Today I thought I would show you pictures from just today, not any from earlier in the week, and talk you through a "morning in our life" so-to-speak. Normally I get up at 6 a.m. to jog or bike. This week I am resting a foot injury and also have been up the past two nights with a kidney stone (gone this morning, yea!) so I slept in. Me Too and I both slept until 7:40 at which point we were both awoken to the sounds of Kal-El practicing violin downstairs. Me Too sprang out of bed and pulled out his violin as well so today all the practicing was done before breakfast.
After a breakfast of eggs and toast, the boys snuck in a game of chess before school time. They have both been playing for about two years now.
Both boys have been choosing a lot of math lately. Me Too is working on the subtraction tables with the strip board this week. I always bring this up, but this work is part of the primary math album. Some people say that this type of work is meant for primary and to skip this type of work when the child reaches elementary age. However, there is just NO WAY that we could have gotten to this work in primary. We worked at math diligently and I never managed to finish the primary album during primary with either kid. Kal-El will be starting the elementary math album on Monday. This would be his "second-grade" year in traditional school or his second year of Montessori elementary. I think this work is important and the boys really enjoy it. The Montessori school in my area that I've toured seemed to have classrooms full of kids doing this work during lower elementary...so I'm not worried about it. The reason I bring this up again today is because Me Too is really struggling with this work. It has to do with his mental coordination at his maturity level.
- He has a really hard time choosing the correct tan strip.
- He sometimes grabs two tan strips instead of a tan and a blue.
- He starts solving one equation and then switches to another halfway through.
- He has trouble reading the "difference" or "remainder" off the board.
- He fills in his answer on the wrong line, cries because he has to erase.
- He writes numbers backwards, realizes it, then cries because he has to erase again.
- And, nearly everyday he has suddenly "discovered a pattern" in the answers and tries to fill them in without using the strips but has discovered the wrong pattern. Then he cries because, he reports, he's "tired of erasing things."
Today was his fourth day with the strip board and the first day he didn't have any major problems. I am really glad I homeschool him because he would be that kid who turns in worksheets full of the wrong answers because he thought he saw a pattern and just filled them all in without doing the work. He would be the kid with red circles all over his work because the right answer is written backwards. I'm glad he's home because I can see right away when he is filling in according to an incorrect "pattern" and ask him to do the work with the strips for a few more days. I don't care if the answer is right or wrong as long as he is going through the process with the strips. I don't care if the number is backwards...I can just sneak some more practice in on numbers separately and later. I held him on my lap while he cried for five minutes yesterday. Afterward, he felt better. I did the erasing for him (there is no award for doing your own erasing) and he was happy to redo some of the pages again. We can spend as much time as we need on this material until he is comfortable.
Kal-El figured out the relationship between skip-counting the bead chains and multiplication on his own. He is choosing to work with bead chains more to help with his multiplication. Today he reviewed the bead chain of 3 and we played Speed! , yesterday we did the same with the chains of 2 and 4.
Me Too worked on the 2 chain and played Speed! as well.
Kal-El is back into his routine of filling in two pages of fraction equations everyday.
Kal-El got overheated and changed clothes. The pictures are still all from today. Yesterday Kal-El completed the first multiplication finger chart. Today he wanted to start the second finger chart and the second control chart. He needed to understand the commutative property of multiplication to do that and hadn't discovered it on his own yet. I set him up with some equations with bead bars on the white board and let him solve them until he discovered it. Then he transitioned easily to the finger charts.
We had a funny conversation with the white board. After he discovered the commutative property I asked him if he remembered the word "commutative." He said, "yes!" I asked, "what does 'commutative' mean?" He said, "It's when you have two properties in two different places." I must have looked at him oddly and at the same time he remembered that the word "commute" and realized that "commutative" must be something different. Ever the jokester, he decided to go with it and although he could barely say it over his own giggling he said, "You know, you have two properties in two different places and then you 'commutatate' from one to the other!" Then he exploded into laughter.
In addition to the work I photographed, both boys did a lot of language work. Both boys did a word study out of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. Me Too's was a review of all the different ways to make the long-e sound. We also pulled out our Dwyer reading folder for the long-e sound. Kal-El's was on changing "y" to "i" and adding "-es" to form plurals and words that end in "-es" that are verbs instead of plural nouns. Both boys worked on All About Spelling. Me Too is in level one and Kal-El is in level two.
I also pulled Writing with Ease back off the shelf. I started it last year with Kal-El. We only finished the first four units. This is pretty typical with me when implementing a new category of work. I kind of fit a little bit in the first year or so in fits and starts. By the second year I really figure out how to integrate the work into our schedule. For that reason, I always start things like that about a year before I am concerned about being successful with it. One of the reasons I will drag my feet on some categories of work is if I realize that it would be better to have the boys do the work together. About 50% of the time Me Too can be pushed to do the work a year "early" and the other 50% of the time I hold off on Kal-El to wait for Me Too. Last year Me Too really would have struggled with the copywork. Also, each lesson provides two copywork selections to choose from. One is easier, the other is more challenging. Last year, Kal-El could only really handle the easier copywork selection. So, this year we started right up on lesson five. Me Too did the easier copywork selection and Kal-El was able to do the harder one. Today the selections were from Alice and Wonderland. It was just the part in which Alice talks with the caterpillar on the mushroom. The selection stopped before she ate any. The boys are dying to know what happened. So, I quickly bought Alice and Wonderland (99 cents!) for the Kindle app on my iPad and I read them the first two chapters.
This week I finally felt like our routine was reestablished and the boys are ready for some impressive presentations again. That means next week I will present one or more of the Great Lessons!
After we finished our school time we headed out to the pharmacy and the grocery store and then had a picnic lunch on the patio. Kal-El spotted a rabbit in the yard and informed me that he was going to give a full chase. Me Too cracked up laughing because I asked Kal-El if the rabbit had a waistcoat and a pocketwatch, told him NOT to follow it into its rabbit hole, and told him that if he accidentally fell in DON'T eat anything down there. Kal-El didn't laugh. I think he was working out the possibility of all that happening.