Saturday, May 07, 2005

The husband takes the girls and I...

end up trying to think through some approaches to MBs schooling and making a shape bag for K.

It is sad that when my husband gives me time alone I always spend that time doing something related to my girls. But sometimes I just can't get my supplies and things together with them all jockeying for attention. So I take whatever time I can get.

I spent some of the time creating a tactile shape bag for K. This has various shapes (circle, square, rectangle, etc.) cut out of different materials and colors. The only two shapes she can name on sight are star and circle. This is one of our main topics along with colors right now.

As far as my approach to schooling MB, I have really tried to spend the last two weeks just observing her. It has helped me to pick up on somethings and to start formulating an approach to at least start with in the Fall when we start more formal lessons.
1. MB likes worksheets, when they are her idea to do. They do serve some purpose in reinforcing topics. I have also found that she enjoys reading the directions and sentences that are included (go figure).
2. MB likes interactive lessons, when she can become involved and write on the white board.
3. She really likes when science and history are presented with a craft project.
4. We have a lot of teaching moments throughout the day that really do seem to leave an impression on her. These often catch me changing gears in mid-day to refocus on what has caught her attention.
5. She enjoys being involved in doing activities with K, and when I can coordinate the lessons so that both she and K can be learning at their own levels while doing similar activities - bonus.
6. MB really, really likes feedback (grades). She got this from older cousins, I don't see the need for it, but even stars, smiley faces and stickers seem to urge her forward.
7. She likes to have some road map or list to go by, even if she suddenly decides in the middle of the day to abandon it. She likes to 'mark off' a to do list.
8. She is, and has always been an autonomous person. She needs some control over her day or she falls apart.
9. Her attention span is still fairly short and can only spend a limited amount of time concentrating before she needs to go burn off some physical energy.

I know most are looking at this list going "duh," and for the most part I already knew these things . But I needed to get them organized out of my brain so that I can start thinking about how to use this information.

I have also been thinking about what are my goals for educating the girls. I am wise enough to know that I will not be able to teach them everything, so what I want to give them in the first years are the basics. Then I want to mainly teach them how to learn. Education does not stop at high school or even college graduation. I know that I am constantly learning new things as I need to. I want them to be able to do that for themselves. I want them to love the process of learning, to love reading and be interested in a wide variety of things. So I don't want to push so hard now that it turns them off, nor do I want it to be so easy that they become lax. There are things that I as an adult and their mother think is very important that they learn. And part of that is that sometimes one has to do things that they don't necessarily want to do.

I guess what I am saying is that I am looking to create an atmosphere in which a certain amount of organized, mom-led learning takes place along with child-led, interest focused learning supported by me takes place.

So what I am thinking is to have a weekly list with a goal/topic for each week in each subject and then incorporate a folder system for the work/projects. I am trying to decide whether the folders should be daily or weekly, with MB deciding when she will do the work in them as long as they are done either by the end of the day or week. Then she will have a copy of the to do list and will be able to mark off herself when the work was completed. If at the end of the week everything is done she will get a star for the subjects she completes all the work.

If anyone has any experience/suggestions I would be very open to hearing them. I am well aware that any plan I start off with now will be tweaked to fit as we move along, but I am hoping to not start off scaring MB off and causing more discord.

Subjects to cover include:
Language Arts: Reading, Phonics, Writing, Dictation and Comprehension
Math: Addition/Subtraction, Basic Geometry, Time and Money
Science: Life Science - with maybe some break-offs into other interests
History: SOTW I
Music: Ongoing introduction to various music forms/beginning piano lessons
PE: Gymnastics/Soccer/Basketball - and her various outside activities anyway
Faith: catechism (Haven't Decided exactly which one yet), Ongoing bible reading

Gosh, it seems like a lot when I have it all down. If I keep it flexible we may not complete everything by the end of the year, but probably enough that I will not worry.

Peace to all,


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A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.