Saturday, June 7, 2008

Week 33

As spring has sprung, I have flung my weekly checklist out and feel like we are just pushing through to the end. One more week of 'official' school work - 2 weeks short of my goal. Just can't do it any more this year! We're not accountable to the state yet and I truly feel that we've met our goals for 1st grade. In fact I can't believe how much Jefferson (and Reagan too) has learned in one short year!

So for this past week, we crammed a lot in since dh was away on business ALL week (oi!).

Phonics - reviewed vowel digraphs we've been learning over the past 3 weeks (CCC B:3); his spelling skills are greatly improving w/ the use of this book - each day we spell 5 words related to the topic of the day (ie. vowel digraph 'oa') and 5 sight words (ie. 'there', 'from', etc.)

Spelling - SWB lessons are finished!! He is so excited to complete this book!

Reading - didn't read aloud to me as much as I would have liked this week - too much good weather to pull him away (I'm really going to have to structure this for him over the summer); he is always asking me to read him the Nature Reader - what's more interesting than learning about insects, after all? Every time the book suggests that he observes the ant or earthworm, etc, he's out with his magnifying glass and bug box!

Writing - more copywork in FLL, SOTW, HS, and Copywork for Boys; began simple, 1-sentence dictation (CCC B:3) which at first made him nervous ("I can't do that, Mommy!") but then built his confidence as it made him realize that he knows how to spell, capitalize, and punctuate, as well as how to proofread!

Grammar - 5 FLL lessons covering pronoun review, a new poem to memorize (see "God's Beautiful World" on the right sidebar), and an Aesop's Fable -The Boy Who Cried Wolf (he's always excited about these); reviewed definition and example of homonym

Math - Jefferson was so excited to finish his 1st grade math! These last few weeks covered intro to subtraction, more geometry, and learning to read and make bar graphs (which surprisingly caused a little trouble for him); year-end test is next Monday and then we play all the card games over the summer to keep skills fresh

History - Not going to get finished with SOTW 1 (we're at chpt. 35 out of 42) but I really don't want to just shuffle quickly through it so that's ok; we learned about early Chinese warring states, the Great Wall, and Chinese calligraphy (he asked over and over to try to paint the Chinese characters - they turned out great but didn't scan well, so no eye candy for you!). Jefferson loves the Roman Empire - it really gets his imagination going about their army, expansive empire, gladiators, the invention of concrete, pipes/aqueducts, and the Colosseum. He played with his toy amphitheater/chariots and I let him watch bits (and I mean, tiny, tiny supervised bits) of Russell Crow as the "Gladiator" just to give him an image of the costume, uniforms, and armor.

Science - still not where I wanted to be here! We've learned about the muscular and nervous system these past 2 weeks but still haven't added these parts to the bodies on the wall. I think I'll just have to touch on the other systems since I need to get plants introduced this summer (we'll be changing it up by doing a lapbook for this subject) also. Thanks goodness this subject isn't primary or I'd be feeling guilty. We didn't quite meet our goal but I'm definitely pleased with how much Jefferson learned this year!

This week I continued to work on penmanship with the vowel 'I'. We practiced a couple of coloring worksheets to repeat and remind her of 'top to bottom' and 'green to red' (left to right) rules. Again I was reminded to keep it very slow and low key in order not to frustrate her. She responds so very well when I over emphasis every correct stroke! You must know that this is new to me -I am not a natural-born encourager (just ask dh! I'm always telling him I shouldn't have to praise him for taking out the trash since it's his job, right? Wrong! I'm learning...really.) So it takes reminding myself to praise her excessively in these early stages so that she doesn't feel that she's learning but rather, just pleasing Mommy. (I'm finding myself just as thrilled with her work as I was when Jefferson was beginning - just the rewards of teaching them, I guess!)

Although her attention span isn't very long, Reagan has enjoyed at least listening to Jefferson's science lessons -especially the human body. She loves moving and stretching to observe the different parts, singing "Dem Bones, Dem Bones", touching, tasting, feeling, etc. She really likes putting the parts on her body on the wall too!

For simple math lessons this week, she colored a "Number 1" sheet (since we were working with straight lines in penmanship). With play dough (her favorite sensory toy) she rolled and cut out numbers 1 through 10 with cookies cutters and lines them up for me. Still she struggled with directionality of the 3, 5, and 9, but this is not surprising (now that we know her a little better). I had her fix them herself by asking her to finger trace her large numeral flashcards first and then look at the dough again. I've also found recently that she will group things into 2 - especially her spankings (it seems to calm her down to for her to say "So it's 2 plus 2?" as she holds up 4 fingers prior to the swats). So when I get out the geoblocks or square tiles, I've been asking her to sort them into groups and/or color. Grouping is what Right Start teaches and will help her particular learning ability.

I think that I'm starting to get the hang of thinking of more right-brained techniques to use to reach Reagan better. She enjoys them much more since her attention span is short and they seem to be helping things to stick in her mind better. I'll have to plan better for next year (kindergarten) since I am just throwing loose activities together right now.

Wow - I guess I should get rid of dh for a whole week more often if it means we'll get more done in school! Or maybe I'm just getting more and more comfortable with my new job - teaching! Next week will be full of science and history as we play a little bit of catch up before the year truly "ends."


Sharon said...

Wow, Andrea, you must be so excited that J has worked all the way through two of his texts. Congratulations!

Are you thinking you will keep reading SOTW through your summer to get the last chapters covered or will you just pick up again from there when you begin grade 2? If you keep doing a little bit of history and the reading and the maths card games that will be heaps to keep him from forgetting the student skills (concentration etc) as well as the academic stuff over the summer.

Will you take the whole three months off that seems to be common in America? Over here in Australia we only have 6 weeks for our summer holiday (at Christmas time) and another six weeks in pairs throughout the year. We're coming up to our mid-year break now, and I'm not sure if we're going to take four weeks completely off (like Jeff from Bible college) or maybe as little as one when we go to the grandparents' farm, taking advantage of Jeff being home to allow me to get on with teaching while the littlies are occupied with Daddy.(I don't have to report in to the gov't yet either.) Just not sure yet. Any thoughts?

~ Sharon