07 January 2011

Homeschool Update - Core Subjects

General

Well, one worry off my list. The children can tell time IF THEY ARE WEARING THEIR GLASSES. I don't know why I didn't think of that solution sooner. They can also tell you their addresses, if you sit down and explain what an "address" is and give the example of 253 Main St. Every time. They still don't have their phone number down, however. BUT they know their last name, yayy for me. Emperor says it is not HIS phone number... so why should he know it... sigh.

English

The boys are pretty good at telling me the various parts of speech and drawing sentence diagrams, and somewhat good at making outlines. But their writing isn't at the level I'd like it to be. Perhaps I'm overly picky, but I'd think that a few paragraphs shouldn't be too difficult to write. It's like pulling teeth to get them to write even a few sentences. And I do try to make it fun, to help them post things to their blogs, and to have them read their work aloud.

One difficulty I have teaching my children in general is that I have no outside folks giving honest feedback. Thankfully standardized testing is not required for homeschoolers (and my children have never been tested MAP-wise), because that's not the "feedback" I'm looking for so much. More... are my children improving in their writing craft? Perhaps it's just me, but I don't see any improvement. I was an English major in college, and I can read the teachers' manuals. I'm just not sure how to foster improvement in writing specifically, how to target those writing assignments to be helpful. I can assign writing. I can help children revise papers. I know what I am doing. But how to convey that one ought write more than a few sentences at a time, or a sense of order in writing is difficult.

And Spelling! We're using this. We set aside the stuff I already have (for now) and are using the free website. Elf is very, very far behind in Spelling. About a second grade level. But he can read a good plenty.

Mathematics

We spend about two hours daily on math. We're doing MathTacular 4. Elf and Emperor take turns using the workbook and we watch the DVD together. Elf, because he is going to public school next year, is doing the Everyday Mathematics fifth grade curriculum. If I teach him nothing else except to write the FORMULA each and every time he solves a problem, I will be pleased enough. Frequently I find he can do the math work, but mixes up his formulae and/or gets confused because of the word problems.

Emperor is buzzing along in his pre-algebra work, but he does poorly when questions are not worded just-so. He knows the math. "Reducing" a fraction doesn't mean to render it in its "mixed form," however. He has trouble "rounding to the nearest hundredth" and the like. He can do the math part. It just bothers him to be less accurate. I'm telling him it's absolutely an accurate answer to the QUESTION, however. I am not sure if he buys it or not.

History

Wrapping up our Ancient Greece unit soon. They've enjoyed learning about some of the mythology especially. Persephone has been played by a stuffed Pikachu in their playtime on more than one occasion.

Reading

Oh, my goodness are these children reading! They're working on the Little House series during their read-alone time. There have been many Great Illustrated Classic stories Emperor has read to us. Still working on the Lord of the Rings - and have been since June - but it is a longer and more involved book and only Elf is reading it aloud. I've told him my goal is to have LOTR done by the end of January, but early February may be a more attainable goal.

Science

We've finished a unit on planets and are reading books from the library on all kinds of things! The children choose the books and I give them a bit of time to read and tell me about what they discover. We're finished with all the curriculum we purchased for the year, so why not?

Unless I should buy something so I can say that I'm working on something structured... but I do have my eye on some snap circuits because um, they'd be so educational. :)

3 comments:

  1. My 10 year old just got glasses and is amazed at how much better he can see detail from a distance. I knew something was up when he was squinting to see the white board from part way across the room. So, I could see how wearing glasses could make a HUGE difference with your boys.

    Writing ~ my boys hate it and I have to specify number of sentences, etc. if I want my expectations to be met. Personally, I think it's a boy thing more than anything else.

    Science ~ snap circuits are awesome! We bought the HUGE set with teacher's manuals/ experiment books this past May. Not that we've done much structured school with them....

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  2. My son is going to need glasses, too. I think I need to make an appointment soon - he is squinty. How do you keep boys from losing or breaking glasses? Any tips are appreciated.

    As to the phone number....I have found that my kids can remember stuff if I sing it. I sing our phone number to O Tannenbaum and our address to Yellow Submarine. I feel like a dork, but my daughter likes to sing and joins in enthusiastically. My son is pretty grouchy about it (I explained one time why he needed to know how to get home if he was separated from me and it freaked him out. go me), but I think it's sinking in even if he won't sing with us.

    (I have a whole repertoire of pee-on-the-potty songs set to The Beach Boys. I have a huge cool factor, I just know it)

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  3. MathTacular4 [beams].

    Sorry, I got distracted while reading your post.

    ~Luke

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