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Archive for the ‘Our Week’ Category

Well, we have begun….never really stopped to tell the truth. We went slow over Christmas, but kept trudging through. This year gave way to un unexpected change…school at home! This is our second week of the experiment….why does it always feel like an experiment? It all started with the kids being unruly during the allotted school time. I tried to enforce a routine yet someone would always slip through the system! Usually I, ds2. So…. After much consideration I decided that we would all do school together. Our day looks something like this….

Wake up and do morning jobs and routine

Music for the older 3

Drop Z to kindy

Do Maths together around the table- no talking. I do lessons individually, play a game with young ones, and am right there to answer older ones questions. We have been getting everyone’s Maths done each day. That’s a record!

Recess….something very new to our day. They are having a piece of fruit and playing outside for a period of time determined by me and by N who needs some attention by this time

Reading- E is reading the Hobbit to C, I is reading Boxcar children to J, then we gather and the older ones do comprehension questions while I do focus reading with C and J. Z gets reading time too whilst the others are having read aloud time. Perfect!

Writing- E is working through IEW. I,C,J are doing Draw! Write! Now! Which they are loving. I is writing his own story, C is doing a bit of copy work and his own writing and J is doing copy work. Z is practicing writing his own name….it’s very long!

Spellling for E,I and C. And music for J and C.

That’s it! Ready for afternoon activities or a dip in the pool. So far we are enjoying it, I am yelling less and we are achieving so much more in a shorter amount of time. There is also the natural consequence of ‘homework’ if the allotted work is not completed in the given time (which I am flexible about to a degree). I completed all of his work and homework today and then got to play in the pool! Victory!

I’ll report back soon with the longer term results!

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Busy, busy, busy…. That pretty much sums up the last three weeks (hence no blogging).  Here’s a quick summary…

Literacy

This is one area that we have managed to keep up with.  Eli had begun doing some dictation using prayers.  He has completed the Glory be and the traditional prayer before meals (Bless us O lord for these thy gifts…).  He does copywork one day, then he does a word study of the more difficult words (along with the corresponding Soundwaves sheet/s) and then he does dictation (though he memorised them both and so there wasn’t actually much dictating on my part!).  We are also going throguh the 30’s books in the Fitzroy range as a beginning in grammar and informal writing (though we haven’t kept up with informal writing very well :-(.  His fluency in reading is excellent.  He can pretty much read anything fluently – I’ve been getting him to read aloud to me (which I haven’t done in ages!).

Zi is also steaming ahead with the readers.  We are up to read 15 in Fitzroy and he is not having a any trouble with them.  He probably isn’t as fluent as I would want him to be before he moves on, but I am finding that he is motivated by moving on and that his fluency is fine in the earlier readers.  He has begun to read the Ladybird readers (level1) by himself and seems to be enjoying it.  We are doing writing with Fitzroy books 5 and 6 and he’s writing cvc words and completing cvcc and ccvc words.  He enjoys the spelling, but hasn’t much patience for the writing (he is 5 after all!)

Maths

Okay, this is what we are falling behind on.  I have been a bit slack since we finished level B, though Eli is doing the review with a friend I am tutoring and so he is up to about lesson 16.  We did Roman Numerals and he got all of it (about 3 lessons worth) in one lesson.  I haven’t really done any formal lessons with Zi, though we have played with the abacus and tally sticks and sung the song lots.

India

Derek and the boys watched more from The Story of India.  We made a chickpea curry and I bought some Gulabjammun for dessert.  I should’ve made Lassi, but I forgot.  We invited a friend to stay for dinner and we shared what we had learned.  Basically the boys collectively know that India has Burma, Pakistan, China, Tibet, Bangladesh on its borders.  Sri Lanka is the island off India.  The Himalayas are on the northern border of India and Mt Everest is the tallest mountain in the world and in those ranges.  The Ganges is a holy river.  The Indus river is in Pakistan and Mohenjo Daro and Harrappa are the two cities that were discovered there.  Grandma and Mother Teresa lived in Calcutta.  Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity are three of the many religions in India.  New Dehli is the capital and the Taj Mahal is a famous site.  Jordy knows that there are three colours on the flag (orange, white and green), Eli and Zi know what they represent and that the blue wheel in the middle is the chakra and it has 24 spokes that represent the hours in the day. It’s quite a lot of info when I write it down like that!

Science

My block of science at playgroup has ended and while I did enjoy it, it was hard work getting organised!  The kids now know what a solid, liquid and gas is. They know that ice, water and steam correspond to those states.  Even Jordy knows it!!!  Eli knows what condensation and evaporation is and what heterogenous and homogenous substances are.  They all enjoyed the water play we had during the last two weeks, especially Zeek!

Music

I began my piano lessons and they are going wonderfully. I have learnt that I need to play with my hands separately and then put a piece together rather than trying to nut it out with both hands!  I am currently learning Long, long ago – Book 1 suzuki method.

Eli is beginning Minuet 3 and Zi has leanrt first finger on E string.  I have to streamline home lessons better… I will think about that this week.

Okay, that’s it for now!

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General

Not much accomplished this week as we have had gastro through the house.  Luckily Zi and I missed out, though we had a sleepless night with Zeek, Jordy and Eli all having it at once!  recovery was nice as we got to take time out from our overly hectic schedule this term! I realized that ‘something has to give’ for next term…. but what???  All said though, we are enjoying ourselves and loving every moment of being busy (and tee ball does end this week!).

Maths

Yay! we’ve finally finished level B!!  I am so proud of Eli for getting through it in lightning speed.  We pretty much tackled half the level (the most difficult half) in five months.  We had a marathon finish with Eli doing two lessons and then the final test (about 1 1/2 hours of maths non stop).  And yes, it was Eli’s idea, not mine.   In fact I got sucked in by his enthusiasm.  he did fantastically on the test with only a few mistakes made from carelessness with his trading and brain fatigue in his mental maths!  We are beginning level C next week and starting off by learning about Venn diagrams (I love those!).

Literacy

Zi finished reading book 10 from the first set this week and found it miles easier than 7X or 8X.  It was nice to read something at his level again after ploughing through two difficult books.  Zi is beginning to realize that he can actually read and is having a go all the time, everywhere!  His writing skills are improving and he completed a few Fitzroy sheets this week.  I even gave him one that I thought may be too difficult and he surprised me and finished it easily, though I had to countdown the number of sentences toward the end.

Eli has been reading about the Indus Valley independently and wrote a passage for his ‘project book’.  He hasn’t drawn a picture yet as ‘Finding Nemo’ was on and that seemed way more interesting!

Gubbs has been learning a lot of sounds lately and is fascinated by them.  Jordy wants to get in on the act and is constantly pointing out /s/ for us.  She also knows /o/. I think I may catch her up to Caleb and then do them both together (or so I keep saying….).

India

We watched the first part of a BBC series on The Story of India with the three older boys.  It was about the discovery of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus Valley – fascinating.  I don’t think the boys took that much in.  Zi was very interested in the war part though!  We also read more about the ancient civilization and Eli wrote a passage on it.  Zi did some copy work.  I introduced letter sizing and I think the lines were too small!

Science

Not done cos we were too sick to go to playgroup!

Faith

We went to participate in Catechesis class, but didn’t know which class to attend so went home.  I spoke to the coordinator and got Eli into the reconciliation class.  It wasn’t anywhere near as hard as I thought, though I did say that we were going to do the preparation and that Eli would attend classes for community.  As of this year, Catholic school children will make their first Reconciliation in year 4, First holy communion in year 5 and Confirmation in year 8.  Interesting.  Has got me rethinking our decision for Eli to make is reconciliation this year.  Some other thoughts from David include…

Does she know she has committed a sin before you tell her?
Does she know it is wrong but does it anyway?
Does she understand that sinning is wrong because God has better things planned for her, not just because you will punish her?

Maybe it would be better to wait another year when Eli has this more sorted.  Maybe the actual reconciliation, forgiveness and resolve to change is just what Eli needs.  Things to ponder.

Music

Eli still working on Minuet 2.  We may start Minuet 3 tomorrow. I didn’t do any lessons with Zi this week :-(.  I however have booked myself in for piano lessons beginning the 2nd of March Yay!

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General

Another busy week with half days at Kindy for Gubbs, Mum G’s birthday, playgroup, tee ball, drama, basketball and violin group class.  We also attended a Catholic Homeschooling group start of year mass and picnic which was nice.

India

  • Visited Indian restaurant and ate yummy food.  Kids didn’t really learn that much from this as we have this food all the time, but it was nice to eat while listening to Indian music and be surround with art and culture!
  • Started reading about ancient India and the Indus Valley civilizations.  I was quite interested, though the kids weren’t (Eli actually sat and listened and the others played!).
  • Eli did learn about BC and AD and was quite fascinated about it all.  I still don’t think he has totally grasped the concept of 1000 years though!

Science

  • Did exciting experiments with dry ice at playgroup.  Eli gets the whole solid, liquid, gas thing.  Able to talk about condensation, evaporation and sublimation.

Maths

  • Eli only has about 4 lessons left of level B.
  • No maths done with Zi this week 😦

Literacy

  • Zi read 7X and 8X this week.  He had quite a bit of difficulty with them.  They seem quite a bit harder than book ten of the first set, so I think we’ll tackle that next.  He was able to read words like goblin with a bit of assistance in tackling the syllables.
  • Eli spent a lot of time reading some Usborne books he received for his birthday.  Nothing formal accomplished this week.

Music

  • Eli completed Minuet 2 and can just about play the entire piece on the slow cd.
  • Zi still playing on E or A string Twinkles (Busy busy stop stop).
  • Attended group class which immensely improved Eli’s tone by being told to make his thumb stronger.  Zi was given lots of great feedback about his posture and bow grip which was nice for his confidence.

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Our Week Learning Life

General

What a week!  We have formally begun our school year and it started off with a bang!  Monday was fairly low key – I basically prepared myself for the rest of the week.  Tuesday it was Gubbs’ first day at Kindy, then Eli had his seventh birthday party.  Wednesday we attended playgroup, then a drama/sport group for Eli, then we had tee ball training (oh, and it happened to be Eli’s actual birthday!).  Thursday we did a marathon swimming afternoon which will become our regular Thursday event.  Friday we had a park meet with the Catholic homeschooling group – Phew!!!  So after all that, not a lot was accomplished on the academic front, but we learnt so much more!

India

This week was the intro week for our first country study – India (obviously!).  We read a few books about India.  We talked about their weather, the cities, where Grandma was born, the countries surrounding India, the types of housing they occupy etc etc.  Eli was fascinated by the different religions and now calls Zeek, Buddha-ism (his nickname was just ‘Buddha’ before!).  We coloured in the flag and located India on a map.  We plan to visit an Indian restaurant in a couple of days.

Science

Our topic was states of matter (ie.  solids, liquids and gases).  I ran ‘science’ at homeschool playgroup and surprisingly, Eli took in a lot more than I thought.  When quizzed by Derek about what he had learned, he replied, ‘we learned about states of matter.  They are solids, liquids and gas.  Ice is a solid then it turns into water which is a liquid then into steam which is a gas.’ – Perfect! Zi and Gubbs were too busy playing to even think about joining us for science and any other week I may have done a bit more at home, but not this week!  Eli has enjoyed the experiments so much that he has started a science book where he can do easy experiments by himself and record them.  On Friday he did a bouncy egg experiment where he placed an egg in water and another egg in vinegar to see what happened.  Apparently if you leave the egg there for 7 days, it will bounce – let’s see…

Maths

Eli did a couple of lessons over the week.  I planned to have finished level B by this week, but we have about ten lessons to go.  Good thing there is no rush and we can just sit back and enjoy the ride!  Eli is learning about measurement and made his own ruler and measured perimeter and diagonals.  I’m finding it a bit harder to get motivated for maths because I have to convert the American measurements into Australian measurements, a bit more prep than usual!

I reinforced the 5+ _= _ (to10) equations with Zi informally this week and he seems to be getting them really well.  He would often say to me ‘mummy I know what seven is – five and two!’

Gubbs has taken an interest in identifying numbers.

Literacy

Zi has been going well with the Fitzroy readers and we’re ready to start book 9 (in the first set) this week.  He is blending well (when he’s not tired) and beginning to get the hang of blending four sounds.

We haven’t really done anything formal with Eli this week, though he did write up that science experiment.  He has been reading the books he got for his birthday.  He is proving to enjoy non fiction more than fiction like his daddy.

Jordy and Zeek

Jordy is well and truly potty trained now after a spell of laziness and not bothering to go to the toilet to deposit her goods!

Zeek is getting around everywhere, following his siblings everywhere!  He is pushing anything that will move and walking.  He is saying ‘ta’, ‘u’ for up, mamamama for me!, dadada for Derek and screaming a lot when he is told off!  he is understanding much more now and we can actually tell him to stop doing something and expect him to listen, often though he doesn’t and gives us a cheeky grin!

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General

On the weekend we visited the zoo with our cousin C and then on Sunday, Derek spent the day tidying our backyard (and it looks great!).  We had a play date on Tuesday with J and D, boys who are the same age as Eli and Zi, and who get along fantastically.  We spent two full days at home which is so lovely and precious especially with all the commitments we will have this term.  Today we went to the park for a picnic lunch and have party in the evening.

I have been reading pretty consistently with the kids this week, though the non fiction read alouds have been put on the back burner until we can get to the library.  Eli and Zi have been enjoying a book called The Squire and the Scroll by Jennie Bishop.  Zi is entranced in his knightly imagination and is continually parading about in his cape (thanks F!) and armor.

Maths

Eli has enjoyed learning about change in money and subtraction this week. I love how Rightstart gears his mind for what is coming next so that the new information is delved into so effortlessly.  Eli got subtraction so easily because of the time he has spent on his mental addition throughout the year.  We have also begun to give him pocket money of $2 a week.  After long discussions with Derek, we have decided that he must save 50c, donate 50c (to a place of his choosing, at the moment that’s church) and he gets to choose what he does with his $1.  He had a bit of money saved from birthdays/ my mum and he bought himself a pair of thongs, some wool and some knitting needles at the shops last night!  The money that must be saved will be managed by Daddy (in a pretend bank of which the details are to be confirmed). Also, we would like this money to be unattached to things like chores or behaviour.  Though I’m happy that a consequence of breaking something would be to contribute money to the replacement of it!

Literacy

Zi read to book 8 in Fitzroy.  His frustration is decreasing and he is able to blend more difficult words in his head.  We spent most of this week reading for fun, rather than getting through the readers.  Zi has also taken it upon himself to teach Gubbs his letters (which suits me fine!).  To my surprise, Gubbs now knows about half the sounds in the alphabet!

I have started getting Eli to read aloud books to me as he is not really interested in reading chapter books to himself at the moment.  I think this may be due to our effort in completing our maths book.  I am just aiming to get him to read enough to get those juices flowing again! Eli has enjoyed writing secret messages for various people this week.  He writes the message in white crayon and then we have to shade the page with texta to find the answer.

Faith

As we have been reading The Squire and the Scroll, we have been talking a lot about keeping our hearts clean and pure.  Especailly about filtering what we hear and see.  We have been talking about what we choose to watch on tv, what we listen to on the radio and how we listen to what others say.  It’s been lovely giving Eli some responsibilty in this area and watching him make great choices.

We have also been working on beign respectful to people older than ourselves and to those we love.  This is an area that we are getting better at as the week went on.

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Our Week Learning Life

General

This week wasn’t all that productive with me not feeling well at the beginning of the week.  Zi and Gubbs both got their 4 year old vaccinations (and didn’t even cry!).  I was scared taking them by myself as Eli screamed and screamed when he got his 4 year olds.  The two boys were delighted about having a piece of sticky tape (with cotton wool) stuck to each of their arms, in fact, I had a bit of an argument with Gubbs to take it off the next day!  I had to go for blood tests to check my hormone and iron  levels and will get the results in a fortnight.  We went to tee ball practice and enjoyed a sausage sizzle with the team afterward. On Friday F brought her kids around for a play which was lovely.  We had a great chat (between kids) and the kids played really nicely.  We did achieve the basics of formal work…

Literacy

Zi reviewed his readers this week and didn’t actually start any new ones.  He is getting good at blending in his head and would rather do this than blend aloud.  I have to keep reminding myself to let him look intensely at the pictures on each page as it keeps him quite motivated.  He has begun to have a a go

Music

We didn’t do much violin this week.  Eli is still working on Minuet 2 and can play Minuet 1 on slow cd.  Our goal for the holidays was to be learnign the notes for Minuet 3 by th etime we go back to lessons and this looks achievable.

The kids are still enjoying driving me crazy with the Lion King songs.  I think I’ve heard enough Hakuna Matatas for a life time.

Oh and me… I’m getting better at Go Tell Aunt Rhody and have started on Clair de Lune.  I think I’m going to need lessons soon though.

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