For inspiration this week, I am rereading "Marva Collins' Way". She used a method not too different from the K12 one. ... lots of literature and "shared inquiry", memorization, phonics, and a sort of personal challenge to excel. My thought for the week is "Anything works if the teacher does".
We're wrapping up Week 3. There were a lot of unit assessments this week which is how I get to take the pulse of our progress. Kieron's results showed Science the highest -- then Language Arts -- then History -- then Algebra trailing. This is probably also a measure of his most to least favorite subjects. I do miss our MEP Math which he enjoyed.
I am trying Aidan out on the beginning lessons of Paddy's first grade. One of my hesitations about enrolling him is that I have no idea where he ought to be placed. But so far, he is having no trouble with the beginning lessons. Actually, it gives me insight into some of Paddy's impatience with the materials. The pace they move at looks like it works for Aidan. It is very systematic and material/kinesthetic based. For Paddy, it is hard because his body is kinesthetic but his mental processes really aren't. They are intuitive.
Here's an example --I was reading about King Tut to him the other day and saying that he lived 3000 years ago. To put it in context, I said that Jesus lived about 2000 years ago and that Jesus was born somewhere around the Year 0. Paddy's eyes got large and he said solemnly, "Then King Tut was born at minus 1000". This is why he gets impatient with pages of tiles showing addition and subtraction problems. We are moving through those units fast but I don't want to skip them altogether and later find that he missed some grounding and have to go back. So when we reach his actual level of math thinking it will be actually easier, I think. I won't have to work so hard figuring out what things he doesn't know because they are basically artifacts and useless to real math knowledge, and what things he doesn't know that he actually will need to know.
Phonics is similar. I think the auditory exercises are somewhat important. For instance, he can't "hear" short vowel sounds. He can't reliably pick out rhymes. He doesn't know the difference between digraphs and blends. Yet he can read just fine. He already knows all the words in the lessons, both the Dolch sight words and the phonics based words, unless they are obscure words like "fund" and "theft" which he just guesses at. Slowly he is learning to slow down and sound out somewhat, which is my goal. But I don't want to slow him to a lockstep, of course.
So I'll be glad when he gets past these review pages and into the real material. Right now science and history are actually challenging because they are about things he does not know at all. He was impatient with the fact-based knowledge at first but is now getting intellectually interested. That's nice to see. And of course, loving the folk tales and stories and even the poems -- that's a given. He takes out the books they sent and browses through them when he has time.
He is making progress in cursive! Slow but steady. And he is printing better too. (I have him do some worksheets on his own in his default script which is sort of capital-letter based since that is what he learned first).