Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So far, so...?

We had a good meeting this morning and the 16yo was very insightful, got me thinking. Here's the conclusion I've come to:

As much as I've been saying one thing, I've been expecting the kids to simply do it all themselves. I have neglected to see that they are, in their own way, asking for some guidance. It's one thing to be in the middle of the year and have things kind of running themselves; at the beginning of the year, especially with the current 'arrangement' of children, I really need to provide a better structure for them. They're feeling lost so I'm feeling lost. But I'm not lost--I've just been waiting for them to come back but they have no clue which way to go!

I've come to the decision that I need to make a point of having one Montessori presentation a day. Whether they (I mean my dd and the 13yo when I speak of 'they') work with it more or not is beside the point. I'll be exposing them to more stuff and perhaps help them find that something that will engage them. I am also going to have a checklist that we'll look at in the morning and talk about what HAS to be done. We had talked this morning about routines and this and that, but they were all a little weird today and I changed things a bit (which the 16yo thrived on) but the 13yo ended up falling asleep (aha! it was adrenaline keeping him going and making him weird this morning!) and didn't get most of his work done. To be honest, he hasn't done any proper reading or writing this week at all and has only written TWICE since the school year started two weeks ago. This is really unacceptable. I know, I know, it sounds so un-Montessori. But he will hide himself away, pretending everything's fine and he doesn't have to do anything and it'll all turn out okay. And I can't let that happen.

What do I want, then? What do I expect? For the 13yo:

-daily phonics review (we've been using Phonics Pathways as he's stopped reading through words again)
-daily spelling/dictation
-daily reading aloud with me
-daily writing (I probably need to direct this more, be more specific about what I expect)
-other possibilities: grammar, copywork, analogy/vocabulary work, etc.

MATH (this HAS been getting done fairly well!)
-daily facts review
-daily math lesson and work

After that, I was content to just let him be, but I see that I really can't. He will disrupt EVERYTHING because he doesn't know what to do with himself so he talks with others, plays, acts up, etc. So... hm... What other subject areas are there?

-Computers: typing (he's already said he doesn't want to do it); HTML programming or use FrontPage to make a website; BASIC programming (I still have my Commodore 64); word processing; Photoshop

-French: oh, yes! I haven't really had any specific work for him; this has to be planned in

-Science: he's got his chemistry kit which we do one afternoon a week, but now we've got the gr. 8 science text; maybe I can take a Charlotte Mason approach with him and read stuff to him (or with him) and have him orally narrate--I'll have to pre-read to pick good things to read instead of ending up with really dry material; I could always invite him to what I want to show dd for science

-Social studies (geography and history): he balks at EVERYTHING for this; hm... Maybe I should just have him pick a country and he can keep a notebook to paste things in that he finds--even whole articles printed off (with website references!) to paste in it. Of course, if I could find a good historical novel that I could read a page or something to him and dd, following up with narration and maybe some sort of project idea, that could work, too. Not something I can get going tomorrow though. Unless I use Little House on the Prairie or probably better for him, Farmer Boy.

-Art: art is always allowed but they haven't really engaged in it. Maybe I need to try my hand at something some morning just before they show up.

-Music: ?.

-Practical Life: haven't thought about this; it'd be something good to include

Good to get the thoughts flowing a bit. I did journal last night (finally remembered!) and will journal again tonight. I should actually get going to do my journalling, read up on the 16yo's social studies (omg, talk about a NON-living textbook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and get myself ready for tomorrow.

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