Monthly Summary Nov 2017

Gah.  November ran away from me because I started feeling overwhelmed by the lack of prepping in science co-op.  We did one week of half homeschooling, where we did some Evan Moore tests because it was the end of our 6-7 week session, then took Thanksgiving week off.  Last week was getting back to schedule and it was hard.

Never again!   I learned my lesson.

Even though I felt so refreshed after my two weeks off and am once again feeling way more motivated (notice all the blog posts I’m doing again), the kids are not.  They just want to do rainbow loom and pearler beads every day.

Next time, we’re going to do light schooling and I will make them still wake up by 7:30am, so that they maintain a routine.

Thumper

Astroboy

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Monthly Summary Oct 2017

You know homeschooling is getting to you when it’s taking more than a month to post the monthly summaries.  The funny thing is, October went super duper well.  But came November, I started losing steam.  It doesn’t help matters that we can no longer sit at the sofa because it’s piled up with homeschooling crap stuff.  I start losing my mind when my environment is messy.

But, “Onwards and upwards!” as they say.  Here’s what the kids did last month.

Thumper

  • English – 
  • Chinese – 
  • Math – factors, LCM, GCF, division worksheets, research measuring temperature and report, decimal place values, geometric solids

    Carved a pumpkin while I took a nap
  • Geometry – solids nomenclature, 5 types of angles
  • Science/History – What plants need to grow, Parts of plants (roots, stems, flowers, leaves, fruits), Clock of Eons
  • Others – violin book 2.5-2.7, Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Jose, Harvest festival, sewed halloween bag, made Deviled Eggs, Pomegranate picking fieldtrip, made Greek Pasta, carved pumpkin

Astroboy

  • English
    • Reading – All about Reading #29-#41, Charlie and Glass Elevator read to, Seuss books, Magic Treehouse (audiobooks)
    • Grammar – nouns vs pronouns, articles, ./?/! command review, capitals, periods, sentences, pronouns, apostrophes and contractions, adjectives,English – 
  • Chinese – zhuin writing, started on Sagebooks characters writing #1-#5, 怪傑佐羅力 40 books, 神奇樹屋 #1
  • Math – tally, calendar, multiplication memorization, division by 1 digit, 2 digit subtraction review, long division introduction, Chinese math work book first grade, building decanomial poster project, equivalent fraction, geometric solids nomenclature
  • Science/History – same as sister
  • Others – Mission San Juan Bautista, Mission San Jose, Harvest festival, sewed halloween bag, carved pumpkin, carpetry class.

Changing it up once again, I want to post pics of some of their work this month.  But of course first I must talk about it a bit because my eyes glaze over at these lists.  (I basically give this list to my ES.) (more…)

Introduction to Reptiles 爬行類

Age: 7.25 & 10

Science Co-Op Session 3 Week 2: Timeline of Life, Reptiles

Agenda:

  • Story on reptiles
  • Reptil Worksheet

Ahhh, winter.  I feel so unmotivated to prep.  Every week I’m thankful that neither Fleur nor Eclectic Mama has any expectations for the class.

This week we were supposed to study amphibians by dissecting a frog.  But one student isn’t here.  So instead we had a super laid back class.  Just as well because this week the children, especially Astroboy, are crazy.

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Math Game Review: 24

Age: 7 & 10

Once Astroboy has mostly mastered his multiplication through various work such as Reflex Math and Speed: Multiplcation, I whipped out the 24 game that I bought from Amazon months ago.

We’ve been playing it in the car for a few months, of and on.  It’s a great road trip game if your kid likes games.  Thumper, not so much.  So she only joins when she has no better things to do in the car.

What is 24

I first learned about 24 from my public school teacher classmates in Montessori training.   It’s a way for kids to practice mental math and get their basic math operations down.

Each card in the 24 deck has 4 numbers.  You’re supposed to figure how how to use +,-,×,÷ to get these 4 numbers to 24.

For example, if you see 1,2,3,4, you can get to 24 by

  • 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 = 24
  • (1+2+3) x 4 = 24
  • (3 x 4) x 2 x 1 = 24
  • (3+1) x (4+2) = 24

Yes, the 3rd and 1st one are the same but to the kid who hasn’t learned commutative property, they think it’s different.

The cards have 1-3 dots to denote difficulty level. (more…)

Non-Worksheet Way to Learning Chinese & English Handwriting

Age: 7

Wow.  That title is quite a mouthful.  But I am too lazy to write two posts that essentially say the same thing.

Once he turned 7 this school yearAstroboy finally started on formal handwriting work.  Prior to this, he wrote a little, mostly because of zhuyin lessons.  But if he got tired or didn’t want to write, I tended not to push him.   I didn’t want to push writing before the kids had their pincer grip down, and sadly, my kids never had their pincer grip down early because we did very few art activities.

 

Workbook Options

 

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Review: Learning Multiplication with Speed! Multiplication Card Game

Age: 6.5

Fall semester our Gap Year, Astroboy expressed an interest in multiplication.  When we came home, I dug out my multiplication card game out of my closet and we played games for a few months.

I tell people this is how Astroboy learned his multiplication.    Though that is not quite true, but that’s the next post.  However, I think this was a huge part of how he memorized multiplication table painlessly.

The game is called Speed! Multiplication.  It’s a skip counting game.  I love the cards because it is almost like a Montessori material with its bead chains printed on each hard.  If it were made in the same Montessori colors, it would be perfect.

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Periodic Braindump

Other than the periodic book reviews and monthly summaries, I havn’t been writing much.  But so many things are swirling around in my head, obsessing me.  I’m working through ideas and there’s nothing right now that I could write a whole long post about yet, to talk about my findings or conclusions I’ve arrived at.  A brain dump is in order though, so I have room to actually think.

Thumper is hitting her teenage years soon and I’m starting to see signs of it.  The “You can’t make me’s”,  doing things mom disagrees with, etc.  I was a semi-rebellious daughter and it’s very strange to be on the other side of it.  I keep thinking about writing a post on Non-Violent Communication, about how I really need to read those books I bought ages and ages ago on communicating with your child, but things pull me away.

I also keep thinking about how a parent need to be so very careful of the way they talk to their children when they homeschool.   A child doesn’t get to leave a bad teacher at school at the end of the day.  They’re stuck with me.  But thinking is thinking, and actually doing something about it is something else…..

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Homeschool Summary, Sept 2017

September was mostly a wash.  There was 5 weeks in the month and we only managed to work completely one week.  The rest was taken up by two trips to LA and testing.   Because we couldn’t have a complete work week due to traveling, I ended up giving the kids some evaluation tests in the morning, then they were free to play.

The following is what they did in that one week plus whenever we were in the car and they had nothing to do but read or listen to audiobooks.

Thumper

  • English – Wrinkle in Time (AR 4.7) audio and read, Black Stallion audiobook, Harry Potter 4 movie, Writing with Ease Weeks 4-5, plural nouns,
  • Chinese – 小主播看天下, 及時的呼喚 (Wrinkle in Time) not completed, 小學生童話字典 chap 5, 怪傑佐羅力, 精靈迷宮 (read to), 二年級問題多
  • Math – litter/mililiter, decimals & fractions review, line/angle nomenclature review
  • Science/History – Plants vs animals, needs of plants
  • Others – violin book 2.3, autumn festival lanterns
  • Circle Time – 土星環 & 星座(songs),  Space Oddity魚仔, 演員

Astroboy

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Book Review: I Love Martine 我愛瑪婷

Age: 7

Good for: 6+ or 4+ (audiobooks)


After a year of feeling like Astroboy will never start reading, I have re-discovered books in my collection I can offer to Astroboy!.

A few months ago, I finally got tired of the endless 奇先生妙小姐 Mr. Men and Little Miss audiobooks and pestered Fleur for I Love Martine 我愛瑪婷 audiobooks she converted for me.  The kids, especially Astroboy, were hooked immediately.  He then wanted to read the books.   It was his go to series to read in the car before we moved to Zorori.

I Love Martine by Gilbert Delahaye is a series of 52 books with 26 audio CDs, translated from French.  It’s no surprise it’s got a very 50’s feel to it since it was written in the 50s.  The story is about Martine and her little brother (born sometime along the series) and all their adventures.

I say adventure because sometimes it is very mundane daily school and home life such as caring for a new bird, or learning how to swim, other times it’s exploring the forest/swamp close by their house, or taking a train by themselves to visit grandma.

Though these are picture books, they are very long stories with super large and lovely illustrations accompanying each story.  With its tiny font, it’s not really an early reader.  But once the kids are on track for Level 1 books (basically after all your Little Bear, Frog and Toads, etc), they can definitely read these for practice.

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Learn Chinese Profile: When Your Kid’s Chinese is Better than Yours

Dots read my first post on how another parent teaches Chinese and pointed out that most questions regarding teaching Chinese can be categorized into (and I quote):

  1. My kids don’t go to immersion
  2. My Chinese is crap
  3. I don’t have the money for a library

I guess it worked out that my first post was category #1!   And Fleur happened to fit into category #2!

Okay, technically Lavender’s spoken Mandarin Chinese isn’t that great either.  But for her, her struggle was whether she can teach Chinese at after school instead of an immersion school.  Similarly,  it’s not completely true that Fleur‘s Chinese is crap.  However, she faced the issue of providing the level of Chinese teaching she wanted for her kids when she didn’t have it herself.

Fleur is the complete opposite of Lavender when it comes to parenting style.  For those who read the first post and thought, “Too intense and not me”, I hope reading Fleur’s story illustrates, once again, it’s not the methodology as much as it is the consistency.

Yes, choosing the most efficient methodology that suits one’s family does matter, especially with English competing for the children’s attention.  But whatever method you choose, consistency puts you ahead. (more…)