Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: In Which We Have a Very Busy Week

I usually like to post my wrap-up on the weekend, but things were a little too hectic around here!  Then, of course, homeschoolblogger went down for a few days, preventing me from actually posting this - and now it's pretty much time for me to start writing another wrap-up.  Anyway, this is what I had ready to go on Monday morning:

Homeschool:  This was a busy week! It seems that it’s harder to focus on schoolwork as we get closer to Christmas - no surprise there, I guess! On Monday the kids worked on their own for the most part and focused on Math and Language Arts, and we finished off a section in our Science book along with the quiz. On Tuesday we were home during the day so I think we got a fair amount of schoolwork done, including some work on our maps of Asia and discussion of the geographical features. I don’t know how much more Social Studies we will try to do in the coming weeks - I’m thinking about leaving that in the background a little until after Christmas, since we’re actually a bit ahead of my lesson plan there. (I use the term ‘lesson plan’ somewhat loosely in this case!) We have something like five or six lessons left in Science, so it shouldn’t be any problem to finish those before Christmas break. 8-)

On Wednesday, Kennady and I left the boys to manage on their own for the day while we went into Baltimore for a presentation of The Nutcracker. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra does a concert series for young students, and this particular concert included members of the Baltimore Ballet as well. I thought it was the perfect introduction to The Nutcracker, as they presented only the highlights of the dance pieces and the narrator explained the entire story. The dancers were in costume, but they used no sets or props, and the dance pieces were abridged so the whole performance was less than an hour. In addition, at the beginning of the show, the narrator explained how the orchestra was tuning and warming up, introduced the concertmaster and conductor to the audience and explained their roles. They also gave a brief overview of the orchestra sections and told the students a little about a couple of the instruments that are featured during The Nutcracker - the harp, the flutes and oboe, and the celesta. I think our favorite dance was the Arabian Coffee, and we especially like the music for the Russian dance. Probably because we’re very familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra rendition of it!  My pictures did not turn out great, but...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320" caption="Meyerhoff concert hall"][/caption]

And of course, I didn't take any photos during the presentation!

Thursday was another day spent at home, so we hit the books and made sure we completed another Science lesson. Right now we are talking about some of the practical uses of chemistry in our daily lives, and how chemistry is involved in products we use. This lesson explained how colognes and perfumes are made. We had a go at making our own simple perfumes with spices and rubbing alcohol, just to get an idea of how it works. We will see how we like our perfumes the middle of next week.  Correction: we'll see how ONE of our perfumes turned out - the kitten knocked the other one over. *sigh*  I mistakenly thought that they would be safe on the kitchen window sill but no, not so much. 8-/ (Update: we really liked the vanilla/allspice perfume that survived the cat! When we first opened it up, the rubbing alcohol was all we could smell and the kids were initially disappointed, thinking it hadn't 'worked' but we each dabbed a little on a wrist and allowed the alcohol to evaporate, and the slightly sweet spicy scent left behind was actually quite appealing.  So much so that Landon asked if he could wear his cologne to church on Wednesday night.  LOL)

Another chemistry lesson this week focused on rubber.  We learned how it is made, how Charles Goodyear developed the vulcanization process that made rubber usable, and how synthetic rubbers are made.  Our demonstration showed how polymers in rubber stretch and return to their original shape.

The first Friday in December is one of the highlights of our school year. It is the date for the annual Christmas Craft Breakfast our home school group does. We meet for a breakfast of egg and sausage strata, pastries, and fruit; then the crafting begins! We sign up a couple weeks in advance for the crafts of our choice, and each student can do up to three. Kennady silk-screened an apron, made a set of poinsettia napkin rings, and put together a Christmas swag of fresh greens. Landon put together a gift bag of sugar cookie mix, another gift bag of snicker doodle cappucino mix, and built a mission style coat rack shelf. That woodcraft is very popular every year and my boys have made some wonderful projects! The craft breakfast is one of the best things about the home school group and I can’t say enough about the fantastic job the organizers and crafters do every year in putting it together!  (Update:  I was about to add pictures of this when the whole thing went down - in order to get this up a little sooner, I will post pictures of the Craft Breakfast separately)

In Other News:  I sing in a community chorus, and our Christmas concerts were on Monday and Tuesday this week. I truly enjoy the practicing and preparation for the concerts, but it is also a relief to get them out of the way! Not that we are completely finished - the Big Band Merry Christmas concert that the ensemble participates was on Saturday night, and next Saturday the choir is performing at a 250th anniversary celebration of an area church.

Landon and Kennady had their final practices for the children’s Christmas play at church this week. Landon has some speaking parts, including being a stand-in for a boy who cannot make the Wednesday evening performance. And Kennady has a solo. She is a very good singer (in my humble and COMPLETELY UNBIASED opinion. ;-) ) but she tries to avoid speaking parts.

On The Bookshelf: 

  • The Prophet by Francine Rivers

  • Duty and Desire by Pamela Aidan

  • The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare by Arliss Ryan

Read and reviewed Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn - review is at Kym's Bookcase

Parting Shot:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="240" caption="Nutcracker at the Meyerhoff"][/caption]


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