Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 108 -- dice, Little House,

A few things going on recently:

Paddy loves Little House in the Big Woods. He's actually the first child I've read this aloud to. I think I started to read it to Clare but it went too slowly. With Paddy, I don't know if he's listening to every word but he keeps begging for another chapter. We are already on chapter 10. It is fun for me to read the detailed descriptions of elegant, effective pioneering.

It might have helped that we had the "first Little House" picture books around the house and have read them over and over through the years, so he already knew the general outline of the situation and liked the characters.

Kieron seems to have spring in the blood.... on the bright side, he has been taking the little ones outside to sled for hours (yes, we still have lots of very mushy snow). And he just zipped through three collections of Grimm's and Jacob's folk tales, and telling me about them spontaneously. On the down side, he isn't keeping up with his Ambleside reading, saying he doesn't mind reading through the summer if he doesn't stick on schedule.... hmmm...

Yesterday I decided to start Aidan on dice addition. He likes rolling dice a lot and we have dice all over the house. And I've been trying to figure out a way to illustrate addition that isn't quite as static as worksheets. He likes worksheets but he likes the ones with the BIG numbers, not boring 3 + 3. So I got two dice and rolled them and showed him how you can count the dots to get the sum. Eventually I will start writing down addition sums so he can see in symbols what I am now telling him verbally. Well, he liked the game and even did it spontaneously so that seems to be going well.

A bonus: Paddy liked the game too. He has no trouble adding any two dice quickly and so it's just practice for him. But this afternoon he was trying to stump me with six dice and that gave me a chance to show him how I group tens and therefore can find the sums quickly. Then I helped him do it and he thought that was neat. Dice can be beginning multiplicands too. Lots of possibilities. Something simple that we already have around seems to work much better for us than something elaborate and costly that is difficult to use.

Aidan regularly asks me for a "reading lesson" after dinner. Usually he tells me something about the day and I write it down. Then he practices writing words from my model. The third component is a review of the Spell to Read and Write cards (I use the Wise Spelling program because I have it, but any phonics program could be used in a similar way. What I like about this one is that it is high frequency words that have immediate impact -- not like the weird words he has never heard, like you find in some basic phonics programs -- he just doesn't have the verbal context to have any interest in deciphering long strings of odd CVC words).

The weather has been very springlike, and right now the three older kids are outside talking -- Sean came home early today.

1 comment:

  1. Little House in the Big Woods ... that's such a great book. :-) The dice games sound like fun! It sounds like everyone is thriving.