Friday, April 8, 2016

Warmer Weather and the Wheels are Turning

The wheels in our brains are turning. Mine too. I am brushing up on some logic stuff, and pondering some language arts augmentation. More on those later.
 D is still working on his addition strip board and booklets.
 Sometimes he feels chilly in the classroom. He apparently isn't too too chilly to wear a t-shirt and shorts.
We are revisiting the continents. The older two know the continents song, but the little guy is still naming each land mass by it's Montessori color. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the green continent.

 D is also working on labeling the farm environment. He will be the first to actually use the farm environment the way it was intended to be used! 
Sometimes he decides to tape the labels down to the "grass" or the "pond," but other times they get taped right onto the plastic animal.

This is S's amaryllis. Rather, these ARE S's amaryllises. (I think that is the correct plural form of that word.) 
This is how tall that flowering plant really is. S's window faces south which makes all of her plants very happy.
After that, S got lost in our Trees, Shrubs and Flowers book. I picked this fat book from a library sale a while ago. I wasn't sure what she was working on, but then found...
 ...this. A horticulturist or a botanist in the making??
I like this picture of T even though it plainly illustrates that he is no longer a baby. Where did that go? You can kind of see my coffee mug in the background which has pictures of him on it, all from before one year of age!
More grid logic work. T loves these and I love doing them with him. He isn't into really advanced stuff yet. But the easy stuff he finds fun and relaxing. I am finding that I need more printer ink.
We are doing some geometry review too. With the new classroom rearrange, some new materials became more apparent. They asked when we were going to get to area and volume lessons and I said that we could certainly start working in that direction.

I've been finding that review, and more review, and reviewing again has really helped my kids retain definitions in a variety of disciplines. So, we are reviewing and reviewing and revisiting, and exploring every topic again and again. And again. Their recall of these geometry definitions was much better this time you can read what they wrote.
And since starting Writing With Ease, we've been writing down definitions a bit differently. First we talk about what to write down. Then we form our thoughts into a cohesive logical sentence. Next, I remember the sentence and they pick up their pencils. Then I dictate their sentence and they write it down. This process has helped ease frustrations a lot, and there is no more, "I don't remember what I said." We may be getting somewhere folks.

A quick thank you to MBT for turning me in the Writing with Ease direction.
Here S is laughing at something that T said. They were working on categorizing these cards. These cards are from ETC's lower elementary complete word study.
And that is it for today! 


  1. Kal-El wants to know how the kids are getting through those word study cards so fast, LOL.

    Love that you're blogging a lot again.

    I'm glad that you got at least one valuable thing out of that WWE. Our home library is getting huge because the boys love the literature in there so much we wind up buying all the books.

    I've never seen botany comics before. Go S!

  2. The kids are following Kal-El's example with the word study cards. They like them as much as he does. I think it has become a how fast can we whip through this very expensive material Mommy just got. It is review. I'll make sure that they see it again somewhere else. :)

    Thanks for the recommendation Kal-El!

    These short posts are far simpler. I used to do lengthy explanations of how the works, "work." Now that I've done many of those, I don't need to write them again when the next child does the same work. It makes for much less writing.

    At least one valuable thing out of WWE? It must be like 100 valuable things. I am still trying to figure out how to, guide them, teach them, impart upon them, encourage them, etc. all the skills they need to communicate, and WWE gave me great insight into how written language skills develop. Thanks for this tip.

    Do you use the WWE workbook? Teacher manual? With all the passages and copy-work already laid out for you? I've been working from the teacher "guide" book only. It just says to pull passages and copy from the works they are already reading. I've read pros and cons for going both ways on this.

    Do you double up and do a narration and a copy work in the same day? I end up doing this because I am impatient and I feel we are behind and need to catch up. And I want them to have a TON of repetition, revisiting, reviewing, renewing, you name it. I was pleased to see a "skill-gauge" at the end of year one, that indicates which skills the child should really have mastered before moving on to year 2.

    Haha, botany comics!! I guess she may be catching her brother's comic bug. We've come a long way from those drawings of flattened football heads with sticks coming out in four directions.

  3. Yes, we use the WWE workbooks. I get one workbook and it stays clean. The workbook has all the passages and copywork chosen. The tear out pages are mostly blank handwriting paper but have the copywork written on them. So, the past couple years I always just used whatever style of handwriting paper they were currently using. This year I actually bound the amount of handwriting paper I needed so we didn't have to hole punch every day. I numbered the pages according to the chapter and day (12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4) This year we always need two pages for 12.4. For the copywork this year I just photocopied all the copy work sentences twice and used a glue stick to stick them onto the pages where we actually do copywork. In the past when they were less mature I didn't want the copywork sentence all at the top so I would write it out myself every-other line so they could write it beneath. For Kal-El's cursive, I bought the cd New American Cursive (which only works on a PC so I go to my Mom's) and typed out all of all of the sentences every-other line so he could copy beneath. This year I felt they were mature to copy from the sentence all at the top of the page.

    We don't suffer from the cons you are thinking of. I quickly discovered the boys were going to insist on reading EVERY book excerpted. They complained the passages were too short and they wanted to hear the whole thing. It was serving as our own personal "reading rainbow." (Do you remember Reading Rainbow?) So, as it turns out the narrations and copywork, while being in the workbook, ARE excerpted from what we are reading. Although, I do the WWE lesson first to whet their appetite for the book.

    The blog Read Aloud Dad is excellent for picking the best edition of most of the books. I read some aloud, they read some alone and we do a lot of the books also as audio books or I wouldn't be able to be able to keep up.

    I do double up. In book one we did read a passage, did the narration, recorded "what they remember," then did a copywork so I think it took two days a week. This year it takes three days a week because we are in book two. We read passage one do the narration, write the summary day one. Then they do the "day two" copywork. On the second day we read passage two, do the narration, write the summary. On day three they do a dictation from their day two summary. We school four days a week so if we are having a long Monday I can put the copywork on day two and move the other things accordingly.

    Kal-El should be in level three but the only difference between level two and three are the *length* of the passages and copywork and dictation. There isn't actually a new "skill." Me Too is at the right level so I can't put them both in book three and I don't have time to double the amount of this we do, especially as it would double the amount of literature. So, I just keep them together. Kal-El will eventually get through the program and it will be fine. I might be able to have him do level three using and add any additional level four skills to adjust next year.

    Botany comics. Coconut Man could be Cocos Nucifera Man and Green Bean Man could be Phaseolus Vulgaris Man. She's right in line with T. and Me Too, just more scientifically specific.

  4. Oh, and bah on the "warmer weather" title. It snowed here yesterday.

  5. And the plural of amaryllis is amaryllises but I think it should be amarylli :)