Tuesday, September 8, 2015

School Days

Today was the first day of our second week of school.  Everything has been going very well.  Today was the first day I felt like taking some pictures.  Above the boys are doing some copywork.  You can see Me Too's work plan with paper clips resting on the table.    Speaking of the table, there is a little surprise underneath the table.

Truman is now responsible enough to join us during school.  He loves it.

Today Me Too had various "thinking faces" he made between equations in the fraction drawers.  He likes to do them like flashcards and shout out the answers.  These particular equations are practicing different formats and happen to be subtraction.  Each equation is missing one numerator in random positions in the equation and sometimes the difference is listed first.  This requires more careful thinking.  I think that's why he makes the faces.  If he's not careful he tries to fill in the blank as if he is subtracting the minuend from the subtrahend when the difference is listed first.  

Me Too only has a few fraction drawers left.  When he finishes them he will be ready to move on to operations with unlike denominators and multiplying or dividing a fraction by a fraction.  I've already moved the new work in so the old cabinet is on the floor behind him.  These are one of his daily works until he's done so I can quickly get that cabinet out of here. 

Easy peasy.  The boys are whipping through our Child-sized Masterpiece folders from the beginning as a refresher for the new folders I put together.  After matching pairs, Me Too likes to read the titles of the paintings given on the back of the cards and then examine the painting to see if he can figure out why the artist chose the title.  He was mystified by the one under his hand in the picture.  It is titled something like A Woman, a Bird, and a Star.  

Me Too is finishing up the racks and tubes.  His equation today was something like 93,456 divided by 3,047.  If you look closely you can see that he doesn't like to put in all of the skittles.  He just puts one skittle on each board.  If there are seven units in the divisor he just puts one skittle in the hole for seven.  He is recording his work on graph paper, but isn't recording the beads used or remainders for each step yet, just the equation itself and the final quotient and any final remainder.

Both boys received presentations on Lowest Common Multiples with the pegboard last week.  Today I told both of them they could choose any three numbers and find the LCM.  This is Me Too's work from this morning.  Today he learned WHY we disregarded the number one when we did the tables of multiples last spring.  He won't be choosing the number one again any time soon.  To putzy.  

I didn't like the way the cardstock dividers I made lay on the board so I grabbed the box of wooden ledger lines I made to go with our music notation materials.  These are Woodsies that I had spray painted gloss black. They worked perfectly and are a lot easier to pick up than the cardstock. Just a tip.

The boys know what to do if they run out of space on the board and how to do this with two-digit numbers.  They both chose easy numbers today.  Tomorrow I'll give them parameters, such as two numbers in the teens.  I would really like a box of cards for this, but I guess I'll try this one Jessica's way.

Above is a picture of what Kal-El did during our most of our three-hour work period this morning.  I dragged him out of his books for Spanish and copywork, but otherwise he read the whole time.

When he came into the school room this morning he noticed right away that I had restocked the bookcase after a library trip.  When it is full of fresh books like this, and it is once or twice a week, he just can't resist reading them all.  However, he didn't finish anything on his work plan.  That meant he had a lot to do when we came home from our afternoon violin lessons.  There was a tantrum.  I videotaped the tantrum but will spare you all the video.  At any rate, he finished up all of the daily work on his plan in about 30 minutes if you don't count the time it took to have the tantrum.  He did an equation on the flat bead frame, chose some exercises in his vocabulary book, a drawer of word study cards, worked on LCM with the pegboard, and did some reading analysis with the wooden arrows.

Me Too, on the other hand, has a better idea of how to balance it all. He would probably like to spend the whole time reading with me, but he loves his work plans.  He always gets everything finished, finished neatly, and finished on time.  He was quite the little conversationalist in Spanish today. I secretly assessed his vocabulary retention from last year and he remembered nearly all of it.  He  has forgotten a few body parts like las orejas and las piernas.  I'm not sure he ever knew the difference between dedos, manos and pies.  We'll play some games and refresh his memory or fill in the blanks as the case may be.  


  1. Oh gosh the boys look so old!!

    You and I are so different sometimes!! I figure if T isn't doing the work anymore, than it is time to move on. If he really loves it, or needs to see it more, he does repeat work. But a deck of cards to move through doesn't ignite his passion in any way shape or form. He usually comes to me, with math card whatever number 3, shows me he can do it, tells me it is boring now, and asks to move on. I don't bother too much with equation cards anymore. Now, language exercises, we are trying some of these out, though they are entirely purchased to save me sometime, and grey hairs.

    Roman Gladiator humn? What an interesting read?!! T just finished something that wasn't a comic book anthology. It was the first Harry Potter book, which he only read because Dumbledorf was also in the Lego Movie. Now I can't find book number 2 anywhere.

    NO!! You video taped the tantrum!! That is something that I'd do with you know who.

    I had to laugh at Me Too's Spanish words he had to work on. So funny. A foreign language isn't something we've been working on at all. I need to find a tutor for that. You skype in Espanol?

    1. You're right. They do look old. Me Too suddenly started looking really different to me a little over a week ago. On Monday we had to go through his whole closet and try everything on. Half his clothes didn't fit anymore and I needed to switch him from kid hangers to adult hangers so his shirts would stop falling off of them.

      Yeah, so about the cards. My kids understand the lessons right away. They each did LCM three different days last week and said it was a piece of cake. Today I asked Me Too to pull out the pegboard, pick any three numbers he wanted and find the Lowest Common Multiple. He looked at me and said, "What's a lowest common multiple?" I think I need to have them repeat the work at least enough so they can make it through a weekend remembering it.

      They love the gladiator stuff. I wish I could show them the Russell Crowe movie, but THAT would be some bad parenting. I mean, we are talking about two kids who ran from the room when I tried to show them A Christmas Carol and Marley's ghost appeared.

      Speaking of that type of thing, have you read the Harry Potter books? Probably not since you called him "Dumbledorf." They start out fine but get mature pretty fast. I don't want you have to explain to T what "snogging" is before you're mentally prepared to do so. Can legos snog?

      Sure did. My husband was treated to a video replay of all the action as soon as he got home.

      I think you are geographically situated pretty well to find a Spanish tutor that you don't have to Skype with .

    2. Yeah, I kinda got that about the Harry Potter series. I haven't read them. I didn't get the first book for him either. I some how don't have too much of an ethical problem with explaining most topics of mature content with my children. We are pretty open about a lot of things and I figure full understanding will come in time and what flies over the head flies over the head.

      How did your husband *like* the video.

      Haha about the Spanish tutor. Just because someone can speak Spanish, doesn't mean that it is very well understood, well pronounced, and grammatically more correct than not. And then there is writing in Spanish which is entirely different. And because someone can speak Spanish doesn't necessarily mean they can teach others to speak it or write it.

  2. Did you buy the equation slips with the missing numerator? Or make them? My boys just finished with the fraction equations that you kindly shared and are demanding the next "level". They love fractions. That seems like a good review of all they have learned. Thank you so much for all the info you have shared since starting back to school this year. You have helped me get my head around how I can possibly accomplish all I want to.

    1. Gigi, I made them. There are in the same set that I shared that you already have. Perhaps you didn't print that set?

    2. Oh! Now that you mention it, there was one set I could never get to download. I will try again. Thank you!

  3. I have totally videotaped tantrums here! Nobody believes me that he has them! ;) Now they do ;)

    I LOVE the short-cut on the long division work :)

    Regarding snogging - I had to explain that one before Legoboy got to read Harry Potter anyway (he started last week; has read all 7 and we watched all the movies - had LOTS of discussions along the way - it was really good!) ---- because we watch a lot of BBC (Sherlock, Dr. Who.... the word comes up a lot ;) ).

    1. Good to know regarding the more mature content. :)

      And Man, I have GOT to get on that taping the tantrums bandwagon. Somehow that never occurred to me. Just reach for the camera and take a breath. You'll smile the next time you watch it and be thankful that your child brings both color and humor into your life.