Be a Fly on the Wall in Our School Today

23 Aug

We started school late.  A common event in our house.  Bed is so snug and warm.  No one is a morning person here.

We ate breakfast before school today and the boys *shock horror* ate breakfast in front of the box (some people call it a tv).  Nowhere near ideal but hey, we were out of bed so that is deemed as a great start for us AND you’ll note that it’s before lunch and no one is wearing pjs!  Do I get a star for that?!!

Speaking of stars, after beds were made and breakfast dishes were cleared (jobs little men have to do), I set Brayden to the task of creating a skip counting in 6s chart.  I gave him star stickers and he set out ten groups of six stars.


Ethan completed the chart by using his calculator to work out the counting in 6s pattern.


He wrote these on our chart for us to start learning this week.  Both boys also reviewed their 3s and 4s.  They are both very good at these now, hence our movement to 6s.


It took less than ten seconds for each boy to review the continent names so we’ll be moving to adding in oceans next.


We also started memorising the months.  I don’t bother doing this any earlier as it’s quicker and easier to learn once you are familiar with most of the months and things that happen in each.  Ethan also knew quite a few of the sequences and only misses three or four.  Brayden chimed in too as his memorisation skills are usually spot on and super quick.


Next stop – oral number facts.  Inspired by Math It I made these little card sets.  At present we are using doubles, 9+ and 8+.  Yeah they know these but not automatically.  I want them to roll off their tongue with little thought at all.  This is so so important!!  I make them continue the task until they are speeding through them.


Both boys do this practise.


Today we changed the way we do Latin review.  Before we were doing a quick oral review which works well for us in most areas but with Latin I was finding that even I wasn’t remembering everything.  We needed something visual (for me) and kinesthetic (for the boys).  I made up cards with images and Latin vocabulary.

The concept is simple really.  I show and read the card that says something like “Sum optime” and the boys find this card….


or I might show and say the card for “Sum iratus” and the boys would find this card…


Ethan crawled around the room to find his…


…and Brayden jumped over the words he selected.  (Hey, can we call this P.E. too?!!)


After our review stuff I sat down to read our Bible selections.  First our devotional book (we read about tithing), secondly our “Stories for All Seasons” book (we read a story that likened a fire to the Holy Spirit) and last but most importantly we read our Bible story (we read the story of Rahab and the crossing of the Jordan River).  There was approximately 30 to 40 minutes of reading in all of this.


While I read our Bible books I set the boys up to complete their handwriting tasks.  We don’t usually do this but it occurred to me that it was the perfect time to do it.  You don’t need to think while you do handwriting and it means I can more closely supervise their work habits.


Brayden did a nice page of “v”s in Queensland styled print.


and Ethan did a page of Queensland beginning cursive exercises once he got the hint that I wouldn’t tolerate sloppily written letters.  It took a few attempts to get this message across.


To those who have beginning writers, can I remind you how VITAL it is to enforce the correct formation of letters.  I am now battling a writer who has formed some very poor and hard to change writing habits.   Oh to be able to rewind the clock!


I was still reading from our Bible books by the time the boys finished their handwriting so they played with the large train track (that I’ve been forced to step around for a fortnight now.  Sigh.)  Yes they are allowed to play while I read and yes they can usually tell me back word for word what I read to them.  It did take some training though.  We just started small and worked up.  It’s probably harder for me to read with the movement and noise than it is for them to play and listen.  But when my nerves falter I stop and quiz them and sure enough they know exactly what is going on.


Once our three Bible books were read, I sent the boys off to work in their chosen spots.    The first activity they had to do was respond to our Bible story in writing.  Brayden narrates his sentence to me and I write it on paper for him to copy.


One sentence is all that he can cope with at present.  Little boys’ hands tend to fall off (at least they feel like they might) if pushed to write too much in the early days.


Ethan writes four of his own sentences to summarise our Bible story.  Today I had an “ah-ha” moment.  I had planned to introduce an IEW stylistic “dress-up” technique to another piece of writing later today but found that I could introduce it with our Bible summary just as easily.  (Lucky I did as we ran out of time for the second piece of writing.)


The stylistic technique was to use  -ly words to “dress-up” his sentences.  I gave him a sheet of all sorts of -ly adverbs and together we looked for ones that could be used in his summary.  We marked these on his page and then I left him to try and use at least one…


…but he used THREE.  I was most pleased with his first attempt.


Next was Math.  Brayden did some simple place value pages in Singapore Math.


He could do this stuff with his eyes closed and standing on his hand


but he doesn’t like to skip stuff in his book and he enjoys a little Math treat like these.


Ethan completed some miscellaneous fraction worksheets.  Hmmm….Holding his head up.  Looks like hard work doesn’t it.  It wasn’t.


Super easy fraction review for him.  We’ll be moving on from this topic soon.


Next stop…dailies…and as the name suggests, it’s a quick daily review of addition, subtraction and addition algorithms for Brayden.


Ethan’s dailies have addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts plus addition and subtraction algorithms with the possibility of regrouping.  Because of the regularity of these activities they are super easy for him now…yes even subtraction with regrouping!!  Oh the grand plans I have for more stuff we should do on a daily basis.


With me, Brayden did a few phonics workbook pages


and then read a little reader to me.


Then Ethan worked with me on a spelling lesson.  I read him words to spell and if he made an error he wrote the correction in the “Words to Learn” column.  This way he is only reviewing the words he needs to learn.


This idea comes from Spelling Power.  I love the notion of this book but prefer the strong phonics focus used in All About Spelling.   So for the moment we are using the words from All About Spelling (since I already have the first few books) but testing and learning them using the procedure from Spelling Power.   Eventually we will move to Spelling Power.


The Spelling Power technique is to write the word, say it, look at features of the word, spell it out loud, cover and spell it out loud, trace it on paper or in the air while spelling  it out loud and then write it again.   The whole spelling lesson took us less than 10 minutes from start to finish.


Over lunch the boys received a birthday parcel from their Aunty.  Both boys received a shirt and a Lego set


so of course they built Lego over their lunch break.  (I can count that as technology can’t I?  Tough.  I am.  Hehehe).


In the afternoon we did all the “fun” stuff as the boys would say.  We orally completed a Rod and Staff Grammar lesson determining whether sentences were asking or telling sentences.   It took a total of five minutes…if that!


We read three chapters from our “True Tales of Old St Helena” book.  We read about the hospital, escapees and teachers on the island.   This sparked a lot of discussion.


The boys snuggled with me on the couch as we read “Barry the Bravest Saint Bernard”.  (If there’s lot of pictures in a book the boys like to sit beside me rather than play.)  This was a great book and left us with lots of questions and things we wanted to look up.  We planned to do that later but we forgot.  Such is the danger of “doing it later”.


And to finish the day we read three more chapters in “Pocahontas and the Strangers”.  Pocahontas has just been taken prisoner.  The boys are hanging on every word at this point.  We’ll probably finish this book tomorrow.  I suspect they won’t let me finish only a chapter or two from the end.


Daddy came home from work at this point and our phone started ringing…okay well it was four pm.  So that was the end of school.  So much for the thank you email we planned to send to the sender of our birthday gifts or the Pocahontas IEW paragraph I had planned.  Another task for tomorrow.

Oh and when I began this post earlier tonight (they take me ages to write as I write in dribs and drabs in between doing a dozen other things) Ethan was working on HTML stuff from his birthday computer book.  So that’s definitely technology marked off the today.


A pretty good school day.  One to balance out all of the slack ones we’ve had in the past month.  Hope you enjoyed your visit to our exclusive college for little men.

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Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Homeschooling Days


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