Homeschool Journal, Week 3

This was a good week, mostly because we only had four days of school. I really enjoyed that extra day off and I think I might just make it a regular part of our schedule. So here’s what we’ve been up to this week.

Tuesday

We learned about the Sumerians this week. They were one of the very earliest civilizations, and were famous in particular for their cuneiform writing. Art spent a semester a couple years ago learning Akkadian, which is related to Sumerian and looks very similar, so I put him to work transliterating our names.

Tuesday night we got out some clay and set to work making cuneiform tablets with our names on them.

Art played around with a few different tools before settling on that little carrot there. It’s actually a metal brad from my scrapbooking supplies. The pointed end was perfect for adding the little triangular wedges that cuneiform was named for.

The boys copied the letters to make their names. Sumerian was a very complicated language, with more than 600 letters. Akkadian isn’t quite that bad, I don’t think, but it’s really complex as well.

Stinky thought the Akkadian was really cool, so after he finished his clay tablet he copied all the words Art had written down.

I’m not sure if Art has ever been prouder.

We rewarded ourselves for our hard work with some chocolate ice cream.

Wednesday

Wednesday morning I read the boys “Laughing Song” by William Blake, and we read some Bible verses about laughing and having a merry heart. Then we had to play the game Ha. I had played this as a kid and was reminded of it when the Pioneer Woman posted about it early in the week.

Isn’t Art a trooper? In his necktie and everything. He started laughing before we even started the game.

And the boys thought it was quite entertaining.

Although afterward Bubs said he wasn’t sure what that had to do with school. So I made him do extra subtraction problems as punishment for questioning my teaching methods. (Just kidding.)

Wednesday we also built a ziggurat out of blocks. I had to work really hard to convince the boys that they would have to work together on this, because they were both full of their own ideas. We don’t have a ton of wooden blocks, so they could really only build one ziggurat. Eventually they started showing a bit of teamwork.

In the end, this is what we came up with. The big yellow ramps represent the big staircases that many ziggurats had.

Wednesday afternoon we had some tactile fun while practicing letters and numbers.

Stinky struggles a lot with facing his letters and numbers the right direction, so I’ve been trying to help him by giving him different ways to practice. Today it was shaving cream.

And Bubs used cotton swabs to write his cursive letters in the shaving cream. I’m not sure he enjoyed this as much as Stinky did. Bubs isn’t quite as much of a sensory kid though.

Squeezy, however was definitely a fan.

(Side note: last night at dinner one of the boys informed Art that he had a cut on his neck. And Art said “yeah, someone used up all my shaving cream.” Oops.)

Wednesday we also did our drawing lesson, but it ran into my dinner preparations and also a bit of a crisis involving Squeezy and the bathtub and therefore I did not get pictures.

Thursday

Thursday we squished all our schoolwork into the morning so that in the afternoon the boys and I could head to downtown Des Moines for a field trip at the Botanical Center.

The boys took along clipboards and paper and freshly sharpened pencils so they could draw what they see.

We were on the lookout for a few different things, and we found everything we were looking for– including ferns. This one was almost as tall as I am.

(Behold the grimace of the child before the camera.)

We found a few stray leaves that had fallen off the plants, so the boys did leaf rubbings for their notebooks as well.

In this next picture, you can see the leaves behind us with big holes in them. I kept telling Bubs that there are lots of those plants in heaven. Because they’re holey.

His facial expression pretty well describes how he felt about that joke. And Stinky– yeah. I have no idea. That’s just how he is.

After we had explored the dome and indoor gardens, we ventured outside. Stinky was fascinated by the pinecones.

And we saw this frog in the little pool. He just floated there like this, looking at us.

I am always fascinated by leaves that are so big they look like you could sit on them.

Friday

Friday is cooking project day. This week we made brownies. From a mix. Sometimes you can’t be Betty Crocker. Anyway, I’ve noticed that the brownies from a mix usually taste just as good as the scratch ones. So what’s the point?

We made two boxes worth, so the boys got to practice doubling the recipe. I was pretty proud of Bubs for figuring out that 1/4 doubled would be 1/2. He hasn’t learned about adding fractions yet.

While our treats baked, the boys worked on some schoolwork. Stinky practiced spelling/phonics with these letter legos I made him.

And Bubs worked on grammar, which is totally his favorite subject ever. I strung up our now-dry clay tablets. I never got a good picture of them, but you can see what they look like there next to Bubba’s elbow.

The highlight of the school day, though, was undoubtedly the creation of the following video.

It’s been a good week. We are so blessed.

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