Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Week 1, day 2

We got started earlier this morning than yesterday, partly due to my having reduced the size of the laundry pile and thus not feeling compelled to wash, dry, fold, and put away the next load before starting school with the kids. Ari got up significantly later than me, so he watched the kids and had breakfast while I exercised and showered. He let them draw pictures once he was done with breakfast. P is really into drawing herself, or some other beautiful princess, wearing a dress decorated with spirals of varying sizes and holding flowers (or wearing them in her hair). She's produced at least 4 pictures of the same subject this week.

The first part of the morning went about the same as yesterday. We prayed, reviewed catechism questions 1 and 2 and discussed question 3. (If you're curious, we're not convinced about infant baptism and will skip those questions in the catechism when we get there, but that's still a ways down the line). We read about Adam and Eve's creation, and reviewed Psalm 119:11.

We again disagreed about today's calendar notation, but eventually settled on "warm and hazy". It was about the same temperature as yesterday, but the sun was shining somewhat more brightly, so I think that affected our perception. P misread the digital "7" in"78.8 degrees" as an "I", so I helped her out. She doesn't grasp reading 2-digit numbers yet, so we'll work on that. Days of the month and temperatures together will cover almost all the numbers from 1 to 100, with 32 to 50 probably getting the least practice given our location...

Today's language arts was fun. P was to narrate a favourite picture book, and she chose Harold and the Purple Crayon. She related the story very well, given that we haven't been reading it daily for quite some time. Most of the story line she told in her own words, instead of repeating the author's words verbatim. When she got stuck, E (who also loves this book) was quick to supply the precise wording of the book. If it hadn't been for the fact that I covered the words with my hand, you'd think he was a genius early reader. As it is, there's nothing wrong with his memory!

After we were done with language arts, E was given the option of doing "his school" or going immediately on a nature walk. The latter option was overwhelmingly favoured, and the weather was still warm (as opposed to hot) and hazy (as opposed to blazing sun), so it was remarkably comfortable. My general "nature walk" procedure is to carry a gallon-sized Ziploc bag containing a notebook for each child and for myself, a few regular pencils and a box of coloured pencils. Whenever anyone sees something they would like to draw, we stop, haul out the art supplies, and draw. I then write down from dictation whatever the kids want me to write about their drawing (this is necessary to identify what they've drawn later). The kids drew a seed pod, a stump and a hole in the ground, several tangled vines and thickets, and a Monarch butterfly which sat perfectly still for 30 seconds at a time on each of 4 or 5 adjacent flowers. I drew the butterfly, and had time to get several of the details of its wing vein patterns (though not all) before it flew off. P was so excited about the butterfly that, instead of dictating a description, she had me spell for her "I SAW A BUTTERFLY" and wrote it herself. We then left the paved path for a dirt path that ran closer to the bayou, and found that it had 5 times as much poison ivy and many more mosquitoes than the paved path. P is quite able to identify poison ivy when she's looking for it, but not when she dashes off the path to get a closer look at something. Hopefully her legs won't welt up too badly. E enjoys counting the sets of 3 leaves on the poison ivy, but isn't quite as capable of noticing it among other plants as P is. On the way back, we stopped to donate blood to our local mosquitoes while P drew a remarkably accurate likeness of a fallen flower, and then discussed the question of why God made mosquitoes until we arrived home in time for lunch.

After lunch, my major task was cleaning house (the kids' room wasn't the only place in need of it yesterday), so I pretty much ignored the kids for the first half of the afternoon. When I was done, P asked, "Can we do some more school? Do you have any more colouring pages for us?" Fortunately, I did - I'd printed out colouring pages for this week's letter and had bought a cheap handwriting workbook a year ago, so each child did a page (E coloured in the letter outlines, P practiced writing the letter and coloured the corresponding pictures on the worksheet) and drew their own pictures on the back. Note to self: the kids both love colouring pages. This is likely to be very useful information.

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