Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week 3, day 3

Ari's mom took the kids out all morning, and I went to Arabic Bible study (which was easier, since this week's leader had a Lebanese accent instead of an Egyptian one, and Lebanese is closer to Jordanian, which I'm used to). About 1:30 pm, we started school. We did our catechism, Bible reading, and memory - P is getting really good at saying the Lord's Prayer, with only a little prompting. I completely forgot to do calendar. I don't know why, but it fell out of my mind and neither kid reminded me. The calendar upstairs still says it's Tuesday. Oh, well.

For language arts, the kids were to come up with a list of things one could buy in a store that started with the letters we've learned. They had fun with this, but it dragged on for a longer time than I really had patience for. P did a great job on her copywork, and her handwriting page presented only one small problem when the last letter she'd written wasn't quite right. I asked her if she wanted to redo it, and she looked to be starting a tantrum. I stopped her, said, "Let's try that again. I ask you if you want to redo it, and you say "No" in a calm voice. Do you want to redo it?" She said no slightly more calmly, which I accepted. At least it didn't turn into a complete meltdown. For E's school, we reintroduced the 3 eggs, and he did a good deal better. It was still hard for him at first, but after a few iterations he could reliably, instantly identify which one I'd removed. He won't have patience with it if I do it again today, but it's worth repeating once or twice a week, I think.

Having finally obtained proper markers for the Markable Map, I let P write USA in the appropriate place, and let E trace around Canada (the next place we're studying). Meanwhile, P started making little marks at random around the Indian Ocean, and I asked her to stop. I noticed that, when I wasn't closely watching her, she'd wave the marker around with the lid off, repeatedly bumping it into her shirt and staining it. Once E was done tracing around Canada, I asked P to write Canada in the middle, spelling it for her, while E seemed inclined to grab a marker and scribble somewhere in Russia or China. I decided and announced that the rule for marking the map would be that I would say what each child would write, and there wouldn't be unauthorized scribbling. If each child gets to draw something each time we do it, this should work. P threw a tantrum. My rule for tantrums is that they don't succeed in changing the rule (even if I might have been willing to negotiate if there had been no tantrum), and the tantrum works itself out on a different floor of the house than the one I'm on, so I don't have to see it. I sent P down to the living room, where she wailed. When the shrieks of anguish seemed to be tapering off, I came down and explained to her how we wouldn't be able to read anything if she and E drew all over the place, and that I didn't know if the markers would wash out of her clothing. She sniffled and whimpered, but I didn't give in, and I suggested that we go and read a book about Canada. We looked at the atlas page for Canada and talked about how it's colder closer to the North Pole, and how most of the cities are in the south, including the city where their uncle just started graduate school. We then read a book on the St. Lawrence waterway, during which I drew a diagram of a lock and explained how it worked. Both kids seemed to grasp this pretty well, and E started telling a tale without end about his pretend friend, Friend Lion, who went on a sailing trip from this lake to that lake and went through a lock and then sailed to the next lake and went through another lock and... He hasn't mastered the art of ending a sentence. I had to stop his scintillating tale in order to finish reading the book (which degenerated into looking at the pictures, but much of the interesting content was done). The kids then coloured a page with the Canadian flag, and P turned hers over and drew the flag of Pretend Land, which she insisted that I colour in. By this time we needed to get ready for her ballet lesson, so that was the end of school for the day.

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