Friday, October 18, 2013

A Homeschoolers MEA

[When Terese found out I was taking some time to reassess some thing and take a breather she suggested that homeschool moms should always take a break on MEA...Seems that's about the usual time to need that first break.  She also pointed out that we should get together with other homeschool moms at this time....and that would help the kids too. Wise girl  :)  ]

I's that time of year again, I should just schedule this in to our school year.  Time to take a little break.  We've lived with our schedule for 7-8 weeks now and we need to make some changes.  Quick modifications are easy to make.  But when you have a lot of quick modifications, as well as some not so quick ones....I find it's better to step back, take a break and a breath, then proceed. 

It's often best NOT to forge ahead and continually fix the glitches...sometimes it's best to stop and pray about/analyze the glitches you already have and the ones that you can now forsee with your new knowledge (very timely...don't you think?  Do you think anyone in politics reads my blog?  Nope, I highly doubt it).

Back to school:

I'm finding that my high school kids need more help with math than I planned for.  They are in co-op classes to save me some time.  But since I am able to do the math, and have been called on for help nearly every day, this may or may not be the best route for us.

I'm also finding that I need to keep up on the readings with my highschoolers.   (Last year was American History.....something I am much more familiar with).  Greek History is not something I am all that familiar with (my oldest took a guided online class).  That means reading about 50 pages per week....or better yet for me....listening to it.  I might just see if I can squeak a Kindle in the budget so I could do either at any time (dropping a math class would pay for that!)  My other option is enlisting the help of my oldest since it's a time period she loves and is very familiar with.  But, for numerous reasons that might NOT be the best option.

My 6th grader will be starting Saxon math next week.  I really do have a love/hate relationship with Saxon.  But, I think it will be a good fit for this particular child.  But that will require some time on my part, at least at first.

We need to find a better time of day for Spelling - right now it's just before recess.  I thought that would be great, they can rotate through with me and do their afternoon chores when they aren't working on their spelling and then all head outside for recess.  That worked until our youngest decided that's the time of day she needs mommy the most.  All About Spelling appears to be doing wonders!   But it takes time.  And for many reasons I know that using this and taking the time is the best route for us to go.

I need to do a better job enlisting the help of TA's on a regular basis.  There is no reason that my other kids can't sit down with my K and help him with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (though I would still want to teach him his lesson at least once a week to make sure he is learning it well and doesn't need to slow down or add some review).  I keep reminding my kids that if I am not available, usually any older sibling who is available could answer their question.  (See the post below about our long division solution).  But reminding takes time, I need to work that into their plan, maybe set two kids next to each other to work on math and instruct the younger one to ask the older one for help if needed.

Our 3rd grader is working on strengthening very poor vision in one eye.  We need to dilate her good eye every other day to make it blurry and force the other eye to work.  We've had to shift her reading lesson to first thing before I get those drops in.

Our toddler needs some planned activities.  She is no longer content to play quietly near us (no....I didn't expect that to last!)  Rotating toys has helped...but she likes different things to do and different people to play with.  She has already picked out 14 year old Terese to color with.  She goes to Terese's room, climbs on her bed next to the desk, and colors pictures while Terese reads her Biology or whatever else she is doing out loud to her.  She goes to 16 year old Nathan for music.   I have a list of  Activities for Little Ones and plan to have someone scheduled to play with her and use some of these ideas when I am not playing with her.

Also, if I schedule someone to play with her - things will be less chaotic...No more yelling, "I need a break!  I'll play with Abigail!"

I also need time when I am NOT available to help with schoolwork. When I can just sit down and play or talk.  I need time to visit my elliptical downstairs on a more regular basis. 

So, next week will be a light week.  Maybe some enjoyable classes as well as some basics that I want to make a few changes to.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Righstart Division

1 5 9
3 ) 4 1 7 2 7

I was trying to teach long division to Wyatt.  He usually catches on to math concepts quite quickly....but long division has been stumping him for some reason. His oldest brother (who also catches on to math quickly) suggested he skip long division and do it the Rightstart Math way. He showed him and guess what?! Wyatt caught on almost immediately! Seems long division made no sense to him because he had to perform so many steps to get something that was already in his head anyway.

So, Wyatt will stick with this method for now.  Nathan ALWAYS does division problems this way and only ran into difficulties with polynomial division...he had to learn long division first.  He did.  But he told me tonight that when his Algebra II teacher asked if everyone knew long division he was the only one in the class who didn't raise his hand (*gasp*  please tell me he didn't let her think he doesn't know how to do division problems!!!  Thankfully she was puzzled since he gets A's in math, and after talking about it with him she's decided he is doing long division but most of the work is in his head).