Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Report

It all starts with Literature. Every day we listen to a chapter of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  He reads along in our little hardback copy. I explain the more difficult words and concepts to Son, and he is growing to enjoy this great story. Thank you, Librivox!
In English, I use a combination of Primary Language Lessons (PLL) by Emma Serl and Voyages in English (VIE) 3. I quite enjoy the logical, easy way VIE presents the subjects. We do this once or twice a week, mostly orally, and the rest of the time, twice to three times a week, PLL. It's working well, and I see improvement in both Son's writing and speech.

In Math we use Math Mammoth (MM) 2B. Son has a solid understanding of place values, and is practicing regrouping through a domino game the author, Maria, suggests. We like it, and I can't think of a more fun way to practice. We do basic addition drills in the car to solidify his math facts, and once a week he plays on my the Kids Math app on my iPhone. I think MM is a fantastic fit for both of us.

Poetry is a blast with Edward Lear's funny poems. Son enjoys his rollicking verses, and I have been introduced to an interesting man and form. We read one of his poems throughout the week, and on Fridays we dissect them for rhythm and meaning. Spelling we only worked on once a week this week, but next week I'm taking the words we have been working on and/or Son and been misspelling and giving him a test with Spelling City. Next week is Review Week for all lessons. We're reviewing the last six weeks of school and discussing what we have learned so far. Generally, we use Wheeler's Elementary Speller. Son is able to use that fairly independently.

Spanish  continues to be fun and interactive with the tools at my disposal: Spanish for Children (grammar), Rosetta Stone (immersion and interaction), SpanishDict (immersion and interaction), games and stories on Headventureland, and practice with me a few times a week (I'm conversant). I'm working to up that amount to daily, even if it's ten minutes daily. I also encourage Son to say a few words in Spanish to a few of his closest Latino friends.

History consists of listening to Mara Pratt's American History Stories Volume I, and Son then proceeds to read the story as well. We discuss. If it's an important event or person, Son creates a fact card. On Fridays we may do a project (we use Interactive 3D Maps). Right now we're steeped in the Colonial Period, just finished "Religious Troubles". We're also reading from The New Americans: The Colonial Period, Children's Encyclopedia of US History, and (not this week, though) The Complete Book of US History. 

Ah, Natural Science. It's one of Son's favorite subjects -- my favorite. We're doing Singapore Science My Pals Are Here! 3/4 Diversity. We're using the text, activity book, Homework, and HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) book. I wield the Teachers Manual. I like this program. So far we learned a lot about diversity, the rainforest, plants, and this week we started with animals. On Saturday we went to the zoo to extend the learning and see how animals move. We will be visiting again very soon.

In Reading, Son is reading every day for thirty minutes, at least five of those minutes aloud. During Reading he reads assigned books, but outside of lessons he has books he reads for pure enjoyment. He chooses easy Magic Schoolhouse books for these with lots of pictures, and books about snakes. He likes the Magic Treehouse books as well. So far he has read Pocahontas by Bulla. He recently started The Courage of Sarah Noble, which we discuss with the aid of Progeny Press' Literature Guide. It's easy for him, but I wanted to digress a little, stop and enjoy, and truly work on reading comprehension and contextual vocabulary.

We use Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer for our Writing curriculum. We do it four time a week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It works like a charm with the addition of the workbook. We're on WWE 2. I simply do not have time to pick the literature. Ms. Bauer does it for me.

Logic is two-fold. We do Critical Thinking Press' Mindbenders 3-6 on Mondays, and on Wednesdays we do the same publisher's Moral Dilemmas, which in a non-judgmental way has me listening to how he would solve moral dilemmas. It really has him think about issues he has not and hasn't thought about encountering. I restrain myself from teaching it as a lesson in values, but instead have him soul-search and think through what he would do.

In Composer Study, we're reading about the life of Johannes Brahms. We learned about the 21 Hungarian Dances. We listened to the 5th, and recognized it at once. I recognized it from my youth and my mother whistling it, and Son (and Daughter!) from none other than the program Little Einsteins. Picture Study was learning more about the early American artist Benjamin West. He had just met with a few Indians who showed him how to make paint from bear grease and plant powder in different colors.

I have reworked our schedule to do only what I consider the basics (Literature, Reading, Math, History, Natural Science, and Writing) daily, with Geography twice weekly, Spanish shoot for daily but at least four times a week, and Logic twice a week. On Fridays we do a project, Composer Study, Picture Study, Poetry, Geography puzzle and videos. Daddy teaches Art some time during the weekend.

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