Sunday, April 29, 2007

To Start Again

The past few weeks or so have been just difficult and crazy!! Let me see if I can start anew this week.

I have to admit to being in a slight panic mode: May begins this week, which means within the next two months, we will be doing our year-end review with our facilitator. Yikes! It's like going to the doctor or dentist: always makes me nervous. Plus it means putting things together to show what we've done. It'd be better if I did that as we went along, kind of kept a running scrapbook or binder of sorts, but, alas, I don't. Kind of like my taxes, which still aren't done...

Anyhow, the 12yo had a great work day last week and was so proud of himself. He says he wants to work like that more often. (Of course, that day was followed by a day of him feeling crummy and not being able to work like that, but hey.) He basically did all his work in less than an hour. Which tells me what? That he's capable of FAR more. So, I'm planning in what I think to be 2 hours per day of work this week. I have to make sure I stay firm--and put reminders up for myself in not-too-obvious places--that he is not to have free time for stuff until he can prove to me his work is done. I also have to remind myself to tackle his idea of what learning is (it clicked recently that he doesn't see all this work as learning, but doing, and that he seems to think he should just know the answer) and to have him decide who/what he's going to let be in control: his difficult feelings when he gets frustrated or doesn't know something (which will only cause him to lose out) or him and his desire of being at grade level and having big options later on (he's always had his sight on something in the sciences).

So, what's my plan for him this week?

LA (about 60 minutes):
-auditory and phonics work
-read aloud from McGuffey reader; then do copywork, then dictation of copywork
-assigned silent reading (about 3-5 pages or so of a book at a more challenging level than what he reads aloud to me)
-write about what he's read: one paragraph
-a grammar or phonics/reading worksheet
-work together on essay creation (he doesn't actually do any writing for this)

[Note: the above would not necessarily happen in that order! I think I'll break it down into 2 or 3 blocks and talk to him about what sort of order he wants to do things in]

MATH (about 30 minutes):
-since he's been doing his math sheets in about 10 minutes when focused, I'm going to give him 2 math sheets per day this week; this means that including any instructional stuff, it should only take him 30 minutes to do math

SCIENCE/SOCIAL (about 20 minutes):
-this will alternate days; for science, it'll be reading through safety stuff about his science kit; for social, mapwork (provinces of Canada)

FRENCH (about 10 minutes):
-he hears a lot of French and uses a decent amount (plus it's easy to fit in little oral things here and there); this French time would be focused on reading and writing--this week: simple syllables (I think I'll see if ds will join us and we can do some sort of games with this)

Yes, as you've noticed, I've scrapped the CM schedule. It never really worked super well. The idea of a general schedule is good, though, except now I want him focused on work rather than on time. His work the one day last week was amazing.

For the rest of the year, I'm really not taking a Montessori approach. I may use Montessori materials here and there, but I've finally worked through where *I'm* at and I just can not be that 'free' with them for the next month and a half or so. I have yet to work out specifically what I'll do with ds and dd, but it will be a little more structured. I need to have this year finish on what I feel is a good note!

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