Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With Maps That Include Iceland

Ahhh, week 3 of the new year is done.  Woot!!  I know you’re probably waiting to hear about our misadventures with Winter Promise but, of course, I’m saving those for last.  =o)

Here’s the skinny on our week.


We are still reading in Genesis and Mackenzie is still enjoying the Bible Study Guide for All ages sheets.  It’s nice how they use a variety of activities to drive a point home.  One minute she’s drawing, writing a letter the next, mapping another day.  Very cool!


This week she had her first lesson in adding fractions.  Her she is with her math teacher, Mr. Demme.  =o)


Here she is doing some adding with the fraction overlays.


Language Arts

We’re still waiting on  Advanced Language Lessons and Writing With Skill to be released.  It’s looking like October.  But Word Roots Beginnings and Writer’s Apprentice are keeping us busy.

This week in WA she was writing “ads” and got some practice using “vivid verbs.”  It also gave us an excuse to get a neat thesaurus app for the iPad.  Our current thesaurus was a bit young for this level.  I guess it was good enough for kindergarten, when I bought it. LOL


Still love, love, loving it.  We started learning about the skeletal system this week.  Who knew they were so fascinating?  And who knew that part of the reason that I’m so forgetful these days might be because I don’t get enough calcium?  Not me!  LOL

We did a little project with some play doh to see what life without bones would be like.



We saw just how much of a flop life would be without bones.


Add in some  “bones” and problem solved.



We did another experiment to show how God designed the brain to have a little extra protection besides the skull.

Two “brains”, one with fluid between the “brain” and the “skull”, the other with just the “skull” for protection.


Now run around with your “brains” to simulate an active lifestyle.




It certainly looks like the protection for our brain was a good design after all. 

Social Studies

As you might know, our studies with Winter Promise have not been going well.  =o)  Things like accuracy and facts are important to me when it comes to my daughter’s education.  Call me crazy!

The main bone of contention, besides trying to figure out what the assignments actually are in the error-riddled IG, has been the junk they call “maps.”

So, I’ve tossed their maps to the curb and this week I’ve been using different ones.  Ones that are accurate.  And I bought this wonderful “around the world” program called Expedition Earth.   It was written by a homeschool mother.  It was only $15.  It’s maps are accurate.  It’s notebooking pages are VASTLY SUPERIOR to those in Winter Promise.  The quality of the pages were miles above what we got with WP.  When she writes out an assignment in the IG, the page numbers are correct.  I did check them all.  =o)

So I’ve kind of been melding the two programs.  EE is meant for younger kids so it wouldn’t do to be our spine.  I’ve kind of been adding in some of the WP books to EE and making something workable for us. 

We did continue with the Draw Your World (DYW) assignments from WP, but we used accurate maps.  I have some from Knowledge Quest, Homeschool in the Woods, and I’ve been offered an awesome review of a product called WonderMaps from Timberdoodle that look AWESOME.  Completely customizable and totally wonderful.  I can’t wait to get the program.  God was certainly answering prayers for us.

But I have to share this weeks sketch from DYW.  So funny.  So ironic.  So like WP.  LOL  I almost want to send them a thank you note for the laugh that they gave me.

You might need to click on the picture to be able do read it.  Do it!!  It’s totally worth it. 


In case you think I’m lying, here’s their map.


Here’s what we used.  Mackenzie was just a tad excited to see Iceland actually on a map.  LOL  It just goes to show that the saying about “the little things” is so true…


Yesterday we went on a field trip to The Mariners Museum with some friends.  We were visiting the section on explorers because that’s what one of our friends was currently studying.  But we could always use a review.  I’m going to write a separate, more detailed, post about the trip later.  But I had to share some pictures of what pertained to our studies.  You’re going to LOVE it!!!!

Why is Mackenzie giving this display a thumbs up, you might wonder?


I’ll show you why…


That’s right, Iceland baby!!!!  On a 17th century map.

Here’s a really, really, really old globe.


And guess what?  It has Iceland on it too.


I could go on and on and on with more examples but you get the idea.  So here’s the question of the day…

If 17th century map makers where Iceland is, why doesn’t Winter Promise?  Disturbing.

Oh, we were focusing on the United Kingdom this week.  I don’t really have much to say.  It wasn’t terribly exciting or informative.   I’m not even sure as to what we were supposed to have learned.   Some of the books are really good, like Material World and How People Live.  Others are, well, published by WP and not so good.  But despite some good books,  there just doesn’t seem to be any cohesiveness to the study.   We finished the week wondering what the point was.

Thank goodness I paid the $15 for EE so we could add some interest and facts to our learning.  Her notebooking pages added some focus for us.

Here’s a good example of the randomness and lack of focus in WP.  In the notebook, which is just a bunch of cutting and pasting and filling in of facts,...  And now I have to go off on a tangent and mention that the facts that they ask aren’t even covered in any of the readings.  That’s just weird.  Thank goodness for google.

Anyhow, in the notebook, they have you cut out a picture of Stonehenge and glue it in.   But they don’t give you any information about Stonehenge in any of the readings.  It’s just randomly thrown in the notebook.  Random seems to be a good way to describe WP.

So I was looking through the various books that came with it and I grabbed one called Fun and Traditions in Many Lands, published by WP.  So I thumb through the British Isle pages.  There was a small blurb about English crackers, invitations, and, lo and behold, Stonehenge.  Granted it was a small paragraph of info, but still better than nothing. 

Why on earth weren’t these pages scheduled or, at least, given a mention in the IG as something to check out?  It’s mind boggling.

That tiny paragraph on Stonehenge suggested make a “model” out of brownies.  Did you say brownies?  We were in.  You need a lot more brownies to make it to scale. 


While this week was not a complete success, at least there weren’t any tears.   Gone are the days of easy lesson planning; I’ve still got a lot of tweaking to do.  At least we got some chocolate out of it.  LOL 

Be sure to head over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see other Wrap-Ups.


Michelle said...

I don't know why I am enjoying these posts because they make me want to cry for you and laugh at the same time. Chocolate is good. :D Good score on EE, too!

Our Village is a Little Different said...

Well, honestly, I'd trade Iceland for Brownies. Okay, I'm kidding, it's pretty disturbing, but I'm still laughing out loud. You're handling the whole WP situation with such grace and humor that I have to applaud. I get very cranky when I buy icky curriculum.

I loved the science projects though. The egg one is outstanding! For my kids, things like that that are worth more than an hours lecture.

I'll look forward to hearing about your day at the museum.

Katie said...

I'm doing an adaptation of Expedition Earth too. My daughter is a little too young for all of it, but I really love her organization.

Our Side of the Mountain said...

So, I should race out and pick up WP, huh? ;) LOL I bet Kenz will NEVER forget Iceland now, so WP did help her learn! Calcium is connected to memory? Nice! I can now justify the homemade blueberry ice cream I just ate that probably has 500-700 calories per cup! Woot! LOL

Sweetpeas said...

Waving hello from the crew! I love your science experiments, my girls would love doing things like that, must remember for next time we do anatomy!

Abby said...

You accurately described my frustrations with WP CATW when I used it 4 years ago. The company changed certain books, but it sounds like it still has the same flaws. We dropped it after 12 weeks. I often wondered if the publishers proof read the TM. I did keep the Christmas around the world resources. Loved those.

It sounds like EE will be a perfect supplement. I wish it was available 4 years ago!

Have a great year! I stopped by via the Weekly Wrap-Up.

Paige said...

Poor Iceland :(.

Looks like you guys are trying to make it work anyways. I was curious about using Expedition Earth with older kids, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out for you.

Emily said...

What an interesting week, especially for Iceland! lol I was chuckling at your post and how well you handled the whole situation. I love how you pointed it out on some old maps! :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have a great weekend!

Heather Lynn said...

How funny (and frustrating). I loved WP for my littlest one for pre-K, but CATW made me want to pull my hair out. We scrapped it after 2 weeks and donated the books to our local Christian school (A move I regretted, but I just wanted it OUT of my house). Hang in there. I know I don't handle disappointment with curriculum well.

Tess said...

I think you just confirmed for me that I am *NOT* ready to start back to school yet. Since summer has been so delayed and June tends to be cold anyway.. I think we'll just start mid September and school until Mid to late June. Hope you like Wondermaps. I will be using it for some of our map work (eventually when we start back to school LOL)

Rachel said...

Great post! As a map lover I'm chuckling over the loss of Iceland -- that's not a teeny mistake. :)

Love your writing and how you describe your week.


Tori said...

Thanks to the inaccuracy of the WP materials your daughter will always be able to find Iceland I'm sure!!

Kympossible said...

Is it wrong that I look forward with great anticipation to your weekly update on WP, and then weep with laughter when I read it?!? Priceless!!

I love playdoh man, btw!

and brownie Stonehenge - what a great idea!

Mean Mama Bear said...

Love your post! I think I'll have to do Anatomy with the kids next...your pictures of her doing the experiments totally sold me. WP is good for something....I just haven't discovered what that something is.

Laura O in AK said...

Stopping by from the TOS Blog Cruise hop.

Aside from the map situation (which would disturb me!), you had a fantastic week. I find I usually do not like any one curriculum enough to not tweak it or at least add to it.

Laura O in AK


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