Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm REALLY not good at this!

It's been more than 5 months since my last entry. I'm going to give it one last go and see if I can make this a good habit and hopefully, in turn, provide something useful to others!

I'm not even going to attempt to summarize the last 5 months--remembering the past couple of weeks can be difficult enough. ;) However, I can give an idea of where we are at.

Spring has sprung and the kids really want to be outside a lot. It's only just hit me as I write this (see, I really ought to write more often) that I ought to take advantage of that and try to incorporate that into their learning more. I wish I could be more experimental and just go for it with the kids, as Maria Montessori seemed to be, rather than worrying, planning, etc. I suppose it just takes a certain amount of practice.

We still have a little over 2 months left of school to finish, with some of the kids having to finish certain work within the next month--has to do with the type of registration they have and plans for next year-- and my own kids being able to just keep plodding along at their own pace. I'm trying very hard to get the 11yo to do more writing. An idea I had had in the past has come up again, but with a twist: since he's so dreadfully afraid of writing--because he worries about the spelling and what to write and thinks it'll be "stupid" or have to be redone (damage done from his previous school)--I want to tape him as he tells me about something, or makes up some story, and then have him transcribe it. I've proposed the idea to him in the past, but sitting down and having to think of something somewhat sensible to say in the tape recorder just doesn't cut it for him. So, I'm going to have a tape recorder on when he arrives tomorrow morning and tape one of his usual morning updates, maybe transcribe it myself and hand it to him as one of his written projects. He'll say he didn't write it and I can tell him about Stephen Hawking, and even show a picture of him, and say, "How do you think he writes books?"

This has got other thoughts going: I think he's got misconceptions of what writing really is. I know I said something about being willing to type up final work of his, but he seemed to think that meant it would be my work. I asked him if authors typed up all the books we buy in stores; he admitted that they couldn't. I somehow have to get across to him that writing is just someone's message, but written down. I think my tape recorder idea could work. We'll see. (And hopefully I'll remember to post about it. :D )

So, I guess that's an experiment on my part. (Pat on back.) Wait, I'll hold off patting my back until I actually do it.

Back to what I was saying... The 11yo needs to work on writing and reading--he is still so dependent and he can't learn about all the other things he wants to know about on his own because he can't read or even know how to spell things well enough to find what he wants. This and math are major priorities as he'll be heading into grade 7 next year and has only 3 more years until high school, which he's fairly sure most days he wants to attend (we have a school nearby that he would absolutely love going to.) Even if he decides not to go, he sees the importance of at least being at a level where he has the freedom to actually choose it rather than be forced to not attend. Oh, and he also has some minor testing to do in the coming month, required by our school board. We'll see what I can get him to do.

Other than that, I think this week's focus is getting some of the testing (reading and writing) done for the 8yo and the 15yo. They've done the reading today, we'll do a writing practice tomorrow, see if they want yet another writing practice on Wed. and then do the test on Thurs. I'm at a loss as to what to do with the 4 others during this time. It was very rough trying to get the 11yo and the 9yo to get into any kind of work this morning and even the 5yo was asking me what he could do. I spent so much time trying to get the testing in place, monitoring it and handling a cranky 14mo that I just didn't seem to be able to come up with something to get them going. It probably would have helped to work out some sort of plan together before the testing began.

Since tomorrow's practice test is going to be just like a real test, we'll have to set up a normal work time beforehand, I think. But I also have to figure out how to bring some life back to our school work. The nice weather is calling to them so much, but with the 11yo having to complete certain work within the next month and the 9yo possibly heading off to school next year, there are, as un-Montessori as it is, work requirements. They're not interested in figuring out requirements, so perhaps I simply create a plan or contract with them for tomorrow and let them decide when they'll do it.

This has gotten quite long. I'll leave it for now and hopefully come back in a few days to share on how the "tape recording writing" went.

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