Must post this before our trip to Taiwan or I will never remember what we did. Not even going to bother putting in links this time around. January kind of flew by because my brain was in my computer half the time, planning for our Taiwan trip. I’m surprised the kids got anything done.
- English –
- Grammar – IXL reviewed parts of speech, literary elements, Finished NAMC Language Curriculum Year 1!, poetry rhyming, literary elements, metaphor vs simile
- Books –The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks (AR 4.1), Tales from the Odyssey (AR. 4.8-5.3)
- Writing – Writing With Ease 2.23-2.24
- Spelling – Evan Moore 2.13-2.17
- Chinese –
- Reading – 說給兒童的台灣歷史 audiobook, Little House in the Big Woods
- Writing – 來玩寫作的遊戲 chap 11-?
- Math – measurements (volumne, distance, length, weight, data & graphs, venn diagrams, unit conversion,angle measurement, parts of a circle, parts of a right triangle
- Science/History – skeletal system, circulatory system, respitory system, Brains On Podcast
- Others – Violin 3.2, rainbow loom, Picasso Art in Action Coop, Jazz, swimming, Orff music class
- Reading – AAR Book 2 #17-#35
- Grammar – reviewing parts of speech
- Chinese – Chinese dinousaur books, 說給兒童的台灣歷史 audiobook
- Math – division memorization, fraction equivalence, angles, names of triangles
- Science/History – same as sister
- Others – swimming, Orff music class, Picasso Art in Action Coop, Jazz
We didn’t make much progress in January except continuing our focus on measurements and geometry. Last year’s test scores told me I’ve kind of been neglecting that area of math. Hey, the trainer never went over measurements so I kind of pretended it didn’t exist? And I didn’t take geometry class so I kind of neglected too.
Thankfully I’m discovering that Thumper’s learning style is that she understands concepts very quick. I can explain something just once and she gets what I’m saying. Then I just have to leave her to IXL or projects and she can practice till she actually learns it.
We just got this year’s test score back and she kind of jumped a lot due to these 2 areas. With IXL telling me what Common Core teaches, I see that Montessori geometry can go up to 9th grade and high school level, all in elementary. This is all fine by me because from the albums, geometry is actually fun! Not the dry AB, CD line, angle A, angle B mind numbing problems in high school. So I would love for her to learn it concretely while she still love concrete materials.
I shall try very hard to move her back to concrete math in February.
In science we’re focusing on human body parts this session. The kids have been having a blast with the hands on experiments/projects I found. And I finally figured out the right format for 6 children. I realized after one particularly good class that I needed to group the kids together in such a way so that I focus on 4 kids, 1 pair of which can mostly work by themselves, and then another mom focuses on the other 2 kids. This allows some actual attention on the younger kids and moves everyone along.
The other “weak” part from her test score is related to knowing the vocabulary of literature, and inferring meaning (literary elements). I’m undecided as to how I should approach this as I think a lot of it comes from reading. But knowing the nomenclature for the literary elements is important as well. As I asked Baba, the test gives you hard vocab and asks you to infer meaning. If you’re a kid who reads a lot and has a huge vocab, don’t you just seldom infer? Clearly she picks up words from reading, so clearly she knows how to infer. So then I don’t much care if she cannot answer the questions.
So what’s the undecided part? As I like to tell the children, tests are for finding out what you don’t know. So I’m just not sure what it is I don’t know about the language curriculum that maybe isn’t covered in Montessori albums but is needed.
We’re also getting stuck in Writing with Ease because it’s working on some mechanics of writing (using quotation marks). So instead of doing 2 chapters a week, we were back to 1 chapter a week. In addition, she’s now learning how to summarize without prompts and there were a few tear inducing weeks because it was so hard. I have to say, once again, how much I love Writing with Ease and I see how it works on writing without actually writing, which suits perfectly for my spelling challenged child.
With Astroboy, we’re just zooming by in our All About Reading book 2, doing 2 chapters a day. I can see now that I should have used this curriculum with Thumper, the All About Spelling wasn’t really enough as a supplement. But, I can also see how Astroboy just has this fairly logical brain that allows him to understand phonic rules fairly quickly, see the patterns of word lists, and be able to apply that concept to future word lists. His sister got around this when she read word lists by using her prior knowledge of words and guessing. She could not quite apply patterns. Yet, unlike his sister, he cannot for the life of him remember what I mean when I say, short /i/ sound or long /i/ sound.
I continue to be amazed at how different curriculum just suit different children better. And the more I understand how the kids learn, the more I can see which curriculum suits which kid better.
Sadly, phonics is just about all we manage to do it seems. Phonics and IXL. I still don’t understand why it takes the child 3 hours to get ready for school, when I’m not there to
nag remind him when he gets distracted.
We’re finally starting our study of Taiwanese history by listening to audiobooks, and watching travel shows on Youtube. I’m hoping this will make the actual sightseeing part more relevant for the children.
Lastly, both children really got into a song by Ella Fitzgerald that I put on the other day, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off. It’s probably a very good song to use in language class as it talks about different ways of pronouncing a word. They begged to listen to it day after day till they could sing it.
Then I played Ella’s C-Jam Blues and explained to the kids how she used her voice as an instrument and had a dialogue with the trumpet player as she was singing. Astroboy especially loved this song and wanted me to play it over and over as well.
On days like this, when we happen upon something that I love and get to show the children, I super love homeschooling.