No, not Disneyland.
Our second week back, and I think we are slowly finding our groove. Little by little, our days get longer preparing us for the upwards journey ahead. It also didn’t hurt that we started the year out with fairy-tales.
Last week, I mentioned our favorite, and least favorite books from 2015. This week, I thought I would mention my favorite, though kids might not agree, mathematics resources from 2015. We tried out a few different ones, before I found what really seemed to work for the girls.
Sky, is a visual, picture, learner. I’m a reader, which makes me a visual learner as well, but through different visual mediums. It can be a bit challenging to find resources that can cater to both our needs. (Not real sure how Little Sis learns best yet, you just need to show her once and she is off.) I love the Basher book series. The illustrations used are perfect for Miss Sky, and I love the explanations. They are a win, win.
Something else that I changed this year that has helped a lot, is having the girls warm-up at XtraMath.org (which is free). Even though both girls can add and subtract, they couldn’t add or subtract fast, very well. Sky always seemed to make a mistake here, a mistake there, and mistakes in mathematics will not give you the right answers. Since working at XtraMath, she goes days, days without making mistakes.
Add XtraMath with my favorite workbook series, Kumon, and what a huge difference they have made. I love the step building this series uses. It starts out with a review, then slowly builds up. Before you know it, you are at the end tackling problems that might have scared you before. Each step you learn, helps you with the next concept you will need to use to figure out the next set of problems. I also like, that the books are straight to the point. There are no wasted “filler” problems. If Sky were to get stuck on a concept, I could print off worksheets for her to practice before moving on. I don’t need wasted pages of repeating the same things over and over again. I know this sounds like a bloody advertisement (I think it even says so on the front cover of the workbooks), but Kumon really has helped Sky gain her confidence in math.
Okay, last but not least, what was my favorite game ? I want to start out by saying, all games are educational. Even Hungry, Hungry Hippo teaches hand-eye coordination. However, this is a game the girls would only pick to play during school. So ,not something they would play just for fun, and not their pick for favorite game.
I love using the game Zoom to practice mental-math. Sometimes, it’s a quick game that lasts 5 minutes. Sometimes, you think you have the game in the bag, then you draw a boom card and lose all your accumulated points. The game has never taken us longer than 20 minutes to play, and our brains are awake an ready to transition into school mode.
And since on the subject of school,
Our next fairy tale read aloud is, The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. We read the first 10 chapters.
We listened to the Snow Queen from Storynory.com. We love BBC’s 2005 movie version of this fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. In fact, the girls prefer it over the original story if that tells you anything.
I read the bio of Hans Christian Anderson from Lives of Writers, and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about him.
We also read the Magic Tree House, Eve of the Empire Penguin.
The girls copied the first two parts of the poem, The Haunted Palace By Edgar Allan Poe.
Sky wrote a book review on The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman.
Words from The Haunted Castle.
tenanted, monarch, dominion, seraph, pinion, dallied, ramparts, plumed, pallid
Warm up at XtraMath.
Little Sis, Kumon grade 4 multiplication workbook. She started 2 digit multiplication.
Sky, Kumon Pre-Algebra workbook 1. She started order of operations.
The game of the month has been Yahtzee. Little Sis has caught the fever, and we have been playing it since our winter break.
We watched Downton Abbey.
We learned about the happiest country on Earth, Denmark. I printed a map of the country, and we watched Rick Steves Europe, Copenhagen and Beyond Copenhagen (YouTube).
We watched Food Safari episode, Danish Essentials (YouTube), and learned the history of Lego.
We watched a few videos on Danish folk dancing.
We listened to Danish music.
For starters we watched the movie Our Friend, Martin (YouTube).
We watched PBS’s new series Mercy Street, which started lots of discussion throughout the week.
Our living history museum preformed a dramatization, based on real letters, of two brothers separated by their beliefs during the civil war at our local library. One brother fought for the Union, and the other for the Confederacy. The performers stayed to answer questions. This led to even more discussions. We also watched PBS’s American Experience, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Continuing with our pencil drawing lessons, we learned how to draw Elsa from Frozen (The same YouTuber from last week’s Snow White. We will be sticking with her lessons.).
We watched the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.
We thought it was pretty good. It held both girls attentions. There was plenty of fighting for one, not quite enough romance for the other.
Walk Away the Pounds.
Peace for the journey.