Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yesterday and today

So, yesterday was overplanned, as I expected, but I think that's a good thing, because when I did want to direct the girls, I had my plan there ready and just needed to pick something. Things didn't quite get rolling as I had hoped in the morning because I simply was not ready for the day when they showed up--I had not yet eaten breakfast! They were going to pick some dress up stuff, I said sure, but my 5yo niece changed her mind (which means her 2yo sister followed suit) and I suggested they find something in the shelves so I could go eat breakfast. The 5yo picked Playdough, including the doggie doctor toy that can be used with Playdough. It was an interesting choice, because right away, she started getting into medical care of the dog--her own dog had had some health issues the past week.

They did that for quite sometime, which allowed me to do some stuff around the house. When I saw that they had moved on from it, I asked if they wanted to listen to a story. As I shared earlier, I tried Beatrix Potter and that was a flop. The elephants book was great. After we were done that, the 5yo asked if there was something new for school that I could show her! :D I decided to show her the "prequel" to the teens boards since she is still having issues counting to 20 and reading numbers to 20. (Essentially, this is an activity with ten bars and the coloured bead stair. It went quite well.) After that, she wanted to play Chocolate Chip Math, which also got her brother and my ds involved. It was interesting to note that my bright 10yo nephew, going into grade 5 (just like ds) struggled with fairly simple subtraction (9-3). On the one hand, it made me feel better about not having drilled ds with subtraction, because he can't do 9-3 quickly either; on the other hand, it left me wondering about what they are now teaching in school because this is a boy who does fairly well in math, it seems to me--yet he declared yesterday, "I'm not very good in math." When kids say that, I think what they really mean is, "I'm not as capable as I'd like to be." Kids *want* to know the tables by heart, even if they don't necessarily want to do the practice involved. They *want* to be able to quickly and mentally solve things. Something goes wrong somewhere in that they get the message somehow that they simply ought to "know" it, rather than realizing they need the practice.

Now, my nephew is going off to school and I will only have him a couple of days per week after school during the school year, during which time he will most likely play away with ds. So there's not much I can do with him about his math, unless for some reason his parents do decide to pull him and have him homeschool (which he would LOVE; he has practically begged to be homeschooled this year). It does have me thinking about my own kids, though, and how I can incorporate these kinds of math things that mean a lot to them, but which they want to avoid because facing them means feeling bad. "Fun" is the first word that comes to mind--no better way to work past fear than tying in something fun with it. Games and such, like the Chocolate Chip Math game which the boys both wanted to play yesterday. If we play enough such games, will that be enough? Just some thoughts. I have had the thought with my son that I need to do more oral math with him, rather than written work all the time. I still have Ray's Arithmetic, which I think is a fantastic program, and maybe doing that orally, kind of game-style, while incorporating a Montessori approach to the other stuff, would work well for this coming year. But, I digress.

Back to yesterday. After Chocolate Chip Math, I think I went to take care of some laundry, during which time the girls took up a little piano book and singing the songs in it. Fine activity. I let them be. When they stopped, we set up things to have lunch. After lunch, we had a short quiet time, then ran errands and played at a playground. All-in-all, a very reasonable first day back!

Today: It was humid, everybody was tired, so even though I had a plan, I ended up just reading with the girls for longer than planned (Winnie-the-Pooh beats out Beatrix Potter, but non-fiction is still preferred by the 5yo!), then I did my own thing and let them be. When I saw things were getting kind of silly, I set up some collage-making at the kitchen table. There was a 2nd issue with the 2yo downstairs, so I guided her upstairs and to the table and told her she could glue all kinds of things. Oooh, glue. Always appealing. ;) She did that for a while, then her sister made her way up, saw the collage stuff and put her planned activity aside. Not sure what we did after that, but the 5yo eventually did make her way to the insets, but used them to create characters rather than the traditional Montessori way!

By the time that was all done, it was early lunch, then off to run some errands and head to the playground again, where we stayed for nearly 2 hours.

Issues with a tired 2yo at the moment. Must go.

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