

On our trail we saw 2 deer, examined owl pellets and of course watched some birds. 

As we got towards the end of the trail a bird landed on a branch RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. This guy even followed us to the next spot. After our walk it was time to get to the work part. Phi drew a sketch of her bird and we used the bird list from the Preserve and a National Geographic Bird Reference book and the internet to identify this bird as a Western Scrub Jay. 

The big crafty project of the week had to do with settings in a story. The assignment was to make a shoebox diorama of a scene from Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Over dinner out we discussed the scene Phi wanted to do. We went with the scene where the ticket holders are waiting outside the gate for Willy Wonka. We read that chapter and jotted down important details. Then we made up a sketch of what we wanted. A supply list was made (we had everything at home!) and Joey and Phi got to work. It took them about 3 days and the end results are amazing. 

The ticket winners are waiting outside the gate. The book gave us a lot of details that we made sure Phi paid attention to. Things like the weather outside (It was snowing), the clothes people wore or how they were described physically. And yes the gates open to show Willy Wonka and the Factory!

They really did a great job with the detail with each character. Even though it was just the back of each person. The book tells us that Charlie and his Grandpa are holding hands. (tear!) and talked about the toy gun and the lone ranger on Mike Teevee's jacket. For the characters Phi and Joey talked about each and decided on how to dress them. Joey outlined the clothes and Phi cut, colored and pasted them together. They used popsicle sticks and inserted them into a styrofoam base to make them stand. 

The outside of the box had to be done with specific assignments. We did a time line of events on the top, on the sides we listed words to describe the factory and Charlie's house. The back was 3 drawings of 3 different rooms of the factory. Along with talking about setting, we also were able to incorporate her lesson on drawing perspective with the red carpet behind Willy Wonka. We also were able to teach Phi how to draw a brick wall and also how to draw cubes. 

We are finding that Joey and I have really different approaches when it comes to "teaching". We have talked about it and will continue to talk about it and ways we can find a middle ground. He is more of a perfectionist and I am a bit more half-assey. I need to learn to give more instruction and he needs to learn to step back at times.  But we are discussing and working to find the right balance. 

So that was week 4. Today starts Week 5.



  1. Only Joey would make them hold hands. He has an eye (and a beard) for detail.

  2. Sounds like Phi is getting way more from projects like these then I EVER did in school! (idea: have Phi write a short blog post about what she learned doing this WW project/what she thinks of homeschooling in general so far)


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