The Learning Room ~ More Project Work

We have continued on with project work this week. I feel our biggest accomplishment was sticking to the generic schedule ~ doing school work from 10-12 each day no matter if chores were done or not and using later free time to pick up the slack on chores kids were too lazy to get done in a timely manner. For me, who has a huge tendency to get distracted by side projects, this was a major win for the week. And the biggest benefit of having them work on projects for school, aside from the obvious freeing up of my time, is seeing from an unbiased view what they actually need work on.

And, can I just rave for a minute more about Junie B. Jones? That little girl has stolen our hearts and our lunchtimes! We have read through two of her books this week and will be going to the library a week early tomorrow just to get some more. This is the most endearing book series and just begs to be read aloud. I wish they had been around for me as I was an emerging reader!

Junie B. Jones's First Boxed Set Ever! (Books 1-4)

Lily, age 7,  has officially finished her first chapter book all the way through. I think she felt very proud of herself! She did much better at her narration chapter summaries this week due to last week’s coaching. The Junie B. Jones project dominated much of her time and thought. And she slowed way down on the Fancy Nancy project I think due to the fact that it involves a lot of writing and that was tiring her out so she kept procrastinating. I finally had to goad her on a bit so that I could get her to the fun part of the project (cutting out and decorating the hearts – you know, the fancy stuff).

Her area of most-needed-improvement was her penmanship. We only picked out one sentence from each of her narrations to use as copy work to go along with her picture narration. I felt this was just the right length to model good grammatical sentence structure and work on penmanship as well. Well, let’s just say her penmanship is wayyyy under par. I thought maybe this was just a hurrying-through-my-work sort of thing when I see it in her everyday play writing, but now I am having second thoughts. I also thought as she got older some of it would work itself out naturally, especially with her being a girl and having the desire for the pretty cursive handwriting. Again, I was wrong. I didn’t want to bombard her with over-criticism so we worked on putting her finger between words to properly space them and I think I will come back next week with some excersizes to address the neatness issue. Maybe it’s time to invest in an actual cursive program for her. Anyone out there using a good one that isn’t too hard for a first grader to use?

With Gabe, age 9, we needed to cover narration versus plagerism this week. I picked narration as part of his project work hoping that because it was based in books he already loved to read the narration would come more naturally. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. He basically wanted to stay immersed in his math books, not because he was working on something challenging but because he wanted to avoid narrations. I called him on it and he admitted it and said this invention stuff was just beginning to feel too much like history. All of the sudden the books weren’t interesting anymore. So we, again, went over how to do a narration. Then I had him just bite the bullet and sit down to do the task at hand whether he felt like it or not. He did a great job but I had a nagging suspicion as he kept glancing back towards the book that he was actually copying the information. I had just read an article on plagerism in the new edition of Old Schoolhouse Magazine and had thought how we had really not ever discussed it before. So, on my suspicion, I checked his work and found I was right. After praising how well he did at staying on task and finding all the information asked of him, I asked him if he knew what plagerism was and we practiced, much to his disappointment, how to redo his narration without copying. We discussed how this was why mommy required narrations so that his brain could constantly be exercised in coming up with his own sentences because that is a very hard task to master, even for adults.

So even though the work we did was not high in volume, I felt we definitely made up for it in quality by learning some very important skills this week.

Unschooling Fun ~ lots and lots of fun Valentine’s card making going on here! Again, see sidebar for the great free vintage clip art sites! Even the hubby got involved and made some really cool paper heart airplanes. He is so talented!

Onto mommy’s unschooling fun ~

Making PDF’s: mommy is learning how to convert word documents into pdf files (oh how I love them!) and how to upload them to the blog world so that I, too, may share and give back to this wonderful online community! Here is my first conversion I tried. It is the worksheet I made up to go with Lily’s Mission Addition project.  So please click on it and leave me a comment on if it does or does not work!

Mission Addition Worksheet

Also, I’ve been researching point and shoot cameras versus DSLR’s. I really (stressing the really) want a DSLR camera! I long to take my photography to the next level and get that great bokeh (fancy word for depth of field, wide aperature, cool-looking blurs – see how I’m learning?). So far I’ve come up with that, though DSLR’s have really come down in price, they still might not be quite in my budget yet. Maybe I am asking the impossible but, a challenge to you dear readers, who out there has a point and shoot camera that they love that takes pictures similar to a DSLR? I am all ears, my friends!

Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Unschoolers @

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