Monday, July 7, 2008

School time already!?!

OK. I may have underestimated how disrupted a new baby would be on my ability to get things accomplished around the house. Based on the nap lengths of Violet and Benny as babies, I expected to have plenty of time to get my work done while the baby was sleeping. Alas, baby Henry simply does not sleep for large chunks of time. He has been much more sporadic sleeping 15 minutes here or 30 minutes there. I was hoping to start trying to keep him awake for longer periods of time last week so he would nap longer. The fever and increased spit up made that impossible. Henry's still running a fever, but it's lower so he's in a better mood today. We made a bit of progress in keeping him awake this morning, and he did get a good morning nap. Hopefully by the end of this week we'll have made some more progress. I've managed to keep up with the laundry and meals. Housecleaning has been hit or miss. School planning... well let's just say I'm only about halfway done. So the official start date for school gets postponed another week.
In the interim, I decided to take a few days this week to reassess where the girls are at overall. This morning we focused on math. I wanted to make sure that the girls remembered what they had learned last year before starting new material. Violet did an addition math drill page and a few other problems involving carrying and borrowing. The math drill took forever. The addition with renaming was excellent. The subtraction with borrowing took several minutes of thought. She remembered how to do it, but she wasn't confident about it and couldn't tell me conceptually what she was doing. So for the first couple of weeks, I'll have Violet concentrate on memorizing her addition facts and reviewing borrowing before we move on to the 2B book. Jessie did an addition drill, a multiplication drill, a couple of problems multiplying larger numbers by single digit numbers, and a couple of large division problems. She still needs to work on memorizing a few of her multiplication facts, but she had no problem with the rest of her math. I'll start in the 4A book on the first day of school and just continue working on the multiplication drill on the side.
Hopefully, tomorrow morning we can find a few minutes to assess handwriting. For Violet, I want to make sure she is still forming all of her manuscript letters correctly since I haven't watched her write for awhile. If so, we can jump right into cursive. If not, we'll do a few weeks of manuscript copywork first. For Jessie, I want to see if she's ready to transition from using lined handwriting paper to regular wide ruled paper for her dictation work this year. I'll also check her cursive letter formation. I think she may need a little bit of review on a few of the capital cursive letters that aren't used often like Z.
Lastly, I'd like to take some time Thursday or Friday to assess their reading and comprehension skills. I think I'll have each of the girls take an online test to determine their current reading level. Then I'll give each of a chapter to read and have them narrate back to me orally. This will help me make sure that the books that I assign to them for history and literature are appropriate.

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