Sunday, October 07, 2007

Just a little babble

I don't know if I'm procrastinating or am over-computered or if I do have things on my brain I need to get off! I felt the desire to type, so here I am.

The 16yo did her first math test for Pure Math 20 this past Friday. She got 82%! Woo hoo! But we've got to work some more on the principles from The Secret and on her perfectionism a bit because her original goal was 90% (she's NEVER had anything CLOSE to 90% on a math test; she even got 52% on her Math 10 final). So, what happened when she got her 82%? Pout; "It's not 90." I had to remind her about Jack Canfield and how the first year he used the principles that his goal was to make $100 000. He 'only' made $90-something thousand (he was making something like $8000/year before that). He said something like, "Were we disappointed? No way!" So, we've got to work on that--that if we come really close to meeting our goals, and especially if we've succeeded in doing better than in the past, then we should feel proud of ourselves and not beat ourselves up over not meeting them. I'm sure there are little quotes or articles I can find and share over the next while.

Something else on the 16yo: I got her English 10 exam mark back. 67%. This is actually a relief because we had NO idea how this teacher would mark her written section and we knew she'd done poorly on the matching section and it was iffy about the multiple choice reading comprehension. This gives her a final mark of 70% for English 10 (she had 73% for the stuff she did with me), which is a very decent mark (50-64% is a C, 65-79% is a B and 80-100% is an A for schools here). Especially when you consider that she was considered 2-3 years behind in reading comprehension and in writing when she first started with me 4 years ago!

Other than that, I've started jotting down a few ideas for next week's planning. We've only got 4 days plus the oldest has a dentist appointment Tues. morning. Although we had a bit of an issue on Friday with the 13yo, I'm going to continue with the checklist style I set up for him. His nose was a bit out of joint because dd didn't have the same type of list--she had complete free choice and the list was ideas of stuff for her to work on. When he noticed she was looking at 'fun stuff', he asked, "She gets to do that stuff already?" I said that she already spends a lot of time reading and writing, so that's all taken care of. She had also just finished a math sheet and a grammar sheet, whereas he had only finished the math sheet. It set off something else and he didn't do any more work that morning. Of course, while he's all pouty about dd getting to do other stuff, know what she did? She typed up a story on the computer for the next 2 hours.

In any case, the way I had it set up was requirements at the top, then optional (ideas) list on the bottom. Once he made his way through the top stuff (which was just math and LA) in any order he chose, he could pick from the bottom or come up with some other idea. We've already had days where he's just about accomplished the same amount of stuff that I've put on his requirements list, so I'm not really asking too much. I do need to remember about the work inhibition stuff I read this summer and focus on noticing and charting work-related improvements (skill improvement, increased work accomplished, getting himself going on his own, etc.).

We are still having too many 'lost' days. I think this has to be my focus this coming week, or coming few weeks: keeping a certain structure. I think I'm too flexible, which ends up turning into inconsistent. There's a lot to be said about routine and limits! What kinds of limits? Well, like basement is off limits. Putting ALL the toys away (such a HUGE distraction for the 13yo; or rather, such a huge excuse to be pulled away from work). I'm not sure quite yet what to do about the 13yo and lack of work in the morning. There's one side that says that privileges, like play time, should be removed until work is done. The one book on work inhibition I read said that instead of focusing on things like that, focus more on improving, over time, the amount of work being accomplished. Of course, if I put back, yet again, our afternoon work time, then that might open up more possibilities; that is, instead of going off and playing in the basement or just goofing around, at least he will be participating in some agreed-upon reasonable activities. Like the Stratego they got out the other day. GREAT game for working on logic and planning skills. They've been wanting to learn chess off and on but my one chess board (an old electronic one which has a square that doesn't work any more) is nowhere to be found and the tiny one we had is way too tiny. I should get another one. I spend 2-3 afternoons a week focusing on the oldest's work, so something like chess, or setting up art activities or something would be good.

Other school babbling? Really get the kids planning their morning during our morning meeting. I have to make sure I announce it. I far too often just change things without explaining that I'm changing things! One thing I want the oldest to plan in this week: review. We're starting to get a good work thing going with her, adapting it to her tiredness and all that. It's time to take the next step up towards being a great, independent, student for a traditional school system; the kind of student she needs to be for success in university. She's got this long-standing idea in her head that her memory is awful and thinks there's something wrong with her for not being able to remember some topic from her chemistry book that she read in 15 minutes 2 weeks ago--and hasn't looked at since. Time for her to understand that most people have to constantly review. All of the books I've had out on Photoreading and study skills and mind mapping and What Smart Students know--they ALL have you come back to the stuff regularly. In different ways, mind you, but you MUST come back to the stuff on a regular basis. I need to give her that little lesson then I'm going to have her pick ONE, only one, little thing to review in each subject each time she does the subject. For math, for example, do ONE question from a previous unit. Build up a habit of following through on review.

I think that's enough for now. Time to get my butt moving! I've got a chess set to go buy. ;). Okay, other errands too!

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