Our Week in Books (Mostly)

When I saw this book reviewed on someone’s blog, (Sorry, I’ve forgotten where I saw it. Whoever you are, thank you!) I just had to buy it for sartorially gifted Ruth. (Whose real non-blog name is very, very, very close to the name of the main character in this book. Enough said).  As expected, she loves it. And who wouldn’t? Zoe is adorable as she chooses what to wear from amongst the many options in her closet. Anyone who has a daughter who changes her clothes at any opportunity and who is just as likely to wear polka-dots with stripes as a tutu with snow boots will enjoy this book. And as an added benefit, my little fashionista especially appreciated that the front cover was sparkly.

When you are the youngest in a homeschooling family, a lot of your time is spent waiting. Waiting for the math lesson to be over. Waiting for the brothers at piano. Waiting at the baseball game. Fortunately, Ruth likes being out and about and is a whiz on the scooter. She is still a huge fan of all things Dora and in addition to all the books I picked for her at the library David found her a huge stack of Dora and Diego books. We have read that stack umpteen times this week. Typically, she gets to watch a little Dora or Diego daily via Roku. Usually during that math lesson.

If Ruth is enamored with Dora, David’s new hero is Fudge. We are on a spree of Fudge audiobooks in the car. I love these classics by Judy Blume, especially because they appeal to the whole family. I think David particularly appreciates the 5 year old kindergartener middle-child mischievous Fudge. He’s even greatly annoyed his older brother by calling him “PE-TAH”. Which is very Fudge-like behaviour. But we did put a stop to that and explain that as funny as he is, Fudge might not really be the best role model.

Our five year old kindergartner slightly mischievous middle child is also our most easy-going child. Naturally generous and generally happy, he is sweet and funny.  One thing I’ve learned this year is that as much as you try not to it’s easy to think of your kids in categories: the smart one, the funny one, the athletic one, the fashionista. I’ve never doubted that David was smart but he’s surprised me this year in how much he loves schoolwork and how he takes his studies seriously. Granted, the formal schoolwork I require of him as a kindergartener is fairly minimal but he is very motivated to be able to read chapter books on his own and works diligently at his lessons in the Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading. He also loves math and Fred and practices piano more than his teacher requires. The strains of Ode to Joy are heard every time he walks by the piano (which is every time he goes in and out of the house).

Alert readers might notice that his cast changed colors. Yes, it’s a new one. One night after the bath (we got the waterproof cast) his original cast slipped all the way off while he was trying to scratch underneath it. He slipped it back on and that would have been that if it hadn’t been for his older brother. Since a cast that can slide off isn’t really doing much, we had to return to the Orthopedist for a second cast. Green this time so people can sign it.

John is a big reader. On his own he reads mostly fantasy/adventure type of books. This year I’ve also been assigning him books to read for school. This is mostly to challenge him a bit and also to encourage him to read books in other genres. For the most part, I’ve picked books that roughly go with whatever we are studying in history. Currently, he is reading The Journal of Jesse Smoke by Joseph Bruhac. We are also both reading Tom Sawyer together and discussing it a little bit at a time, but in a fairly informal way. I’m trying to make it feel more like a book club and less like a quiz.

In addition to the assigned reading, he has about eight books out of the library, all roughly in the fantasy or adventure category. But this week he’s mostly been enjoying rereading his way through a stack of Encyclopedia Brown books as well as a bunch of those Choose Your Own Adventure novels. Neither are great literature, but that’s ok. I was a big Encyclopedia Brown fan myself as a kid and I understand the comfort in dipping into books that are a little easier and that you’ve read before.

My new semi-relaxed approach continues. On Tuesday, John asked if we could take these cards and make a periodic table. The cards were a fun extra I ordered when I ordered The Elements by Theodore Gray. If you don’t know this book, it’s an absolutely beautiful visual depiction of the periodic table. (Check out the website to get a better idea of the book.) I wouldn’t say the book is essential to chemistry (especially third grade chemistry) but if you are even a slight science geek, you are going to want to own it.

I wasn’t really sure if just laying down the cards would be all that interesting but John was really excited so I said sure. He ended up having to do most of it himself while I kept Ruth occupied and away from it. It’s interesting that although he’s seen many periodic tables, something about the visual aspect of this combined with the act of building it himself, made him think of all kinds of questions. Questions that led to discussions about s orbitals and p orbitals. Questions that led to a discussion of the concept of a half-life. None of this was really on the agenda for that day but it ended up occupying much of a morning and was something we both really enjoyed.

And me? I’m very much enjoying this one.

I’m linking this post to Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners and the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Although I don’t regularly do these kinds of weekly wrap-ups myself, I always find it interesting and often encouraging to see what others are doing in their homeschools.

9 thoughts on “Our Week in Books (Mostly)

  1. Well, I’m really glad you took the time & energy to do this! I so enjoy getting a peek into your week. Those chemistry resources are new to me–I’ll definitely check them out!

    We didn’t have the option of waterproof cast. For some unknown reason, the huge orthopedics practice we used doesn’t do them. Once when my nephew broke his arm just before a beach vacation, my sister ordered a waterproof kit online and insisted they change my nephew’s cast before they went to the beach. Since the DLM is only supposed to wear his for three weeks, I thought we could suffer that long. The worst, of course, are the sponge baths. I’m just glad it’s not really hot yet! 🙂

    • Funny, the ortho tech at the place we went remarked that he didn’t like the waterproof casts very much. But an upcoming beach vacation is why we chose it.

  2. Ooooh, I wish things like those cards of the elements would have been around when I was an elementary-school-aged science geek. They look really cool. 🙂

    Not related to your post this week, but I got the “Toys go out” trilogy from the library for my daughter after reading about it a few weeks ago in your read aloud Thursday post…she has finished two of them so far and loves them! I sat and read one too since she wanted to read it herself and my son wasn’t interested in hearing it at the moment…what a sweet book. Thanks for the recomendation!

  3. how did you explain the orbitals and pi orbitals? did you have to explain that the farther out the orbitals the less tightly the electrons hang on? I find myself explaining these things more and more, but sometimes i find myself using big words and not sure if he is following along, but sometimes he is.

    • I didn’t go that in depth. I drew a basic sketch and we talked about how the orbitals fill with electrons and that if the orbital is unfilled it means the element is more reactive. And what that means for the arrangement of the periodic table. The orbitals came up because when he was placing the cards he wanted to know why Hydrogen with one electron was on one side and then Helium with two electrons was so far away. The set of cards also came with cards showing alternative (and perhaps better) periodic table arrangements so we looked at those a little too, but we stuck with the traditional one for now.

      In general, I tend to go as far as there are still questions from my son. If he’s still interested I’ll keep going. But if he seems satisfied or I can tell he’s getting glazed over I stop. I often have to remind myself that it’s ok if he isn’t getting the whole story or even a much too simplified version at this age. It’s really all about making it seem interesting and whetting his appetite for more later.

  4. Pingback: Armchair Cybils | Supratentorial

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