Friday, December 18, 2009

Last day before Christmas holidays!

Except, I'm hoping to do some "relaxed" German with my 2 over the holidays and some playful games to work on their math facts and maybe some writing games or something. Oooh, yeah, a Christmas story where we pass the sheet back and forth, but only see a couple of words of what the previous person wrote. Hehehe.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Geronimo Stilton

Ds's latest obsession is Geronimo Stilton. We got one from Scholastic yesterday. He read the entire thing. I found another one for him this morning--he was done by 10:30am.

This from the kid who, about a year ago, was barely reading! Woot woot!

Friday, December 11, 2009


It's been a while. Sorry about that. Things have been very busy. October was my crazy busy month, then the 2nd week of November, the oldest and I got hit by what was most likely H1N1--and we still don't feel like we've shaken it completely (a kind of ache that keeps showing up in our hands and shoulders and whatnot). My 4yo niece had the flu, too, but she was done with it rather quickly. Right now, we've got a week before Christmas and a WHOLE ton of work to get done. Well, the 2 oldest, anyhow. We're usually in relaxation mode by this point, but not this year. They're doing correspondence courses that MUST be done by Jan. 6 (something like 2 days after we get back), but it makes far more sense to finish them now. Well, they have to be almost finished, anyhow. Then the oldest has an exam on the 6th (I think it's the 6th), then a final on the 8th and another final on the 11th. Lovely. Right after Christmas holidays. But I guess everything has to be done in time for her to do diplomas, which start the 14th.

As for the other ones... My 9yo still pretty much does his own thing, except I do require him more and more to do a little something. It's not much right now: tracing over things I've written or having him do some copywork (he's been reading so much Calvin and Hobbes that he can't always remember how to do lower case letters or he simply writes in caps!), and some math questions. If I give him just facts, I have him do about 20. Right now, I'm having him work on subtraction with regrouping, so he only gets about 5 questions. It's a start! I've also resumed reading to him in French at night, which is so nice to do with him. We've been working on the Magic Treehouse series, whose French translation is among the best out there in terms of not changing the difficulty too much. It's even gotten him starting to read them on his own. :) Other than that, he's been having some fun with this flag puzzle that we have and has been gradually learning more and more flags of the world.

My 12yo has been wanting to learn the flags of Europe and has been working on and off on that. I've been gradually working these past two weeks on making flag pins, à la Montessori, to use in a pin map. I still have to find a map I like and print it off. I got an idea from somebody in one of my lists years ago to simply make big maps and stick it to a cork board so that the maps can be changed easily and not take up tons of room, and that's what I'm going to do. Plus, it solves the problem of how to have holes for the pins.

What's a Montessori pin map? It's a map where you can place pins--with a country name label, a capital city name label or a flag label--in indicated spots to help learn the names of countries, capital cities, etc. You can even do it for just a country and the provinces/states. Here is one example , although that's a very tiny version. Along with the map is a control map or card, so that the student can check to see if s/he is right. It's kind of like a memory game.

Other than that, my 12yo has spent lots of time reading, has come up with the idea of a project to make a book of... hm... bad mom, I can't remember at the moment... weird facts? interesting facts? Can't remember. We've also been doing some math and I think more and more that using a workbook with her creates this crazy stress. It's like she feels she MUST "perform". When I did an intro activity with her on the side, with just paper, she was fine. Go to the workbook, and stress sets in. I think I need to simply work on the concepts with her WITHOUT the workbook (even if I'm using the same questions), get her confidence back up and then the workbook won't stress her so much.

Oh, and we've done German maybe a few times. Eeek. I really wanted it to be more than that!

With my 4yo niece, she's initiated some copywork, has started writing "math equations" (no, not really--things like 5 = 1 = + 4...), I've done the red rods with her and not sure what else. She's definitely ready for more, but it'll have to wait until after Christmas holidays.

My 2yo niece... is very 2. ;) Actually, she's more like 2.5, even though she just turned 2. I really ought to learn more about good Montessori toddler activities. Although there are some easy enough things I could do with both her and her sister, like baking or cleaning. Practical life activities are always good!

Enough of my update. Got to get some work done!