Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home School Week 1

While I wait for the district to contact me about our ed. plan I figured we might as well get started. I plan to use my blog as a way to keep track of what we've done each week so here's a round up of our first week.


Math: EJ is doing the MEP (Math Enhancement Program) from the Center for Innovation. We are working through Year 1 rather quickly because much of the material he covered last year. We started working back in July and completed the first 6 weeks of lessons before we broke for the move. Turned out this was a bad break. I'm not sure exactly what happened but EJ just couldn't seem to get his mind wrapped around some of the problems in the book and what was more difficult, he insisted that everything I was saying was wrong and that I was confusing him etc. In hindsight I probably should have done some review with him before we really dove back in. Unfortunately this started us off on a sour note. We did get math in every day this week (M-F) though and started to work better as the days went by.


Science: We have  Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding K-2. I'm doing this with both boys even though JD isn't kinder age yet. He won't be ready for some of the activities but I think he'll enjoy doing science with us and learning what he can. We did the first lesson "Organizing Things into Categories" the day we moved because it seemed to fit. I found that we didn't need to spend much time on that lesson beyond discussion and some reading. I think it will be a topic we have many opportunities to revisit.  Yesterday we played the "Solids, Liquids, and Gases" game from the next lesson "States of Matter". They had fun with this one and we'll continue to review playing 20 questions.


I have plans to set up a calendar area for EJ to practice and to start to introduce the days of the week to JD. I have  "Meet the Masters" for art, and Handwriting Without Tears ordered for both boys. I have a few other things in mind but for the next few weeks I think this will keep us busy.


EJ should be reading more, which he claims to love and yet doesn't really do, but I want to be careful how I get this accomplished. I read to both boys at least once a day and I've had him reading our science supplements out loud. My fear is that I will inadvertently make reading a chore, something he does only because I tell him to. So for now I'm going to think on it and try to find subtle ways to encourage more reading.


One thing that strikes me as funny about home schooling is that even the things we do for fun sort of count as school. Today we went to a Tomato Festival. I'm not sure it was particularly educational but we all had a lot of fun and did get to taste a lot of tomato varieties. The boys particularly enjoyed the tomato toss and were filthy with tomato pulp 20 minutes after we arrived. Tomorrow we're going to the Cummington Fair--I can fit some learning in between the rides and fried dough right?


Benjamin and Laura said...

Sounds great Dawn--I admire you!

I've been reading a lot about literacy this summer. I just finished reading "The Daily Five; Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades" by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser, which was excellent. Maybe put together a browsing box (craft project~decorate a sturdy cereal box) with high interest books he chooses from the library, which he can read easily. (Research shows independent books should be able to be read with 99% accuracy.) You could have:

1) A "read-to-self" time where everyone "reads" (including reading just the pictures for JD)
2) A "read to someone" time (to practice fluency)
3) Continue your read aloud to them.

I couldn't help sharing this with you, but I know whatever you do will be wonderful!
They are such lucky kids!

dawn said...

Thanks Laura! Sounds like a good book. He prefers to read independently but many of the books he likes are really above his level so I'm sure he's missing a lot. I get sighs when I ask him to read a book to me but he needs to do it. I like the browsing box idea!

Benjamin and Laura said...

That sounds really normal!
One possible idea is to have him read to JD, another homeschooling friend or even into a tape recorder. He could either play it back for someone later, or just listen to it himself. (Some kids are nuts about tape recorders!)
You could explain to him that YOU could read the harder books that he's interested in for your read aloud. His independent books or magazines should definitely be things he can easily read all by himself. A nice analogy kids usually "get" is that they spend hours practicing sports to become good at them, and the same is true for reading. It takes practice, but it's fun!
Good luck!

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