Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 3

We're starting to get into the swing of things. Although it's not as structured as I would like it. I've learned that teaching at home means home things come up & we work around it. I'm learning to be ok with that. I would like the day to start at 8:00 on the dot and end at 2:30 sharp. I'm trying to stick with that schedule as best as I can, but have realized that's just not the reality around here. One day I asked my hubby to take Princess K with him to Mr. T's soccer game just so Capt. N & I could have a bit of uninterrupted school time. It was well past 2:30, but we got some great school time in.

We had a good week. The homeschool stuff was fairly typical: Spelling, Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science & Social Studies. He did poorly again on his spelling test. Ugh, I'm not sure what to do about that or how much to worry about it. After 2 weeks of doing poorly, I thought I'd change it up a bit and give him some words that mean something to him or are relevant to what we are studying. This week I gave him the 7 continents & 4 oceans. And instead of getting creative with ways to practice his spelling words I just had him practice writing the words & spelling them out loud a couple times this week. On his test on Friday he got 6 right out of 11. Were the words to hard? Should he practice more? Should I give him the same words until he gets them right? I'm not sure what to do about his spelling. He aced his math test, though. I know they will soon enough, but I hope his math lessons get a bit harder pretty soon. Because he loves it when I let him type things on the computer I decided he should learn how to type correctly. I don't know when they're taught this in public school, but I don't feel like now is too early. So, I bought some typing software and he started using it this week. He's told me a few times how much fun it is. Yay! I like fun school stuff.

He had a few outside activities as well. His first vision therapy session went well. Now he has 30 minutes of exercises he is supposed to work on daily. He went to the library and read to a trained dog. He enjoyed it so much he asked if he could do it again. I signed him up. Anything that gets him to read is definitely high on my priority list. And he started piano lessons at his old school, which he seemed to enjoy.

Thursday was my first day helping in Mr. T''s kinder class. I will be helping most Thursday's for the rest of the year. It was fun. I spent most of my time helping the kids that are struggling a bit, which is what his teacher said I will be doing the majority of the time. I'm glad I can give those kids that extra boost of help & attention. Outside of that, his teacher asked me if Capt. N wasn't there this year. So I told her why he wasn't there. She was shocked to hear his reading skills are not great. She was his kinder teacher too & was a huge part in teaching him to read. She remembers him doing so well. (At least I wasn't delusional. I swore he did fantastic in kindergarten & she said he did.) I told her about his tracking issues & she said the place I'm taking him is a great place. That's always nice to hear. She was so nice & non-judgemental. Before she was a kinder teacher she specialized in reading so she gave me a few tips and other things to try. Then she said I could bring him in with me a few times this year & she would let him help in her classroom then after the kinder's left she would have him read to her. I love her for offering to do this for him. It actually gets me choked up. I don't feel like I've gotten a ton of support & I keep hitting dead ends on ways to help him, so I really appreciate her going out of her way to help him. Now, that's a great teacher.

If he's doing a worksheet that has a spot for his name on the page, I ask him to write his name. Obviously that's not necessary for our schooling purposes, but I want him to stay in the habit of it in case he goes back to public school next year. Early in the week he forgot to write his name on a paper, so I asked him to write his name & reminded him why I'm asking him to do it. Since the subject kinda came up, I asked him if he had to pick right now would he want to be homeschooled or go back to public school next year. He chose homeschool. I told him I don't know for sure that's what will happen, but I will keep his answer in mind. I know we are very early in the school year and he may change his mind, but I'm glad to know so far he's enjoying this new method of schooling.

Pics from the Week:

Reading ~
I've had this set of Little House books since I was a kid. I am sooooo excited to start reading them with Capt. N. I thought he might relate a little better to a boy as the main character so we're starting with Farmer Boy. This was not my favorite as a kid, but I'm really enjoying it this time around.

In the Farmer Boy book Almanzo mentions that if you take one glass full of popcorn and put all that popcorn into one glass full of milk the milk will not overflow. We had to try it. And, he was right. All that popcorn didn't over flow the milk. We're crazy popcorn eaters in our house, so this was an especially fun experiment. To read more about it click here.

Language Arts ~
We used this apple tree game to practice possessive nouns. To read more about it click here.

Math ~
I made these little cards for Mr. T as a way to practice identifying the numbers 1 - 10 quickly. He did fantastic with them the first time around. I may need to put them in Princess K's box of goodies instead.

Since I made them I tried them out on Capt. N. These are, of course, quite easy for him but I think they might be good for him to visualize the numbers in a different way.

I also had Capt. N do these a couple times this week. Again, it was pretty easy for him. But, a number of times in the last couple weeks he's been writing things like 5-6=1 or 10-14=4. I thought this might help him see why that is not correct. I downloaded them from a public school website. I stuck two cards together & laminated them so we can reuse them over & over.

Cooking ~

Capt. N is starting a Cooking Lapbook. Here's somethin' we did for that. The 3 tabs that are flipped so we can't read them say Measuring Spoons, Measuring Cups & Liquid Measuring Cup. Once those are flipped open there are more tabs that say things like What are they used to measure? & What measurements do they come in? I wrote the answers on pieces of paper, then he had to guess which paper answered which question. Once he figured out the answers he wrote them inside the flaps.

We had a birthday in the family this weekend, so our first cooking lesson was baking a cake. It was boxed mix & we've done that together before. But, I made sure to throw in a few other learning things. We made a triple batch using 3 boxes so I had him figure out how many eggs we were going to need. He figured that out easily. I thought I'd stump him though when the instructions said to use 1/3 cup vegetable oil and I asked him how much we needed for all 3 boxes. He knew the answer without hesitation. We'll start baking/cooking from scratch soon, but this was a great first cooking lesson.

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