Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Weekly Reports 2008:34 & 35

Our last two weeks went well but there are big changes afoot and I will have to post about them another time. For now, this is a report on the last two weeks (even though it's half way through week 36 now!):

Joshua is struggling through the much longer and increasingly difficult fifth set of Bob Books. He is finding the two vowels in combination graphemes (such as i_e and oa) really difficult to keep in his head all at once. I am trying to let him take it slowly but I could see he was needing some down time so in week 35 I gave him incidental reading only rather than persist with the readers. (We're back to them in week 36 though.)
Anna finished the third set of Bob Books in week 34 and after a big celebration, she also had week 35 off from readers as a reward. She's back in to them this week as well. She is doing much better with learning the multiple-letter graphemes. I am so proud of her!

We all thoroughly enjoyed reading The Wizard of Oz together. It did get tense at times (well, Joshua follows after me when it comes to being frightened by the least thrilling plot devices known to man) but I appreciated the way that the majority of problems were solved within the chapter or the one following (well, except for Dorothy finding her way home, of course, which had to take the entire book or there would have been no story). So even though Joshua was jumping on the couch over some bits, he would always be happy with the resolution at the end of our reading times.
We began to re-read Adventures of the Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton, which we read and enjoyed last year. The kids are liking it and it's a nice simple segue to our next book, Five Children and It by Edith Nesbitt, which has a similar theme of wishes being granted.

Science and Geography
The kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the animals of Asia and can now tell the difference between an Asian elephant an one from Africa. They can also tell whether a Pongo pygmaeus specimen is male or female. Can you? (Answer at the bottom of the post.) We also enjoyed reading about Siberian and Bengal tigers and checking out the tiger pages on the National Geographic Kids website. We watched the National Geographic DVD on the Siberian Tiger again as well.
One of our favourite things has been reading Asian folktales. In particular, we have enjoyed Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam by Sherry Garland illus Trina Schart Hyman, which has five delightful Vietnamese tales accompanied by a brief explanation of some of the elements of the tale (such as explaining the role of water buffalo in Vietnamese farming life, or the celebration of the moon festival, which was only recently celebrated by the Asian people at our church). We have also enjoyed Chinese Fables Remembered as told by Miwa Kurita, illus Saoko Mitsukuri, edited by Miyoko Matsutani. The two tales in this book have good morals (one promotes kindness and the other warns of the dangers of boasting). These were shorter stories than those in the Vietnamese book but nonetheless very enjoyable.
We completed a homemade atlas page on Asia courtesy of National Geographic's printable atlas site. (I think I am becoming a National Geographic groupie).

Anna is catching on to the idea of addition almost as fast as Joshua now and they had no problem with the lessons on writing addition sums. I am making sure I begin each and every lesson with a concrete representation of the addition sums we are learning about, and that is helping a lot. We're using fluorescent pegs, colourful plastic milk bottle lids, single Megabloks in various colours, and anything else I can think of as counters.

We've just memorised "Whole Duty of Children" by Robert Louis Stevenson together and it raised a lot of questions. Joshua was outraged at the idea that children should only speak when someone speaks to them, but I explained it means that they should always respond when someone speaks to them. He was okay with that. Reciting it together was fun, despite my initial concerns that it was too "preachy". I am beginning to love poetry again, but mostly the poems with strong rhythms. I just don't get modern poetry.

Q: How can you tell an adult male Pongo pygmaeus from a female?
A: Pongo pygmaeus is the species of orangutan that is found in Borneo. (The Sumatran species is Pongo abelii.) The adult male has large black cheek pads and a bulging black throat pouch, which are both absent in the adult female.

1 comment:

argsmommy said...

Thanks for these weekly updates. I see lots of bloggers doing these weekly updates, and I can see how good it would be for me as well.

I saw your post on TWTM board -- I'm sure it was a tough decision, so I'm praying that God will give you peace. You're obviously a caring mom who wants to do what's best for your family. I really admire that!