Thursday, April 29, 2010

Schola Update --everybody

Spring fever hasn't really hit here yet. For one thing, it's snowing again today! Maybe cabin fever is more like it!

We've been in a pretty good routine. Kieron is trying to work out a lot so he can get ready for football late in this summer (if it's not still snowing by then ;-)). So he asked if we could do our read-aloud while he cycled on the stationary bike.

So every morning after I get the older boys sent off, unless I have to go into town (usually that is Mondays and Fridays) we sit up in the window seat near the bike. Paddy and I sit, Aidan wanders around, Kieron pedals.

First we say one of the prayers for that day of the week.

Then we read Return of the King. Yes, the trilogy has lasted all the way from August till now. We put it away for a long time when we were all so sick. Now we're just up to the part when Denethor -- well, you know. If you've read the book. If you haven't I don't want to spoil it.

Then I read a bit from the Early Church part of the Golden Bible. I was trying to read Acts from the Bible, but Paddy wasn't following. So this works better -- much the same language, but more oriented around the narratives.

Then we do some of the end of chapter questions in the Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechisms 1 and 2 as discussions, just to try to get conversation started, basically and cover any gaps.

Today I finally started them on their online lessons for the catechism which has been my big spare-time project for the last couple of weeks. This is meant to reinforce what we are doing together. I'm not a good impromptu teacher, though I'm good at reading aloud and informal discussion. Maybe that IS teaching! But it turns out that our religious education lacks something of the richness it could have because I have a hard time gathering resources, switching from book to book, presenting things, etc. For that reason I have high hopes for the blog format. So today I got the nerve to show Kieron his first lesson. which sort of tells him how the course is supposed to work. Watching, Paddy said, "Why don't I get to do lessons like that!" which, believe me, is one of those moments that really doesn't often happen in my homeschool. But that was a great opportunity to show him his first lesson. So the first day was a success, anyway. For me there's usually two really tough spots when I'm trying to do anything more than my default -- the first step, and then a step a couple of dozen away from the first, where second-guessing and second thoughts pile on me. So the first shoe dropped pretty well and hopefully I can face up to the second whenever it comes.

Aidan's school has been getting more off the ground. Today he dictated a story about coolers. He's making some real progress with reading but he still doesn't really get addition. I am just doing lots of games over and over again, trying to work with manipulatives AND some memorization, hoping he'll get it through sheer repetition.

I am having him read lessons from the Christian Brothers Primer and this is going quite well. In addition, we usually do a Starfall reading together. Basically, he's memorizing the stories -- oh well. That's why I'm trying to do the Primer so he gets a bit more phonics practice. I have Paddy spell the reading lesson.

Then every afternoon Kevin's been taking them down to the high school to work out. Sean and Kieron work out, that is, and Aidan and Paddy play mostly. But it's fun for them and really, really unusual for me. I rarely ever don't have my three youngest around me somewhere. And the bonus is that they are doing Healthy Good Things while I am off duty, not watching a video or something. That is SO rare.

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