Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Worst First Week Back Ever!

This week was our Back to School week.  A week that we normally enjoy.  What a let down this week was.  Ugh!!

I think I’ll start off with what did go well…

Bible

Our Bible Spine is Bible Study Guide For All Ages.  Winter Promise does have Bible to go along with their units but it’s pretty light on the actual Bible. 

We’re coving 2 lessons per week, which takes us 4 days.  I think we’ll do some sort of devotional on the fifth day but I haven’t picked one yet.  Any favorites?

Mackenzie seems to really like BSGFAA.  It gets her digging into the Bible and has fun activities to go along with it.  She really likes coloring the Bible Book Review cards.  So far the songs have been a little cheesy though. LOL  And no lyrics were included so we’re having trouble singing along.

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Math

Mackenzie started Math-U-See Epsilon, which focuses on fractions.  The first lesson was pretty much review so she finished it early. 

We also did some Mind Benders this week.


Language Arts

Our main LA spine is going to be Advanced Language Lessons and Writing With Skill.  However, they won’t be on the market until October.

In the meantime Mackenzie worked in Word Roots Beginnings and Writer’s Apprentice.   She began working on the Writer’s Apprentice “for fun” this summer, so that’s going well.  And she doesn’t seem to mind Word Roots and it seems to be sinking in. 

Spelling Power has been put on hold for a moment because we’re using a product that I’m reviewing for the TOS Review Crew at the moment.  You’ll have to wait to read about that.  Winking smile

Science

We’re using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology and we are loving it!!    I also bought the notebooking journal and that has been great. The readings have been interesting and we’ve even kept up with the experiments for an entire week!!  Woot!!

We are currently mummifying an apple.  I made her do al the peeling. Bwaaa haaa haaa!!


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The second apple is our “control apple.” 

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We did a nice simple experiment showing magnification using drops of water.  I love nice, simple experiments.

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Our problem this week was directly linked to our Winter Promise studies.  To say that I’m aggravated with it the understatement of the year, and we’re only four days in. Sigh…

Day One we had an issue with maps.   Here’s a clip from the email that I sent to WP.

We started today and I am unsure of the Travel w/Me Map assignments for this week.


Day 1: Post up your "Travel w/Me" map; Post up the map an go over where the equator, north pole, and south pole are in relationship to the map.
Day 2: Place Continent Labels
Day 3: Place Ocean Labels



I am not sure of which map I am supposed to be using.  From the assignments, it would seem that I would be using a world map.  However, there is no world map included with the Travel With Me map set.  Just continent maps.


So I figured that  we were supposed to go through all the maps and label oceans and continents.  Is that correct?  And which map are we supposed to post for week 1, as we're not studying a specific region yet?  And are we to show the relationship of the equator et. all with all the maps or just the "map" we're supposed to post on the wall?


I still don’t know the answer to that because someone was supposed to call me and explain it.  That was four days ago.

Issue number two REALLY, REALLY got me HOT.

We get this assignment for the book Material World which reads: "Complete Material World Statistics Chart Activity Help 1"


So I open the book trying to find this statistics charts, which one would assume would be near the beginning  since this is only our second day and we haven't even opened the book before.  No dice.  So I spend 10 minutes going through every page because, of course, there is no page number.  Nothing.


So I double check the IG for notes.  Nothing.  Just that little blurb.  So I started looking through my other books and "notebooking" pages thinking that it might be somewhere else.  Of course not.


So I grab the IG and start going through that page by page due to the lack of index or any sensible organization.  I finally find activity help 1 "Material World" Statics Chart worksheet. It was crammed between the last lesson page sheet and the cultural gathering planning sheets. 


Apparently they wanted it there because it was page 98 and the last lesson plan was 97 and the title page for the planning sheets was 99.


Are they freaking kidding me??  I spent an hour trying to find this crappy piece of busy work.  An hour that I could have been educating my child.  


And if that wasn't a big enough kick in the pants, you can't even complete the assignment because some of the questions asked aren't covered on the pages they told us to read in the book.  So I look through entire book, again, and the four mystery answers aren't covered in it at all.


Oh and at the bottom of the sheet I found something that just put me over the edge...


"You may want to laminate it or copy it onto cardstock so it will serve you well this year."


My reaction: Fury!  I paid $90 dollars for this pile of slop.  It should've already been on card stock.  


  I’ve emailed WP for advice on where they would like her to find the missing answers but no answer. 

And oh, there’s more…

She’s been working in a WP book called Draw Your World as part of geography.  They’ve been going over the locations and continents and oceans.  Tricky since they don’t include a world map.  Thank goodness we have our wonderful Sonlight map.  We used that.


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They were also were covering latitude and longitude; an important skill to understand.  I’m not going to really go deep into the poor writing in the book but I will share my favorite line so far.  “Well, latitude is just great.”   In case, you didn’t know.  I have to admit that made me Rolling on the floor laughing

The real issue is that the print quality is terrible, making the tiny maps harder to read.  Especially the really faint latitude and longitude lines.   I hear the former are “just great.”

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Today I finally gave up on hearing from WP about the maps and just did what I thought was right.  That lead to a whole ‘nother puzzler.

Here she is putting on the continent and ocean labels on the Travel With Me maps.  Some of them any how.  There was a label for Antarctica but no map. LOL  Not that there’s much there to look at but still.

In an effort to say something positive about WP, I will say the maps are pretty.  I just wished that  they hadn’t been stored and shipped in a tube.  I’ve had them under heavy objects since March, trying to flatten them, but it never happened.  We ran them up to the local teachers store and had them laminated.  It’s going to make the labeling a little trickier, do I go with wet/dry erase and risk accidental erasing or go with the sharpie that won’t forgive our mistakes?  Choices, choices.

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The best part was the ocean labels.  She spent three days prior learning the oceans as Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Artic, and Antarctic.  Over and over that is what they called them.  On every page we read and every worksheet that we did.

Enter the stickers for the map labels.

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Mackenzie came out in tears ( I was with the tot) because she didn’t know what the Southern Ocean was.  I told her it was most likely another name for the Antarctic Ocean, which it is, and we looked it up together.  

But why would they try to pull the okie-doke on kids like that?  Thanks WP for dropping the ball again.
 
Along with the extra Antarctica label, we also have extras for the equator, Prime Meridian, North and South Poles, and the International Date line.   But no map to put them on.  Head scratchers indeed.   
And just when you think I’m out of stories.  There’s more.  Are you gleefully rubbing your hands in anticipation? 

Geography review sheets.  Cut out the ocean and continent labels and place them on the blank paper map.  Simple.

Sadly the paper map is a tad too small, in relation to the labels, to allow the younger learner to acquire any learning.   It’s just a great clump of labels covering the map.

Oh, that red circle is the ANTARCTIC OCEAN label.  Yes, they switched back.  ROFL 

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Since I wanted her to really see where everything was in relation to each other we broke out our Sonlight map again.  I never realized how truly grateful I was that they included appropriate maps for assignments before this.

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As I’ve been telling my hubby about this exploits, he’s been less and less thrilled.  I believe his last comment was “burn that crap and go order Sonlight.”

But I’m not giving up yet.  I’d like to see what an actual country study is like before I light the match.   
I’ll end on a bit of the positive…

She said working in her World Travels Diary wasn’t too terrible.

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And we both really liked this photo of the earth at night.  The electricity wasters are glaringly obvious, aren’t they? LOL

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And that was our worse first week ever.  I have at least three more gray hairs, a higher blood pressure, and a stronger need for chocolate.  I really hope I’m not going to have to email WP every, single day.  Sigh…

Check out better weeks over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.





15 comments:

Our Side of the Mountain said...

Oh, wow! Well, at least there were some positives to hold onto, right? I guess MFW should be avoided, huh? I've never been interested much in trying it! I hope week 2 goes smoother!

Loving Our Homeschool said...

Sounds FUN. ;) If you use Sharpies on the laminated maps, finger nail polish should take it off.

Paige said...

Wow, what a frustrating first week! Hopefully things get better :).

jess_hak said...

I am so sorry :( They really do have extremely poor customer service. And you're right you shouldn't have to call them every day (if even at all!). You pay a lot of money for a curriculum for convenience.

I really hope that your actual country studies go much smoother. My hubby got pretty upset just with the shipping issues. I'm glad that I haven't run into any craziness in the material or the IG yet.

Michelle said...

I'll second that, "Oh, wow!" I considered WP but heard that the materials are poor quality, customer service is poor, and they take forever to ship. We went with My Father's World instead. Have you looked into the WP Yahoo group? They might be more help!

Hope you can make this work and that your second week is smoother. And kudos for focusing on the positives. :)

MissMOE said...

Sorry, we had such a bad experience with WP. I want to like their programs and have tryed several of them. We loved their Animals and Habitat program. I just couldn't work with the old American History program. And their customer service is terrible. One year I got my books sent to me spread through out 6 months. And one book I NEVER got from them. They just couldn't understand I wanted three of the same workbook--even though I paid for three books! I'm glad to hear that the rest of your week went much better!

Katie said...

That sounds incredibly frustrating, I'm so sorry you had such a bad week.
As far as labeling the map how would post it tabs or flags work? You could even just write on a piece of tape so it wouldn't be permanent.
I hope your second week is better by leaps and bounds!

Little Badgers Academy said...

I am sorry you had such a frustrating first week. But you still accomplished a lot. Don't be hard on yourself!

Joesette said...

Yep, you're getting another "oh wow" from me too. I'm so sorry it was such a miserable first week. Next week can only get better....right??

Mrs Random said...

UGHH! That is really frustrating.

We did Exploring Countries and Cultures from My Father's World last year and loved it. (Maybe not so helpful to you now that you have this other curriculum, but if you ever are looking for something to switch to, its a nice package.)

Best of luck! (A cotton swab soaked in alcohol also takes permanent marker off laminated plastic).

Mama Bird said...

What a crazy week, I would have been irritated too!

Melanie said...

You could also try the Vis-a-Vis markers for overhead transparencies. They are water soluble. Sharpies will usually come off with nail polish remover.

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

Sorry to hear your week didn't go too well. I have never looked at WP. Have you looked into Heart of Dakota? I talk about it a lot and LOVE it! Hopefully WP has gotten back with you.

Our Village is a Little Different said...

Oh, how frustrating! I don't know anything about WP, but the rest of your curriculum looks fantastic! I'm glad there were some great moments to hold onto, and you managed to get fantastic pictures!
-Catherine

Mary said...

I used two WP programs and tweaked them so much they became unrecognizable - but useable at least!!

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