Monday, October 02, 2006

A Really Great Day!

It turned out ENTIRELY different than I had planned, but it turned out great nonetheless.

I got going late this morning but still managed to do some letter work with ds during breakfast. One point for me! I also pulled out the sand later in the morning for him to trace letters in. And he played with playdough and lots of time outside.

The two oldest showed up late. The oldest was visibly not well--looking drained and pale. Her brother (the 12yo) took his stuff upstairs, found all the car books he had taken out last Fri., brought a couple down and sat down to read. Not sure how much he read, but I was able to see that he was actually reading some things here and there, even if most of his time was spent looking at the pictures. Dd and ds had already been reading (okay, for ds 'reading') for 15 minutes, with no hint of stopping right away, and I could tell there was no way I was going to get anything started with the oldest, so I sat down and read, too. The 15yo tried to follow suit but ended up just laying on the ground, her cheek on her book. (Poor girl has been fighting off the flu since last week.)

My niece showed up and ds went off to be with her. Dd went off to her room--thought she was reading but she was looking at her jewellery. She hasn't been feeling super well, either. The 12yo tried to claim suddenly that he was tired and not feeling well. It's inevitable: as long as one is truly not feeling well but doesn't want to go off and be alone, the others have little desire to work.

I refused to let this be a wasted day, though, and decided to do as much orally or group-oriented as I could. So I finished a chapter in Narnia for them. I pulled out the math flashcards, which got ds thinking about this other set of cards we have and he asked for those. I couldn't find them, but did find our poetry magnets and a pack of 3-word rhyme cards. The 12yo did a few of the math cards but then got busy with the magnets. Dd went through about 2/3 of the multiplication pack. The 15yo was mindlessly absorbing it all. After that, dd went off to use the word magnets with the 12yo (they came up with some pretty kooky sentences, but what a wonderful way to read and compose!) and I helped ds with his 3-word rhymes.

I can't really remember what happened after that, but I know the 15yo did up a chart for the verb 'avoir' and I got through a spelling assessment with the 12yo (he's gone up about 2 years in his spelling level over the past 1.5-2 years, despite practially no writing and almost no spelling work--he's been reading more though, even if it's not 'enough', or perhaps I should look at it as 'not as much as he could be' and we have been doing more work with phonics this year) . I also managed to use some wonderful Marva Collins' style comments during his spelling frustrations, combined with things learned from a book I have out on underachievers and he sort of dealt with his emotions and stuck through some of the difficulties. What progress! I also did the spelling assessment with dd (right at grade level) as well something from a science kit with her--it's supposed to create rock candy. We'll see.

Oh, and after lunch, the oldest was feeling a little better, not much though, and wanted to work but you could tell she just would not be able to process much and she didn't want to leave the comfy chair. So, she asked for 100 times facts. I didn't keep track of how long it took her, but she completed the sheet and only got one silly mistake. Definite improvement there! She wasn't pleased when she saw how quickly I went through and corrected them though. lol. I had to tell her the story of my amazement when I was in school: I was the fastest and most accurate on our timed tests, yet our teacher just zipped through them so quickly that I, too, was thoroughly amazed.

There was also discussion of a quote I took from Marva's book, wrote on a sheet of paper and put on the window: School will not do anything for you if you do not wish to do something for yourself.

I have to credit Marva for creating a mindset in me today that I expected success from the kids, in whatever way they could give it. And to make as many learning opportunities as possible. I hope to get to some more traditional work, but if they do better with more oral and 'together' types of activities, then so be it. It was a day where the kids and I were all feeling like homeschooling was a great thing, without battles and few frustrations.


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