Friday, April 18, 2008

Week 26

Spring break has done us well. We had a productive week and none of us felt so tired of the 'school' routine. The lovely weather has also helped to lift our spirits and give the kids someplace to burn off good energy. Nothing makes me happier than the breeze flowing through the drapes and the sounds of nature in our ears as we learn (makes a good motivator for getting the lessons finished also)!

Phonics - worked on rules for 'decoding' longer words (CCC); using CCC to review vowel digraphs and suffixes this week

Spelling - SWB lessons (he likes these because he can do them on his own and they often have crossword puzzles) as well as 5-7 words from CCC (this week vowel digraphs & suffixes)

Reading - had trouble getting as much read-aloud in this week as I would like but at least some of it happened; on his own he enjoyed 3 Mary Pope Osbourne books (Hour of the Olympics, Tigers at Twilight, Lions at Lunchtime) to go with history and animal science, as well as an Encyclopedia Brown book

Grammar - 3 FLL lessons covering pronoun review, name initials, and an Aesop's Fable -The Crow and the Pitcher; he LOVED illustrating the fable - I couldn't figure out why he drew so many birds for a story with just one until he told me that each one was doing an action from the tale in sequence in order to show everything that happened (rather than just one part of the tale); reviewed definition and example of homonym

Math - Jefferson continues to get good practice at mentally adding double digit numbers, learning which methods work more easily depending on the addends given - he is thrilled at his success when he get the chance to do a worksheet with no mistakes and also loves to check his answers on the abacus (good practice also); looked at even/odd numerals again (into higher digits); beginning to understand concepts of rows/columns with games and charts

History - Alexander the Great was fun for Jefferson because he took over so much land in so little time; had to have him re-do the coloring page since it was obvious that he just scribbled it in to get it done - this is unusual behavior for him and I hope that I don't need to start watching him more closely to ensure that he's doing his best work; still reviewing the DK books on Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece - they are loaded with great pictures and info

Science - we began the study of the human body by drawing an outline of the kids' bodies on brown paper - they loved this due to how much the pen tickled as I traced around them; we learned about cells (not sure Reagan understood this but she'll get it again later), skin and hair; also learned about psoriasis since it is a skin disease that I have and am oh-so-eager to display right now (I've broken out terribly since starting to eat wheat again - the kids 'oooo and aaah' over it each day while I lament about it); outside the kids are discovering all kinds of things in the nice weather - Jefferson was thrilled to have this butterfly land right on his finger! He loved that it stayed there long enough for him to see it's 'straw' tongue and green eyes!


Reagan came home from pre-k Wedns with this Y sheet. I thought the rainbow pattern was pretty and asked her who helped her do it. She said,"I remembered it in my head from the balloons you had hanging {from her birthday party 4 weeks ago}!" I can't believe the memory that she has - the rainbow pattern of colors is rather long one to remember for a kid!

I learned a lot about Reagan's learning style this week with just one penmanship lesson. I wanted to give her a short phonics lesson from CCC since her workbook has arrived. The kindergarten lessons are short and easy so I thought that I could fit it in while Jefferson finished his grammar illustration and Adam played with play dough (his new favorite - thank goodness...something to occupy him). However, I soon figured out that my expectations of what we will accomplish in this next year need to be brought waaaaay down so that I can make sure she has a good foundation and that we can deal with her learning 'difference.'

The penmanship sheet has a verse on top and some capital and lowercase A's to trace and write. Now...this is not the first time she's picked up a pencil or written an A before. She has done so at preschool and when I worked with her this winter on pencil holding and tracing shapes and vowels.

But I felt as though I were showing her for the first time again. She could trace the letters fine enough but when she had to write them on the lines at the bottom, she struggled with directionality of them (left to right, top to bottom). When I asked her to color in the letters in the verse, she was all too happy to use rainbow colors again. I moved my attentions back to Jefferson's lesson but soon realized that, after the first line, she was starting her rainbow pattern on the right and moving left. After explaining to her (for the umpteenth time) that we always work from the left to the right, I left her go again. I soon noticed that she was coloring in each letter from the bottom up and corrected that as well.

Now this may not be a big deal to most kids, but it was a prime example of her 'mixed dominant' neurocognative processing that the psychologist informed us about. She may have a tendency to reverse sequences, letters, numbers, or patterns as well as having difficulty following directions so these are things I need to catch and help redirect early. I am so grateful for being lead to see this as just the way that her brain works rather than a disciplinary issue (which, believe me, I would have thought it to be prior to her evaluation due to her strong will). I just think that if she were in school, this 'little' difference would not have been noticed and may have ended up slowing her down in her education. I am thankfully praying that God will help me to be able to teach to her needs and personality so that kindergarten next year won't be a struggle for her.

So far she likes that things that we do for 'school' and she has not fought me on any of it (as I half expected her to do this year). I am learning to read her body language and help her to use words so that we don't end up frustrated and unable to learn. I truly thank God alone for this, as these lessons (for me) are growing me immensely as a teacher as well as mother!


sbharnish said...

great update! I love the crow picture! Thats really cool that he had the creativity and abstract thought to come up with that. We have been teaching Aaron how to write his name, but I have payed no attention to HOW he writes the letters....up down order I guess thats important?

Mary@notbefore7 said...

I am going to have to spend some time on your posts like this one before I get my first year of homeschooling in gear. There is so much good stuff in here!

Sharon said...

While you enjoyed spring break we were having fun with our fortnight's autumn holiday!

I loved Jefferson's crow picture - he's so clever to be able to draw like that for motion - does he read comics at all? or make animations on the computer? Now Joshua wants me to read that fable to him!

Reagan's work on the letter A does indeed give such insight into her personality and the way she thinks! Maybe you could consider the colouring of the verse as colouring and not as penmanship, then you wouldn't be so concerned about her directionality... especially as with all those serifs and stuff it's not like the letters are how she would normally write them anyway. But I'd also just skip the last line of the penmanship (the copywork) and only have her do the tracework for a while. And stick to her side like glue while she writes these few letters!

I have had the same experience with Anna when she did her alphabet penmanship pages and I thought I could supervise her and Joshua at the same time. It just didn't work, because they both needed my attention at the same time. At the moment Anna's taking a (long) break from penmanship, but when we go back to it I'll do it with her on her own so I can concentrate on her. That might be a good time for the others to have individual room time or be playing outside.


Monica said...

Nice work!!

I love teaching my kids about the human body- it is so fascinating and there is always more to learn. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, that's for sure:)

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Sounds like a great week! Love the butterfly picture. Jefferson is becoming an avid reader - be encouraged by that! Only one of my 3 was reading those books in first grade! (They were second grade hits.)