Saturday, January 26, 2008

What? January's almost done??

Where did it go???

This last week seemed to drag on forever. By Wednesday, we were all thinking it was Friday. Not sure why. We're probably cooped up too much while the 16yo finishes up her work and studying for her exams. One more week and her first 2 exams will be done and her exam studying will be done.

Not a whole lot got done by dd and "Bob" this week. Part of it was because I was so focused on helping the 16yo. Another part is that everybody's getting so antsy, it felt better to just let them go play. They actually decided to learn how to play chess this week. It's absolutely hilarious to watch because they've modified the rules. It's no longer a competitive game--they're making deals with each other about places they can move. Some of the games, though, are lasting a whole 5 minutes. It's quite funny!

I've been doing not too badly with ds. A couple of times, I gave him is A Beka cursive workbook (K level) and told him to pick any page. He likes that rather than having to go strictly in order. He was sooooooooo proud of some of his letters. It was so cute. Then I decided to do a modified Ray's Primary Arithmetic lesson (orally), but thought I didn't need to go in order like they do. (First question is something like: John has 1 apple and Mary gives him 2 apples. How many apples does he now have? Second question goes to 2+2, then 3+2 and so on.) Actually, I thought he'd catch on too quickly and would just automatically go in order without thinking about the answer. But he got all confused and I went in order and he never caught on. I should just trust the program--it was used for years in the old schoolhouses in the 1800's and the kids learned so much from their approach.

Dd is no longer doing the Saxon math. She was eager to do it before she started actually doing it. Then it was drudgery. I just made up some sheets for her for a bit then gave her The Key to Algebra and had her do a couple of pages. She LOVES it. So there we go. She's happy with math again. I'm thinking, though, that I'm so tired of her and Bob not knowing their times tables that I may have them do a TON of work on them this week. Is it possible to learn all your tables in a week? It's not like it's something new. But there is so much frustration from certain work because they don't know their tables. It's time to get them mastered and be done with. I could have sworn years ago I'd seen something about mastering the times tables in a week. I'll have to see if I can find something. If not, I'll make something up using a variety of approaches. Using just worksheets, of course, would be very annoying. But you mix some oral recitation with some physical games (like go pick up the answer) and some board games and some flash cards AND the worksheets, then you get a lot of practice in a bunch of different ways. Oh, right, and I have a multiplication tables Wrap-Up. I've got lots of stuff. That's my only math plan for them this coming week, except maybe integrate some fun geometry.

Other than that, Bob's reading is making some nice progress. I think his glasses have made a big difference. He's made it clear that he likes having a checklist to tell him what he needs to do, but likes choosing the order. That's fine--if it works for him, so be it. This week, I'm assigning him pages to read in the book Peak by Roland Smith. He's started reading it with/to me and it's going well. AND he's enjoying it. I really think it's a book he'll like. I'm only assigning 3-4 pages per day, definitely doable. Especially since we're restarting our 30 minutes of silent reading in the morning. Somebody reading this might say, "He's only going to read 3 pages in 30 minutes?" Well, his reading is still iffy and this book is actually above his level (although he read "moldering" without ANY assistance last week--woo hoo! and he KNEW it was moldering even though he had no clue what moldering meant!) and he spends half his time fretting about whether he'll be able to read and getting up and getting a drink or going to the bathroom or asking questions... If he can get the 3 pages done in 30 minutes, that'll be great. Then we can start gradually moving him up.

The 16yo is going to be studying social and chem on Monday, mixing it in with beginning to plan her second semester, do her social exam Tuesday morning, we'll go to the library Tuesday afternoon, I think she has a driving lesson Wed. morning or Wed. lunch hour, then she'll study chem and continue her semester planning, then Thursday study chem and do semester planning, then Friday morning, do her chem exam and Friday afternoon, she'll be able to go snowboarding and know she's done her exams! (Well, for now--she has to finish her math still and do that exam in March. And, of course, that doesn't count the 4 exams she'll have to do second semester in May/June.) She can go home Friday night and know that there's not a single thing she has to work on all weekend. :)

For ds and my niece... I'm really trying hard to focus on bringing more Montessori into our days. I have felt so scattered the past couple of weeks, though, and think it's largely due to not getting some good routines in and focus on these exams and evaluations (oh, yes, that's another thing the 16yo has to do--do MY tests/worksheets so I have marks to give). I've started rereading some Montessori stuff and am thinking up ideas. I need to get my own personal routine going so that I can improve upon our environment and have be prepared to show them some great lessons. That's always the key--the outer stuff happens according to how I've dealt with my own things. Always like that. When I slack off, even if my slacking off has nothing to do with the kids' work, then they do. Total mirroring! It's crazy. But at the same time a nice natural consequence to keep showing us how we're off. :)

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