Sunday, September 24, 2006

Last Week of September

Holy cow, it's already the last week of September!!! Time flies so quickly.

I've started the thinking process and planning for dd and ds's science. I had a look at the grade 1 science topics, figuring it would be a nice gentle way to start off something more structured, and it will be. The topics are:

creating colour
seasonal changes
building things
needs of animals and plants

I'm going to start with seasonal changes, as we're in the midst of seasonal changes right now. Activities I will introduce to them are: tracking the amount of daylight each day (graphing), noticing and recording plant changes (this might involve drawing or using the camera), noting animal migrations, make little booklets on summer and autumn (activities, clothing; for ds, I was thinking just labelled pages, but for dd, a few lines or a short paragraph for each page). This will be an on-going topic since autumn seems to be taking a LOOOOOOONG time to do its official switching this year. (I've never seen anything like it--grass is as green as can be, barely any yellow/orange/red leaves around, the geese are only now starting to slowly pack up their bags and go.) I'll see if I can find some books at the library on the seasons to have laying around or to read to them.

So that planning is done. I haven't figured out social studies yet, but that's ok. One step at a time! I have a Canada map that I could play games with them to work on some basic geographic knowledge.

As for this week in general (or more specifically--depends on how you look at it and the term 'in general'), the 15yo will keep going with what she's doing. I've got to get French work going a little more intensely and talk to her about the amount of work she's doing and how she will fit in 4-5 hours a day. The 12yo simply needs to spend more time working. I've got social studies ready for him for this week, I need to get some French done for him and everything else is set. Although I think I'm going to set up a reading chart for him. Make it fun and visual--seeing things and progress helps him a lot. He can colour off a square or put a sticker or something. (This is not the same as a reward chart! More on Montessori and avoiding rewards in another post.)

Oh, babble time as my thoughts have increased exponentially:

The 12yo needs to spend more time reading and writing this week. He has done no writing since being back. I just had the thought of following WRTR's writing lessons, but that left me feeling absolutely horrible. It's the most stagnant, boring thing I've ever encountered. It may work, but... There's got to be a better way. What was I going to have him do? I was going to have him keep a reading dialogue journal. Read about this in a Lucy Calkins(?) book. He can just write one sentence for now, but he needs to write something so that he can build on it. Another option would be to have him do a type of Thomas Jefferson Education approach: have him write about what he's learned that day. This could actually be a good motivational tool because it can lead to, "What would you like to be able to put in your summary?" Kind of like Marva Collins putting a child's behaviour grade in at the beginning of the year and telling him that it's his if he makes sure to keep it. (I know I'm throwing out names and stuff everywhere. I told you this was a babble and that I had too many thoughts!)

Let me organize this visually so I can see it better. Everything's getting muddled:
  • LA: phonics/handwriting (WRTR), assigned reading (modified version of Sherlock Holmes is what I've decided upon, despite my earlier mention of Robinson Crusoe--he's more interested in Sherlock Holmes), but then... do I have him write about his reading AND about his day? Sure. Why not? Get the habit going now. The more he writes, the better. If he only writes a sentence for each thing, then so be it. That's still two sentences a day, ten sentences a week and forty sentences a month (roughly). Not bad!
  • Math: already decided--pages planned out from his textbook (which reminds me, I have to go into Homeschool Tracker and reschedule since we ended up having a "PD day" on Friday) and multiplication tables practice (each day a different way for the same table: bead bars, bead frame, graph paper, basic skip counting)
  • Science: still don't have his text
  • Social: have this week's lessons taken from our school board's website
  • French: I have one sheet ready. I'd like to have a sheet a day in addition to any oral stuff. But am I going to be over-doing it? I mean in terms of my own time and sanity--am I trying to prepare too much right now? I'll have a look at the topics I want to cover first with him and see what we can do. It's not a priority right now.
  • What else? Maybe encourage him to work on typing (he can get early high school credits if he can meet the standards) or computer programming or something. He'll undoubtedly spend time drawing, too.

That's enough babble for now. I've got to go put stuff into Homeschool Tracker (Plus) for the week and get some other stuff done. I haven't been good at tracking which is going to be a goal for me this week--take time each day to put in what they do. I might just leave the program open and put in their stuff as they do it. Oh, too many thoughts and things to do!


Debbie said...

Wowza! Well, I can relate.

It's funny that you mentioned the reading rewards thing. I was contemplating that concept on my blog recently. Last year we did a lot of reward systems. In the end he wanted to know what reward he was going to get for doing anything. That's when I begun to think that there was something wrong with this system.

Jane said...

Daisy, how do you like homeschool tracker.......after reading my blog where I list what we do each day would you think HS Tracker would still be of use? Is it of use to unschoolers at all? Do you use the free download or do you pay the extra......??

September has flown past! Christmas will be here before we know it!

Daisy said...

Jane, HST could still be of use to you, especially if you want to be able to see what they've done. I know people--including unschoolers--who have used the basic free version for putting in things after-the-fact. They love being able to print off things showing what the kids have done. Since it is free, there's no harm in trying it out!

I don't think the extra version would be useful to you, though. It really is designed for those who want to be able to plan units or series of lessons and things like that ahead of time or for serious reporting needs. (For example, you can do weighted grading and things like that.)

Daisy said...

Debbie, that's the exact reason that rewards are such a no-no! I'll go post more on this. :D

Jane said...

Thanks Daisy!

DianeC said...

I just discovered the HomeSchool Tracker & installed it last night! What a neat free resource. I like the Daily Journal and the printouts.
It's like getting a new toy!
Diane C.