Monday, 11 February 2008

Weekly Report 2008:6

I hardly posted at all last week. We were busy enjoying homeschooling and not enjoying the hot weather but mostly I was caught up in reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell during every free moment. I finished it late last night and thoroughly enjoyed it; I'll do a blog review soon.
Joshua and Anna have each had one sentence of penmanship to copy each day last week. Anna has had a few individual letters to trace first then a short sentence with VC and CVC words, such as "Sam sat on a mat." I am coaching Anna in her pencil grip often throughout the lesson, but I know she will settle into it eventually, just as Joshua did. She tends to fuss when Joshua is at the table, but if I send him out she works much better. I was planning to have them do their academics at the same time, but now I am thinking I might give Joshua a short Individual Play Time (or playtime with Abigail, which might help her to stay away from the dining table as well) after Circle Time while I teach Anna, and then Anna and Abigail can play while I teach Joshua. I think I'll try this this week.Joshua has moved up a level in difficulty and has begun doing copywork, writing his line of text underneath my handwritten exemplar. This is a big step up from the tracework as he has to think about each and every letter as well as such penmanship issues as spacing between words. He struggled quite a bit through his first week, but Friday completed his sentence, "Percy is green and James is red." with only minimal fuss after he got past the capital P. The first letter seemed to give him grief every day, and I think this may be because he has less experience writing capitals. Sometimes he asked me to write dots as markers for the start, stop and turns of the pencil; once he has these reminders he does very well. Now that I think about it, I might give him example capitals to trace this week to get him started with less complaints and trouble. He does the other letters with much less fuss, although I am having to get him to re-do a few of his as because he prefers to write the stick first, and hence does not form the circle correctly or completely.For the first few days last week Joshua was reading aloud from Go, Dog. Go! by PD Eastman, but on Wednesday night at Bible Study I was able to borrow the first two sets of Bob readers, which are at a much lower level. So far, Joshua has read three including reading Sam (the second Bob book) aloud to Jeff, who was impressed with Joshua's effort. Even though the binding is fairly flimsy paperback, Joshua sees these as "real books" and he is very pleased with himself when he has read a whole book. It helps that they tell a simple, often funny story also. These books are also furnishing appropriate reading and penmanship sentences for Anna. I am hoping to move Joshua through the first set of readers at a reasonable pace (perhaps one review book and one new book read each day) because Anna read the first book Mat aloud today, with greater fluency than Joshua, to my surprise (and Jeff's). Admittedly, she had heard Joshua read it several times, but she'll overtake him if I am not careful, and I think that Joshua would find this depressing rather than a challenge, knowing his personality. My friend has all five sets of Bob books so I may borrow the higher level books as well, or possibly purchase them myself, since we'll be likely to have four kids using them.

Science and Geography
I'm blending Science and Geography into a series of unit studies this year. This has been our first week on Dinosaurs ~ Continents and Oceans. Last Saturday afternoon Joshua and I went to the library together and borrowed a whole lot of non-fiction books on Dinosaurs to supplement the dino books we already have. Joshua and I really like Dinosaurs by Design by Duane T Gish (from Master Books, which is associated with Answers in Genesis), I have used this to explain how fossils form and what paleontologists et al do with fossils once they find them, as well as reading some of the detailed descriptions it contains of a variety of dinosaurs. As we read about each type of dinosaur, we looked up the location of it's fossils on the world globe that Joshua was given for his birthday. At the end of the unit I will get Joshua to do a few narrations to summarise what he remembers.

Circle Time and Maths continued to go well. Abigail has begun to join in with our memory verses now and she is a champ at them.

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