Heart of Dakota - HOD RtR - Week 31 in Review

Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's the end of Week 31. It feels like just last week that I was freaking out about how I was going to manage school this year. I have to say that RtR may be one of my favorite HOD guides we have gone through so far, though they seem to get better every year. I've heard that more than once, so maybe next year will be even better! This week we focused in on a famous Dutch painter by the name of Rembrandt. We also read about the lives of Thomas Hooker, John Amos Comenius and Charles I.

This week we studied the art of Rembrandt. Our history project was to practice quick sketches. First Aedan drew a chair and our school mascot Mooch. He only had 30 seconds for each drawing. We added 30 seconds again to be able to add shading. Next he did a few portraits :) He was allowed to draw 1-2 minutes per session this time. Aedan absolutely loves to draw, but he prefers cartooning. It was absolutely hilarious to see his face when I asked him to sketch me. We both kept giggling, and there were many palms to forehead for Aedan. The next thing he did was take brown oil pastels and add more shading. Lastly, he used a brown colored pencil to sketch over his drawing. This was a fun little project.

Aedan researched Leiden which is where Rembrandt was born. He added his timeline entries: Rembrandt van Rijn - Dutch painter, Thomas Hooker settles in Connecticut and English Civil Wars.

Aedan's written narration was about Charles I and his divided Parliament. Aedan drew a picture of the conflicting parties; The Cavaliers and The Roundheads. Ha! I was talking to another HOD mom about how long it takes for these drawings. We start school at 8 and by 9:20 Aedan had only finished Bible Study and his history reading and written narration. She asked if I ever rush the drawings. I only ever did that once. It stressed him out, and I didn't get his best work. While his narrations are sometimes all over the place I can often see more of what he learned by his drawings than by his narrations anyway. Drawing is Aedan's "thing." I let him take his time because that is the luxury homeschool affords. He would never, ever get the chance to do this in school, and I'm so thankful to see his creativity grow each year. He schoolwork makes me laugh almost every single day :)

This is one of Aedan's history notebooking pages of the week.

We studied and labeled some of the works of Rembrandt.

This is the Rembrandt sketch we studied for our history project. I used resume paper which looks a little closer to the real deal than our printer paper. I cut each piece so it would fit nicely onto the box on the page.We stapled all of them together so you could flip through each one and glued them into his notebook.

Aedan completed his reading of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. He said there was less looooove in this one :) I am so glad we did the Shakespeare study. It is optional though I don't feel it should be. Today I was reading Silas's Life of Fred book and there was a reference to A Midsummer Night's Dream. I asked him to tell us what happened in that one. He totally floored me with a TON of detail. Ding ding ding! Points for the homeschool mom! Pat on the back. Yes! We actually learned something this year! Hallelujah and amen.

We are reading A Piece of the Mountain for storytime. Aedan is an extension book about Robert Boyle. I love how the extensions really add depth to the figures we study throughout the week. He started this one last week, but we won't read about Boyle until next week. Reading this biography really sets the stage for a greater understanding. Aedan isn't in the extension range, but almost. I like being on the older age range of the guides so we can take advantage of these great books. Aedan was also reading Wonder for his literature selection. He absolutely loved this book and said it was one of his favorite he has ever read. He was so sad it ended and made me promise I wouldn't sell it.

Aedan is reading Exploring Planet Earth for science. There will not be any more science notebooking pages. I may or may not have him complete the science activity for this week. It is the end of the year. Don't judge :P!

One change we have made is to switch math. I have never, ever been drawn to Math-U-See. It just looked fussy to me. While I love manipulatives I didn't want videos and just extra stuff. Welllll...how times a' change. One of the moms I really respect in the HOD group uses MUS for her son. I thought I'd give it one more look.

Aedan came home from PS in 4th grade. I've really struggled to figure out his learning style for math for a few years. It is also incredibly hard to place a child that has been taught by 4 separate teachers. There were so many gaps that we kept hitting walls. Finally I found CLE which worked well for about a year and a half. I thought spiral math would be a better fit for a kid that still needed a lot of review. 

Aedan was doing really well this year in CLE, but then we started hitting some walls again in decimals and fractions. The problem with CLE is that there's no way to back up or continue a topic if your child is still struggling. New topics are introduced daily. What I thought would be a benefit (daily review) actually started really confusing him. There are so many different kinds of problems on one page, and a LOT of them. He was rushing to get done not to get done well. I went ahead and had him take a placement test for MUS. MUS is mastery math. I had the thought that maybe his problem was he wasn't give enough time to work though each kind of problem. I knew I would eventually have to switch him out of CLE anyway. May people switch after 600 or 700, so I was looking at MUS for Pre-Algebra anyway. I found that he needed some serious work in fractions and decimals before being able to move into Pre-Algebra. Fortunately I caught this sooner rather than later. We plan to work one lesson per 2 days (not all the worksheets) until I see where we hit the gaps. 

I'm obviously now a MUS hoarder. I got all of these used and cheap fortunately. I like having the videos, so we can back up and do whatever topics he may struggle with on the Systematic Review pages. I also love that MUS has a worksheet generator on their website. If your child is struggling with a lesson you can make additional worksheets ad infinitum until your child actually gets it. I couldn't do the same with CLE. My plan is to work through Epsilon and Zeta over the summer and through next year. The reason I decided to go ahead and go with MUS is that I watched Aedan as he watched one of the videos. I first bought Pre-Algebra just to see what it was like. Aedan was drawing and kept looking up at the video (like he actually liked Steve Demme.) He actually looked almost at peace watching a math video. Sign me up for some of that! These videos have been super helpful. There is only one a lesson, and they only are about 5-10 minutes long.

And you know me...of course when I got the blocks I had to find a way to organize them. I found this great box on Amazon. I got this idea from one of my old favorite school blogs Satori Smiles.

I used my Better Divider labels to make labels for what numbers go where.

Her it is from the top. All the blocks fit in here.

Here she is from the side :) I <3 organization supplies. 4 weeks left!


  1. My daughter loves MUS. I'm thinking of switching her math though, yikes! Only because I have three Algebra programs already and I really don't want to spend money on another one.

    Love your pictures of your school weeks!

  2. Algebra has me shakin' in my boots! I'll be curious to see what you choose :)

  3. I love to see what you're up to since you're a little ahead of us in RTR. You're son's drawing are always fun to see!
    We have been using MUS and my kids both love to watch Mr. Demme. It gives them a break from teacher-mom.

  4. Crystal,

    Thanks for visiting! Glad to know your kids like MUS. I'm praying it can really help build some math confidence in Aedan. I think he could definitely use a break from me, and Mr. Demme knows a whole lot more than me about math! I'm learning too, so it's been great so far. I hope you have a great rest of your year. We're all ready for summer around here!


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