Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day 57

Today will be an on the road day since Kevin has a dental appointment and Clare is going to the opera with her friends — we are dropping her off.

Motivated by the possibility of computer time, the boys got through their spring daily academic checklist quickly. Sean has been keeping up day by day. There were a couple of things he needed my help for so he cleared them today. Kieron didn’t do his work yesterday but I told him that it was light enough that he could do two days in one. The bottom line is that there are three checkpoints a week and the work has to be caught up by then to clear the way for a privilege like computer time. The idea is that I let them figure out the logistics on their own. Having a lighter schedule gives them a bit of space (hopefully) to make logistical decisions and develop their own work habits.

So today they both did computer Latin and Math, a page or two of Greek, and Faith and Life. Sean gave an oral narration on his Faith and Life and we discussed some of the catechism questions. Sean did Thirty Lessons in Outlining and Henle Latin and Kieron did Simply Grammar and Latina Christiana with me. Simply Grammar seems almost too simple but I am trying not to be short-circuited by my perfectionism here. The thought process is that I am tying it into the Latina Christiana (dry, dry) so that SG can have an enlivening effect on LC and LC can make SG relevant. He noticed the connection — “This will help me with Latin and Mad Libs!”

Outlining is a good thing for Sean. Too bad the book seems to be out of print, for I was intending to recommend it. It starts with putting words into categories, and builds up slowly from there. It only takes five to ten minutes a day and not much writing (good for my crew). It involves some vocabulary and cultural literacy as well as thinking skills. For example, he is supposed to put a list of words into two categories (he has to make up the topic terms himself). One today was: Lincoln, Jefferson, Sweden, Washington, Norway, Germany, and so on like that. I was happy that he got the Presidents since I realize we have never done US History formally with him. Shock! We’ve stayed in ancient and medieval history for 8 years! He likes me to sit beside him so we can discuss the terminology as we go. He dislikes making inadvertent mistakes, which is a characteristic of all my kids it seems.

Sean has been drawing caricatures. Kieron downloaded a couple of programming resources and is trying to make a game. It’s not something I can help much with. We’ll see how much he can figure out. When Liam comes home he may get some support from there. Liam started programming at just about that age too. Kieron is more phlegmatic than Liam but their minds are similar in several ways.

I just realized that for a VSL type I use a fair amount of workbooks and texts, especially this time of year when I basically don’t want to be bothered with much time spent on formal schooling. They are quick to get through usually and very concrete success so they work well when we are all distracted by spring and other goings-on. They are by no means what I would consider the sum total of learning. Sometimes they fill in gaps that I might not have noticed otherwise.

Sean asked yesterday if Paris the city was named after Paris the anti-hero in Homer. I don’t know, to be honest. He thought that if so, that wasn’t a very good name for a city. Better to call a city Hector. (This reminded me of the bit in Everlasting Man where Chesterton muses on why there are so many people who have been called Hector but no one really names their kid Achilles — or Paris, for that matter! ). We got into a discussion about names and character. … which continued today with the Presidents’ names.

Paddy did a bit of Starfall. He tells me he has to do his “computer job” so he can play games : ).

We are back to reading for almost an hour every evening. I lost that while I was sick. But I am getting bored with our bedside basket so I have to go and dig up some different books for him. He is taking more of a conceptual interest in what we are reading and asks questions like “Why is she mad?” and making comments that show that he understands the patterns in the repetitive books and the significance of the plot points.