Weekly Wrap-Up 12/12/14

Yes, it’s been a while. I took a couple of months off of social media—which included blogging, also. But I’m back and refreshed, and I highly recommend taking periodic media fasts. Facebook, especially, really takes a toll on me. There’s so much negativity and things that annoy me or challenge my commitment to being positive. I’ve done my best to keep my newsfeed positive (I also highly recommend the social fixer app! You can input particular keywords, and have posts that contain those words blocked. It makes football & other sports seasons bearable for me, because once I block out all team names, mascots, and sports terms, I don’t see any of those types of posts anymore. This is just one example. You can block anything you want. Lots of people use it to block political posts, for example. It’s fantastic! It does other helpful things, too).  But despite all the improvements I’ve made to the Facebook experience, periodically taking a nice, long fast is good for my soul.

We took most of the month of October off from school, as usual. We’ve been back to work these past few weeks, and have been progressing through our curriculum at a good pace. We finished our Botany study! We just started our new Apologia science course: Human Anatomy & Physiology. It’s been fun & interesting so far, for all three of us. We’ve already covered a brief history of anatomy, and this week they learned the anatomy of a cell: the names of all the organelles and their functions. It required Gray to draw & label each part as we covered it, which perked him up immediately, because he loves any opportunity to draw. He said didn’t want the lesson to end. He wishes all subjects could be taught using drawing and notebooking. 😉 (So do I!)

In preparation for learning all the different organs & systems of the body, the boys each made their own “personal person”. They’ll be drawing each organ on there directly, as they learn about it.

Their "personal person" cut-outs.

Their “personal person” cut-outs.

 

Des has been joining us for history lessons, for the first time ever. Amazingly, he’s paying good attention, and though some things go over his head, he’s understanding a surprising amount. We’ve reached the 16th century and the Reformation, and we’ve been spending a lot of time studying the various reformers and those who opposed them. Before Mystery of History, I never realized just how corrupt the Roman church had become throughout the Dark Ages (which has spawned some personal research on the side, for me) and I never realized what a hero Martin Luther was or why he was moved to do what he did. Through his willingness to stand up to corruption in the church (which basically ran the governments at the time), he changed everything for Christendom. We’ve studied a few more of Luther’s contemporaries who joined the Reformation (Menno Simons, the Anabaptists/Swiss Brethren, Sir Thomas More), and while Gray & I find it all very fascinating, even Des has been getting into it, as much as he can understand it. I’m glad I decided to include him!

We’ve also studied other 16th-century people & events, like Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire, Akbar the Great and the Mughal Dynasty, the building of the Taj Mahal, and Henry VIII of England (and his many wives and their fates). It’s been fun. We look forward to history more than any other subject. The notebooking activities given after each lesson in MOH are almost always something Gray enjoys doing.

They built a model of the Taj Mahal. Everything about the Taj Mahal is symmetrical.

They built a model of the Taj Mahal. Everything about the Taj Mahal is symmetrical.

 

Gray is in the throes of percents, decimals, ratios, and proportions in math, which he’s grasping so well—thankfully for me. Once again, I’m enjoying the lessons and gaining an understanding of how these things truly work, after having struggled with math all my life. I’m a classic case of a “good” student who slipped through the cracks in school, especially in math. I managed to struggle through and keep a B average, but I didn’t truly understand what I was doing. Re-learning some of these more complicated things along with Gray has given me true understanding. I’m looking forward to starting higher math with him, because we’ll both be learning it.

Des is doing great in 1st grade math. Grammar (for Gray) and Phonics (for Des) are going smoothly, also. Not a lot worth sharing there, or this post will get even more boring than it already is. Really, everything is going well. They’re both good students and have been working hard this year. Gray’s study habits have improved immensely, and I’m so thankful. I no longer have to stay on him constantly in order for him to get all his work done in a timely, neat manner. He’s growing up.

Speaking of him growing up, a while back, we bought him a Moleskine notebook to use for his nature journal. He wanted to keep a detailed nature journal, but the lines on regular notebook paper ruin the artist’s mojo. 😉 I decided he was old enough to have his very first Moleskine, which thrilled him to no end. He could hardly wait the two days it took for Amazon to get it here, and since then, he’s gone out regularly to sit and observe nature and make entries. I love that boy and this part of him…he’d better find a worthy wife who appreciates this sensitive, artsy side of him. 😉

I’ve got everything timed out for our last day of school before our Christmas break to be this coming Friday, the 19th. We’ll have two weeks off and then start back Jan. 5th. During that time, I’m going to do grades for each of the boys, based on the weeks we’ve worked so far this year. This is my first year giving grades, and I haven’t worked out exactly how I’m going to do it, but it’s something we needed to start doing.

I’m not linking up with the official Weekly Wrap-Up this past week, because I’m very late. Hopefully I’ll get done on time this coming week.

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