We have been so busy this week that I haven't really had time to sit down and write, so this update is late. Like my friend Chari, I blog in my head while I'm washing dishes but by the time I sit down it's all gone. Does that mean I'm finally a grownup ? It would be nice to think so ;-).
It's pouring rain today, and we have nothing on our schedule for a change, so while the family recovers from fall colds and the wood stove whispers downstairs I'm going to try to think in typing for a change.
Let's see, how are things going? This fourth week marks the usual time when I get sick of whatever we are doing. I used to then restructure our whole program, but in more recent years I have learned to acknowledge that this is a normal thing and ride it out.... or change the pace a bit while not throwing the whole thing into a tailspin.
Cursive -- progressing. I decided I needed to "translate" the cursive for him since he doesn't read it yet. So after he writes a sound combination or short word, we discuss what it actually says.
Phonics -- he can already read, so this is mostly a spelling and auditory discrimination lesson. One thing we do regularly which I've started doing with Aidan, too, is "word chains". What you do is start with some word -- say "jump". Then you change one letter -- say, to "dump". Then another letter "damp". Then "ramp", then "rasp", then "gasp" etc. This way he sees how changing the letter changes the word.
A couple of times a week he does a sentence of copywork/dictation. I tell him the sentence and he tries to write it down from dictation, but he's allowed to peek at the model if he wants to, and I repeat the sentence one word at a time.
Math -- we're on adding and subtracting numbers up to 12, which is already very familiar territory for him, so I focus on the "patterns" -- fact families and addition or subtraction progressions, like 2+2 = 4, 3 + 2 = 5, etc, asking him to finish the pattern. We have some unifix blocks which are useful for these patterns and families, but he's the sort of child who gets overstimulated by concrete manipulatives and starts lining them up in battle formation or making them play house together. Or chewing on them! Sheesh. Arithmetic actually works much better for him when it's mental or in a computer game.
Language Arts -- it's a multi-strand program. One strand is literature. This comes easily, and I like the literature, though we modify some of the extensions. It's tied in with beginning composition, which works well for us. I can usually get him interested in the imaginary project. For example, this week we read a poem about flying and he's supposed to imagine what he would see if he were flying. More phony than something I would choose, but it usually turns into something rather fun because both of us like imagination games.
The other component is GUM -- grammar/usage/mechanics. It's worksheety, and often I introduce it orally and then have him do the worksheet at the end of the lesson. Fairly often I look for an online game to reinforce the concept. Right now he has just learned about nouns. Now we're going to do singular and plural nouns.
Finally, there is an optional thinking skills workbook dealing with pictorial and verbal analogies that we do once a week. He likes it most of the time and it's very easy.
Once again in this weekly report I focused on Paddy, partly because I keep closer track of his lessons than I do with Kieron. And I didn't even get to his non-core lessons. He has Science, History, Art and Music. They are all, theoretically, twice a week subjects (while the 3Rs listed above are daily). But in fact, there's usually too much to a lesson to cover it all in one day. So his week goes like this.
- Catechism and Lord of the Rings in the morning, miscellaneous stories in the afternoon and at bedtime.
- Math, Phonics, Language Arts.
Monday -- Wednesday
Introduce History and Science and Art
Introduce Music, finish History/Art/Science
Music, finish anything that didn't get done or do some of the extensions or optional activities.
I'll briefly share what is going on with Aidan's schoolwork, which is mostly devoted to phonics, handwriting and math.
Phonics -- he is on CVCs
- Word Chain warm-up -- yesterday, "cat" "rat" "ran" "run" "rum".
- Take a couple of focus words and develop them into a simple story related to something of interest to him. Yesterday: "The rat will run. Frodo ran too."
- Then he gets to make up his own story, which is usually about coolers and cars or what we did recently. I write it down and he rereads it.
- Then he writes a couple of words on his own, usually favorite words like "quiet" and "violin".
Working on addition. We take 2 dice and he rolls them. Then I write down the "fact" and he solves it by counting. I write down the solution. We repeat it together or I say the question and he says the solution. He can keep this up for a long time. Eventually I'll try to get him to solve them without looking but it's going to take a while. I can also let him use the dice as a calculator -- finding the right number of dots to match an equation and then solving it like that. Other extensions -- adding 3 numbers, and bridging into subtraction like this " 4 + ___ = 6. But if he gets tired of Dice Math, we'll do something different.
I usually do his schooling at night. I really REALLY want to start him on some literature studies. He does listen in a bit when I'm reading to the other guys in the morning. He likes poetry and that might be the door into literature for him. He is extremely focused on sound patterns.
I think I could also do some very simple history and science with him -- the concrete parts of the content Paddy is going through. Globes and scales and that kind of thing.
I think I may start writing daily learning logs like I did on my old blog Schola et Studium. I'm sorry that I will be inflicting that on you all but during active homeschooling seasons I have trouble focusing on other things. I guess this blog is mostly about whatever happens to be going on in my frontal lobes and right now, this is it ;-). There are a LOT of things going on in my life and environment right now that could potentially be blog material but the things I get motivated to write about are things that I am actively processing. So maybe if I keep learning logs the rest of the things will come out incidentally.