Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

3rd Grade, 1st Quarter. A Review.

Jumping in the leaves at the Alexander Ramsey House

Well, we successfully completed our first quarter of 3rd grade!  At this time last year, I had the mindset that if it didn't work out, I'd put her back in school.  But now, it's become such a part of our lives, that I can't even fathom sending her back to public school.  I have threatened to send her back (please tell me I'm not the only one who's done that!), and she told me she doesn't want to go back.  Why?  Because she can spend more time on subjects she's having trouble with (fractions, for example).  I *think* it might also because she enjoys the freedom.  Anywhoo, here's what we did this year:

Grammar:  She's using Queens Language Lessons.  This curriculum has been such a blessing!  Millie used to cry daily last year when we used Bob Jones English.  It was a great program, just too intense for Millie.  Queens is much more gentle, and the lessons are shorter and to the point.

Spelling:  We're using All About Spelling.  She was really behind on her spelling, so I had to find something that had a great track record for success.  All About Spelling has been amazing!  I'm learning right along with her.  I didn't know any of the rules that we've learned so far...  Eeek.  It's great to see her building up her confidence again!

Printing:  We're not doing anything formal.  She's been using Draw Write Now, and focusing on correct printing during spelling.  I sit next to her and observe each stroke to make sure she's going it right.  I think she's almost ready to do it on her own, but she's still working on it.  It's amazing to see her progress!

Reading and Literature:  Every morning Millie reads a picture book to Elise to practice her read aloud skills.  That has improved greatly!  Plus, it's a great way for Millie to feel included when we do circle time in the morning.  I pick out story books to correspond with our weekly theme.  During Elises's preschool time, Millie reads on her own.  This quarter she read White Fang, The Secret Garden, Animal Stories, Meet Kaya, Tikta'Lictac': An Inuit Eskimo Legend, and Little Caribou.  She reads a lot on her own too.  I'm super happy that she's started reading Little House In The Big Woods!  Yay!  Each night we do a read aloud.  This quarter we've read The Birchbark House and Mary Poppins.  We're off track on our read alouds.  Boo.  We were also supposed to have read Where The Red Fern Grows, and Trouble At Fort LaPoint, but sadly we didn't get to it.  Hopefully we can pick them up later.

Math:  Still doing Saxon.  Still loving it!

Science:  One of Millie's top two favorite subjects!  We spent the whole quarter learning about plants.  We learned about and did experiments about water plants, classifying plants, plant cells and leaf structure, stems and roots, plant tissue and movement, plant food and sensitivity, biomes, and natural cycles of plants and people.

History:  Millie's second favorite subject.  We've been focusing on the study of Native Americans.  She researched and did projects based on several of the different tribes.  We used the Native Americans History Pockets and read a lot of great books.  Along with doing really cool projects from the History Pockets book, we also made hominy (holy smokes, that was quite a process!), painted rock toys like in The Birchbark House, went to the Minnesota History Museum to see the Dakota War exhibit, and set up a plains Indian village.  Millie enjoyed the study of Native American culture so much.  Now she's asking if she can buy a bison hide so she can make things out of it... Oh boy!

Info about Grandma 'Rira
Info about Grandpa Howard

Art, Nature Study, & PE:  Millie is continuing to take piano lessons.  She's playing more advanced pieces, which is really cool!  My goal was to get to the Childrens Museum to paint and do art projects once per week, which I have not succeeded at.  We only went once this quarter.  I also wanted to do more handcrafts, and we didn't really do any.  For PE, we did as much outside as we could before the cold sets in.  We went for bike rides, walks, and also swimming and she just started ice skating lessons.  And nature study?  We didn't do any.  I think I get a "D" in the art, nature study, and PE department.

Classes and Outings:  We try to get out of the house at least 2 days per week so Millie can play with her friends.  This quarter we collected acorns for Great River Greening.  It was a fun service project, but the best part was finding a fairy house at the base of a tree on our way out to the car! We went to an apple orchard to pick apples, took Jr. Ranger classes through the National Park Service where she learned about fossils and geocaching, took archery and rock climbing at the Boy Scout Base Camp, went to the Renaissance Festival, took a polka dancing class, did Halloween crafts at a friends house, took a Populations and Water Quality class at the Bruce Vento Nature Center, spent lots of time at the library, played with a friend at the Science Museum, and co-hosted a Halloween party at our house.

It's been a fantastic year so far!  Is there anything I'd like to change?  Of course!!  I need to focus on including more art, handcrafts, PE, and nature study.

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