Friday, October 29, 2010

Another end to the week has arrived...

and so I reflect on the quality and the quantity of work that has been accomplished this week. I must say that G is coming along great in her studies, I am especially proud of the effort she is putting into (finally) her cursive writing.  She was so resistant at first but now that she if connecting those letters and cursive writing words she is thrilled. Of course my little Miss CopyCat, F, mimics almost everything G does. In her mimicking she is taking her manuscript writing very seriously and paying close attention to it.  I must say that the A Beka method to writing creates neat penmanship from the very beginning. While G stays in the  "upstairs and downstairs and basement levels" in cursive her print work is still large and sloppy. I am of course encouraging her but she learned that skill from her Kindergarten teacher. 

G is excited to be in her new reading level book and she is doing so well. This book takes reading from the ability to read to comprehension level. So far she has understood all of the information that she has read.  She is so very proud of herself.  She has also made some great strides in math concepts this week.  We were doing so good on Wednesday that we spend a huge amount of time on the subject. 

F has also done well, in my eyes at least.  She knows the sounds the the letters make but has a hard time hearing anything besides the beginning sound. This week I noticed that she really caught the middle vowels correctly.  We can finally go forward in her Letters and Sounds book.  She too once again in mimic of sister, spent a lot of time on math skills and did great.  I think that as we teach sister to memorize some facts she will be doing the same, which will make it easier on me when we reach that level of school with her.

As a group project this week we completed a book about pumpkins, it had the life cycle of a pumpkin, a maze, create a jack-o-lantern page and some fun facts about the pumpkin.  It is of course shaped as a pumpkin as well.

I will add that F has turned 4yrs old this week.  She moved to her big girl bed last night (she is very tiny thing and could have waited a few more years I am sure).  Now that she is 4yrs old she really thinks she knows it all.  She never hit the terrible twos but I feel the frantic fours upon us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seriousness? Was that me?

I just read my last post. I talked about getting back to the seriousness of school again after our loss. Immediately I said to myself; WOW that doesn't even sound like me.

I do think that learning is a serious matter but it surely is not something I portray to the kiddos. 

So as I try to gather the week and move onward I found that it is like going on vacation, takes a bit to kick into full gear afterwards. That reminds me, in the future when we take vacation I really should take their language book along and a math sheet at least. Then perhaps it will nto seem like such an effort to gather momentum again. So Monday as I said got going and then on Tuesday there was a field trip with the co-op to a pumpkin farm. The other thing that happened on T was their mother was present to participate in lessons. She was available on Wednesday as well. It is clearly something different that the girls were not sure how to conduct themselves.  They really were not the best student in her presence, but on Wednesday afternoon she was gone to the doctor and we made huge progress at that time.

Today is a productive day as well. F was so devoted to her learning to write today that it was a joy. G was dragging in the language book in the seatwork/copy work and it took her 4 times longer to do the assignment than was necessary. If I thought wrapping her legs like a mummy would help I am sure I could find some old sheet to tear apart.  G was so excited to see her sister's progress as well that she was distracted from doing her own work. 

Today we will get through her first reader and move on to the next book.  She is really looking forward to that.

Well that is all for this week, gotta run and get a book I ordered in from the library before I get side-tracked again.

Happy Schooling!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I love when one single day is so successful!

Back to the seriousness of school for us today. Lots to get done as I feel we really had lost our momentum as life began to interfere.

G did a lot of reading today in her book and before the week is finished we will begin the next level book. F has enjoyed those itsy-bitsy mini booksthat I download from the Internet and completed another one today. G enjoys them as well and although they are not a challenge for her I find that they promote neat completion of a project which always has its place.

I am so excited to find the girls to be critical thinkers. As I began a science unit on the life cycle of a frog G was right on top of it. She gave it thought as I asked the question--why do you think a frog lays thousands of eggs-- her response after thought was correct and in terrific detail.

The core subjects today were smooth and quick and painless today.

When it was all completed we went to the neighbor's chicken coop to gather eggs for them today. 

WHAT a RICH and FULFILLING life GOD has given us.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Faithful to keeping the blog updated, little to say

This week was not a big learning week in the academic setting. The girls were shuffled all week from my home to my mother's home and back. At the end of the week things were finally settling down and their parents were thrilled to be with them.

Lessons learned this week from G was that a group of girls, running wild in a building, does not seem like an activity worth devoting her time to. Her experience with girl scouts so far has not left her with a lasting impression-only a tired headache at the end of the meeting.

Both girls did have some life lessons that came their way. I answered their questions as completely as I could about the loss of the baby. At the beginning of the week they told everyone they saw, and with sad expression that their baby died.  By the end of the week they were only sharing it with a few people at a time that it seemed was right that their mom's baby died. In the beginning they wanted to talk about it, now it is just a statement in passing. 

Children do indeed rebound quickly. They found four kittens in our garage from a litter that was thought to have perished by some wild critters in our woods. Both were so excited at the new lives that they were touching.  They asked which cat (barn cats) was the mother. I suggested they think it out and try to decide which cat was the mother. FINALLY, they had picked up each cat and discovered the one that was nursing. AH HA  it was Tiger Kitty!!  Some lessons are just to natural when living out here in the country.

Chickens are laying eggs finally as well, so big day coming Monday when the girls get to begin gathering the neighbors eggs again.  Again, natural learning this week--grab the chicken and turn them upside down--or you will be clawed. 

G began with a 4H Clover-bud group as well.  The verdict is still out on that one as it meets directly after the Lyceum and indeed she was tired but by the time the meeting was over we did not leave the church (where we have Lyceum) until 5pm and with the added "rush hour" traffic we did not get home until a little after 6pm. It meant that the girls did not get to their parents until nearly 6:30. Although that was good this week, on other weeks their mom is usually eager to have them after she is off of work so she can begin spending her weekend time off with them. More to consider before we make an absolute decision on this.

In the academic world we spent lots of time in car with verbal review of addition facts, phonics rules and story telling.  Their story telling skills are really improving, and G has a great imagination that she is teaching to F. I call F my little copy cat but I like her copying G in some matters.

Well, I said there was not much to say but I rambled on anyway. Next week there will be lots of progress.  Girls asked for some crafts and to learn about dinosaurs. I did a neat little bat craft one evening when they slept here and I have found a lap-book unit study about dinosaurs that we will begin once the books come in from the library.

Friday, October 8, 2010

How to teach about death and God's plan

Oh yes, that is the big issue that will face me next week.  The girls understood that great grandpa was older and ill when he went to heaven last January.  They understood that pets age faster and so they too go to heaven.  They even recently understood when our deer died after breaking her neck as she was spooked by a bobcat that wanted within her protected environment.  After all, Lacy (the deer), was a wild animal despite the fact that we fed her from a bottle, slept in our bed with her, and could love on her daily.  Lacy lacked understanding of the safe environment we gave her.

This evening, G and F, are learning the fate of their unborn baby.  I know they will be so very sad as they grieve with their parents this weekend. I also know that come Monday they will once again look to me to understand it, maybe a different answer will come from me is what I imagine them hoping. I do not have a different answer.  God apparently needed this little soul with Him now. 

I cannot give them a good answer why so many people with Antiphospholipid Syndrome continue to struggle with these losses when we know so much about the illness.  I cannot answer my daughter or her family as to why the AAPSA has not been able to change the world yet.  Medical science is clear but as a fairly new issue so many do not know about it or as physicians they are resistant to certain treatment options.

So here I can safely put these words out  there.  I can let them float in the Internet world in hopes that the more that is spoken about it then the more others will care about this issue.

Within the last several weeks the AAPSA has finally received their 501c3 status and is currently registering in every state.  Please, if you have someone you know with recurrent miscarriages, young stroke, young heart attack, clots in the lungs or extremities with no known cause--get them in contact with me.

"Chalkboard Math"

I learn more and more from these girls each day.  It seems that a few days back I sat next to the chalkboard and did some math with G. I was trying to convince her that math is a magical, perfect science with consistently consistent responses.  I was showing her how perfect God understands everything as he made numbers and the many different, challenging methods of coming to the same conclusion. I told her that is part of His plan, to stimulate our minds and not be idle.

She really took well to that lesson and the following days I wanted her take what wonderment she had found and begin placing it in her workbook as well. I had hoped that there would be an eager response and not dragging her feet as she did the work.

Well, to my surprise she asked if we could do "chalkboard math" instead.  She declared it more fun and easy to understand.  So I gave it a shot and WOW she really made some advancements. The next day she asked the same thing, of course the perfect reason to home school is to teach them individually, in their own style of  learning.

So without her knowledge I now review the next pages in the book and created them with a magical flare, encouraging a love for numbers and their expected outcomes.  (I fake it really good, as I always disliked math-but know that I do not want that for her)

May I suggest that if you have the same dragging feet issue when the math book is open--try teaching with it closed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Better than I expected.

I have stated before that due to the age of F I expected her to spend two years in the K curriculum, primarily due to her age appropriate motor skills although her intellectual skills are very high.

Well once again she  has demonstrated her ability when she really attempts something. She has excelled beyond my expectations in her manuscript writing all of a sudden. Not only in the accuracy of the letter formation but her uncanny ability to memorize as well. She is able to make 15 different letters without clue all of a sudden.

G is doing so well with her addition facts that today I told her we would begin subtraction as well. Grandpa assured her it was going to be simple for her since she is so bright and he gave one one quick word problem which she was able to answer.  She was immediately reassured and is eager to take it on today. 

So off we go, to another joyful day that has been given to us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bragging Rights

As I teach my grandchildren I try really hard to be realistic in their achievements.

Today however, I get bragging rights. Today F wrote her first name.  Not just sort-of but clearly able to read it as her name.  All 5 letters were clearly correct.  She will be 4yrs old in one month.  I can also brag on myself as well, I was inventive in how to teach her the letters rather than just tracing.  Of course, the glory goes to God who gives me such insight in how to teach her.

I will add that G is really working hard on her math addition drill facts and did great as I began speed drilling her as well.  I am old school there, she understands the concept but needs to memorize what she can to help her math in the future to be quicker than my methods of figuring.