Thursday, February 26, 2009

Weekly wrap up -- February 27

So good to find ourselves right side up again this week. Mostly healthy, mostly normal schedules once again.

In addition to our regular activities at co-op and homeschool gym and swim class, we also enjoyed an evening at the wood shop to start work on the kids' pinewood derby cars. In the running this year we have a hot dog, a flag in the making, and a more traditional car. The kids have carried them around all week sanding them. They are incredibly soft! I almost hate to have them paint them.

If you have access to wood working equipment, this is a fun project and here are some helpful sites:

- Some ideas and place to purchase supplies
- The cheapest we found, if you can order it (it's through AWANA), includes kits for 8 cars.
- Various design patterns can be viewed and/or printed here, here, and here, and even more links here.
- And, we got the book Pinewood Derby Speed Secrets from the library that offered some great tips to increase the speed of your car. One simple one that my son hopes to employ is cutting away the front of your car on the bottomside. This way when the release is pulled, your car will advance earlier. Of course, in watching the way many races go, it isn't necessarily the start that clinches the race, but sometimes every second counts.

Here's an earlier project in which my daughter made a crown shaped clock. A simple flat piece of wood cut to shape, painted yellow and affixed with stick on numbers and a clock kit (similar to ones found here):

We also enjoyed a Soul Food Feast at the school we live at. Smoked cabbage, macaroni, chicken, and sweet potatoes made for a great meal. The choir sang a few appropriate selections such as We Shall Overcome and I Got Wings. We enjoyed visiting with students, parents, and staff that we don't see often enough any more. A great wrap up to Black History Month.

Friday the local schools were off and we had such a successful schooling week once again, that we headed out for a little fun in the morning (Chuck E Cheese style).

We had some cleaning up to do in the afternoon from the school week, but we enjoyed some fun, relaxing, down-time after completing our to-do list for the week. I'm just debating now if I should raise their work load. They are all completing more than a week's worth (often 5 or 6 lessons in each subject) of work in about 4 days each week and we are consistently getting more done than I even had planned for each week. A great problem to have, the first time I have had it, and I'm still debating what to do about it. Any thoughts?

Reading highlights:
- We wrapped up On the Shores of Silver Lake and jumped into Little Town on the Prairie. I hate to think that eventually we will reach the end of this series, but I know there will be more books that will grab our attention and imagination.

- Blake is nearing the end of The Story of the Greeks, which has been an interesting read. The life of Alexander the Great is an intriguing one. Such a powerful leader, an incredible mind, yet so consumed with this world. I think I would like to find a biography on him for my personal reading. Probably not clean enough for kids to read independently.

Struggles: Actually, this was a pretty low stress week. I can't think of anything out of the ordinary to log this week. Typical ups and downs, but nothing lingering or unusual. (I'll take a week like that now and then!)

Sweet memories:
- Wish I had a picture, but Faith was helping me bake one day and she made a person out of the dough while waiting for instructions. Our little "playdough" man stuck to the side of the bowl until we needed him.

- After breakfast one day, Nathan says, "I'm full." I look at him, doubtingly, and ask if he is sure. "Well, what's full?" he asks. I explain that it is when his tummy is full and won't need food for at least a little while. He clarifies, "Oh, then I'm not full, just done."

Enjoy more weekly wrap ups here.


Nekey said...

What a lovely week! I love the derby cars and the crown. I think my oldest would enjoy that.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great week. I love your son's little quote at the very end. How cute. :D

Erica said...

Glad is was a low-stress week, I think those are the best! Even though it looks like you were plenty busy :)

Kris said...

Sounds like a fun week. Since you asked, I'll give you my thoughts on the kids' work. If you feel that they are completing an age-appropriate amount of work at a level that fits your family's definition of where you'd like them to be, acadically, I wouldn't "punish" them for being diligent and getting done early.

I say that because my kids would consider the extra work a negative, most likely. I try to plan what is, for us, a reasonable day's worth of work each day. If the kids are diligent and get it done early, their bonus is extra free time. On the flip side, if they dawdle and don't complete their work on time, their punishment is less free time.

It is not unheard of for Brianna to do all of Friday's work on Thursday evening so that she doesn't have much to do on Friday. That's completely fine with me.


5intow said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate that. You're right, I don't want to punish diligence. I guess I'm still just seeking that balance. They are all pretty much ahead of where they "should" be, and test even further than that.

I think a lot about my 7 year old who right now has been getting her five days of math done by Tuesday afternoon. We'll be jumping into the next grade pretty soon since she is almost done with this one, so that might increase the challenge, too. I've kind of been debating adding extra "fun" subjects in more often since we seem to have more time. But, I don't know that I have time to plan more than we already do.

I really like having this problem, just still seeking just the right answer, and I have a feeling it won't be the same answer for all of my kids.

Thanks again for your words, I think I will probably hold off on anything for the older two at this point, but the case is a little more extreme for Faith. I can't justify saying she is doing school five days when she gets it all done in three (even though she is doing more than five days worth of work). She would be so bored in a regular school setting!

Thank you, thank you!