Friday, November 14, 2008

Congrats! You have a head, thorax, and abdomen!

ART DAY: We learned about Juan Miro , top-left.(Spain.) The girls drew their own Miro inspired pictures using bold black lines, shapes, bright colors, and wild imagination.

At the dinner table 3 yr-old Adrie said to Dad, "You have a HEAD, THORAX, ABDOMEN." What a compliment!--to Dad AND to our science lesson about insects 2 weeks ago.

One of the BEST investments of my time this week was to attend a local Love and Logic class specifically geared toward homeschoolers. It was just the shot in the arm I needed. I came away not only encouraged and praised but with some great ideas to incorporate into our schooling.

It came at the perfect time because I had been feeling quite overwhelmed with our busy days--homeschooling is hard work! When I'm not doing Kate's lesssons, I'm trying to give a 3 yr old attention--which she never can get enough of...or I'm changing diapers and feeding a baby-- and trying to keep the house in order on top of that!!!....
It didn't help that I had recently been criticized by some person that I was depriving my children socially...etc. HELLO, I live on a street teeming with children! I won't get started on that. ANYWAY, the lessons in the class and the stories shared CONFIRMED my belief deep down that what I am doing is GOOD for our family. Here are some examples:

  • We are never "behind." We are where we are.
  • Set the timer and do 15 minute rotations so each kid gets some one on one time.
  • take lessons outdoors: do math with sidewalk chalk. In the past I have had Kate do a problem set and then sent her on an obstacle course--like riding her bike around the house to find a gray rock,etc. but, this was a good reminder and I could incorporate it into other lessons.
  • teach life skills: math with cooking, measuring, shopping, estimating. Kate has been earning money by finishing units. Today she picked out a barbie , counted out the money and gave it to the cashier all on her own.I can't do EVERYTHING: the kids have to help out around the house. Yesterday I taught Kate how to measure the water and turn on the stove to make her own Ramen noodles for her and her sisters. Jobs help the whole family.
  • Each day, write all the lessons that need to be done, jobs, practicing etc. on a white board. As Kate completes each one she can cross it off or erase it. When it comes time for FUN and she asks "Can I play with friends" I can simply say, "I don't know, CAN YOU?" and refer to the chart. This has been working wonderfully the last 2 days. No more nagging!
  • TALK LESS, ASK MORE "How do you think you did on your handwriting?" "Do you feel like you practiced that song enough and are ready for your lesson?"
  • My opinion of Kate's work is not as important as Her opinion of her work. Let her evaluate herself based on these guidelines: I worked hard, I kept trying, I kept practing. When she finishes her work instead of me praising ad nauseum or correcting ask, "How did you do that?" (Working hard is the right answer.) This teaches them that they can accomplish anything if they work hard, etc. and when things do get hard they won't be as likely to quit.
  • MOVE ON with MY day. I can explain to Kate, "I am available to help you with this assignment for such and such time but then I need to....... blog??? Hope you can join us for that fun family activity later..." That way I can still have a life and not feel like a slave to school work.

It all came together, when, after taking whole week off of piano, (old me would have said to Kate, "Time to practice, you better get going, because you are SO not ready for your lesson.") new me said to Kate, "Let's see, you have your lesson in tomorrow. Do you feel like you are ready to play your songs for your teacher?" That's all I said, then as the class recommended, I "walked away and let her figure it out." A short while later, she actually started practing--first time ever it was her own idea!!!! Hallelujah! Then I was helping her get through some of the unfamiliar notes when (as usual) she had a come apart and threw her music and threatened to quit forever, blah blah blah. But because the new me has a life to get to I responded (coolly, if I may indulge) " Well, I'm available to help you for the next 10 minutes but after that I need to read to Brynn." I had already made it clear that piano would need to be done before any friends or computer time. Kate floundered on the floor complaining while I had a very fun time reading with my kindergartener (who really appreciated the time spent too.) After 5 minutes of wallowing around, Kate --wonder of wonders--ASKED me, "Mom, can you come help me with this song?" Glory Hallelujah!

Back to School--here's what else we covered this week:

Language Arts: spelling, reading fables and discussing morals, pronouns, plot, setting, characters. vocab and reading comprehension, and handwriting.

Math with Dad: adding double digits.


Dave and Deslynn said...

I loved the idea of sending Kate on a bike course after doing the math outside. Great way to burn off some energy and get her brain working.

Never too early to teach them how to cook. I made sure my daughter had the can opener down as well. She can open up a can of applesauce like no one's business!

Wow, excellent job on the questions instead of just telling her no or yes.

Thanks Laura!!

T said...

I could use a little love and logic myself :)

Your children are not deprived of social experiences... between the thousand kids on your street and the hundred cousins, they're doing just fine!!!