Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 23-- Lessons in Pictures

Today went like this.

Yes, so the kids have figured out how to extend the schoolday -- not quite the way I was planning.

(really, though, unschooling for a year taught me the preciousness of the off-beat or Very Odd moments -- things do eventually get done)

In addition to our normal "dailies" of Math, Latin, Greek, vocabulary/handwriting, which you probably are familiar with by now, we had styrofoam and box battles, styrofoam stacking, and played with/worked out on the exercise bike.

I did phonics with Aidan and Paddy again. This really slows down the momentum of the schoolday -- perhaps a good thing for now, but I will know what to rearrange if the lessons start going on too long.

Our routine is to read a Bob book or some other book, pick out some of the words, then go to pad and pencil and write little phonograms, words and stories with Aidan and Paddy in them. They like this. We'll see how it does in the effectiveness department. Another extension might be what we did last week -- painting words in watercolors -- or what we did a bit of last year -- associating the ASL signs with the letters. I am also looking through A Writing Road to Reading since one weakness of our literacy program in the past was that the kids all got miles ahead in reading compared to writing. It takes till about junior high or early high school for the gap to start narrowing, and then the kids become accomplished writers. This might just be normal for our family, but I do think I would feel a bit more comfortable if the writing kept better pace with the reading.

Since the boys have their Bionicles out and the littlies are happily pestering them right now, I have time to upload some pictures. Here is our continent matching game -- (I wish I had taken a better picture of the contents of the baggie, but it is labels for the continents and major oceans, plus some cut-outs of the shapes of the individual continents along with their size in square miles). Now that they are labelling with ease, I am having them assemble the continents sort of like a puzzle, and for a place value exercise I had Kieron put the continents in order of size.

Here is our Latin matching:

I am making similar ones for the noun declensions. I needed something like Quia that we could do for grammar, since they are at the point where it's harder to improvise your way through the sentences in Henle.

Here is Kieron's daily checklist -- I don't write them out every day anymore, just when life is crazy enough that I can't get him through the routine with verbal directions.

Monday is the day he reads a new chapter in Faith and Life, and then on Tuesday and Wednesday I go through the quiz with him -- he answers the questions he knows, and then I have him look up the ones he didn't know. Then according to how he does, I make religious lesson plans for the rest of the week -- for example, this week he was fuzzy on the mysteries for the Rosary (he used to know them but we lapsed family rosaries recently....sigh) so I am brainstorming ways to present these for him.

Here is the math for boys who quickly get tired of using a pencil.

The red and blue cards are for the top numbers in the problem, you know, the addends and all those terms I can never remember. The green bar is for the equation bar. The beige numbers are for the answer. The orange cards are to carry ones and twos and so on. There are some tiny green cards which have dots to represent the decimal points, and so on.

He does addition and subtraction this way (as a warm-up and introduction, not usually for the entire lesson) -- dealing with 5 digit numbers and with column addition. Now I am using them to review multiplying large numbers. I wrote some 0's on some more orange cards to help him with place value concepts in multiplying. You can also use them for estimating and for constructing biiig numbers up to the trillions. Of course, this is not really hands on. We are not really working with manipulatives at his age. He gets the concepts fine, but because of his fine motor control he has trouble lining up columns and he gets very sloooww. So we can buzz through problems quickly using the cards and then I send him off with a few easier ones to write out and work on his own.

Tomorrow is an errand running day. So I have to figure out whether we'll just let it be a Life Learning Day, or whether to plan something that they can do independently in spare corners of the day.

Oh! One more thing. Another little projected change in the rhythm of the day... take the "babies" outdoors after the older kids' lessons. By that time they usually need the attention, though I personally long to go off by myself and type this, then take a bath and rest a bit. So I'm considering that.

The snake Kieron found last Friday.

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