Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Week 12 Part 1 April 14, 2014

We must be feeling spring fever here in these parts. The daffodils are blooming. The dogwood flowers are out. The cherry blossoms around the tidal basin are in full swing...there are no bugs outside, and I've got my eye set on that mulch sale they're having at the nursery. And there are supposed to be 20 degree temperatures this evening. Oh well. 

In this vein, I am also feeling more relaxed about our school time. On the one hand I know that time is floating away, and that the children will not be this age ever again in their lives. I feel the urgency to surround them with information. At the same time, I know that they are learning every day regardless of whether we make it into the classroom or not. S continually works on her reading skills and is writing short stories now on paper complete with original illustrations. The boys are doing the same. The relaxed nature of our learning is working for us at the moment.

On the more formal side of things, this is what we've been doing inside the classroom:
Sensorial: bells
Language: original writing
Math: LBF, wooden hierarchy materials
T is progressing continually with the bells. I haven't been posting a sequence for this material. But may get to that soon. At this point I can say that T didn't have any bells experience during his Primary years. We are starting from the beginning of the KotU music albums but he is speeding through the first parts very quickly. He has very good pitch, and pretty good memory. Right now he is exploring the bells and sounding out tunes he already knows. (Some of those tunes aren't easy. At this point we are way beyond "Mary had a Little Lamb.") He has done the matching exercises and most of the grading exercises. We'll see how well his interest sustains.
S is practicing her penmanship here with our Hello Wood cursive guided letters. She is writing entire stories now on paper but she uses print. Our former Montessori school teaches only print in Primary so I believe that this is where she picked this up even though we use only cursive alphabets and sandpaper letters in our classroom.
T has transitioned to writing primarily in cursive now. He finished the cursive Handwriting Without Tears work book (which I wouldn't have done if I knew then what I know now.) He decided that he was going to write in cursive. There are times he still uses print, but mostly he uses cursive. 

This is one of his recent writing samples. The topic is very T. Nevertheless, he is WRITING! He couldn't just put words to paper six months ago. He is very motivated to write in this manner, and I am happy to let him go.
Don't have a caption for this picture.
I brought out our wooden hierarchy materials again, but this time for S. It took her a few days to remember the names of everything and figure out the number symbols, but once she did she was so proud that she had entered into elementary math. We used the lessons from the KotU albums. 

We still have much of the math facts to cover, but we are doing this slowly as she progresses through the elementary math work, like the Large Bead Frame which she LOVES.
S is getting a lesson from T on the pin maps. This was her first attempt ever and she did quite well.
T was working on that long division again. We made up a new way to do his "take-aways" as he calls them. If the problem is 15-7=, I take a slip of paper and write "7" on it. I ask T, "what plus 7 makes 10?"  He says, "3", and then I write on a second slip of paper, "3." Then I ask T, "we have 10, how much do we need to get to 15?" He says, "5", and then I write on a third slip of paper "5." Then we have slips of paper with 7, 3, and 5 on them. I say, "the equation reads, 15-7= so let's take away 7," and I take away the slip of paper with 7 on it. He looks at what is left, which is 3 and 5, and after adding them together says that there is "8 left over so 15-7=8." So far this method has seemed to work well for T.
S is here doing her multiplication board. It has taken her a while to remember the concept here and I have had to present this lesson again many times. I wonder what this means. 
On the other hand, S go right to work counting the Large Bead Frame.
And notating each number.
She really likes the LBF. I think it makes her feel like she is really progressing.
Here is S's second amaryllis. Her favorite colors are pink and white.
This is what happens sometimes at the end of the day when little D decides he needs some more gross motor work.
And these are S's bulbs in her bed out back. She planted hyacinth at the left side and the rest are daffodils that have yet to bloom. She was so proud of her flowers and said, "mommy they grew because I took care of my flowers!" Who can argue with that?


  1. Beautiful flowers! And children ;)

    We all need our slower weeks from time to time - I've been reading up on adolescence and there is a good deal of focus on "holidays from one occupation should be another occupation - not "nothing to do" time", at least for adolescents. I agree with that - what do I do with my "holiday" time? I work on my hand-work, work on other life-serving projects. Then I return to my original occupation with greater energy.

    I think the same applies in varying levels for all people.


    1. I couldn't agree more. :) It is nice to see the children spontaneously doing their "work" reading, or writing by themselves, getting exercise outside, exploring the season changes, and the ice in the bucket on our front stoop this morning! April and there is ICE outside. I know, we don't have it as bad as some parts of the US!

  2. My older two had the same hiccups with multiplication - I think because, even though they could GIVE the answer that was memorized in their heads, actually working out the parts of the equation and where they were supposed to go - it ended up being more of a hang up then expected. Example being - LM would take the equation 8x9 and lay it out as if it were 9x8 - same answer, but wrong way. It took some time before the 'aha' moment came, when she didn't just have the answer memorized, but also knew how to break it down correctly. And if you can make it to the end of the work period before the wrestling occurs - I'd say they are doing pretty good to hold out so long! Not always, but sometimes, that kind of break takes places much sooner! :)