Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 4, day 2

This morning we woke up to a tremendous thunderstorm. Several of the thunderclaps were less than a second behind their lightning bolts, and the rain was torrential. Fortunately, by the time we went to Titmouse Club, it had tapered off to a drizzle.

This week's lesson was about hummingbirds. The docent gave a fascinating description of hummingbirds' characteristics and habits, and had a dead hummingbird in a tube for the kids to closely inspect. She described how a certain unusually aggressive species of hummingbird migrates to the Houston area as the weather gets colder, and one individual will take personal posession of the several hummingbird feeders in her back yard, chasing off any rivals. However, she can thwart this behaviour by putting a few extra teaspoons of sugar in one of the feeders, and then the selfish bird will only bother claiming the sweetest one. "Hummingbirds aren't good at sharing." The kids got to help make hummingbird nectar (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) and fill the feeders. Their craft today was really creative. They each got the finger of a cotton work glove, coloured it, glued on feathers (for wings) and googly eyes, and put a bendy straw through it so that the bendy end looked like a long beak, and the long end served as a handle. At the end, through the drizzle, the kids got to feed crumbled saltine crackers to the turtles in the pond. The mosquito fish ate more crackers than the turtles, but we saw at least 3 red-ear turtles.

After Titmouse Club, we read our Bible story and did the calendar (the weather was particularly easy to describe today). Handwriting went well, and we did both wet-dry-try and workbook. The language arts activity involved P describing a time someone came for a visit, and what they did together. She dictated a long description of a walk in the woods in PA with my parents, and after lunch drew a picture. We sent it to my parents (so, Mom, if you're reading this, you should receive it in a few days), and P even wrote the return address by herself (with my spelling help). She still uses capitals in more locations than appropriate, but I'm not going to make a big deal about it until her handwriting lessons have covered all the lowercase letters. She's been writing in all caps for a year now, and it's a hard habit to change.

Spelling help is still important for P, as it turns out. A week or so ago, a friend invited us to iftar (the Islamic fast-breaking meal during Ramadan) at her mosque. The kids came along, though E slept through it, and P was struck by the dress code. Today she drew a picture of a woman and child in hijab (long dress and veil) and, since I was busy in the kitchen, wrote by herself, "Most ov th pepl woo at tht mosc woor hez woor clovz." The translation was, "Most of the people who were at that mosque wore these clothes." Apparently she lost track of which words she had already written, and we need to work on hearing phonemes in the middle of words, but I thought it was awesome how well she did given that she is reluctant to read simple sentences of more than 3 words.

E also wrote his first word. He started with a p, then an o, then another o, and brought it to me for inspection. I informed him that 2 o's together make an oo sound, so he had written p...oo... "POO!" E realized all by himself that adding a p to the end would result in a word he uses on a daily basis. He then drew a picture of the substance at the bottom of the page. Mmm. Boys.


  1. I'm curious how P knows that "who" (woo) starts with a W. Has she seen it in her reading?

  2. I'm sure she has, though I haven't emphasized it. As I read to her, I'll sometimes point to each word as I read it (mainly in situations where I'm reading back a dictation, or someone has specifically written a letter to her - certainly not in books we read for fun or information). She also enjoys sending letters to others, and I give her spelling help for those. It's amazing how many things she knows that I've never made a point of.