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

Testing

Thanks for a tip from a friend, I subscribed to the whole of Evan Moore for $35 a year.  It’s a company that makes  tons of various workbooks.  Given that each physical book sells for $30 at Lakeshore, this was an amazing deal.

I went through Grades 1-3 of the Daily Fundamentals with both kids.   Montessori is fairly vague on the Language front when it comes to scope and sequence  and I knew I’ve been ignoring stuff like geometry and measurements, so I wanted to know what gaps I needed to fill.

The kids were told that we’re taking tests to see what it is we don’t know.  I really like this view of testing and will try to brain wash them again when they have their spring testing.  I went through the books on my computer, skipping questions and pages when we didn’t need to do them.

After a week of testing, I determined that Thumper needs to learn about literary elements and related stuff, like what is the main idea.  I also learned that starting in third grade, tests in all subjects start asking for children to write in answers rather than pick from multiple choice.   It’s not surprising that Thumper is weak in this front.   We’ll be working on her writing this school year.

Otherwise, for a kid who has never learned any of the English “stuff” on tests, she did very well.  I guess reading and having really good comprehension just helps.

As for Astroboy, I could only test him on math since he’s still learning to read.  Though he knows his math operations very well, he doesn’t know any of the peripheral stuff like geometry, measurements, tallying, etc.  (The part of my Montessori album I’ve been ignoring.)

Oops.

So this semester our focus for both kids will be geometry and other peripheral (to me) math topics.  I realized I was feeling overwhelmed once again about the sheer amount of work I want to cover.  So I took a deep breath and went back to what I did before.  We will focus on 1-2 “must do” a day, the thing I will chase them down to do no matter how late it is in the day.   For Thumper it will be writing, for Astroboy phonics.

I can go on and on about how I’ve changed my ideas on testing but I don’t think you’d want to read it.

This year, we will be taking a week off every 6-8 weeks.  I think I will spend that week testing the children an hour a day.  It’s really hard to keep all the curriculum in one’s head, so tests offer a way to show me what the kids have forgotten, what they’ve learned, etc.

Thumper
For about a week, she was obsessed with A Wrinkle in TimeThumper listened to it in English, then read the book in English, and started the book in Chinese.  Her Lexile midpoint is at a beginning 6th grade level.  (As in, she has 6th grader in September’s comprehension).   I think all those years of listening to audio has helped and it looks like for every week, we have to lead with audio first.

On a side note, I freaked out a bit when I saw a 4th grader’s Mission report.  It was 2 pages long.  Ack!  My kid can’t write in English!   But after dumping on various friends for a few weeks, and looking around once again, I think I will stick to Writing with Ease for now.

We don’t devote time to reading during school time anymore.  Instead, I pulled together a Chinese book basket of the month for the kids and they’re now in bed at 7:30 every night to read half an hour.   We have so many books in the lower levels Thumper hasn’t read yet!  Must show them to her before she moves on to upper level books.

Astroboy

We continue to make progress on the phonics front.  Astroboy is reading random books right now in Chinese for pleasure reading.   For our nightly reading time, he’s working through 一年级鮮事多, one chapter a night.  This is how we’ll work on reading comprehension.

He particularly enjoyed 歡樂三國志 though it required I explain the story to him.  We only managed the first CD before life side tracked us.

I notice that we keep picking up and dropping various books and CDs.  I used to get very worked up about it.  Why won’t the kids finish the books they started!  But now I let it go just a bit more.  Interests do come and go and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as they do obsess over things.

Because of traveling, we did not have science co-op in September.  I reviewed a few concepts on plants in preparation for our Timeline of Life themed science co-op we will start in October.

 

I’m very much enjoying all the audio and video the kids are watching and listening to in our spare time.  It takes more prep work but it’s so fun listening and singing to Pop songs and making up our own lyrics.

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