Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"I aaaaammmm Ssssaaaammmm. I am Sam.

Actually, we haven't learned the "I" sound yet...

Three days down, 177 to go. Actually, I think the school calendar I’m using only has 170, so that would be 167 days to go. Whatever it is, I’ve done three days of school with my two little kindergarten students- Jonathon and James and it seems to be going okay. For those of you who are trying to think if they were really born close enough together to be in the same grade, they were not. Jonathon is currently 5 ½ and James just turned 4 August 3rd. So, they are in fact 15 months apart- as they have been for quite some time, though James would like to see that change soon. Anyway, James is very quick verbally, and I just thought that maybe he could pick up on stuff faster and perhaps get something out of Jonathon’s lessons too if I spent the time. And, if it goes well, we might just keep it like this and then I wouldn’t have to teach them separate stuff all the time. I know later some subjects go together fine for different grades, but right now, I don’t want to have to do different math and reading for each, so the same thing for both seems to be working so far. James has a shorter attention span, but Jonathon gives up practicing quicker so that makes them about even.

So what have we been doing, you ask? Well…we’ve been working from the famous “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” book and using “Right Start Math”. The first is a reading program that takes between 15-30 mintutes a day and teaches the child the sounds of letters before they even learn the names. It also incorporates some writing and my kids hate all writing utensils- especially if they have to use them. So, after several days of slaving away on paper, I broke out the shaving cream (Diane R.’s idea) and squirted it all over the dining room table (not especially delicate) and let them write their letters in it with their fingers. We put on aprons so they wouldn’t get too dirty and they went to town. I heard very little complaints and I think they actually learned something. We did the entire reading lesson in shaving cream as I just wrote the sounds from the book on the table and had them read them in the cream instead. Jonathon sounded out his first blend “ma” ( “a” as in Adam) by himself today and that was exciting.

The Right Start Math uses lots of games and things to teach counting. The basic premis of this program is to get the child to recognize sets of five and thereby making it easier to count and add in sort of groups. Right now they are learning to recognize numbers one through five without counting it. For example on your fingers or with items in a line, 1 is one because it is alone. 2 has a partner. 3 has a middle and partners, 4 doesn’t have a middle, and 5 has a middle, two ends and something inbetween them. It sounds like it’s counting, but really when they glance at it they are starting to recognize the amounts without having to actually say or think, “1…2…3…4…”. We use popsicle sticks, little colored blocks, toys, screws, nuts and bolts, and all sorts of things. We’ve counted, sorted things, made patterns, shapes and learned a little about ordinal counting. (I only know what the word “ordinal” means because I’m teaching my children- it means counting, “first, second, third, fourth, etc.) Anyway, that has been fun and the material has very specific instructions for each lesson.

Other school that we are doing, though we don’t always do it at the same time: reading the Bible and learning some Bible songs, reading some literature- right now we are on the last chapter of “Farmer Boy” and I need to find another book from our literature list.

Let’s see…oh, we are watching Monarch caterpillars turn into butterflies and that has been completely fascinating, so there is our science. We are supposed to start some history, art and music soon, and there is also a French course for kindergarten, but I’m not sure if I’m that brave. I have not looked into it yet much and I’m a little hesitant, but we’re just getting started and I’m not worried about French. So, it’s been fun, even if it’s been tiring and just in case you think this is taking all day, it isn’t. Right now we are usually doing about an hour and a half in the mornings and then I read to them in the evenings for about 15-20 minutes. So, really it isn’t that much. I also hope I can gradually incorporate more life skills into the day- like cooking or cleaning jobs, or working with Brandon. They just got pruning clippers so they could help him trim bushes and they are really exciting to help him when they can. I hope they can do more of that sort of thing in the future, they are so much better behaved when they’ve been having a good time working and come home tired.

Well…that’s school for you and at the risk of sounding too boring…I’m going to end this. We’re having fun…hope you are too.

P.S. Lest you think all life is fun right now, we’re dealing with several attitude and character issues with the boys these days that are not fun, but hopefully they will learn those lessons soon and we can enjoy more of the day and not just the school part. Please pray, if you have a minute, for them to be honest, kind, and responsible.


Smiles said...

Shaving cream on the table! You are so creative! I hope I am able to be that creative when I teach!

bria said...

So impressed with your homeschooling skills! Blessings on you in all that you have to do!

lis said...

Prayed! And I, for one, was fascinated by the account. It's hard to remember back that far with my brothers, so it seems fresh and new.

Of course, I DO have vivid memories of said reading book with brothers one and three. They hated it then...but now they love to read! :O)

Oooh, and I remember learning to read Hebrew...and was it ever exciting when I could sound things out! Yay for Jonathon! A big moment indeed.

DJ said...

WOW!!! Way to go :-)