Monday, June 29, 2009

For Megan ;)

Ahhh, summer is here! The lazy days of summer. The lazy days of summer when we are accomplishing more schoolwork than we have in the last couple months!! We're on a break from most of our activities, with the exception of ballet for Cassia, violin for Cameron, and gymnastics for Greyson, and it is amazing what we can get done when we're not running all over town!

We started the summer out with camps. Cassia had a week of horse camp. She LOVED it and she she did really good too. Especially for someone who had never ridden a horse before. :) During that week, Cameron and I did a lot of math and a lot of science in her absence. It was amazing to me how the household dynamic changed. The next week Cameron had golf camp. He also LOVED it and did great. The household dynamic changed that week even more markedly. Cassia was so displaced. She just didn't know what to do with herself without him to play with! But we survived and I was even more determined to really "crack down" on the bookwork this summer.

And I have so far succeeded. Last week, every single day we did spelling work, math, and then read aloud. Every. Single. Day. It doesn't sound like much when I write it out here, but it really has been multiple hours of bookwork.

I realized that Cameron's spelling is atrocious. He has no clue how to spell anything, so I whipped out the old Spelling Power book and started over from the very first list: bus, bat, sit, see, tub, us. I'm giving both Cameron and Cassia the same words but varying what they are doing with them.

  • both take turns reading the introductory paragraph about the words.
  • both write list words.
  • Cassia looks up words in the Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary, laughs at the silly drawings, and tries to read the silly example sentences.
  • Cameron looks up words in the Webster's Children's Dictionary, reads all the definitions and usage examples, and copies the most relevant definition to his paper.
  • both write list words again
  • Cassia does fill-in-the-blank exercises from workbook.
  • Cameron finishes looking up and writing definitions.
  • both take a pretest and write any missed word three times
  • both write list words again
  • both take test

Cassia is doing great with this whole thing. She got 100% on both her pretest and her Friday test and it really seems to be helping her reading take off too. Cameron is already struggling. *sigh* He complains the whole time about the definitions and has trouble reading words in the dictionary that I really think he should be able to. He wrote all of his "B"s backward on the pretest (a totally forgivable error, but still) and then spelled "sit" with an "e" on the Friday test. Argh. I'm really, really hoping though that this just shows that he really needs to be doing this. I remembering doing this in third grade, so I know I'm not expecting too much of him.

Anyway, after that we do math. Cassia is just finishing up the last couple review sections in Primary Math 1A. She's been flying through this book. Cameron's made some big strides too, though he rarely does more than one exercise a day. He claims to love long division so that is very good news, lol. I guess no one has told him that it's supposed to be hard and he's supposed to hate it. ;) He's about halfway through 3A. Now, if you look back in my blog you'll probably see that those are the exact same books they started the year with, but like I said before, we've been so busy with "stuff" that we really haven't had very much time to do anything else! Cameron's also been playing a lot of Timez Attack, and of course there's good old-fashioned life learning too. I feel so guilty sometimes that we don't have more to show for our year, but they really did learn so much and did so much.

The last thing we've been doing each afternoon is some summer reading. I really want them to find pleasure in books, so I wanted to read something fun. I gave them the choice of Robin Hood; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Charlotte's Web; or Harry Potter. Guess which one they picked. So we are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone again. They are being great listeners though. This is really the most successful read aloud we've ever had. We are reading two chapters a day and I'm optimistic that by the end of the summer we will make it through at least two, if not three, of the series.

And so that's what we've been up to. Today we started the day with roller skating and then came home, ate lunch, and got right to work. Cameron has been complaining bitterly about having to write the definitions again but, oh well. Cassia actually finished looking up all of her words before even got halfway through his first definition so she moved on to some Explode the Code work. She's already completed book 1 and just started book 2 today. She just loves it. Cameron hated that series. It's funny how different they are. This week I'm hoping to add some science and/or history into the mix too. We'll see. Honestly, I'll be happy to just keep this up for another five days straight. ;)

We'll see if I can keep up on the blog too. I've missed you. :)


G said...

So happy to see a post! I've missed your blog over the last few months.

We didn't get a lot of "book work" done over the last year either, but I still think the kids have made huge strides in their learning.

Jenny said...

Yeah and when you consider everything we've done through 4-H and Odyssey of the Mind and now Cub Scouts, we've really been doing a lot. BUT my inner slave driver is really regretting letting Cameron's reading and writing slide. More like an avalanche.