Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Day 33

I woke up quite a bit early today and since Aidan was up right afterwards, it gave me a chance to have some quiet time with him. This was nice because his 4yo brother is neck and neck with him developmentally and always wants to be in on what we are doing academically, and that intimidates Aidan a bit.

So what I did was spread a bunch of his books and materials on the couch and let him choose. A few years ago he wouldn’t have been able to select one – it was nearly impossible for him to deal with the choices at Early Intervention, for instance, and stressful for everybody — but he has learned a lot since then. I’ve learned too, about how to present one thing at a time and re-present it until he knows how the material or book “works”. Then I can give it to him and he knows (basically) how to treat it, though of course I still need to supervise and remind a bit. Being able to make choices is actually a recent milestone for him — of course one that I took for granted with the other kids.

So we did his choices:

  • Word Cards — I rewrote them for him, which he enjoys, and he spontaneously recognized quite a few and could choose between alternatives for the rest.
  • 100 Easy Lessons — yay! I put it away for a bit because he seemed to be in a rut and now he is blending much better!
  • Counting (using a math game, blocking on what it is called right now — oh that’s right — BOggle — we just used the cards)
  • Also, Blue Number Counting Book.
  • I brought out the first communion catechism, which did not interest him — I had hoped he would like the pictures. However, we repeated the first question: Who made you? and talked a bit about it. That was successful.
  • Handwriting without Tears — very informal and fast since he was getting distracted by then.

Paddy came down at some point and I had some pattern blocks ready for him, which kept him busy (with Kieron’s assistance) for quite a while, while Aidan and I finished and then Aidan helped me make scrambled eggs and bacon.

I notice that just by turning my attention to the desireability of “strewing”, and making a place for it in my schedule, I have been able to make a lot of progress in this area. The pattern block game lasted all morning — not only designing geometric shape patterns but some sort of Olympic game with wooden medallions, and so on.
Sean went right to work and finished:

  • Math
  • Latin
  • Story of the Church — narrated, discussed
  • Butler’s Lives of the Saints — about St John Ogilvie
  • Ways of the Wood Folk
  • Greek book 3
  • Logic — still on chapter 1 — planning to do it twice a week which means it won’t be done till next year.

Kieron wanted to go outside with the littlies since there’s still lots of snow out there yet the weather is beautifully warm — nice combination.

  • First I read Cottage on Bantry Bay to him (for our Ireland Tuesday study)
  • Then I read him Story of the Romans and Bible History (Jacob and Esau meet again) and he looked things up on a map.
  • He did some work on Greek and we did a chapter from Minimus. However, I think I will let him work on that one by himself from now on since he really enjoys reading it and it’s not so much fun for him when I am trying to “help” him figure out the language. It makes him feel slow, which seems to be my effect on my kids often — sigh!
  • Then we did the next couple of ASL signs.
  • We have started doing a short memory drill every day orally as I mentioned in an earlier post. It gives us a chance to review past work.

He still has to do math and finish the copywork he started yesterday.

What I would LIKE to do is more projects with him. It would be helpful for my teaching skills for the sake of the littlies, too. I must admit that being a conceptual thinker I have lots of trouble thinking in a concrete way; plus for so many years I always had babies and toddlers and didn’t have the heart to bring out the messy hands-on things that usually got ruined or scattered almost right away. Still, I can see the value in planting seeds — figuratively speaking — starting things that they can build on in their own way — again figurative, and really mixing up my metaphors too.

Lastly, that dynamic where I am the person who knows it all and they are the learners is OK in small doses, but gets old fast — just as much for me as for them. It does not really fit the way I normally do things. That’s probably why reading has been the most successful learning interaction we do around here. So designing the environment so they can learn from it (more than they already do, of course) seems like a good idea.

Kevin and Brendan are going to get their passports today — hopefully, this is the last passport intervention! Then we are set to go!