What we are using

15 January 2010

Week 16 mid-winter blues

I think I really miss green and summer and sunshine and warmth. This week I bought some palm trees and spent an afternoon defrosting frozen potting soil and repotting palm trees (who would have thought that dirt actually freezes solid like that?). The girls planted box gardens complete with soon-to-be bean stalks - they traded paper cows for beans to plant of course. This morning when I went to work, they were trumpeter swans and golden eagles sitting on their eggs and watching French sing-a-long songs on the computer because CC decided that she couldn't do Rosetta Stone French today since she had to sit on her eggs.

CC used her free-write day to start writing the "Twelve Days of Spring". She spent a lot of time researching spring flowers to figure out what order they should bloom in so that her song has the correct order. Writing improved through the week and became easier after our Day 2 Standoff. Our assignments went like this: copywork was painful, short answers for history were more painful but informative, free write was awesome even if it took a long time, and today's lesson was to create sentences using homophones. She loved that and created a comic strip panel for it.

For grammar this week, we covered pronouns and homophones. If you ever need to teach pronouns, it is fun to just stop using them and see if your kids catch on and figure out what you are doing. The girls joined in the fun and decided that if you leave out pronouns and helping and being verbs that you sound like a caveman. It was a hilarious lesson and is becoming a new game.

In math, we are plugging through Saxon lessons without much protest. CC also got all the answers right on her Life of Fred bridge so she is happily moving on instead of doing more bridges. Today she actually told me that she needs to learn her multiplication tables faster so that division is easier for her! I fought really hard to not jump up and down cheering.

LB got the pleasure of phonics lessons everyday this week. I'll write more about it later, but we are doing lessons on the white board, and it is going great. It is now called "Mommy Phonics," and I think it is helping her reading. She even started picking out words on her own in Boggle last night. I went back to having her practice writing numbers and making sure that the numbers are all correctly formed and in the right direction. We've been working through a book on Visual Perception that makes me feel like I am doing something positive to help her instead of just waiting to see if she outgrows her visual processing issues.

I also actually cracked open SoTW3. I gave LB a copy of the map and a copy of the Charles V picture from the Activity Guide to color while CC was trying to not write her assignment. I read the section on Tuesday then did the follow up on Wednesday. LB started Wednesday by telling me she didn't remember me reading any history to her, but when I asked her what she remembered about Charles, she actually remember how old he was when he inherited his first crown and how many countries he was king of. I thought that was terrific. She colored him with a lovely pink shirt which looked terrific on him. We discussed the map and I pointed out the countries to her and had her color the ocean.

CC told me that she wasn't paying attention when I had read the story the day before and asked that I please reread it. I politely declined and informed her that being able to find information in a text is an important skill. Ahem.... maybe that is part of the reason that the writing was tortuous - she had started out unhappy about the assignment and then went downhill from there.

It probably didn't help that LB tried to help her by telling her which countries he ruled. We've always done history together in the past, but it has been optional for LB. She used to just listen to the stories and do any crafts with her. Now that I am including her in the lessons I need to work on the logistics a bit, but I am sure this is going to be terrific.

The weather was unseasonably warm this week and stirred a longing for southern latitudes. I don't know that I can face months more of brown and cold. I'm still working to find that right balance in our schooling so that the kids keep progressing in every area. It seems that whenever I focus on one thing, the rest slip. At some point I hope to feel like I am teaching my kids instead of just rotating between subjects that aren't working.


Daisy said...

Glad to hear the writing became less painful as the week progressed. My daughter always gripes at her Day 4 history summary. LOL. Well, at least she is predictable.

Sounds like you had a lovely week.

WildIris said...

I hear you when you wonder about rotating through subjects. Yet there are days when the kids manage to say or do things that make what seemed like chaos one day become a cohesive, connected endeavor the next. "Mid-winter blues" was a great title. I look forward to reading about week 17.

MissMOE said...

Thanks for sharing--I'm glad when homeschool moms share the hard things as much as the things that go so easily! It helps everyone to see the realness.

Mandy in TN said...

LOL! Dh and I have been having the mid-winter blues discussion all week. He can't stand fall and winter, but he grudgingly admitted that he liked winter better than fall, because at least we are closer to spring! OTOH- I love fall. It is my favorite, because I hate summer and I'm just so dogone glad when it is over!