Week in Review: February 3-7


We’re taking a break from our regular studies for a few weeks to enjoy the Olympics! I rarely take breaks like this, but it’s really fun to do so every once in a while.  We’re using the Winter Games 2014 study from Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett. I used the Olympic 2012 study for the summer games a couple of years ago and the girls had so much fun with that! I picked this one up a few weeks ago when it was on sale and I’m so glad I did. We have had so much fun this week!

Unit Study: Winter Olympic Games 2014

Each day we learn a little bit about Russia. This is especially fun for us because we are praying for a specific missionary family in Russia right now and our church encourages the family by sending gifts for their children’s birthdays. We’e already talked a lot about the country so the opportunity to dig even deeper into the culture and history has been great.

One of the things I really love about Amanda Bennet’s Unit Studies is they are very interactive and include many videos. We’ve seen some beautiful scenes of Russia. We started out with the iPad but mid-week switched to hooking the laptop to the television to get a better view.

 
Included in the study each day are vocabulary words for the students to define. This study covers all grades in elementary so they could easily learn alongside one another! Beth and Grace printed while Rose wrote in cursive. Grace is just barely printing, but she really enjoyed writing like her big sisters. 
There are some really amazing videos online which are linked right into the pdf of this study. Each day we are learning about a different Olympic sport. One of my favorite features in the “Science of ______” series. Learning the physics behind why a hockey puck spins as it does and how bobsleds are made is fascinating. We’ve also been learning about some of the American athletes along the way. 
When we first told the girls we were going to learn about bobsledding on one of the days Grace asked, “What is THAT?” Beth sweetly explained it is when you decide to go sledding and make sure you have someone named Bob to sled with you! Silly girls…
After watching how the bobsledders jumped into their sled Grace told me she knew exactly how they did it and started practicing. She for some reason thinks they dive in head-first it seems! They’ve really enjoyed watching the replays the following morning of their favorite sports since they are on way to late to stay up for each night. 
Everyone has been anxiously anticipating the Winter Olympics since our rare snowfall a couple of weeks ago! They are extremely interested in bobsledding and snowboarding now! 
Math: Math Mammoth
So we made a major shift in math this past week. We are officially a Math Mammoth family now! It was motivated by two factors. The first was that I reviewed some of the units from Math Mammoth for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew last year and thought very highly of this company. The second was an amazingly good deal I found online. I always run math curriculum choices by my husband because he has a better feel for math and I trust his judgement on whether a program is a good choice or not. So after his okay, we made the plunge and now have math covered for the rest of elementary. 
Beth was the first to start since she finished up her old 1st grade math book last week. I began by giving her the 1st grade unit test to see if there were any areas we needed to cover more fully before moving onto first grade. As I suspected there were a handful of areas I will be focusing on before moving ahead. Anytime you are switching math curriculum it is wise to see if there is anything which you’ll need to cover in more detail before charging ahead. The last thing you want is to have a frustrated child simply because the old curriculum taught concepts in a different order! 
Rose will begin division this week and she cannot wait to get started. One thing I love about Math Mammoth is not only is there a full curriculum from 1st-9th grade, but also individual units for every concept so you can teach in a different order. There are also review books, practical life applications, and state-themed math units! 
Language Arts
When we do unit studies we always stay on track with our language arts. So in addition to the fun unit about the Olympics and math  they continued with reading, spelling, and grammar. This is also a great way to catch up if we’re a bit behind where I want or expected to be. 
Grace continued on with her reading lessons and is full-speed ahead. Some days we do more than one lesson because she asks to do more. I’m so thrilled to be close to having all three of my ladies reading. 
Beth and Rose continued on with their regular literature. Rose has read more of the Catwings series. She finished the last book in one sitting because she loved it so much. Beth is almost done with the Courage of Sarah Noble, the last of the Emerging Readers books. This one has been more challenging for her and I love how well she is doing. 
Every once in a while big sisters help out with Grace’s reading lessons. This doesn’t always go well, but is usually fun for both girls. Rose and Beth have each taken turns. My only rule is I teach new sounds. My southern girls sometimes are not as particular with vowel pronunciation! I have an accent as well, but I’ve learned to teach reading without it. It has been challenging, but I am very particular about pronunciations now! 
We had an awesome week. I absolutely adore Heart of Dakota, but a break from the ordinary is always nice.

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