Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life and Living Education

When I began this blog I felt it would be all about the formal education of my grandchildren. I knew some of our home school experience would be traditional and some would be rather nontraditional. What I did not prepare myself for is the daily life and living education that would be included. I imagine that the brick and mortar schools touch on this as do the skeptics in regards to social skills. DO NOT get me wrong! I do not believe that a brick building is the best place to socialize a child. I believe the opposite in fact.  Yet, I do think that there are areas of conduct that are taught early on in a school setting and perhaps due to fear of punishment or loss of recess time kiddos catch on fast.

I find that I am still teaching G that grabbing a hold of a person to hug them good-bye is not socially acceptable behavior. Mind you, I am not talking about a grandmother or uncle, but a person who strikes up a conversation in a check out line.  No matter how many times I say it there seems to be a joyfulness within G that must hug. I find this Christmas season that she did much better at this but still she would yell out to an entire room-- MERRY CHRISTMAS as she would exit. Perhaps I should have halted that but I did not. I want all to hear that it is the season of Christ birth and she is happy to announce it. 

Other areas of education are including household tasks that they probably would not have touched if they were not home all day. Since their mother has had a long recovery I have begun doing things with them that she would probably thought they were too young. A few days ago we began dinner prep while I fixed breakfast. I showed the F and G how to peel carrots and prep potatoes for their pot roast that was going to be placed in the slow cooker.  WOW, they shocked me! They are taking on more tasks in the home that directly effect them but would be helpful to the running of a busy household. G filled a shopping cart from a shopping list and directed F along the way so she was also helping. Then there is the area of appreciation. Not being in a selfish world it seems easy to redirect selfish behavior and gratitude for the things in your life.

Still, modern world finds its way into our life. G is certain she needs a cell phone. She tells us about all her friends who have one. So I explained the day of those friends. Lets see, they wake early morning and are dropped off at a sitters house. From there, they walk to the school rain or shine as the sitter has many tiny ones. I explain that a lot can happen in a three block walk and some walk farther than that. When school is let out they walk back to the sitters house. I explained that all her friends who have a cell phone also have divorced parents. As I create my summary I tell her how fortunate she is that she has an uncomplicated life. That she always knows who is taking care of her at any given moment. That all the people who take care of her are family members who are 100% reliable. That if the time ever comes that she is riding her bike to town, or in the care of a sitter we would make sure she could reach us in an emergency but for now the need is not there.  OK she tells me but then asked if she could have a phone so she could text her friends.  BANG BANG BANG my head hits the wall. Life is an education for me on a daily basis.

I hope all have had a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to keep them out of the lesson room

Nice title but no answer. I can tell F over and over again that the lesson room is not a playroom. Still I find over and over again little dolls in the desks and drawing on the boards. My expo markers dried out once again for the misplaced lids. Not to mention the overall mess that then builds in the room overnight. Yesterday we had to clean before I could teach.

Then there is the schedule I put on the wall at the beginning of the year. Yesterday F made sure I followed the schedule. That darn thing halted my creativity. 

G has made great strides in her math. I decided that she was beginning to get bored so I skipped a few review lessons and introduced no concept yesterday. She was excited to learn something new now that her math confidence is increasing.  I just have to give her time to process the information. I find that if she does not answer me right away I ask it again and she gets frustrated. I must give her time...but her time frame is so much slower than mine. 

There new baby brother, O is now one month old and mother is still battling her open wound from the infection. Overall, she can now tend to most matters in her home except of course the most physically demanding. We still must be careful that she does not cause the wound to open more so the girls are getting a great lesson in laundry.

I plan to do lessons next week on Tuesday though Friday. We have so much to get done since we lost so many days to a difficult labor and pregnancy, not to mention the pneumonia that F had.  So I was thinking to ease the week we would create a New Years celebration in the classroom. I have all sorts of ideas in my head that will help bring in the year while also teaching about earth's rotation and time overall. With the start of winter I believe I can even include the tilt of the earth to teach about the season. It will be fun.  I plan to use baby O as the sun and have them rotate themselves slowly around him while turning to face him for the day and away from him for the night. Then use our globe to show it as as well.  We will see if it works of if baby O gets stepped on. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I feel like a muppet movie

I recall a song with Kermit and Fozzy Bear--movin' right along-chug a lug chug a lug--footloose and fancy free.
Well that is how I am feeling these days. Each girl is moving along in their educational process and filled with joy just like the song. I recall a "fork in the road" and realize we hit that fork often is class as well. When I visualize the fork in the road of the muppet movie I chuckle each time.  Same goes for the forks in the road of our class times together.
Some enjoyable moments of the week include attending a 4-H Christmas party and going to an assisted living center for conversation and cookies. The girls enjoyed meeting the older generation and talking with them. In our classroom we had fun with math graphs and making a game of collecting data for the graph.
The new baby is also a fork in our road was our schedule is off big time. Plans for this week include a trip to The Butterfly House in Chesterfield. I will take G and F but will also take two of their friends who are also homeschooled.
Tonight I plan to create a game to help reinforce the capitalization rules for G. She has completed all nine rules but when she gets them all together it can be overwhelming. So I will make sentence cards that will match each rule. I will let you know how it works.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Can I Take a Math Test, Please?

WHAT?  Did I hear that correctly?  Humm...checking all identifiable birth marks I am certain that G just asked for a test, and not just any test but a math test.  Perhaps I should swab her mouth and be certain she truly is G.  This is a huge turn around and with all the different advise I asked and different things I tried it seems that using the same curriculum and adjusting its delivery just a bit not to mention the patience of waiting until it "clicked".  Ok Ok, so I was not so patient but G was and God was I get the benefit of patience as well. 

So what is different in our methods?  Well I am using lots of hand on time with play money, using my ABeka flash cards more but with her at the white board. The beginning of math is always board time. I review math facts at the board with her but she does the writing. Somebody loaned me some math rods but that was not easy for her and she always understood the concept. I have the abacus available at all times for the moment she feels stuck and she feels comfortable that it is there. The abacus we have clearly enables her to visualize it  too. Generally, she can see the answer before she completes the use of the abacus. The biggest thing I did to help her was to reinforce the same time saving concepts over and over again so that she did not count on fingers and toes.  I worked a lot on groups of ten and five and our repeating number table so that she could visualized better.  I also permit her to add on using a dot system if she does not know the fact by heart. I am comfortable with he level right now. I recall being the same way but when multiplication came it was easier for me to memorize by then.  Her language skills continue to be her favorite classes still.

Then there is F! I have been taking it very slowly with her phonics and reading so that she recalls it better. She is excited to read a story and color the picture at the end so now I find her wanting to finish the story and not be finished after two pages.  I was happy with two pages when done with good effort but she is beginning to push herself. 

My greatest issue now is the stubborn child (F) who is no longer that baby but the middle child.  I knew that the new baby would bring on a change in her but I was not prepared for how big the change would be.  We are all happy to be back into lesson time again.  One thing I am certain of however is that I will not be able to keep the girls doing the same history and science. F's attention to the material is not so great but at the same time she is recalling the information. Still, she is one of  those who look like they are not paying attention but can recall all that you say. 

Home school affords a closeness to a family but it was better displayed this week when the girls were found playing "colonist"  together and "Mayflower".