Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekly Report, 2009 edition: January 16

We're glad to be schooling again. After a three-week vacation, I wasn't sure Son was going to be as enthusiastic as I was, but in fact, he enjoyed the whole week and has never been so diligent, fast and joyful. This makes me very excited, and next year for Christmas we may only take two weeks off instead of three.

This week we reviewed a little bit and Son was counting again, one-to-one correspondence, which he does exceedingly well. I love the mental math portions in the Teacher's Manual. It starts his brain working for arithmetic, and it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the day. On Wednesday we started formally with sums written in the proper form: Three and two more are five can also be written down to 3+2=5. I told him it tells a story without using too many words. He liked this a lot, and completed his simple sums without a lot of difficulty, although he's still counting back the ones more than five just to make sure, which is expected and normal at his age.


 This week he read My New Boy, another good Level 2 reader from the Step Into Reading Series. He's doing so well, and he enjoys the stories very much. He also read "The Teeny Tiny Woman", borrowed by a friend, over Christmas vacation. My mom was impressed that he reads with good intonation and taught him to change voices as well. Proud Mama here!

We're continuing with Italic Handwriting. He's writing capital letters now and we finished on Friday with B, which is the first letter of his first name. He enjoys thinking of new words that start with the letter, drawing a picture and coloring it with the new plastic crayons he got from his grandmother. They draw well, have nice colors and are high quality. 


This week we read The Velveteen Rabbit in two days. Son didn't like it, he cried when the toy bunny was discarded and put in the bag to be left outside. It was a bit too much for him. He wasn't too happy that he became real later either, because to him all that mattered was that he stay with the boy. Now I know for future reference to be careful and consider his sensitivity. We also read the rest of James Herriott's Treasury for Children, the story titled "The Christmas Day Kitten". He didn't particularly like the story too much, as there was a death involved, but in the end he thought it was okay. I liked both stories, and I like the fact that he was intently listening and following the story well, and struggling with the issues. 


Son enjoys completing the workbook exercises, one a day for four days. We just completed long "o". He had a hard time spelling "note" after seeing "boat". English can be tricky.

A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for ChildrenUnfortunately my copy of Poems To Read to the Very Young got permanently damaged. Old banana inadvertently kept it company for close to three weeks -- yuck! It must have been my toddler sneaking it in. In any case, we had to make a quick substitution, and luckily Husband gave me this book, A Family of Poems, for Christmas. It's a collection of children's poems by Caroline Kennedy. This week we read and memorized a short little poem: "Farewell Like A Bee" by Basho. 

Farewell like a bee!
Reluctant to leave the deeps
of a peony

Natural Science
This week we tackled BFSU's C-2 Thread: Sound, Vibrations and Energy. First I showed him a large rubber band between my fingers and had him hear me strum it with one finger close to his ear. When I left it as wide as I could, making it large, it made a low sound. I told him that was a low pitch. When I made it small by pulling it tight, it produced a high pitch. Then I had him do it and we took out the Daughter's xylophone, played the guitar and talked about vibrations. Subsequently we watched a video by Professor Krampf which showed a simple experiment on vibration involving a rubberband, a spoon and some thread called the Bullroarer. We had fun, and Son learned that it's the movement we see back and forth that produces the sound we hear in our ears and the faster the movement goes, the louder the sound and the slower it goes the softer the sound. 

We reviewed the earth's crust, core, magma and plates. Then we proceeded with the plates moving and the creation of mountains. We got two paper plates and slid them down and over each other, then pushed together to simulate what likely happened when India slammed into Asia and created Mount Everest. Son liked that and he likes to say, "Mount Everest. The tallest mountain in the world."


I read a series of toddler books called Yok Yok to him, all in Spanish. He greatly enjoys them and Husband read to him (in Spanish!) all week. He learned new words such as conejo, nuez and arbol.


UPDATE: Husband showed Son a picture of a lion. Then he put it upside down and asked Son to copy the lion, line by line, upside down. This is teaching Son about lines and details as opposed to the big picture. I remember doing this in my art class back in middle school.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back From the Holidays

Whew.. has it been that long already? I can't believe I haven't blogged since December 11th, more than a month ago. I'm very proud of our blog visitors, because 149 out of 167 people knew where or what Aruba was. Nobody voted a language, a lake or food, or a city. Forgive me, but I couldn't help but chuckle when I see that 2 people voted "Yes, and it's not listed".  I wonder if there's a store, restaurant or the like called Aruba. Very likely. 

It seems that almost everyone knew it is an island, and 10 people voted An Island in the South Pacific. I can see that. "Aruba" sounds exotic. 2 people voted An Island Off the Coast of West Africa. In fact, the language spoken in Aruba, Papiamento, sounds similar to a language spoken in West Africa, specifically Ivory Coast. Hence the idea of including West Africa in the poll.

I want to come up with more polls in the future. It's fun. I also have quite a few posts I want to work on, but simply have been out of the routine. Now I'm catching up. This last month Son has grown another a hundredth of an inch, knows how to tie his belt and read Level Two readers. Daughter has grown another inch, and is climbing ladders and eating very well with a spoon, thank you very much. It's amazing what a difference a month makes.