Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Performing Arts field trips.

The boys had an oportunity to see G.F. Handel's oratorio Solomon last week. They had an educational evening complete with free pizza and face time with the counter-tenor Daniel Taylor and other performers. The kids loved it and learned lots. I only wish I had been able to attend.

They also attended a play last month, The Forbidden Phoenix, which is loosely based on Chinese Immigrants brought to Canada in the 1800's to work on the railroad. The kids said it was 'interesting'. Oh well, they can't love everything.

I am hoping to take them all to Little Red Riding Hood next week, I love living in the city and being able to take advantage of so many performing arts opportunities. I wish I had known earlier that the Moscow Ballet was performing Sleeping Beauty tonight, that would have been a dream come true to me. Maybe Girly and I will have another chance to see it one day.

This week in home education;)

I feel like this has been our most productive school year since our very first year 5 years ago. In many ways we are still having the same struggles we have had for the past 4 years. R is still spending vast amounts of time in procrastination and stall tactics. Math is a bone of contention for him. He has no problem learning it, but hates doing the lessons. Today was a great day for math, he did his test in under an hour, but unfortunately that is the exception, not the rule.

I feel good about this week, and this year in general. I have been more engaged and I think that is the key. I have to not let life, or busyness, or weariness, or depression, keep me from daily engaging my children in active learning, from connecting with them and creating relationship with them, and from ensuring that they create good habits of self-discipline.

I have started to work daily with J(almost 5) and A(3). Not an easy thing because J loves to whine and complain whenever I ask him to do anything, and A is so active and distracted. We are learning to print with Handwriting Without Tears, I love the short fun lessons. A totally loves working on the slate and is excited to successfully print her 'leapfrog' letters. F and E so far. This curriculum starts with the capitol letters because they are the easiest and natural for kids to print. HWT really stresses creating good habits from the start, proper posture, holding the pencil correctly, paper positioning etc. She suggests using small pieces of crayon and chalk to start, as they almost force proper grasp.

This week we have been doing a fun math activity. I drew two circles on a piece of paper and put a plus sign between them. Each kid has a pile of raisins or beans or something and two dice. They roll the dice and then put the amount of one dice in one circle and the other dice in the other circle. Roll a 1 and a 2, put 1 raisin in one circle and 2 raisins in the other circle. Then they count them to do the addition. 1 + 2 = 3. J asked me the first time, "Mom, can we eat them up to erase!?!" I told them to go ahead. Now they adore this activity and keep asking for it.

I am also using An Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise with A. J is totally reading now, at a grade 1 or 2 level is my guess. This book is designed to be used with kids from about 3 and up, so we are giving it a go with A. We did the first lesson, short vowel a, yesterday and today and then we read the short vowel a Bob books together. Again, quick easy lessons and I am sure they will help the process along. I will be going over some of the lessons with J as we progress, to make sure he has a good grasp of all the phonetics.

The bigger boys are starting to get into a rhythm. Math, handwriting, writing in the mornings, along with spelling or vocab lessons. Biology and Canadian History in the afternoons. We started two experiments today.

I have been remembering to take breaks either at meal time or over a smoothie or tea and do our bible reading, then trying to get the kids to do narration from that and other reading or music. We have been reading Proverbs, but today we read in Daniel. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. B and R decided to act out the story while I read, it was hilarious and got the littles really interested.

We had our facilitator meeting this week and he, as usual, made me feel better about everything. We talked a lot about high school and I found out that B is 1 year ahead in math and will be in science too. Phew! In all I feel pretty good about everything, I was freaking out about all the stuff I can't seem to get done, but now I feel much more peaceful.