Thursday, May 31, 2007

Days 66-70

I spent most of the day on decluttering projects. The middle boys did their Wednesday work. Tuesday, since I was gone all day, they didn’t do any formal academics. Monday they got to take one subject off their list since it was Memorial Day.

I put their spring to summer checklist on the sidebar because that seems to make more sense than writing it out every day on here. I should add that with this minimal checklist, their work only takes about 1/2 hour to 1 hour to complete. My intention is for them to continue this until about mid-June, when we head off to Ireland. Then when we get back I’ll make a summer schedule.

Learning Notes — little ones

Aidan has been working hard on his literacy, without a whole lot of help from me, recently, sad to say. In the past couple of days he:

Completed the Frank Schaffer Animal alphabet floor puzzle about 6 times (he still needs help with it but now only verbal help, not manual assist).
Played a lot with an old Lauri alphabet puzzle with some of the pieces missing.
Played on his V-tech phonics board — he can spell several words.

Both the little boys have played a bit of Starfall and Math Dojo. They say they have to do their “jobs” before they get to do a game : ).

Paddy has been listening to a few old picture books I dug out since I was getting bored with the ones we have reread a million times:

The Gunniwolf (a sort of Little Red Riding Hood version)
Three Little Ducks went Wandering (a pattern storybook) –
Ootah’s Lucky Day — an easy reader about an Eskimo boy — Peggy Parrish

In general, we have not been reading so much recently, and the sad but true reason for this is that the game systems and computer have been too much in use, and because I have been busy doing work on the house.

Paddy and Aidan have both been played the “Spelling Game” — which means, they ask me “how do you spell ____?” and then try to reproduce it. Paddy can now spell Pokemon, Yes, and No. One day I found several of my desktop files had had their names changed to “Pokemon”. Another time I found an Open Office document which said:


Learning Notes — older boys:

Sean is still doing just fine on Henle. We work on it completely orally right now. As we move into autumn I’ll probably move him to some written work.

I put Kieron’s Simply Grammar and Latina Christiana on the same day in order for him to get all the “hard” subjects out of the way on two days of the week. A side benefit turns out to be that it is easy to move back and forth between the two. Latina Christiana, honestly, has been a big pain for me to teach. It is SO sequential and so much based on teacher-student questions and answers. This is not my style at all. Style really is important in homeschooling. If you’re not the type that ordinarily quizzes your kids, then they will notice when you suddenly start sounding like you’re scripted, and YOU will notice the fakey way you are relating to your kids and if you are a bit rebellious like me, it will make you want to throw the book.

But this way is working. Yesterday Simply Grammar covered adjectives — so then when we turned to LC, I found the chapter on adjectives and we composed simple sentences — “Stella est magna” “Populus est malus,” and so on. I wouldn’t say he jumps for joy when it’s time to do Grammar and Latin (sadly, Liam is still the only one of my kids who just soaked in this stuff) — but it had a nice natural exploratory flow to it.

(We are able to do it this way because they have been studying Latin vocabulary for a year and a half now — using Quia — which takes five to ten minutes a day and has been pretty effective. Sean doesn’t have to study the Henle vocabulary at all because it overlaps considerably with LC’s vocabulary and so he can focus on the grammar and the composition aspects. So if you are looking for a very simple way to ease into Latin, try these Quia drills — they have also been useful for spelling and vocabulary).

So let me go back and look at the “sad to say’s” that are embedded in this log:

–Haven’t been helping Aidan with his literacy attempts — beyond sympathy and support when he brings my attention to his efforts.
–Haven’t been reading to Paddy very much or very ambitiously.
– Have been letting them spend too much time on screen things, which makes Paddy tense and less focused.

Those are obviously the things to be conscious of and try to work on, since they are on my conscience.