Thursday, November 5, 2015

D Working, Working, Working Hard

This week is all about D. No doubt T and S have been working hard too, but we are the middle of a re-organization. I am reading a very good book Brain Rules by John Medina about how the brain works, and how it acquires and retains knowledge. I am hoping to get some good review techniques out of this book that will help my children "retain" a trickle of what they encounter. We'll see though.

This little guy is still in his absorbent period so we aren't consciously trying to retain new knowledge. And I've slowed the pace a great deal to "hang out" in each corner a bit. Hopefully, he'll remember something of what he's done in 6 months time.

D finished the thousand chain. But not without help. He didn't need help putting the tickets in order, nor did he need help remembering how to count aloud. He did need help focusing and settling. So, even though he is capable of counting to a thousand, the discipline and maturity wasn't quite there for the lesson. Maybe this is why the albums recommend introducing this lesson to a 5 year old.

Now he is on to the 9 cube chain, and again, it is the same thing. He is enthusiastic, and can order the tickets just fine. But then it comes to all that counting and he gets antsy. 

I don't usually let the kids wear two different socks, but D insisted this day.
We are on to the change game! This lesson comes after we've combined the golden beads (physical quantity) with the category number cards (numeric quantity.) D has been working very hard to fetch cards and beads and can fetch four categories very accurately. One thing that may seem a bit redundant to us adults is to have the child verify their quantity each and every time. When they return with a bead quantity or a card, have them re-count, or re-read the quantity that they have brought. It reinforces fact checking, counting, and the entire lesson linking physical quantity with numeric quantity. D loves all counting, so he was happy to do the "check" step.

For the change game, we lay out all the large category cards, (1-9,000) on a separate rug. I grab his tray, and fill it with random quantities of beads, making sure that there are more of 10 of some categories. (Example: more than 10 hundred squares.)

I say, "wow, what a mess." He laughs. And then he starts to organize the mess, putting all the thousand cubes together, and the hundred squares together and so on. 

Then starting with the smallest category, we count up the beads. The lesson in the albums suggests that when we get to (10) unit beads, the guide say, "stop, now we exchange, the ten unit beads for one ten bar." We did it this way the first day but somehow the impression didn't stick. 

The next time, he didn't understand why we stopped at 10. So, I improvised. I let him count all the unit beads without stopping. I think he had something like 19. Then I asked him what to do next. He said, "get the card." I said, "okay, get the 19 unit bead card." All of the unit bead cards are green. He hopped over to the category cards on another work rug and came back saying that there was no 19 - unit card. I said, "oh, well let's count again and see what we can do." THIS next time, I stopped him at ten units. We counted the ten units again in a cup. Then I said, we can get ten unit beads, wired together. He said, "oh, a ten bar!!" We counted the beads on the ten bar, to make sure that there were 10 units wired together. I said, "we are giving 10 unit beads back to the bank, and we are taking 10 beads wired together as a ten bar." We added this to his pile of ten bars.

Afterward, he counted up the remaining 9 unit beads and went to fetch the 9-unit card.

He then was able to quite readily make all necessary exchanges. 

After practicing for a few more days he is ready for the collective exercises with the golden beads (all operations; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.)
I think S was putting together a random "secret" quantity of beads for D to count.
And he is also writing. This, of course, is the first sound in his name. 
 I encourage him to "fill-up" his page.
 He was super happy about completing this work.
See, super happy.

 I'm going to take a picture of my work -- happy.
And we are reading. A lot. Everyday. Here we are using our writing tray to name some objects. I've already cut some longer slips so that we can work on reading phrases. 

D can almost recognize all of the single letter sounds, and now we are mainly working on phonograms. He loves, "ai" and "ee" and "sh" but the others are still a bit foggy.

We've started blends as well.
After he reads a bunch, then he tapes the slips onto a larger piece of hole-punched paper, illustrates his favorite phrase and sticks the entire work in his binder.
Some of the phrases are commands (like "cut it up") so I guess we have started those too. We are mixing double letter sounds (phonograms) in with single letter symbol recognition. We haven't gotten to the Dwyer folders with the little booklets that have words spelled in all the different ways you can spell, say, "ee." And we haven't gotten to books, easy readers, home-made booklets yet either. 

I feel doing a bit of this work each and every day, and keeping this work short, and giving him the same routine each time, has really helped keep up his enthusiasm and momentum and has helped stave off frustration and boredom.

For now, his enthusiasm is great, and this is the way I want to keep it. We'll keep going slow, at his pace, adding concepts slowly, and I have no doubt that at some point something will click and he'll be off to the races. 
Besides, school work we've also been contending with a ton of rain. A TON. This was the tree out back after hurricane Patricia passed by.
This is me feeling $1600 lighter. 

It was also lucky, but expensive, that we had put down another $7K to patch up the 6" hole in the roof and put on all new shingles BEFORE the rain came.
And D went out to enjoy the rain on a balance bike in a slicker, rain boots and shorts. Poor guy can't really see.

I've been working on a lot of CGS stuff, CCD stuff, flute (and more flute, and more flute, and more flute,) and sports stuff. Next up, Advent, Christmas, and keeping up with school. Busy is good at this time in our lives! 


  1. His round cheeks! They are disappearing! I remember the first pictures I saw of him with his adorable round cheeks... ;)

    1. Is it this set of shots? MBT also said he looked really grown up in these photos? I tell him I'd rather he stay a baby, and he tells me, "mama, I am NOT a baby." Of course he isn't, I am just wishing time would stand still for a bit.