Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Quick Takes: Homeschooling edition

1. We started school this week and I have been making a concerted effort not to get on the computer until the main work of the day is done. It sometimes makes me a bit twitchy, but I think it has helped all of us keep on track better and finish the school day earlier, which is after all one of the best things about homeschooling.

2. Our morning circle time is going really well. It is doing what I want it to do. Bringing a coherent beginning to the morning, setting the right tone, giving us some prayer and story time together and all that sort of thing. I'm very pleased and plan to keep it up. Specifically this week during circle time, our hymn has been Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all and our poem was The White Clover Fairy by Cicely Barker. We read Pelle's New Suit, Tom Thumb, The Story of the Grand Canyon and Jenny Wren Gives Peter Rabbit an Idea.

3. My second grader is having lots of math troubles. She just doesn't seem to catch on. Even +1 facts seem too hard some days. Flash cards only seem to work in the moment, but are forgotten immediately later on. Any suggestions to help her out?

4. My oldest reads way too fast for me to keep up. I gave up a long time ago on reading everything he reads. I've assigned him one novel to read per week and do actual schoolwork on. He actually grabbed the one for the first week of school (Journey to the Center of the Earth) off the shelf last week and devoured it in about an hour. And he's been perfectly able to handle the work I throw at him. Maybe I should give him two assigned books per week.

5. My pre-K/Kindergartner is doing great. So far it is mostly reading lessons and math around here. She loves Math-U-See primer and would do a lot more lessons in a row, if I'd let her. We're supplementing with counting everything in the house, finding shapes inside and outside, and making big numbers, little numbers and all sorts of numbers on all sorts of surfaces. She doesn't love reading quite as much, but I think that's mostly because she hasn't realized she can read actual books yet. I've been showing her all the words in books that she can sound out by herself.

6. Probably the kid's two favorite things we've done this week?

Art: studying Carl Linnaeus and pulling up our own plants from the yard to sketch and paint.
History: acting out the history lesson about Sir Walter Raleigh with Legos.

7. It is a family tradition, of German origin (as is all of my family), that the child starting Kindergarten gets a big cone filled with school goodies, toys and perhaps even a little candy to make the first day a bit less intimidating and even more exciting. Being homeschooled may not be as intimidating, but my aunt has been making school cones for every niece and nephew since we started going off to school (I still have mine) and she is still making them now for her great-nieces and nephews. So here's the latest little one to get a cone:

Many thanks, as always, to Jen for hosting.


Nadja Magdalena said...

Holy cow, Jordana--I have a photo of my mom on her first day of school in Germany (1st grade--kindergarten hadn't taken hold yet), and the cone was considerably smaller than she was! You could almost fit your daughter into the cone!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Touch Point math for your daughter? I think you can google it and get to the site. My son's kindergarten teacher used it for the whole class (regular ed kids). my son is special ed and it really seems to have worked for him. Blessings from Sara in Georgia!

Sarah said...

I know this sounds silly, but have you tried pennies. It makes the numbers seem more concrete to little ones.

melissa said...

Another suggestion for the math is to just wait. Give her some time. One more trick isn't always going to work, but to hold off and almost make her WANT to learn.

I had two slow-learning readers that we had the dickens of a time teaching. Finally caught on, but time was the important thing.

Becky said...

It sounds a little like your daughter may need to work on her general
"number sense" but I'm not familiar with Math-U-See so I could be completely off base. Anyway, you may want to look at Montessori math for her- it've very manipulative based so it helps significantly with connecting the concept of numbers with the symbols for numbers. montessori-n-such has good prices and their catalogue might give you some good ideas.

Carrien said...

It's thanks to the internet that I even remember that I should get around to planning for fall around here.

We were doing year round school, but with all 3 down with whooping cough for most of a month it fell by the wayside. I'm actually glad for the pause, it lets us reset and start fresh. I'd best get to planning.

ps. We've done a version of circle for about a year now. The first task after breakfast and chores is to copy out a verse from a passage we are memorizing for writing practice. (The little's learn the verse even if they can't write it down.) Then everyone says it together, including the new verse. Then hymns and prayers and reading before we move on to other subjects.

Laura@Our House Of Joyful Noise said...

Sounds like a great start to a new school year, for the most part! I am sure the little bumps will iron out.
I love your German tradition with the big filled come for the new Kindergarteners! How sweet that your aunt has made so many too.

Beth said...

My son is 8 years old and we consider him to be in 2nd grade. He's having similar problems with math.

Our pastor's wife was a math teacher for years before having children. She told me that some children cannot memorize math facts without understanding the meaning of the facts first. She recommended I just keeping working with manipulatives and doing a very small amount of worksheet time every day.

She seemed to think this was common and not a sign of any learning disability or anything to worry about. Eventually the underlying meanings of math will "click" and the child will be able to understand and memorize the facts.

Once we stopped drilling and using flashcards my son seemed to relax a little bit and now he seems to be *starting* to catch on to the patterns in math.

Herb of Grace said...

I second the pennies suggestion. We've also used poker chips and playing cards for simple addition and here is a link to a post explaining my math-teacher-husband's method of teaching place value and addition in the hundreds.

Marie said...

Take or leave this as you will, but regarding the math, I found that one of my girls in particular actually needed me to jump ahead when this happened. I do believe in building blocks, but I think she did better when she could see it -- well, almost in context. Flash cards were disconnected. So instead, we'd work on 236 + 521, or even go to 548 + 273. It seems counterintuitive, but it's like while struggling to figure out the whole digits and carrying and such, the math facts just slipped in.
Best of luck to you.

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