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.

 

****WARNING….THE NEXT PICTURE HAS ORGANS OF A CHICKEN IN IT….SKIP IT IF YOU FIND THOSE TYPES OF THINGS GROSS OR DISTURBING***

 

 

 

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 Jedi...you 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

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Jedi's first week of homeschooling June 18, 2011

I decided that while Jedi’s homeschooling isn’t so interesting to look at visually, I was still going to keep a blog record of what we did.  This might become helpful at the end of the year when I have to pull together a portfolio for his yearly evaluation for the school district (and it also might be helpful when I have to work with the district to create his IEP for the year).  I will throw in a few pictures for good measure though. 😉

Life Science

We learned about the difference between living & nonliving, as well as the characteristics all living things share.  Jedi also did a plot study, where he went out to study a 4’x4′ square of land.  Jedi decided to study an area of land with a recently planted evergreen tree in it, just thinking it was a tree and a small bit of grass.  However, following a little trail of fluff in the tree, he discovered a hidden empty bird’s nest!  The coolest part about the bird’s nest?  The bird who made it recycled some bubble wrap, string, landscaping fabric, and other odd pieces of trash it somehow got ahold of.  Very very creative!

Observing a tree inside of the plot

The nest he found hidden in the tree.

The odd materials on the underside of the nest.

Chemistry

In Chemistry, Jedi learned that everything is made of chemicals.  He then looked at the ingredient list on a bag of marshmellows and a bottle of dish detergent and listed the chemicals in each that he had heard of before, and those he had not.  Finally, he named chemicals that were usually safe, some that are dangerous, and some that we use on a daily basis.

Math

Math was one of the two subjects Jedi really seemed to struggle with after leaving his Montessori school.  At the end of kindergarten, he was one of the top of his class in math.  However, at the end of 1st grade, his standardized testing done as part of his autism treatments showed that he never progressed at all in math, nor spelling…he was testing at almost the same  level a year later.  So, we are really trying to figure out what might help him here.  We started Rightstart Math, which uses the Asian way of counting (10, 10-1, 10-2, etc. (10, 11, 12), 2-10, 2-10-1, 2-10-2 (20, 21, 22).  He seemed to catch on to that way of counting.  We also discussed parallel lines, recognizing how many are in small groups of objects (1-10) without having to count, and using an abacus.

Geography

In Geography, we started a 2 week study of China.  Jedi, along with the girls, learned how to say hello & goodbye in Chinese, listened to children’s music in Mandarin, and colored the Chinese flag.  Jedi created math problems using Chinese symbols.  Finally, he created a replica of the Great Wall using mini foam building blocks.

Starting his project.

He worked for 3 straight hours, refusing to take a break! The finished Great Wall

Another view of his project

Coloring the flags

Studying what life in China is like for children.

World History

This week was just an intro week, where Jedi learned about the study of ancient history, and in particular the study of archaeology.  He learned how historians can figure out about ancient civilizations even though ways of recording history were not readily available.

Working on his History Pocket for this week

Ohio History

This week, he learned about the Ohio flag, and how it is differs from other state flags in the fact that it’s not a rectangle or square!

Writing

This week, Jedi journaled about what he’d do if he woke up and found out that he was president of the United States.  Because spelling is very difficult, we also worked a bit on editing his work.

Working hard on his journaling.

 

English

We decided to use McRuffy Press for Phonics, Reading, Language, and Spelling.  Jedi learned about prefixes, suffixes, and contractions.  He really seemed to like contractions, as well as finding the root word of words that had prefixes & suffixes.  He did seem to have a very hard time with the spelling aspect though, and we’re currently trying to do a bit more research into the most appropriate way to help him with spelling.  He was taught to spell phonetically, which would be great, except he had auditory processing & speech issues.  So, his spelling is exactly how he hears it, which sometimes is quite a ways away from the actual spelling.  While Jedi’s reading level is over the 3rd grade level, his spelling is at the early 1st grade level, which is quite frustrating for him.  Hopefully we figure something out in the next couple weeks that can help him.

Art

This, by far, was one of Jedi’s favorite subjects.  The first day, he had to sketch something that happened the day before using a graphite pencil & sketch pad.  The second art day, he created a work using watercolor crayons.  He was supposed to remember an event that he felt joyful at, and then use his imagination to find a way to color that scene so that it portrayed his excitement without words.

Using the watercolor crayons.

Music

Day 1 of music each week involves listening to and learning about a famous composer.  This week, it was Bach.  Jedi learned about Bach’s life, and listened to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Day 2 of music each week involves learning some beginner piano.  This week, he learned the proper hand positioning, where middle C was on the piano, and learned a simple exercise using all of the black keys of the piano.

Working on his playing exercise.

Health

Jedi’s health curriculum is twofold.  First, we use a social stories book for children with autism on personal hygiene.  Second, we use Horizon’s health curriculum.  This week, we learned about how each person is unique, and begun work on feelings.  Because feelings, and especially recognizing the feelings of oneself and others, can be difficult for a child with autism, we are taking an extra lesson to work on this.

 

Not bad for the first week!  It was a lot of work, but Jedi was so willing to do it (honeymoon period!).  He was anxious to get to work each day, and for the most part, it was difficult to get him to quit.  We certainly are going to take advantage of this honeymoon period willingness! 😉