05 March 2010

Life's Curve Balls

We're trying to get back into the swing of things following a little family drama. School was about the only thing that didn't suffer during our little hiccup. I'm just now starting to feel like our normal family life has returned, so I'm going to update my blog about my kiddos.

Regarding their actual school work, I feel like they are doing very well as of late. However, I think they are getting an early case of spring fever, despite a week off in early February. They have been very resistant to school, but once they get going, their work has been outstanding.

First of all, H's math is now teaching her how to add. I was watching her do her worksheet yesterday, and I was very impressed with how she gets it all together in her brain. For an example, we'll do 4 + 5. She takes her 4 block and her 5 block and puts them together. Then she guesses that they match the 8 block. "One more," she says as she compares the length. So she puts the 9 block up against the other two, and writes out her number sentence on her worksheet. Next week, we refine it a bit more and concentrate on adding 1.

K's math is also going very well. This seems to be the subject we've had the most trouble in getting her to do, but what she does, she does well. I think the problem is that her personality, for the most part, makes her so independent that she hates having to do something that she needs consistent help with. Most of her other work can be done with just minimal help from me, but math seems to need me more. And I think that is why she does not like it. However, with just a few examples of different ways to figure out the answers, she can usually end up doing the work herself. I am considering getting an overhead projector (They have them relatively cheap on Craig's List in this area!) and one of the things I will use it for is walking her through samples of math problems like the ones she will be doing that day, like my high school algebra teacher, Mr. Easton, did every day. He was the best math teacher I ever had. (I don't really know what makes that different than using a chalkboard, but it worked for me, so it's worth a try! And I can prepare the samples ahead of time, instead of having her watch me draw oodles of squares on the chalkboard for each problem.)

We are taking a break from our R.E.A.L. Science to do a spring unit study. I picked this up, and H is doing the Butterflies and Ladybugs with Eric Carle lapbook while K works on the World Explorer Journal on birds, to be followed by the insect lapbook. So far, they are enjoying this. What is really neat is that the day we went to the library to get some of the required books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the girls' story time included The Very Hungry Caterpillar. When we resume our normal science, we will be learning about the circulatory system and doing a heart lapbook.

Reading has been good for K. She is still working on the pages from Reading for the Gifted Student and we have also started working on some lessons from Reading A to Z. She is working on level O, and we have made it through the first two books. She enjoyed Whales, but couldn't wait to be done with Sally Ride. The next book is about yoga, so maybe she will like that one better.

H is slowly, but steadily, getting better and better at her reading all the time. We are still working on her confidence, as she mostly will only read to me, and even that takes some coercion sometimes. However, she is on lesson 62 and is learning to distinguish between lowercase b and d. Yesterday she was taught the hand trick, and I told her to imagine a c in the middle. If that doesn't work, I made the girls each a mini office, and hers has a handwriting guide, so she can use that to see which one is which.

Well, I think I have covered pretty much everything that is relevant. I will take some pictures and scan some of their recent work, and try to get it posted this weekend. I'm very excited about our spring projects and the mini offices and some of the other things that are coming up in the months to come. My goal is to share that excitement with you!