Thursday, November 17, 2011

School Update!

Since this is supposedly a blog about things educational (although I'll admit, more often than not, any education that happens around here is mine rather than the kids'), I thought it was time to take a break and talk about some of the school-y stuff that actually does happen.  Warning:  Likely bragging ahead.

M1 has made great strides in writing this year.  He has a fairly good handle on writing paragraphs and I assigned him his first "research project" this week.  His goal was to name and describe the four types of essays.  I don't have a copy of the final draft yet, but what I've seen so far is wonderful.  We read about primary vs. secondary sources, fact vs. opinion, and how to find reliable sources on the Internet before we started.  Then he researched the topic, made notes, created an outline and a rough draft, and is in the midst of typing up his final version.  The final 'essay' won't even be half a page long, typed, but really, he's 9... who cares? I'm simply impressed that he knows the process.  I told him I didn't expect a rough draft, but he wanted to make one, anyway.  Who am I to argue?

He has finished up Math-U-See Gamma and is a quarter of the way through Delta already.  So far, he likes division.  He also enjoys the cursive writing we've been practicing, and he likes the Spanish and art projects that we've been doing.  At first he thought the Spanish songs were stupid, but he sees their usefulness now and doesn't mind humming along now and then.  In art, he's finally coming around and putting some effort into the projects.  He really liked making a bas-relief the other day, and I keep finding the finished product sitting on a chair rail somewhere in my house.  He likes to display his work.

In science, he's taken over all the experiments and does them independently.  Recently, though, one of the suggested assignments was to study the scientist Marie Curie and write a report.  I decided a report was boring, so I bought some poster board and told him to create a visual report instead.  Of course he wanted parameters, so I told him it had to include 10 facts as well as photos.  A week later, he obliged me with this:

I know the photo is kind of small here, but I think it gets bigger if you click on it.  I helped him find and print the photos as well as play with the documents to get the fonts the right size and shape, but he did all the manual labor and typing.

In history, we're still using Story of the World.  This week, we studied Peter the Great.  Since it had been a long time since I'd made a meal based on history, I thought it was time for a Russian dinner.

This recipe was entitled Tefteli Meatballs, and it was SO good.  Everyone requested that I put the recipe into our family recipe book.  The basic recipe is ground beef, pork sausage, and half-cooked rice made into meatballs and stewed in a tomato sauce.  Delicious.

To go with our meatballs, we ate some dark rye bread and this:

I know it looks fairly unappetizing, but it's called Khalva, and it's walnuts covered in a custardy syrup and then baked.  To be perfectly honest, it wasn't everyone's favorite.  M2 and I liked it, but M2 will eat anything that resembles carbs and I realized later that it reminded me of the batter for hot buttered rum... and I do love me some hot buttered rum!

Tomorrow we're taking it easy because it's the Friday before Thanksgiving break, and we are taking the entire week off for the holiday.  I've got some lovely fall pictures to share, so hopefully I'll find the time to put them up tomorrow.  Stay warm, everyone!


Beth said...

Sometimes, I get so jealous that you do such involved projects with M1! You do the best projects ever and he's learning SO much!! I then remind myself that his projects SHOULD be more involved since he's 2 years older than my oldest.. But then put all your great ideas into my stack of plans of that to do later, what a great mom you are :)

farmwifetwo said...

His homework is amazing for his grade. Seriously, the stuff they do in school.... blech!!! If it wasn't going to be the unending war of the parent and child I'd bring my eldest home. Truth is, he learns much better from others. We've battled those things that needed to be... reading/math basics... and the rest has been taught by others.

The "western" school system is sooo dumbed down.