Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

2nd Grade Week in Review August 7, 2011

Jedi had another really busy week with homeschooling.  It was the 6th week completed for our school year (it looks like we’ll have 8 completed weeks before our local school districts start up for the year…not bad!)  But, it’s not all books and labs this summer…Jedi gets lots of free time for playing and having fun, too…see?

Jedi working with Magnetos on a day off.


Jedi building a robotic duck from a kit


Aaaand....the duck can walk!


Making patterns with the pattern board


Art: This week in art, Jedi learned about shapes, and then the 3-dimension manifestation of shapes–forms.  For shapes, he observed a scene outside, and then drew and cut out the shapes of the objects to make a collage.  For forms, he created a 3-d paper sculpture of a zoo animal of his choice (he picked giraffe)

Working on his shapes collage--he was supposed to go outside and observe something, and then create paper shapes to represent those objects. He chose the mailbox and posts outside.


His scene


Jedi making his giraffe


Math:  In math, we worked on place values up to 1000.  We also worked on trading 10 10’s for 100 and 10 100’s for 1000.  Jedi seems to be getting this fairly easily.  Finally, we worked on adding long series of single digit numbers on the abacus.


Using the math cards to add with the abacus, and learning to change 10 10's for 100, and 10 100's for 1000.

Life Science:  It was a busy science week for us.  We worked on the muscular, heart, & circulatory systems over the past few weeks.  We reviewed those systems again, and observed them with both the human torso model and with giblets from our dinner chicken.  Jedi also watched some Bill Nye videos on human organ systems that I found in the library.  We also began learning about the digestive system.


Working with the human torso model


After taking out all of the organs, this is what he found.






We were also fortunate to have found the giblet pack inside a chicken that we rotisseried this week, so Jedi was able to observe a real heart (with it's chambers), liver, and gizzard.


We were talking about how long a human digestive track is by using a 21' long piece of yarn. On the yarn, we taped cards where he wrote his 5 favorite foods. Card 1 is at where the mouth is (3"), card 2 is the esophagus, card 3 is the stomach, card 4 is the small intestine, and card 5 is the large intestine.


Then, we counted how many times longer a digestive track is than can fit 5 Jedi's on the 21' long track, plus have a few additional inches left to go.


Watching Bill Nye videos


History: In history, we completed our unit on Ancient Mesopotamia.  Jedi took his first ever history test, and scored 16 correct out of 17!  He really enjoyed learning about Sargon and how Sargon conquered and unified Mesopotamia.


Writing: Jedi really really dislikes handwriting and spelling.  Both of those subjects are extremely challenging for him, to the point of them being frustrating for him.  This week, I came up with an assignment that made him excited to write, at least for awhile.  Homeschool Creations (http://www.homeschoolcreations?.com/StarWarspreschoolpack.htm?l) had a Star Wars preschool pack available, and in that preschool pack were Star Wars puppets.  I had Jedi cut them out, laminate them, and glue them onto popsicle sticks.  Then I had him write a script for a puppet show, and my only instructions were that he had to use every character he had puppets for, and every character had to have a minimum of two lines in the script.  Since I knew spelling would be a problem, I told him that after he wrote the script by hand, he could type it into the computer and we could work on editing in the computer (he’s still working on it…typing’s also a little difficult for him, but I’m pretty sure he hasn’t really learned typing yet).  After we’re done editing his script, he’s going to perform it for the family.


Cutting out his Star Wars puppets from http://www.homeschoolcreations?.com/StarWarspreschoolpack.htm?l


Spelling:  In Spelling, Jedi continued to work on alphabetizing the letters of the alphabet…he’s getting much faster with it now!  We also worked on the short a, short i, and short 0 sounds for three letter cvc words.


Working on making CVC words


English: In English, we worked on comprehension questions with both fiction and non-fiction short essays.  We discovered he has a very easy time comprehending fiction, but a very very difficult time comprehending non-fiction.  But he’s also a fantastic reader when it comes to fiction!  But it does show that he knows how to comprehend what he’s reading…he just needs more exposure to non-fiction!  We also worked on the “WH” question words (where, what, why, when)


English workbook


Health: In health, we talked about family rules and why families have rules (safety, health, and comfort).  I had Jedi choose one family rule, and then make a poster explaining the rule.  He chose “we can’t watch too much tv”–his poster had to show why we have the rule (for his health), and what happens if you break the rule (an unhealthy body, being too tired, etc.)


Music: In music, Jedi continued to work on his piano playing.  I haven’t showed him how to read music per say, but in his Alfred’s book, they start very simply by just reading the finger numbers.  He learned to play a couple more short songs this week.


Misc: Since we went creeking and found crawfish recently, I decided to do some tie-ins this week.  I found Jedi three worksheets.  One practiced graphing, as it was a story about three people using crawfish as fishing bait.  Jedi was supposed to graph the number of crawfish each person used.  The second sheet was one where he was supposed to write three facts about crawfish. The third sheet was one where he worked on a crawfish food chain and food web.

Working on his crawfish graph


2nd Grade Week in Review July 3, 2011

This week was incredibly busy, in terms of both homeschooling and family life.  Not only did Jedi complete a full week’s worth of schooling, we also had Vacation Bible School, and the 2 field trips I just posted about.  We wanted to make sure we got everything done this past week as we are taking this coming week off of homeschooling.

Geography: In Geography, we ended our study on China and began our unit on Russia.  Because we are not doing homeschool next week, we did both week’s lessons in one week.  Jedi studied how to say hello in Russian, where Russia is on a map, the fact that Russia covers 11 time zones, and it takes a week to get from one side to the other.  We also discussed the various climates of Russia, and animals that reside there.  We did a brief overview of what Communism was and how Russia moved away from Communism in 1991.  Finally, we listened to various pieces by Tchaikovsky.

Our language card for Russia

The Russia culture shelf

Jedi wearing a scarf from Russia

Adding the Russian Flag to his (not real) passport

Earth Science: In Earth Science, we continued our discussion on temperature changes.  Jedi measured the temperature of various locations (in the shade, in the sun, between the palms of his hands, on the kitchen counter, in a bowl of room temperature water, and in a bowl of ice water).  He discussed how each temperature made his body feel.

Measuring the temperature in the sun

Measuring the temperature of water

Life Science: The first lesson we did in Life Science this week was on the skeletal system.  Jedi made a paper model of the human skeleton, and labelled the major bones.  The second Life Science lesson was on the muscular system and how a muscle shortens to make the skeleton move.  He created a model of a muscle out of paper, string, and a metal fastener.

Putting together his paper skeleton

Labeling the bones

Jedi and his muscle. And Monkey & her tongue.

Chemistry: In Chemistry, Jedi learned how physical tests on the properties of substances differs from chemical tests.  And while baby powder, baking powder, and powdered sugar all look different, by performing chemical tests using water, vinegar, oil, and food coloring, it is easy to tell the three substances apart.

Jedi making his hypotheses before the chemical tests on baking powder, baby powder, and powdered sugar.

History: In History, we continued our discussion on the fertile crescent and the first farmers.  We focused on the area around the Tigris and Euphrates River, and the city of Jericho.

English: In English, Jedi worked more on contractions, as well as adding suffixes to words.  He’s really starting to get this concept!  We also worked on more of the single letter sounds this week.  There are still about 4 that he’s not getting–primarily those with 3 or 4 different sounds.  But, he’s well on his way to moving to double letters.

Math: In Math, we continued to work with the abacus and abacus tiles to discuss tens, hundreds, and thousands place values.  We also used 5 of the broad stairs to discuss various configurations you can use to show biggest to smallest with rectangles.

Jedi stacking the rectangles from the broad stairs.

Health: In Health, we extended our unit on feelings to now include being able to read the feelings of other people and develop empathy.  This is an area Jedi has a lot of trouble in, so we spent a good bit of time using dramatic play to discover how people can tell others about their feelings without using verbal words.

Ohio History: This week, we discussed that goods in Ohio used to be moved from place to place using rivers and canals, prior to the invention of semi trucks.  We also talked about some of Ohio’s first products…including Wendy’s.  Of course, most of what we talked about, our kids couldn’t try due to allergies, but at least they had seen commercials so they knew what I was talking about. LOL!

Art: The first lesson in art this week involved Jedi using watercolor crayons to produce a piece of art using a photograph as inspiration.  Jedi used a photograph of a solar eclipse from a science text as his inspiration.  The second art lesson was using oil pastels to draw something that he’s witnessed in nature.

Drawing his solar eclipse.

Outside drawing the play area and surrounding trees.