Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer's coming and we need to finish school!

Why yes, I am still here.

I didn't mean to take three days off from blogging, but I have been distracted with homeschooling.

On Monday I took a look at the calendar and realized that summer is almost here and I needed to see where the heck we were with our homeschooling.

One of the perks of homeschooling is that we can do our learning at our own pace and this has been a real boon for my children, though in equal and opposite ways.

Lily finished her Grade 2 math book about two weeks ago and began begging to be taught multiplication.

Let me repeat that:  Lily finished her Grade 2 math book about two weeks ago and began begging to be taught multiplication.

Readers, I have never, ever, in my entire life begged anyone to teach me math.

Because math is hard! Let's go shopping!

When Lily persisted in her desire for torture multiplication I wanted to make sure that we did it right. I wanted her to understand the idea behind multiplication, but I also wanted her to understand that memorization is the cornerstone to being successful in this operation.

I took the girls to Borders where they read books and I looked at several beginning multiplication books. I ultimately chose this one.

It's perfect. It relies on a lot of repetition, but the fonts are big and the pages are uncluttered. It really takes it's time, which might seem a little boring, but I think that it forces kids to really have mastered each times table before moving onto the next. Lily loves it and I really wish that Rebecca's introduction to multiplication could have been more like this.

Meanwhile, Rebecca has been able to take her time with fractions. Once she finished the fraction section of her Harcourt Learning Math Skills book I knew that she was not ready to move on just yet.

We bought the Master Skills Math, Grade 5 book and spent more time working on fractions and by the time she finished the fractions in that book, I felt that we were ready to move forward.

I really enjoy being able to dip into different workbooks and computer programs to help the girl's understand their lessons.

While Lily was plowing happily through math, she was also wailing, moaning, thrashing and weeping over writing.

"It's so hard! My hand hurts! I don't know what to write!" she whined.

Meanwhile, Rebecca was in her room doing her writing assignments and then writing stories on her own about her dolls and their adventures.

For Rebecca we were able to use the writing lessons in her book. She enjoyed them for the most part. We skipped anything redundant or boring and she just wrote and wrote. La la la!

I decided to take a different approach with Lily and have her write letters. She wrote letters to her grandparents and to her pal Charlie. She complained a bit less about that.

Then Amy and I got together and came up with a homeschool project for Rebecca, Lily and Charlie to do together. We read the poem "The Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll and talked about the use of language in the work. Then we talked about two animals which are mentioned in the poem, but not explained, the JubJub bird and the frumious Bandersnatch.

The assignment was to read the poem and then draw a picture of either the JubJub bird or the Bandersnatch and then write about them. The piece could be a poem or a story. Rebecca immediately got to work on her picture and story. Lily and Charlie needed more prodding, but are nearly done.

I have loved this assignment. So easy to do and so fun.

When the kids and I looked over the work we need to finish by mid-June we got a little nervous.

It's possible that the warm weather has been distracting us from our studies.

We came up with a plan and are now plowing through the work. Spelling should be done in a few weeks, along with Language Arts. Math and writing will continue in some form over the summer so we don't lose too much momentum. I'm also making notes on what I want to do differently next year and what worked well.

In the meantime, bring summer on!


Lisa said...

Have a great end of year!! Hope you guys can have a super summer!
Hugs, Lisa

Cheryl said...

Wow, you're all just rolling merrily along. It's fun to see how they each have their strengths and how you keep adapting to what challenges each the most.

From the outside looking in, this seems to have been a journey filled with love, laughter, some tears, and relatively painless learning.

Valley Girl said...

Are you going to have a last day of school party??

Come on Sara you know you wanna!!!


Stacy Spuria said...

I recently went through that too with figuring out how much more work we had to get done before we could start summer vacation. I really love homeschooling. The flexibility and fun make it seem more like fun than work. Wish my mom had homeschooled me! Love your blog btw. Keep up the great work!