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Friday, October 22, 2010

Our Week in Review: Simple Measures

I talked a little this week about some changes we are making. We are cutting out some of the extras and focusing on the nuts and bolts. It makes little sense to cover tons of odds and ends if the basic foundation isn’t laid. The irony is that in cutting back, we are already accomplishing much more. There’s also more time for rabbit trails, which we’ll be exploring.

This week we have been mainly concentrating on the 5 R’s (reading, writing, arithmetic, reasoning and religion) plus one special topic.

Reading and Writing:

David has started the Write Foundation (review coming soon), level 1 and really loving it. This lesson was on alliteration and he amazed me with his willingness to do extra work…as long as he was having fun doing it and it was his idea. He is reading a couple of books during his independent reading time, including a Tom Swift book and Sir Rowan. He is also studying Macbeth in the evenings with his Dad.

Mary has started All About Spelling, level 1 (again). We used this some before she was a fluent reader, but didn’t follow through with it and it was time to get it out again (don’t tell anyone, but it was also temporarily misplaced by the move…it only took me 4-1/2 months to find the box it was in). Spelling doesn’t come naturally to her, like it did for her older brother, and she’s struggling a bit. She also does a lot of copywork (she loves to copy things).

Peter is learning phonics through Progressive Phonics. We are using the Alphabetti books and doing the accompanying activities. His main challenge is being serious about it…he likes to make jokes and doodle all over his paper instead of actually copying and tracing letters. But, I have noticed that he has better control making his letters in general, so even doodles have value.

Arithmetic:

David continues with Right Start, Book C. We have skipped a number of lessons, things that he already knows and knows well. But we are also doing a lot of review, particularly of basic math facts. He is developing the automaticity he lacked before and this is good. I do need to sit down sometime and go through the next several lessons to see what we can skip and what we need to review. This week was Roman Numerals. He was a little shaky on some of the higher numbers when we started, but seems to have them all now and doing addition problems with Roman Numerals was a breeze.

Mary continues with Right Start, Book B. I’m finding that Mary also needs to skip some lessons…or she’s going to totally lose interest in using this curriculum. This week we were working on understanding hundreds, which she already understands. And just to prove it to me, she wrote out a couple of pages of math problems, using hundreds, all on her own from her little brain.

I’m beginning to wonder if going with the trouble and expense of using Right Start was totally necessary…I think I just need to go through and see what we can use and what we don’t need. I’ll keep you posted on this.

Peter is using CIMT for math, reception level. He’s doing well with this, and actually the lessons are not really challenging enough for him so far. I’ve mixed in some beginning pages from a 1st grade math book as well (they are review pages, so not too challenging for his abilities). But I think I need to take a look further ahead at the CIMT lessons to see if we can skip some of them, too.

Reasoning abounds! I couldn’t stop them from reasoning if I wanted to.

Religion and Character:

We are continuing with the Faith and Life Series from Ignatius Press, level 2 and 5. We use level 2 as a read aloud that all the children can understand, then David reads level 5 on his own.

We are reading selections from the Book of Virtue and the Moral Compass on the topic of friendship (in the hopes that the kiddos will be better friends to one another).

Our extended study this week was on science and engineering and the topic was bridges. We were blessed to receive a kit from K’nex Education (review coming soon), and it has been a near perfect fit. We’ll be working more on bridges next week and I’m planning to post some resources then, too.

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This post has been linked to the Weekly Wrap-up which is being hosted by See Jamie Blog this week.

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