Friday, August 15, 2008

Week 2: Warming Up...

Overall it's been a good week. We've added on our language arts components to our schedule. For Jessie that includes spelling, grammar, dictation, assigned reading with narrations, Classical Writing Aesop, and Reading Detective from the Critical Thinking Company. Violet's schedule is much simpler covering spelling, grammar, handwriting, and assigned reading with narration. We've had the normal boundary testing that occurs every year as the kids try to figure out what's expected of them and what they can get away with. After a relaxed summer, I knew it would take some time to reestablish our routine. Hopefully, everything will smooth out over the next few weeks. Here's a glimpse of our accomplishments for the week.

Jessie's been breezing through her math this week. We're still covering the first section on numbers to 100,000. This week we finished off rounding, discussed factors, and introduced multiples. Our new schedule of working 1 or 2 problems from the Challenging Word Problems book is continuing to be successful. Jessie's currently working in the review section at the end of the level 3 book so that we can cover the topics in the textbook before encountering them in the word problems book. Truthfully, the biggest problem we've had with math this week is the girls talking and goofing around instead of working because I'm in the other room with Benny and Henry. I may end up moving one of them to my desk to complete their work if things don't change next week.

Violet has been continuing her review of last year. We finished reviewing addition with renaming on Monday, spent three days reviewing subtraction with borrowing, and ended with onw of the review pages from the 2A textbook. She did very well for the most part. Friday she made several mistakes when she copied the problems out horizontally but was able to work the problems correctly when I wrote them for her in the vertical format on the dry erase board. I think we'll stay with my origainl plan of beginning the 2B book next Monday. We can always do a couple of review problems each day if I find she needs more practice.

We've had both successes and struggles with Jessie's language arts this week. The only change that we have made to dictation this year is to move from lined handwriting paper to regular wide ruled paper. I didn't actually time it, but it seemed that Jessie spent more time erasing this week than she did writing. The two main culprits seem to be a lack of focus and her sudden desire to have her handwriting look nice (perfect would be more accurate). To cope with the lack of focus, I've made the dictation a little easier by having her read the selection out loud one time before I begin dictating the sentences. Coping with the perfectionism is an ongoing battle across several subjects in school and other areas outside of school. I simply try to help her see the positive things she is accomplishing and remember to encourage her hard work to try to balance out her criticism of her own efforts. Grammar, spelling, and reading detective are off to a good start. I'm still not sure if I need to slow the pace down in her spelling book. We'll wait a couple of weeks and see how it goes. In Classical Writing, she did a nice job of narrating the fable back to me although we did have a slight power struggle when it came to making revisions. That leaves the assigned reading. This is a new addition for us this year. I'll write more about what we're doing and how our first week went this weekend.

Violet's language arts are off to an excellent start. The FLL lessons that I planned went well this week as we began our discussion of nouns. She needed a little help with her spelling lessons, but only missed two words on her test Thursday. Again, I may need to slow down the pace of the workbooks this year. We'll give it another week or two before making a final decision. She's doing well with her copywork even though I forgot to set up anything for her ahead of time. She knows how to correctly form all of the letters but still sometimes writes her M and N starting from the bottom. We'll stick with manuscript for another month or so even though she really wants to move on to cursive.

For poetry, we've started memorizing a new poem entitled The Shepherd which I'll add over on the left as soon as I get a chance. Jessie's finished the first stanza, and Violet finished memorizing the whole poem in two days. I added another short poem for her from FLL that Jessie already knows, Hearts Like Doors. This way I can still challenge Violet without making Jessie feel like she is behind.


Benny officially started Phonics Pathways this week. He spent two days learning the short a sound, and the remaining three figuring out the short e sound. He had a hard time correctly repeating the e sound after me. He kept saying either the short a or the short i sound for some reason. I'm not really worried about it though. It took the girls about 6 or 8 weeks to learn the 5 vowels sounds and confidently identify them when the letter was held up. We'll just go at whatever pace Benny is comfortable. We also practiced some counting up to 20. We counted toes one day and beads on the abacus another day. He is skipping from 14 to 18, but we'll work it out eventually. We read several random library books this week. Next week we'll start following more of a geography theme. (More about that later as well.) This morning he did some cutting in his Kumon book which I thought was really challenging, but he did a great job with a tiny bit of encouragement.


Rhonda said...

I always enjoy your weekly reports. My son always wants perfect handwriting also, even on math! He will erase it sometimes several times before it looks the way he wants it to look!
Also, the picture below of your kids is darling.
~Have a blessed day.

Paige said...

Looks like a great week, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just stopping by. Wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. I don't always comment. I'll get better, I promise. ;) But I love how you organize your homeschool. :)