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.
- English –
- Grammar – pronouns (singular, possessive, object), pronouns, adjectives, articles, verbs.
- Books – The Princess Bride (AR 7.4, 870L) book, audiobook, & movie, Wizard of Earthsea (AR 6.7, 1150L) partly then dropped.
- Writing – Writing With Ease Book 2 Weeks 5-14, Pasta Recipe.
- Spelling – All About Spelling chap 10-12
- Chinese –
- Math – factors, LCM, GCF, division worksheets, research measuring temperature and report, decimal place values, geometric solids
- 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
- 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.)
The theme this month was apparently The Princess Bride. Really my fault because I had to show her that clip of Inigo Montoya saying “Hello, My name is Ingo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” after a friend posted some 30th anniversary celebration event. I got the line stuck in my head. Of course once she is curious, she digs deep. So she listened to the audiobook multiple times, then read book, then watched the movie – multiple times. By the end, she was quoting lines left and right.
We’re making fast progress on Writing With Ease by covering 2 chapters a week since we’re behind schedule. I’m also following the Montessori scope and sequence for grammar as laid out by NAMC albums. We’re going back and starting at grade 1. This month we basically covered most parts of speech. Definitely some catch up to do since we’re in 4th grade. But thankfully, with Montessori, you kind of study a topic till you’ve hit a wall or aren’t interested. So we are probably covering multiple grades when we study each topic.
Speaking of grammar, I really like the Montessori grammar materials. Traditionally, there are grammar boxes that you use to analyze sentences. I’m asking the children to draw the symbols on Kiss Grammar and NAMC worksheets instead. Also read them grammar stories from my Deep Well of Time book, which they loved.
With all this English studying, her writing and spelling is getting a lot better. So even though spelling is not really going, she is learning how to spell through writing.
For math, most of the month was taken up with learning GCF, LCM really really well because I discovered last month that we cannot move forward in fraction until she really gets the concept. My Evan Moore online subscription purchase was the best thing ever this year. She loves the Basic Math Skills series, where each worksheet has a puzzle or riddle you need to solve. Thumper has never loved math worksheets, but now she actually will choose this work first thing.
Geometry we’re also following NAMC scope and sequence, restarting from first grade. Geometry is her weak point when we take tests, reflecting how we never covered it much in the last 3 years.
She’s getting more and more independent this year. Often I’m not supervising her at all when she decides she wants to do something. One day the two kids carved a pumpkin while I was taking a nap, with a sharp pumpkin carving knife. Another morning she decided she wanted to make deviled eggs and went on Youtube herself to find a recipe and just whipped it up. I only had to remind her to clean up.
I think that’s what I’m most proud of, that she is able to plan and execute ideas herself.
Lastly, we visited two missions, and she had fun researching dishes, making them, and writing up the recipe as part of our English exercise.
Astroboy is very close to finishing All About Reading book 1. It’s so strange and amazing to me how the kids learn phonics so differently. He’s making very good and fast progress and had fun for a few days reading a bunch of Dr. Seuss ebooks. We’re also following same grammar schedule as Thumper. But I can see that he just doesn’t get grammar that quickly. So I need to figure out a new way to teach him.
For math, the big thing is starting on fractions. Compare with how slowly he’s getting language, he understood the concept of equivalence very quickly. Otherwise I think we’re floundering a little in math. I don’t feel like we’re really moving forward other than building doing that decanomial poster, which he did not enjoy as much as his sister. For a boy who gets the calculations quickly, but then isn’t quite ready for multiple digit multiplication, I don’t quite know how to proceed.
This month, he binge listened to Magic Treehouse in English, then I convinced him to read Book 1 in Chinese, which he did while I was not looking. Sigh. When did the boy progress from me being worried that he’ll never read Chinese to secretly reading books while I’m not looking? (Secretly because he knows I will ask him to read aloud or ask him questions if I see him.) He also binge read the rest of the 怪傑佐羅力 (Zorori) books. That’s 40 books!
What I Learned
If last year was when I figured out the importance of a routine and schedule, and learned about personality traits, this is the year where I’m finally putting everything I’ve learned in the last 3 years together. October went very well in part because I enforced the 7am wake up rule. The kids then were able to start school on time and got to work for 3 hours.
The other reason why this month went so well was because I actually prepped on Sunday night. I started collating all the worksheets I will need for the week, highlighting which presentations I had to do, and sometimes even had my weekly meeting with Thumper that night so we can go over the week’s work plan. This enabled us to hit the ground running Monday morning, important when we only homeschool at home 3 days a week.
I’m also really understanding how both of my kids learn. I could go on and on about their different learning styles, but that will be another long post. Suffice to say, I see that Thumper really need new and fun/creative things to keep her engaged, case in point, the math worksheets.
One of the things I refuse to do was to buy one read books, like Zorori. But I recently realized that with Astroboy’s personality, he will re-read these funny, pleasure reading books. What do I do? Buy more of these books?
I also learned to really use worksheets such as Evan Moore and from NAMC for both kids to practice. It’s the one thing that had been missing from our Montessori work these few years. I didn’t want to use worksheets, but then the children tire quickly of making booklets and taking nomenclature notes. Then I find out they didn’t really learn the concept when I ask them questions 3 months later and they can’t answer.
Lastly, I learned that with Thumper, she will enjoy an activity if it involves some sort of creativity with her hands. For example, instead of doing temperature worksheets, which she would have finished in a week, we watched some Youtube videos on how Celsius, Farenheit came about, listened to stories about measurements, and how to convert from C to F to K, then she had to make a poster on everything she learned.
It took her a whole month! I was ever impatient and often felt like we were wasting time. But, a month later, while walking, I asked her what is the short cut for converting temperature and she was able to answer me! So I need to be patient and let her spend a lot of time on the second step of the 3 period lesson learning process.