It’s been a pretty good week back to school after taking last week off. Brianna has been sick for the last two days, but everyone else has remained productive. We accomplished most of what we set out to do, so it’s felt like a productive week.
Monday. I introduced Times Tales. While it didn’t go as smoothly as I remembered it going with Brianna (it took awhile to go through all the stories and the kids were getting bored), they did really well and were remembering the answers. I decided that we’d just spend a little time on it all week, rather than trying to cram it all in in a day.
One of the issues that we had with Times Tales that I didn’t have with Brianna is something that I think my friends, Susan and Karen will appreciate. Apparently, Josh is a bit more literal than I’d realized. For example, when I told the story about Mr. and Mrs. Snowman (8) who ate six snow cones four times a day, which is supposed to help you remember that 8 X 8 = 64, Josh immediately piped up and said, “I know how many snow cones they had, Mom. They had 24!”
Great! Now, he’s going to forver think that 8 X 8 = 24. So, then, I’m telling them, “Just listen to the stories. Don’t do that math!”
Isn’t there something wrong about that statement??
We also started with the Abeka reading book. Josh and Megan were both a bit frustrated with it and said it was boring. They both seem to prefer just reading their regular books, but I’m going to plug away with the Abeka book for at least a couple of days, partly because I think it will be helpful for them to learn the phonics rules, but also because they’re just like me. Neither one of them likes change, so I imagine that at least part of their reluctance about the book may just be because it’s new.
Tuesday. Megan and Nim, made a cute little fish craft after reading Rainbow Fish, part of Nim’s “F Week” activities. I knew Megan would want to do it, too, so I printed extra copies of the template I found at DLTK-Kids. I didn’t use tissue paper, as instructed. Instead, I used the little construction paper squares that I’d cut out for our mosaic project. I had lots left and saw no need to waste them. We added a shiny scale and google eyes, which the girls loved. I think they turned out cute:
Josh didn’t want to do the fish project (he very constructively worked on his handwriting instead), but he did swipe a couple of google eyes to decorate his Bible Study Guide activity sheet:
Part of our reading practice on Tuesday was long vowel sounds. I had explained to Josh the concept of “silent e” making the other vowel “brave” (a la Scaredy Cat Reading) and things were going along well…until we came to “ai” in the middle of a list of words. Josh was trying to sound out the “i,” so I reminded him about the second vowel making the first one brave.
Josh: I thought you said it would come at the end of the word.
Me: Well, it does sometimes, but sometimes, the vowels like to stand together.
Josh (dragging the word out on a huge, long-suffering sigh): Fine.
It was all I could do not to laugh out loud.
We ran out of time for another project that I’d planned to do, a sand dough model of a Roman arch, but I went ahead and made the dough so that
I won’t be able to put off we’ll be able to do the project on Thursday or Friday.
Wednesday. We had music class and co-op. I was in charge of the artist study for this week, so I had made copies, on card stock, of a Mona Lisa coloring page for the kids to paint. I accidentally left my small copy of the Mona Lisa at home, so we went from the original plan of letting the kids try to imitate da Vinci’s style to having them paint it how they would have painted it if they’d been da Vinci and I’ll bring the print next week for them to compare. How’s that for thinking on your feet? 😉
Not surprisingly, the two older kids did a great job of painting a realistic picure. What did surprise me, though, was Josh. The first thing he did was ask Brianna what colors to mix to get skin tone, which he proceeded to do perfectly. Once he’d colored over the face, he used a pencil to trace over the facial featues, scraping off the paint as he did so and making a very realistic-looking face.
All was going well until he started to paint the hair. He messed up and got the dark brown on the face that he was so proud of. This almost escalated into a battle of wills between me and him because he was going to refuse to complete the project. Because there were other moms there, I was forced to be nice.
I’m glad. Once I sat down with him, I realized that he wasn’t being difficult; he was having trouble expressing his disappointment and frustration over having messed up something that was going really well. I took some time to show him how to fix it, along with how to paint around the edges of the face to keep the brush from slipping again.
That was all it took. He was happy to finish the project from that point.
Thursday. Brianna started feeling bad Wednesday evening, so she was in the bed sick all day. At first, I confess, I thought she was “milking” it, but when she slept literally all day and couldn’t keep any food down, well, um, it was pretty obvious that she was really sick.
The rest of us carried on with school, the kids favorite part being making Roman arches from sand dough. They loved that! It shapes very much like Play-doh (though somewhat messier), so the girls weren’t ready to quit playing with it. That worked for me, though. It gave them something to do while I gave everyone some one-on-on time for reading with Phonics Pathways. I think I’m going to like it better than the Abeka book.
The only problem I had with it was when Josh had a meltdown over it. Brian got home in time for that one. After Josh calmed down so that we could talk, we realized that he thought that he was going to have to read all of the book, including the part for the teacher, and he was simply overwhelmed.
When, oh, when do they just start talking and telling you what the problem is before they just go off the deep end? It was an easy problem to fix once we realized what the problem was. I explained to Josh which part he was responsible for reading and explained that this book is designed to be used over the course of a school year (at least).
I told him that I expect 20 good minutes of reading practice from him a day. Twenty minutes of him trying and working, not fussing over what he has to do or looking ahead to see how many pages are left. After we talked, I found a timer and set it for 10 minutes (since we’d gotten about 10 minutes done before his meltdown) and he finished without complaint.
Friday. Happy Halloween! Brianna is still sick, so she’s been in bed all day again today. She is starting to eat, though, and says she feels better than she did.
We got a very slow start this morning, since I’ve been feeling a bit run down, too. I decided to go ahead and fix lunch before we started school, since it was already 11:30 by the time we were ready to start. After lunch, we basically did our regular school day. I used the timer, again, for reading, which seemed to help. There was a little complaining, but not much and it was towards the end. Josh seemed to stay a bit more focused with the timer on.
I’ve been working with Nim on her reading this week, too. She’s so funny. Now, after Josh and Megan are finished, she’ll ask, “Is it my turn?” I don’t make her work for 20 minutes, but she works hard during reading time.
Oh, and using Times Tales has gone well. Josh was so proud of himself today when one of the problems we’d been practicing was on his math worksheet and he knew the answer!
After everyone had read and completed their “morning” work, we did some crafts. We painted the sand dough arches that we made on Tuesday. Then, we made this cute bee craft that I’d found online. Well, actually, all I found were pictures, with no instructions, but it seemed simple enough. They were made from egg cartons. We didn’t quite finish since I failed to allow time for the paint to dry, so we’ll finish them Monday. I’ll probably go ahead and finish my sample one this weekend, though, so I can post pictures and instructions.
The two younger two kids have headed off with Dad for some trick-or-treating tonight. I confess that I tried to bribe them. I offered to buy each one of them two bags of candy each, their choice, if they wanted to stay home. I had the oldest two convinced…until this afternoon. Then, the lure of a whole bucketful of candy became too much to resist.
I did put my foot down on buying costumes , though, since the ones they wanted were $20. Before you start thinking that I’m a terrible ogre, not buying my poor kiddos Halloween costumes, I have to point out that my in-laws brought them a whole pile of costumes a few weeks ago that they’d found at a discount store…nice costumes, too. In addition, they have nice dress-up stuff. Josh, alone, had the following options, just off the top of my head: clone trooper, Darth Vader, pirate, or knight-in-shining-armor.
At any rate, they both opted to go trick-or-treating with the costumes we had here at the house. They turned out awfully cute, as pirates, if I do say so myself:
And, sweethearts that they are, they took an extra bag to get some candy for Brianna. See? They really do love each other, even if they don’t always act like it.
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