Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer - Weeks 4 & 5?

I've lost track of what week it is, lol. I wonder if that's a good or bad sign?

We've been chugging along. Last week Cameron was the one who got 100% on his spelling and Cassia only got 33%. The words are getting harder though. Cameron is now PAYING ATTENTION to the words and thinking about them. WooHoo! I'm having Cassia write each word three times each day now. She's complaining a lot about it but I really believe that you need a physical-mental connection for writing it correctly before it will sink in. We'll see if she does better this week.

We've also added a new read aloud to our daily curriculum. Last Wednesday was Cassia's 6th birthday and one of her gifts was the complete Chronicles of Narnia (abridged) on CD. We've been listening to it in the car and the kids are absolutely enthralled! I am so thrilled about that. They play Narnia when they come home and Cassia took a box and turned it into a magic wardrobe for her dolls. She cut out trees and a lamppost from paper and drew in the snow. So cute! And the BEST part about our Narnia obsession is that Cameron happened across our paperback of the collection and decided that he wanted to read it! He got up early and read the first chapter of The Magician's Nephew before I was even out of bed. He even made himself a bookmark. I think this is the day that I have been waiting for his entire life. :D

I always wondered how people could simultaneously read more than one book without confusing them but I guess I just never tried it! We are having no trouble at all enjoying both Harry Potter and Narnia. We have just five chapters left in The Chamber of Secrets and no plans to stop reading the series until we're finished! (Cameron and I went and saw The Half-Blood Prince last weekend and he wants to know what's going to happen next. I told him that he's just going to have to read the books to find out!)

Our other newest summer time indulgence is the swimming pool! I know, not really a novel activity for July but we just never really got into the whole public pool thing. BUT we've found a gorgeous little pool about a half hour away that is fed from a natural warm spring and tucked away between the oaks. We've been meeting some of our park friends there and let me tell you, it is heaven. The days just melt away in the sun and laughter. There are actually three pools so there is something for everyone. The only hard part is getting them out of there!

And now I need to start cracking the whip on the spelling work that is NOT going on behind me so that we can read our Harry Potter for the day!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer - Week 3

D'oh! Has it been over a week again? Bad me. We were out of town Monday though, so that day shouldn't count.

We've kept up with the spelling, math, and Harry Potter every day. The spelling definitions are PURE torture. It took Cameron two hours to write three definitions, two days in a row! Ugh. Of course, if he hadn't been using fancy crazy writing then it wouldn't have taken so long. Whatever. It's his choice to take forever if he wants to. Seriously, six definitions in two days isn't too much to expect. (Do I sound like I'm trying to convince myself? Is it working?) But I think it's paying off.

Not really much else to report! Cassia started her new ballet class Tuesday morning. It's much more disciplined but she still loves it. It's the Pre-Threshold class, for 6-yr olds with prior experience. New 6-yr olds would go into the class she just left. Next year will be Threshold and the next she would start the numbered levels that promote by skill rather than age. She's really grown up....




Thursday, July 02, 2009

Summer - Week 2

Well, week two is just about at a close and I have to say that, aside from my cold, it's gone really well. We continued on with spelling, math, and reading aloud just about every day. Tuesday was an exception because the kids got it in their heads to write their own Harry Potter books. Cameron's was called Harry Potter's Book of Werewolves and Other Things. He filled it with pictures and descriptions of favorite things from the wizarding world. Cassia wrote one called Butterflies and Fairies which she filled first with the fairies from the Tinkerbell Movie and then from butterflies taken from a field guide. They literally spent all day working on them. Wednesday, after I made them do schoolwork first, they wrote second books! Cameron's was Cameron Potter's Book of Spells by Nicholas Flamel and Cassia's was Hermione's Book Book. Cameron's, obvioiusly, listed spells and their magic words. Cassia's was true genious though - she brought out practically all of our Dr. Suess and Little Golden Books, dumped them on the table, and copied the title and a picture from her favorites. And I think this was a 20 page book she made!

It was so funny though. Copying those spelling word definitions from the dictionary was pure and complete torture. You seriously would've thought that it was cruel and unusual punishment from the way Cameron went on about it, but when the writing was something he wanted to do? He wrote all day long for two days. Now, I know all my unschooling friends will remind me that there is no need to force them to do writing and spelling when, as they've just proven, they will do it willingly when they are interested but having to spell out every, single word for an almost 8 year old was too much for me. He really was seeming to have no sense of how to spell things at ALL and I can already see the improvement in just these two weeks. He's been keeping a chore chart for a Cub Scout badge and the entries were almost illegible three weeks ago, but this weeks was neat and orderly. Of course the spelling was atrocious because he couldn't read the words from the previous week's chart and didn't put a thought into how the word should actually be spelled, but we're working on it. While he was writing his Spell Book, he did actually make some decent efforts at spelling the words correctly before asking me for help.

Cassia finished her math book this week and started on Primary Math 1B. She was so excited to start the new book today that she did five exercises. The kids also took a spelling pre-test today and Cameron got them all right! Cassia missed two. One because she transposed the letters (sotp instead of stop) and one because she glanced at Cameron's paper as I marked it as all right and then changed one of her answers!! The funny thing is that it was right the first time and she changed it to be wrong. LOL. She was very upset to hear that. The child takes any lack of perfection very hard though. It was seriously tragic for her to get less than 100%. I think she might really be Hermione Granger!

And speaking of Hermione, we finished The Sorcerer's Stone today. As soon as I closed the book, Cameron grabbed it out of my hand and ran to replace it on the shelf and bring out The Chamber of Secrets. But then he didn't want to read it. ?? Cassia was actually the one who begged to start it and then to read "just one more chapter." I think my general rule is that I will not say no to someone who wants to read. It's not even a majority rules thing, like Cassia was insisting, it's just that it would be wrong as a homeschool parent to stifle a desire to read or be read to. If anyone doesn't want to listen, then the house is plenty big enough for them to find somewhere else to be. Of course Cameron didn't want to miss any of the story so he stayed and listened.

We're leaving for the long weekend tomorrow evening and I'm still up in the air as to what we're going to do during the day. Part of me wants to go to Park Day since it's been about three weeks since we've been there. But the saner part of me keeps reminding me that I have a miserable cold that got much worse after we went to roller skating on Monday and that we really should spend the day packing the car and such (seeing as how I'm blogging instead of doing that now). We also need to take those spelling tests, do some math, and read some more Harry Potter because I am really liking the consistency of working daily. So we'll see if sanity or desire wins out.

Have a Happy 4th of July!!