Sunday, 5 October 2008

Weekly Report 2008:36

As I mentioned on Saturday, last week all our academics were done in the afternoons, while Abigail and Samuel were napping. I've also begun doing phonics and reading with Anna first, then while she does her penmanship, I help Joshua with his phonics and reading lessons. Then Anna has a little bit of free play while Joshua finishes up his penmanship. This has minimised some of the whining and fighting for my attention. They still do maths together, but they both love it so there are few complaints over maths lessons anyway.(See what I mean? Who else has kids who build numbers with their Lego, or stand up at the breakfast table and show me how they can make a 4 with their legs?)

It is officially school holidays here in Western Australia, but since we took a week off to visit Albany earlier in the term (and most of another week to recover), our family isn't on holidays. Having no academics (other than Circle Time and literature read alouds, which we do year round) in the morning meant we were still able to enjoy participating in some fun activities out and about with friends.

On Monday
I took the kids to the fenced playground at Bunnings so they could play while I enjoyed a coffee at the internal cafe. We also bought 90 cents' worth of 6mm dowel, but that wasn't the point.

On Wednesday
The girls went to the B family to celebrate I's fifth birthday. After I dropped them off, I took the Boys to the David Buttfield Centre for an Anchor Boys event. As part of their devotions on serving God, the Anchor Boys had learnt two songs to sing for the residents during their Wednesday church service. Since Jeff's grandmother lives in this home, we went for a special visit to her as well. Joshua did a private performance of his two songs for her (she was not able to make it to the service), Samuel covered her in little boy kisses and I was able to talk to her about our anniversary and Jeff's latest sermon. I left before she got tired and she had a smile on her face, so I was very pleased I had been able to take the boys. Visiting with all four kids can be too overwhelming for her.

On Thursday
Jeff and I (secretly) went off to take a tour of the private school we are thinking we'll send Joshua to next year. At this stage we haven't told Joshua that we're definitely sending him, and the others know nothing about it, so we organised to leave Joshua with the (other) B family to play with their boys, and then drop the girls with the T family to play with their girls. We took Samuel with us, but then, to mis-quote slightly, "toddlers tell no tales". The kids loved their time with friends and I appreciated being able to take a 20min coffee break after dropping Jeff off for the train, in order to get my head straight before I collected all the kids.

On Friday
Having completely forgotten to send Sam to childcare on Wednesday, I had organised to swap his day to Friday. So on Friday morning we all walked Sam to childcare and I had a lovely chat to another mother as she walked most of the way home with us.
Jeff dropped the rest of us at a nearby shopping centre and then we were in for a treat. At Jeff's suggestion - well, insistence, I was completely against it to begin with - at $10 a pop, I paid $30 for the most expensive four minutes of Joshua, Anna and Abigail's lives to date. They have something a bit like a cross between a jumping castle and a bungy crane at the shops at the moment, and the kids each had a go. They were delighted!
My purse quite a bit lighter, I took the kids somewhere free: the library! While I browsed for books on the animals of Europe with limited success, they listened in on nursery rhyme and story time. What perfect timing we had.
We then scurried back to the shops just in time for the 11am show, a singing, dancing extravaganza of Mr Men and Little Misses, with Mr Happy, Mr Greedy, Little Miss Chatterbox and Little Miss Neat. Afterwards, Anna told me solemnly that "there are real people inside the Mr Men: I think they must have a zip at the back!"
So next we caught the bus home. Unfortunately, it was only once we were on the bus that I realised I had no keys to get into the house. So we went home anyway, dropped Josh over the fence to open the garage door, and took a pram with us to the local shops to buy lunch (Abi's legs were getting tired). Then we caught another bus back to the first shopping centre (where the train station happens to be) and took a train to Trinity to get the house keys, and thankfully, the car, from Jeff.
We still managed to get our literacy and maths lessons done that afternoon, so I am very proud of myself. We did have to order pizza for dinner though, my energy didn't make it that far through the day!

On Saturday
Last week Joshua sold lemons to earn some money and his next plan was to grow and sell carrots. Since that takes more than one week to pull off, this week Jeff told him he could earn two cents for every snail he collected from our back yard. I thought two cents was a bit stiff, but Joshua still managed to earn $1.80!! (For the mathematically challenged, there are now 90 snails suffering from the effects of salt poisoning on our backyard barbecue.)
In the afternoon Abigail announced, "I have to go to L's house. We have to be friends together!" So we tidied up the house a little and then walked three doors down to play with the S family, and another neighbour from across the street, R, who was already visiting. It was a great chance to chat with Mr S and kept the kids from being frantic for another hour or so.

But what about academics?

Circle Time
Jeff did some great storytelling about Moses taking the Israelite people into the desert and what happened there. When I do the stories, I tend to read straight from the Bible with only a few word simplifications, but Jeff does it as a storyteller, not just a reader. The kids are now quite familiar with How Deep the Father's Love for Us and were thrilled to be able to sing it along with the congregation last Sunday. We're learning Exodus 3:10-12a & 14-15a at the moment, one verse at a time:
12 "So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh
to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
11 But Moses said, "Who am I,
that I should go to Pharaoh
and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
12 And God said, "I will be with you." ...
14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM.
This is what you are to say to the Israelites:
'I AM has sent me to you.' "
15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites,
'The LORD, the God of your fathers -
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob -
has sent me to you.'
This is my name forever, ... by which I am to be remembered..."

Joshua finally finished the sixth book in the fifth set of Bob Books and to give him a break, we moved back to the Ladybird Phonics readers. He read the first two stories from the fifth book without too much problem, which was quite a relief after the struggles of the last few weeks. Anna continued to storm through a book a day from the fourth set of Bob Books. Next week, when I envisage she will finish the box, I'll have to give her some Ladybird Phonics books to read as well or Joshua might get a tad outraged that she has caught up to him already.
This week we did our penmanship (tracework for Anna, mostly copywork for Joshua) in the dotted thirds lined books I purchased from Wooldridges. We have also added in some work from a phonics workbook, Multiple Phonograms from the LEM Phonics program (you can see a sample here). I like that it is an Australian product, and it is providing the direct instruction on multiple letter graphemes that Joshua in particular needs and Anna is definitely ready for at the moment. I have been doing it with Anna at the dining room table while Joshua plays quietly in the lounge room and three times now Joshua has called out "I know a word with that sound" and has come up with a word that not only has the sound (all this week it has been "er"), but also the spelling we're studying that day. On Wednesday, he thought of Ursus maritimus, on Thursday it was earth and on Friday he came up with worthy. I am not sure whether this synchronisation was just random luck or if he has some level of recognition above what I have been giving him credit for. Anyway, when it comes time for him to do the task he has been doing quite well. He can recognise the graphemes in the word lists faster than Anna, yet she can remember what sound each grapheme represents faster than him. Strange, but that encapsulates their individual struggles with reading any word at the moment.

We didn't finish Adventures of the Wishing Chair but began on Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit because it has to be back to the library very soon. I have been reading ahead myself (I wanted to be sure it was suitable) and am loving it. You can tell it's a good kids' book when even adults love it. So far we're three chapters in.

We did a page a day with Maths, except on Wednesday, so we've now finished lesson 2 and begun lesson 3. The kids have already both grasped the idea that sums can be written vertically as well as horizontally. The book's way of presenting this, using pegs stuck to a strip of card, and showing it first horizontally and then vertically, makes great concrete sense. I wouldn't have come up with it on my own but it made the transition to vertical sums clear and simple.Science
We did a notebook page on Orangutans and I heard the kids playing at being "Pongo pygmaeuses" yesterday, so something must have stuck. That was all for Science this week, but I collected a few books on Swallows and other European animals from the library so we'll turn there next week.

Arts and Craft
Joshua wanted me to draw him some dinosaurs on Monday. I told him he could do a better job than me so he went off to prove me right. When he had copied several pictures from a book we have, he decided to build one in 3D from our Lego blocks. Some days, this boy just amazes me with what he can do!Class Time
I haven't mentioned our class time for a while but this week we have successfully memorised our home address and the colours of the rainbow in order. Just handy things to know.

That's it for this week. When I write it all down I realise our week was absolutely packed to the rafters!


mom24 said...

Packed? More like SUPER packed! This is why I can't get my weekly reports done this year - I just can't believe how much we are packing in each day. And it's so awesome to see them learning so much!
Jason loves, loves, loves LEGOS too. I am always so surprised at what he comes up with! He loves the dinosaur!
Hope you continue to have another productive week!
Andrea :-D

Sharon said...

You will notice I don't do a weekly report every single week. And sometimes I do cheat and backdate them as well! I told Joshua that Jason liked his dinosaur and he promptly asked to see Jason's latest stuff you've posted. He thinks the planet poster looks great.

~ Sharon