Sunday, May 20, 2007

A month left!

There's pretty much only a month left of school. We technically go until the last day of June, but we never make it that long with formal school work. The 16yo has plans to do her finals the week of June 11-15, although I wouldn't be surprised if one exam gets put to the Monday after to give her the weekend for further study. After that, dd has asked for us to put on a popsicle stick puppet play, there will be various field trips, I will, admittedly, orally cram all kinds of French things into the 16yo's brain (we've totally neglected French this past while!) and basically just fun stuff.

So, what's left to do?

The 16yo has math, ELA and science to finish up. She's got two weeks to do a science unit that would normally take a month. She's going to have to spend a lot of time reading! She's going to have to double up on some math lessons here and there. Plus fit in what's left of her English, which is short story, poetry, discuss an essay, have her write written responses for different things, have her do a visual or multimedia "text". Two weeks. She's going to have to figure out a way to work her butt off. The reason she's only got two weeks for it is because she's taking the week after that to study for her math and science exams. She needs LOTS of practice/review time for her math and lots of study time for the science, plus practice with the equation stuff she needs to know. I suspect she'll do her English exam on June 11 or 12, then do the math exam later that week and the science on the Friday or the following Monday. I think I need to put a calendar up so she can see the time she has left. She also will need a daily feedback time to see where she's at. I told her on Friday that she really ought to finish her biology unit because she was only going to have 8 days, really, to do the final unit (4 days this coming week, then 4 days the week after because the Friday will be "off" for her brother's 13th birthday). It motivated her--she got the unit done AND we had time to do one of the bio activities.

As for her brother, my primary focus these next 4 weeks will be on LA and math. For his LA, I'm going to insist that he write every day. Actually, let me write out my plan, although I think I did this yesterday, but it helps me sort out my thinking:

-daily one-on-one with me (kind of remedial tutoring): I think I'm going to do the WRTR phonics review, but then switch to Phonics Pathways for reading and spelling. I'm catching him sooooooooo often lately not actually looking at the letters in words. He can read so much when he pays attention to all the letters, but he'll quickly process a couple and assume it's such-and-such word. I'll say to him something like, "How about looking at all the letters?" He'll look again and can usually read it correctly. But he still struggles with the simple words. I think this must have to do with blocks built up in grade 2, because it's the type of words he was working on in his gr. 2 classroom. (There are days where I feel I could strangle his gr. 2/3 teacher! So many blocks in place because of her!!!) Part of this remedial time will be oral reading. I was trying to decide if I should just go to words (I've got this Dr. Fry book with 1000 words kids should know how to read and write) or stick with the oral McGuffey. I now think that alternating would work best. He likes familiarity, but gets quickly bored if things are too familiar.

-daily assigned reading (silently on his own) with follow-up written work: I have a remedial gr. 7 workbook that consists of reading passages with follow-up questions/written activities. I had planned on having him do the whole book, but after doing a few selections, he really ended up resisting it. I think it's good work for him, though. I'm going to have him take no more than 2 days to work on a selection. Some of the selections are little cartoons that don't take any time at all to read.

-daily composition work: he's got a short story to finish and then an essay to work on for the next two weeks; after that, we'll see, but he has to write daily

-math: I'll put together some worksheets for this; 1 sheet is with questions from Ray's Arithmetic--division questions from the Primary book--and the other sheet will be with things from his MathPower book. I think I've decided that next year he should have the modified math 8 workbook. I think it'd work better for him to have the workbook and see what he has and hasn't gotten done. He just likes to live in lala-land and pretend there's nothing for him to do. Although I'll have to think carefully about that--I still want him doing the Ray's work, too. Ray's is so focused on figuring out rather than simply knowing stuff and providing the answer. It's super good for him.

-science: while this is not a focus, there is an excellent unit on structures in his text and he was just asking the other day about making popsicle stick bridges; this will take at least 2 weeks to go through

-social studies: I want him to know the provinces/territories and capital cities of Canada before the year is out. Just one of those things. lol.

-options: art, typing, web page work and more.

What I need to really remember to do is to tell him about the changes so he knows what's expected of him. Not that he'll necessarily be cooperative afterwards, but better chance of it when it's all spelled out what I expect. Oh, and I also need to have a look at the ed plan I submitted at the beginning of the school year to see what I may have missed!

For dd...

-math: Ray's arithmetic but I think I might have her do some of the MathPower stuff that the 12yo will be doing. The angles work is really not that difficult and she'd look at it like a puzzle to be solved. I should maybe show her on the side, though--I suspect she'll be more interested in it than the 12yo and will do the work faster than he, and he'd see it as though she's smarter, but it's really just that she's interested and not afraid to play around and see if she can figure it out; he'd just see it as something else to potentially get wrong. [This reminds me: he and I have been having more and more conversations about his lack of confidence in himself. I need to see if I can track down good empowering literature to share with them, the way Marva Collins did.]

-French: we had bought the 3rd book (in French; I don't think it's been translated into English) in the Arthur and the Invisibles series and I had had hopes of her being able to read it with me. It's more challenging than I thought it would be, so I think I'll have to read it to her. Maybe once we've finished and she'll be more used to the language, she'll be confident enough to read the 4th book on her own. For writing... A mix of stuff. I need her to write every day. She enjoys writing stories with me, where we take turns But I'm almost thinking I'd like to alternate that with French copywork. Then we can look at some of the grammar/spelling involved in the copywork rather than correcting all her mistakes in her written.

-social studies: she needs to keep working on her Around the World project. She's only on country #15 or something like that. I told her that I would do at least one country for every country she does. I've only gotten one done so far. :0 If she and I could each do one each day for the next 4 school weeks, that'd be almost 40 countries. Plus the 15 I need to do still, that brings it up to 70. We'll see.

-English: whatever. lol. She reads a lot, she writes well... Totally unschooled for ELA.

-science: she'll probably participate in the structures unit

All my thoughts for now. I want to go play. :D

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