Last week, we celebrated Eli's 4th birthday, and in between trying to get ready for his party and finishing our home study, we really didn't spend a lot of time on school stuff. This week, we got back down to business and actually started completing work again.
First, we started a Lent garden at church as a lead-in to Easter Sunday. It consists of a plastic cup "tomb", a cross made of twigs, and a large stone for the tomb entrance. The tomb is covered in soil and we planted grass seed. On Good Friday, we'll place a black shroud on the cross, so that we can change it to a white shroud on Easter. We even have some fake flowers to place in the garden on Easter Sunday morning! The grass in his garden is now getting too tall, so we'll have to trim it soon, but it the meantime, Eli's enjoying it and is learning about Lent and Easter.
We completely missed going to the library this week, so we definitely have to go tomorrow. Because we've been so busy lately, it's the first time in quite a while that we didn't even read most of the books we brought home. In fact, Eli is still working on The Cat in the Hat, since we haven't been reading as much this week - thankfully, though, he should finish it this week. For the first time in a while (about 3 weeks), Eli picked up his language arts workbook and completed an entire lesson independently. We're currently using a combination of Horizons fast-track C/D, a child-friendly Disney language arts workbook and a Starfall.com for his reading/language arts instruction. I wince a little when I think about the fact that he hasn't touched his workbook or the computer in about 3 weeks, but he has been reading aloud daily for 5-15 minutes, and he has completed a few of the Horizons lessons with Grandpa in that time.
In science, ELi has been learning a LOT about a couple of different topics. Dinosaurs are currently a favorite. He has an app that teaches different 6-8 different dinosaurs and their body parts, and he really loves it. He has also spent some time learning about the planets and the solar system, and we had some very simple engineering/physics discussions using his Keva blocks. Right now, he's learning how to make a ramp for a ball using the Keva blocks, and he's beginning to have some success. He's definitely been begging to use his SNAP kit more; it's been a while since we've worked with it, and he really loves it. We've even begun very simple discussions of experiments and the scientific method. We're planning a lot more experiments with a birthday present/science kit that he received, and he is thrilled!
In geography, we missed a 50 States Friday last week, so we picked up with Deleware this Friday! We've also been learning the 7 continents and The Continent Song. We've been pointing to the continents are we sing, and he's starting to make the connections.
We're using a lot of different materials for math. I'm a big fan of the Life of Fred series, and Eli has begun to show more interest in the first book (Apples), and he completed two more chapters this week. At this point, he's interested enough and far enough along in the book that I will be ordering the next one soon. Eli chose to work on a few subtraction pages this week from a workbook as well as some number sequencing. He's beginning to connect the ideas of addition and subtraction and the ideas of addition and skip counting. We reviewed the names of coins this week, and we've been discussing the value of various coins. We also had a discussion of "doubling" while playing Monopoly Junior, and he liked the idea...until Appa won the game twice in a row!
In the last bit of news from this week, we also had a life skills lesson opportunity. Eli received a birthday gift through the mail (thanks Lee, Miyu & Emma!), and it required a signature. Since we were not home when the post office tried to deliver, we had to go sign for it at the post office. Today, we took the notice to the post office, and I explained to Eli what it was and how to get his box. He marched into the post office with me in tow, waited his turn in line (fairly) patiently and presented the notice to the post office worker. Y'all - all the worker could see were the tippy tops of his fingers - but she clearly heard him say "Hi! My name is Eli and my Uncle Lee and Aunt Miyu and Baby Emma sent me a present and I am here to get it and sign for it." She cracked up laughing (as did her coworkers) and went to get his box. When she came back, we let him sign for it (we included my signature too, since he is very obviously a minor). She started making a fuss about how "cute" he was - then she realized that he legibly signed his first and last name and had begun writing our address when we were asked for it (I took over that job, since he can't spell out street name yet). She remarked that the reason she asked me to sign in the first place was that she thought he was just going to scribble and hand me the pen! Eli's response? "That's silly. Babies scribble! I'm not a little baby!" Thankfully, he used a polite tone and was being conversational (instead of snarky, which he's experimented a lot with lately).
What was in the box became a social studies lesson:
It was a large box of Japanese candy (I think I can hear Eli's dentist screaming). There were tons of different snacks and candies included; I think Lee and Miyu tried to find one of everything ever made! The box above was included, and it contains candy that looks like sushi. We're supposed to put them together and make our own candy-sushi-rolls. He's going to have a blast with that one!