We started on the flight unit this week. My work schedule right now isn’t very good time-wise for in-person teaching, so I assigned Steven some independent work this week.
I started the week with a Bill Nye video and a worksheet to complete while watching it. Fun fact: Flight is Season 1, Episode 1 of “Bill Nye: The Science Guy”. Another fact: I can’t read “Bill Nye: The Science Guy” in any voice other than the one in the intro to the show.
This week we finished up our science unit and learned how to write a 5 paragraph essay. I had Steven research the contributions Canadians have made to the study and exploration of space. Then he filled out the writing map I found here and used it to write an essay. Some of the essay writing concepts didn’t quite sink in, so we’ll be writing more essays later in the year. But we didn’t spend too much time on it this time around because we were both excited to start our NaNoWriMo prep!
This week was pretty uneventful, really. It was a short week because of Thanksgiving. Steven spent most of it preparing a slide show presentation on life in space, which he presented to us yesterday. I kept it simple, just asked him to pick 5 everyday tasks (like eating and sleeping) and research how they are done in space. After his presentation, we watched some of Chris Hadfield’s YouTube videos from his time on the space station to cover some other everyday tasks.
One of the science units for grade 6 is space and the solar system. So this week was focused on learning about the rest of the planets. Steven had already read about a couple of them over the last couple of weeks. They were easy to fall back on when he was struggling with math and I had to work.
This week, Steven completed the solar system reading comprehension activities found here this week. He also completed the key terms and solar system worksheets in this workbook. I bought the bundle that covers all the science units for grade 6. I then had him use these worksheets to make a plan for building a model solar system. I’m sure I’ll have lots of photos of that next week.
This Wednesday was Steven’s 11th birthday. Luckily he doesn’t mind not being able to have a party this year. Last year, knowing that parties aren’t his favourite thing, we suggested doing something else. Maybe a shopping trip or just taking a couple of good friends somewhere. He chose to spend a whole weekend shopping, eating out, playing board games and video games… He now refers to his birthday as his “reign of terror” because as long as we don’t go over budget, he can do and make us do whatever he wants. This year I apologized that we couldn’t take him and his friends out somewhere and he said he’d rather have a “family time birthday” anyways. Apparently, until last year, he thought birthday parties were some kind of unavoidable social obligation.
Steven did some cool science experiments today to build on what he learned about the heart and lungs last week. We did one that shows how the diaphragm and lungs work together by following the instructions here. If we did that one again, I would probably use a smaller balloon for the “lung”, so it would be easier to see it inflating and deflating.
For the heart one, we more or less followed the instructions found here because I like how the experiment was set up, but we didn’t have a lot of the supplies. In my online search for an experiment, I had seen other people doing similar things with jars covered in balloons (with tiny holes for the straws – the balloon needs to seal around the straw) and then pushing down on the balloon to “pump”, instead of squeezing the bottle, so that’s what we did instead. Oh, and we stirred some red paint into the water because we didn’t have food colouring.
Once our experiments were done, we got back to our Dungeons and Dragons game from yesterday… and Liam and I were both killed by a large group of mimics. Steven was a little upset that we didn’t get to do everything he had planned. He felt he didn’t have enough time to plan and was quite convincing in that argument. So we had another discussion about how there really aren’t any hard deadlines or schedules or anything anymore, and if he needs more time he can just say so. I expect it will still take some getting used to. But he’s already working on our next game, and this time we told him to just tell us when he’s ready, instead of setting a date we plan on playing.
And this evening we had our first big family dinner over facebook messenger’s video chat. It took a bit to get figured out, but I’m sure it will go smoother next time. We typically have dinners at Liam’s parents’ place fairly regularly, usually with his sisters and their significant others and a lot of Steven’s cousins too, and I know that’s something everyone has missed.
I’ve been trying to think of what else we’ve been missing and how to fit those things into our new reality. I’m really looking forward to warmer days so Steven and I can do yoga on the back porch, but for now I’d settle for less rain and convincing someone to go for a walk with me. We’re all a little afraid to leave the house, but we haven’t seen a lot of people or even cars outside. It should be pretty easy to stay away from other people and not touch things.
This blog has been helping too, just to organize my thoughts a bit.
Steven informed us that they were just starting the body unit in Science. They had done the skeletal system, but not a lot else. Liam found a website called Kids Health that has lots of great information on all the systems (as well as on health, physical and mental).
So, Steven and I did our morning Yoga, including some meditation practice on Steven’s request (he could use a little help managing his emotions sometimes) and our 20 minutes of French. This time we started reading “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” from this free book of fairy tales. It’s free until April 15, so get it while you can! The audio is great, well enunciated and slow for beginners, and the PDF file has both French and English text. We’ve been going paragraph by paragraph, listening and following along and then reading the English out loud, reading the French again out loud to practise pronunciation, and then I ask Steven a couple of words that he might have learned from the section we read.
Then Steven spent some time re-reading the information on his own, taking notes and studying. In the afternoon, Liam tested his knowledge. He wasn’t perfect, but he got most of it right. I think the plan is to give him time to study again and then test again next week before moving on to other systems.
While they were doing that, I cleaned the kitchen, made bread and made some homemade potstickers… from scratch. They were really good, but I’m not sure they were good enough to warrant the 3 hours they took to make. I guess that’s another reason to get a pasta maker. I followed this recipe for the dough but made my own simple filling with ground beef, mushrooms, carrots and peas because as much as I love Asian food, it’s not always my family’s favourite.
Hope everyone else is having a good day! Stay safe, ~Lauren