Week in Review - HOD CtC - Unit 14

Friday, December 9, 2016

Have you ever just stumbled upon something you knew would truly make the kind of change you needed that very moment? I'm really happy with many of the choices we made for this year, but language arts was starting to feel a little soggy. When things are going well there is excitement, joy, and far less push-back. A few years ago I discovered Brave Writer. I remember reading through The Writer's Jungle and fell completely head over heels with the philosophy. The problem was I wasn't really brave enough just yet to trust the process.

I pulled out my Brave Writer resources and decided we need a change for how we were approaching writing. We set aside the more formal writing and are now enjoying freewriting and other really fun writing projects. My kids actually have loved this approach. I'm finding my kids writing in their free time. They love sharing their stories with each other and with us. It has brought me such joy to see them so excited about a subject that seemed like drudgery so often. Truly. I'm so grateful.

I have also been regularly watching Julie from Brave Writer's A Gracious Space daily readings on Facebook. I plan to write a whole big gushing post about how all of this has revolutionized so much of how I was thinking abut school, being a teacher and being a mom for that matter. I've learned so much. I'm still processing it all, but I really want to share it with out when I can more adequately communicate how I've been feeling.


Silas finished the book Wonder and did a Brave Writer Faltering Ownership project. This time he did a book cover book report. First he designed the cover.

He wrote a synopsis of the book on the inside cover.

He also wrote about the author.

On the back he wrote reviews. One is from his character The Red Traveler (who never adds the final letters to his words), one was copywork, one was from one of his free writing characters, and the final one was from our cat. Meow.

The next book he chose to read was The Phantom Tollbooth. This is a really great book! It was one of Aedan's favorite books a few years ago. In this book cliches come to life as literal. It's all a big play on words. Silas is really enjoying it.

I have discovered how much I love BW Arrow and Boomerang Issues. When I used them the first time around I wasn't sure it was enough. I had come from a workbook type literature program, and didn't realize how much depth is hiding in these issues. I'll share more in depth about these later.

One of the suggestions was to bring to life and illustrate some of the characters. The Duke makes mountains out of molehils. The Earl leaves no stone un-turned. The Under Secretary is hanging by a thread and so on.

Things are still going well with HOD Creation to Christ. Freeing up our LA has given us more time to linger and slow down here.

This week Silas learned about Israel's fall to Assyria. His history project was to make an Assyrian mosaic. First he drew a picture of an Assyrian chariot and horse.

He had to divide up the back into 1/2 squares. I helped him with this, but he patiently glued all the pieces himself.

This was the model for his picture.

All of his drawings this year are a variation of The Red Traveler that he created. I need to show you some of their hilarious comics with him in it.

We are almost through God King. I love how our storytime books always end right where we are in history. This week the story took us to the throne room of Hezekiah with the Assyrians camped outside the walls. He is reading Within the Palace Gates for the extensions.

Shalmaneser, King of Assyria - 858 B.C.

Death of Elisha - 839 B.C.

Judah Defeated by Israel - 826 B.C.

We are reading A Child's Geography - The Holy Land for geography. We finished the chapters on Israel. So, not the best picture, but we enjoyed bagels and lox for dinner one night. My husband is a great sport and thought this was really actually very delicious. I couldn't find the thinly sliced lox, but this was still tasty. Aedan said it was way better than he expected. Silas said it made his stomach feel weird. Can't win em' all!

This week our poem was "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. This was one of those moments I was thinking "WOW" this painting is going to be amazing! The colors were lovely, and it was going so well. He said we shouldn't paint the trees. I didn't listen.

Aaaannd then this happened. We laughed so hard about this painting! Don't think I'm mean. He was the one who laughed first I promise :) I almost wanted to do it again, but just chalked this up to a #nailedit moment.

Silas is doing well with his poetry reading each week. He has figured out how to read each poem without much coaching. This has been a great practice.

In science we learned about air pressure.

We added a zip bag and pushed it inside of the jar. We secured it with rubber bands. Silas tried to remove the bag, and as you can see it wasn't easy!

Next we poked a whole in the bottom. Easy peasy. 

We started a new science book this week. This is Silas's science notebook for the week.

Sooooo......I never, ever, ever, ever thought I'd even consider stepping away from Rod & Staff Grammar. I actually really love it. It makes my nerd heart just so happy, but my kids weren't loving it. I wasn't loving the groans, and after a while I started seeing less progress. Silas is not one to complain about much, so I decided to just risk a change. I have both boys using IEW Fix It. So far we are loving the change. I will reserve judgement until after we have used this for a while.

Silas had his last robotics meeting where they celebrated a job well done. He made these sweet cards for each of his coaches. They asked us if we would be interested in meeting once a month (instead of the 8-10 meetings per month we were doing.) Silas decided he would love that, and this mom loves the once a month commitment. It will keep his skills sharp and keep him in touch with his friends he made this year.

This week Silas grabbed the opportunity to do a few of his brother's assignments. Aedan had to plan an ice cream social for history this week. Silas asked if he could do it too. I told them if they made a menu that I would buy the toppings.

These are the toppings he chose. The others were ones I told him we would already had.

And here is the grossest ice cream creation you can possibly imagine, but not according to Silas :)

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