Monday, April 02, 2007

Day 51

Sean finished Key to Algebra book 8 today! He had a little trouble with the first questions and got discouraged and started complaining about his memory. Mel Levine in the Myth of Laziness says it’s a good idea to listen carefully to childrens’ complaints about their own learning process. According to him, they often have insight into what is holding them back. I did recognize Sean in the description of one of the kids in the book who was extremely competent overall but had some specific difficulties with memory access that kept him from fluency in some areas. My kids tend to generalize their flaws though and bring emotion into their assessment — well, they come by that by nature and nurture, probably.

I reminded Sean about the way he tended to operate in cycles, and Monday morning is often a low ebb. I asked him if he’d prefer to finish the test tomorrow, and after a few moments to recompose himself, he said he wanted to get it done. So he attacked the second half and pulled it together just great. He told me that the harder problems stick in his mind better than the simpler ones. Hmm, that is a right-brained trait along with the generalized negative self-assessments and the tendency to operate in cycles.

Then I gave him a Latin quiz (oral). He had a bit of trouble on that too. But it did not bother him as much because we approach the quizzes as a sort of running baseline.

He has finished Beric the Briton and is now reading the Young Carthaginian.

I found an old math practice set called Math Breakthrough which is geared towards the middle grades. I think someone gave it to us a long time ago. Anyway, it covers most of the same material as Saxon 65 and I am thinking of having Kieron go through it and that can wrap up his math year. It will show me if there are any gaps in his conceptual thinking or his skills.

I am still trying to decide what to do for Math next year for him. I am thinking Ray’s Arithmetic — I have the 20 vol set on CD. It is heavy on problem-solving, not really an independent student text but I am doing math with him anyway and I think that will probably continue (I will get out MCP Math 6 and look through it so that if Aidan goes to the hospital or something else happens he can work independently). We used it a bit when he was in fourth grade and I think that along with unschooling was part of the reason he is so solid in math now (not incredibly advanced or anything, but solid in his math reasoning).

Clare as stated previously will go through Euclid with Liam this summer and we are trying to decide if Jacob’s Geometry or Foerster’s Algebra II would put her in better frame for the SATs this fall.

As for Aidan, he will continue with Horizons K as a spine text and then pull in manipulatives — still trying to decide on that. See this thread here. Right Start looks nice but pricey. Math U See is one that my friend showed me and I really really like the manipulatives, but again, pricey. I don’t like spending big money on things on a trial basis. I am Scottish /Dutch after all!

Sean needs a break from Algebra, I think. This summer we can do some low key review of middle school math and then go from there.

For Kieron, I am thinking of using these online skill cards that I used with the older children when they were that age. They cover basic math and language arts concepts. They can be completed quickly and are nice for review and consolidation during the summer.