Saturday, September 12, 2009
Excitement and joy are building
I've been doing more web browsing, finding some great sites and things to rekindle my spark! I think I'm heading in the direction I want to be heading. Some thoughts so far:
-work with her to create a plan for certain things she wants to improve, like her math tables; the plan should include specific goals (like speed) and the how
-one project idea that came out of the idea of the Montessori farm school: where does our food come from, how are farms run here in Alberta, possible visit to a farm, legalities, ecological issues, organic foods, container gardening, etc.
-her strongest interests right now are art, reading and writing, which led to the thought of going back in history and start presenting artists to her, including any historical documents (journals, biographies, etc.) that may be available; one of the things would be to learn about how they learned to draw/paint/etc. and even attempt at recreating some of their work; she could have a binder/portfolio on a specific artist or time period with a possible eventual goal of putting it all together and binding it (she just saw her uncle's PhD thesis which was bound at Staples, so the idea of having her own bound project/book might very much appeal to her); reading and writing about the artists will automatically be ELA/FLA and we can tackle some grammar and spelling and other things that way, although I would like to do some other side lessons.
-Another part of the above interests is to find more authors who were still school age when they wrote and got published, find out more about how they maybe wrote their first books, etc. So far, she knows of Christopher Paolini and Gordon Korman. Both were high school age when they got published, but her high school years aren't far away. Right now, she feels like when she reads and writes, she's not really "doing school" and not learning anything, so I'd love to come across some outside source that says, "I credit my time reading and writing to being able to get published." Okay, perhaps not expressed quite that way. ;) Right now, her thoughts are on possibly being an author, so I would like to figure out how to support that without her feeling like Mom is pushing. lol.
-lightbulb moment was had: She does NOT have to do her math text in order, although she may very well want to do it in order because she'll be able to keep the pace her Dad's students are keeping (it's the same text), OR she'll be tickled at being ahead, if we get her ahead. (So far, this text is actually going quite well, other than our inability to sit down and do it. Once we get going, she's finding it quite fine and picking up stuff very well, even answering some things before I have figured them out. :) I think it was the perfect confidence-building thing for this year for her. If we can be more consistent, I could see her being done early and choosing to start the grade 8 math before the end of the school year.)
-figure out a 3-year plan for him, and put together a list of things for him to work on this year
-show him the list (or perhaps a partial list for just the first half of the year) and have him choose things to work on, but not just to work on--the goal must be mastery (although, I have to say he's already got at least a bit of a sense for this: he knew he had to do some work yesterday, grabbed his cursive book and did only one page, did some other stuff, then rushed off and played; I asked him to show me what he did in his cursive and before he found the page, he said he had to work on p's more because he can't get them! lol. Turned out that the A Beka 'p' is kind of loopy so I showed him another way to do it and he tried that, was pleased, then went off and played. :D)
-the above means that his math doesn't have to be done in order and that I don't even have to rely necessarily on his text, or on this text; he's got practice stuff all over the place--the list of things to learn would include ways of practising and proving he can do it
-nature study: We used to go for regular walks and sometimes bring notebooks and art pencils; no reason not to do this! My 4yo could even have her own book and try to draw things. One Montessori website I was at (Hershey Montessori School) had the kids sometimes do partnered journalling, where after a while, they exchanged journals and then would draw in things the other person hadn't put in.
-accountability: I think figuring out how to incorporate accountability, to have some way of each one seeing what they are spending their time on would be greatly helpful. But how to do that without spending my entire time watching them and writing things down? Hm...
On another note, it's time I brought up the Choice Theory idea of Quality Work with at least Bob. He was doing some of his science yesterday, the stuff he has to hand in. He was on a multiple choice question and had to write the letter answer. It was D. It was his last question. So he wrote a D, but so sloppily, that my 4yo niece could have done it better. It honestly looked like some 3yo had tried to write a D. He also has been doodling on the pages he'll be handing in and on his math page from yesterday, he drew--IN INK--a Pacman for his greater than symbol > . This is obviously not okay! He's 15! He has an obvious pull towards the FUN need, but doesn't seem to realize how some of his fun choices will affect other things in a negative way.
Posted by D. at 10:22 am