Sunday, 26 October 2008

Weekly Reports 2008:38 & 39

[edit: I just added some pictures of Joshua and Anna's phonics work and Jeff and Abigail's Circle Time efforts.]Another fortnightly report. I was a bit too overwhelmed last week to think about reporting but I have managed to keep on with the schooling fairly well. The one thing we have let go this week as Circle Time - we only got around to it once, so we're now four days behind! We'll have to either skip some, which I would rather not, or add in some Saturdays. Which might not be such a bad thing as we've already been wondering whether to start doing Circle Time on Saturdays next year, anyway.

Circle Time
We are presently in the middle of Judges. Jeff started with the story of Ehud: in case you can't remember that one, it's the story of Israel's delivery by God through the stealthy actions of the disabled Ehud (his right arm was withered, hence his description in some translations as being left-handed) who stuck a sword into the unsuspecting - and very fat - king, and witnessed the king's fat closing over the sword as he let go. Quite gruesome. Not surprisingly, we couldn't find any colouring pictures to go with this story, so Jeff drew one for each of the children. This is what Abigail's looked like:

We're not doing copywork at the moment because the phonics workbooks have a bit of writing in them and they are going so well. I am really pleased with this purchase! Both Joshua and Anna are incorporating their knowledge of multiple-letter graphemes into their reading and as a consequence are becoming much more confident. In the past fortnight we've covered the vowel digraphs ai, ow (two sounds), ou (sound ow), oy, oi, ch and au (sound aw). They have also done two pages of review where they have to choose the correct digraph from a list on the right to complete the word on the left (pictures down the middle). Joshua took to the task very quickly and Anna took longer and needed a bit more help but was able to get everything correct. This is Joshua's effort:And Anna's:Anna's reading this fortnight was from the second and third Ladybird Phonics books. She did very well with them, much better than Joshua did the first time round, but perhaps that was helped by her having read four sets of Bob Books already, not just the two Josh had read. She didn't seem so distracted by the colour pictures, which Joshua found very distracting. Joshua read the seventh book of the last set of Bob Books but balked at reading the last one: "I've looked at the pictures and it looks too boring." I think that was mostly because he saw there was a girl not a boy in it! Anyway, I set him to reading Are you my mother? by PD Eastman (from the Beginner Books) and he's half way through that, reading very fluently and enjoying it as well. I think he might just move on to the Beginner Books now.
We also spent an afternoon with Joshua and Anna taking turns to read starfall books online. Both Joshua and Anna read through the first ten stories from "Zac the Rat" to "Dune Buggy". I think the five stories on "silent e at the end of the word" really helped them to grasp this split-grapheme idea.

We have been reading The Phoenix and the Carpet by Edith Nesbit and enjoying it, with only a few chapters to go. We've also been enjoying some picture books which the kids selected from the library. They had surprisingly good taste at this last visit! In particular we enjoyed How the Camel got its Hump by Rudyard Kipling and Wombat goes Walkabout by Michael Morpurgo illus Christian Birmingham. It tells the story of a wombat who fails to inspire awe in any of his bush acquaintances until a fire sweeps through through and Wombat's own special skills save the day. The kids liked it so much they immediately asked for me to read it again. We also read a collection of the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelman, because we're studying Europe at the moment in Science/Geography.

We finished lesson 5 and reached half way through lesson 7. These lessons are all on subtraction, which the kids are understanding easily because they spent so much time getting a handle on addition. I have been a bit slack about doing the concrete tasks at the beginning of the lessons but the kids are getting it without them so I'm not feeling too guilty.

Science and Geography
As I mentioned, we've been studying the animals of Europe. We've enjoyed reading about bears. Did you know Brown bears are called "Grizzly" bears in America, but they're the same species: Ursus arctos horriblis? Isn't that a funny name? I am enjoying choosing memorable scientific names for the kids to memorise! (The funniest they've learnt so far is Ornithorhynchus paradoxus, and they just picked that up from listening to Dot and the Kangaroo read aloud.) It's also handy that the brown bear species name is the same as that of polar bears, so the kids can see that similar animals share scientific names.
We also read about mountain goats, bees, paper wasps and butterflies. I was a bit short on mammals - I was hoping to find books on deer at the library but no such luck. The kids have looked through the book I borrowed on horses but I haven't read it to them as it has too much text.
We have talked about England and France and their respective capitals. Reading Madeline was a big help. So was the fact that Joshua's godparents live in London, and we went there on holidays several years ago, so we have a "hook" to hang these ideas on. Next week we will finish up our studies of Europe with some concentrated map work.

That's it for this fortnight. We got through to the end which feels like quite an achievement. I'm still feeling a bit shell-shocked at the moment over the result of Jeff's interviews. One wonderful thing has been I was already in the habit of rolling out of bed very early in the morning (I was winding the alarm back to be prepared for daylight saving time, which began today) straight onto my knees to pray. I've spent a lot of time in the past week praying for my husband!


Anonymous said...

Hey Sharon,

Somehow it just hadn't clicked that Jeff would be finishing up at the end of this semester! When Phil was studying if just seemed to go on forever but I do remember all the unsettledness after God closed the door on Canberra and then (thankfully, as far as I was concerned) an automatic transition into Masters study. I will be praying for you. It IS a hard time - just in case you thought you were imagining it - but the Lord always gets us through.

Had to crack up at Joshua and the girl story. When we read the Starfall book about the car with Carla and Mark, Isaac was grumpy every time because Carla won! At least it's not just my boy.

Also, did you buy the LEM Phonics workbooks at the conference? I can't remember. Do you happen to have the CD with the phonograms on it? Just noticed that for a couple of them you only had one sound listed. I don't think the workbooks mention how many sounds each phonogram makes. (Although I should now after completing them with 4 children - sheesh!).

Just FYI:
"ou" - 4 sounds: "ow" ground, "oh" (can't think of an example!), long "oo" wound, and "uh" country.
"ch" - 3 sounds: "ch" church, "ck" Christ, "sh" chef
"au" - 2 sounds: "aw" sauce, short "o" sausage.
If you would like to borrow the CD, let me know. If you already knew this and just neglected to mention them (who can be bothered typing everything?), just tell me to butt out 'cause you're fine! :o)

Anyway, hope to catch up with you soon.

In Him


Prue said...

Being a botanist, I store away weird botanical names in my brain when I come across them. Sphagnum garysmithii always brings a smile - it's a moss - I always wonder who Gary Smith was that he was honoured in the naming of the species, or whether someone's ego got the better of them...