Friday, November 09, 2007

School Journey Notes (always written by lamplight)

Well, we've come to the end of another week of school -- we've got eleven weeks under our belt and we're still going strong. Though I confess I am eagerly anticipating the four days off we will get at Thanksgiving! Partly I just need the break: not so much from schooling itself as from routine in general. I am very much looking forward to seeing my parents in Virginia (we haven't seen them in a whole year, which I think is the longest we've ever gone between visits)! We will also get to see Dana's mom, stepdad, and aunt, both on our way down and our way back. And we're hoping to squeeze in a "field trip" to D.C. as the sweet girl has never been there. That seems almost unbelievable to me given how many wonderful times D. and I spent there in the first few years of our marriage when we only lived three hours from it (and the fact that my hubby, now many many years ago, was a D.C. tour guide).

Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. We still have all of next week and two days of the next before we leave, but I am getting excited. The sweet girl is eagerly anticipating the Thanksgiving trip but didn't realize at first that vacation really meant vacation -- from school as well as everything else. She burst into tears upon the discovery that we are not taking her math workbook with us. (I know, I know, I am a cruel mommy.) She's happy though that we're planning to take our Scripture memorization CD and our current book of poetry so she can do some reciting for the grandparents. She has recently memorized several poems with almost no prompting at all. She loves Mary Ann Hoberman's work and seems to soak up its rhythms so easily. Her favorites, and the ones she's practiced most to share, are "Snow" and "My Sister Saw a Dinosaur."

I'm looking for recommendations about how to proceed with reading in the new year. At the rate we're progressing, we've got only about four weeks to go in our 100 Easy Lessons book. I've been really pleased with it, and the sweet girl has done well with it. I think I will probably spend the run-up toward Christmas doing some review in the earlier sections of the book. I'd love to find some easy readers/beginning readers that focus on Christmas for that time period.

Once we're in the new year, however, I am feeling that we'll still need a component of more formal reading instruction each day...more "lessons" (as S. loves to call them). We play phonics games; I have some other game and worksheet kinds of activities I can use; and I know of some good beginning readers, but that all feels a bit haphazard. One friend suggested that we go with Sonlight's readers, but in looking over their website, I'm feeling unsure about whether or not that's what we need right now. I've been looking through some other resources, mostly Ambleside and Berquist's book on planning your own classical curriculum...I need to re-check The Well-Trained Mind for suggestions too. Anyone out there used Alpha-phonics? I'm not sure about its compatibility with "100 Easy Lessons." Well, we'll see.

Math is going really well. We've spent the past couple of weeks on place value. I wasn't wild about the introduction of the concept in the Horizons workbook we're using, so I went back to Math-U-See. What a wonderful way to learn! Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone with that curriculum as I originally planned. At any rate, I'm grateful I can use it (thanks to a loan from a friend) to supplement the other things we're doing. S. keeps asking if we can do more place values: she loves the fun aspect of drawing the "tens house" and the "ones house" with markers on the white board, and then "building" numbers with the appropriate blocks (the ten blocks live in the tens house, the one unit blocks live in the ones house). Sometimes I write the number and she builds it; sometimes I build the number and then have her write it. We've talked enough about place value that she's recognized the next place (or "house") will belong to the hundreds, and she's begged to do the hundreds place next week. That puts us rather ahead of the Horizons workbook on this particular concept, but I think that's probably just fine...the place value stuff on the worksheets will likely just feel like review for a while.

I may post reader and reader resource ideas as I find them here...this journal is turning into a place where I can post some homeschooling notes from time to time. If you've got other beginning reader suggestions (either curricula, ideas, or just good easy reader titles) please pass them on!


Erin said...

Ooh, I loved it when we memorized poems for school. One time in fifth grade we had to read a poem of our choice in front of the class, and I insisted on reciting mine - "Bilbo's Last Song" - and wound up getting all goofed up because my friend kept making faces at me. That has always been my undoing, ever since I flubbed my big line in the Christmas pageant in second grade...

Beth said...

Aw. I still would have loved to see you reciting Bilbo's Last Song! I didn't usually need anyone making faces at me for me to flub it...I was too busy feeling nervous and nauseated (that and sweaty palms were almost a given for me whenever I had to stand up and say things in front of people)!

So...what was the big line in the Christmas pageant you flubbed?! ;-)

Erin said...

"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." :D

I've got a puzzle with "Bilbo's Last Song" on it; one of these days I really want to frame it. Great poem... :)

Beth said...

Ah, now that's a big line! (The "Linus line!") And quite a lot for a second grader to memorize and be able to say in front of an audience.

Have you read Madeleine L'Engle's *24 Days Before Christmas*? Part of the story deals with seven year old Vicky Austin's nervousness about memorizing lines for a Christmas play...

I had to look "Bilbo's Last Song" up online. It occurred to me that I wasn't sure I remembered it from LOTR. Well, I guess that's because it wasn't in there! :-) What a gem of a poem! I don't think I'd ever read it before, so that was a treat to today.