Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Things are going well!

Although the 16yo is still being plagued by headaches and just the feeling that she's fighting off something (she's hoping to get in to see her doctor this week as she thinks she might have a sinus infection, too), her work is still progressing reasonably well. She didn't get a lot done today, but had no problem sitting down with me for an hour this afternoon, when she was feeling better, to get her cruising through some of her social studies. We've been talking a bit more and getting a feel for things and right now; she says she just feels the need to be told what she should get done and she'll do what she can to do it. Sounds good to me!

Since my change in approach--having the "requirements" but giving dd and the 13yo free choice at the same time, things are getting progressively better. The 13yo is taking tiny baby steps to really learning what he wants to learn and dd is enjoying being able to spend time on the computer typing up her story ideas. That left me this morning thinking about ds and how it's time I add him in. So I thought of something we could do this morning that wouldn't take very long because we were just getting going very slowly and I picked one of the little French easy readers we have, read it with him (having him read the odd word here and there) and then wrote out one of the sentences--but with each word on an index card. He really liked having to read the words to put the sentence back together and thought of other words (silly stuff, of course) that he would like on index cards for when we do something together another day. These all got stored in a page protector for sports cards (found it at a dollar store the other day).

Later on, the 16yo was resting as her headache had gotten really bad and she felt exhausted, dd was on the laptop and the 13yo was working on an e-card for his mom (her birthday today), I asked ds if he wanted to look at this one library book with me, something he'd taken out sometime ago and we'd never looked at. He said yes. So we curled up on the couch and instead of me reading it all to him, we just looked at the images and talked about stuff (it was a book on life cycles). He was exposed to so many different things! Arthropods, amphibians, fish (including a cool one that keeps the eggs in its mouth until they hatch), mammals--we talked about what it meant to be a mammal, birds, even a bit of the 'birds and the bees' as he asked how babies got out of their moms. It was just a wonderful time together, 'doing school' in a relaxed, yet fully interested way.

One thing I started drawing up yesterday were little worksheets that go through the different concepts at different grade levels. I realized yesterday that the 13yo, first of all, does NOT like the very open structured types of lessons--a worksheet that shows clearly what he's got to do is what he likes; secondly, that he's been balking at stuff I've been trying to introduce to him from his gr. 8 text--I keep getting the, "This is stupid," which usually means, "I feel stupid." So these worksheets I'm drawing up are to 1) give him the structure he likes and 2) get a good feel for where certain concepts and skills are going astray. Already today, there was the discovery that while he knows that 4 tens is 40, he could not somehow grasp that he was only supposed to write 4 tens instead of writing 40 tens. (This was looking at images of base ten blocks.) I'm not sure if the concept isn't there right or if the setup messed him up. In any case, this feels like the right thing to do--and dd is LOVING doing it, too! She ASKED to get the same sheets, finished up the first 4 quickly then asked for the next 2. She was on a roll. Of course, the sheets she had so far have only covered grades 1 and 2, maybe a bit of gr. 3, numeration concepts. ;)

Speaking of which, I'd best get to working through those sheets more!

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