Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week 4, day 4

Having done catechism and memory verse review in the car on the way to CBS, we started today with calendar. P is really getting good at reading the temperature properly, and E is starting to be able to match the date written above the main calendar with the date in the square on the calendar. Our new strategy, doing wet-dry-try on the chalkboard before P tries her handwriting workbook page, is working well. Since we started working on this workbook half a year ago, she's just about 3 weeks from being done with the book, and I'm wondering what to do next. We could just work on handwriting in the context of copywork and regular writing, or I could buy another copy of the same workbook, or a kindergarten workbook from a different curriculum. I'm mainly inclined toward the spend-less-money option, so we'll see how that works.

In addition to copywork, today's language arts assignment was "story elaboration." Provided a 4-word, 2-sentence story, the child was to supply details. P ended up with a thoroughly unusual story involving a swimming race between 8 children who could swim and 1 who could not, and the one who could not swim won because his floaty thing helped him to go faster. It's such fun to see her imagination at work.

E's school was a non-starter; he just didn't seem interested in doing anything. His attention span was fairly short today, and he sat around doing nothing much of the time. Had I been more perceptive, this would have told me to watch out, but more on that later.

We played a number of games today. We started out with "Jumbling Tower", which consists of a set of 48 blocks stacked in groups of 3, and you pull out one block at a time, place it on top, and hopefully do not topple the tower. E toppled it during his second turn, but didn't seem to mind. I toppled it the second time we played. We played Mancala next, and I explained some strategy to P, who grasped it, and E, who was more interesting in dropping the marbles into spaces one at a time, and the appropriate spaces only when I pointed each one out to him. At the end of the game P started making patterns with the different colours of marbles, but as there were only 8 of each colour and E had half of them, this quickly became unsatisfying. I took out the box of pony beads and a spool of string, and we all made necklaces. P made a pattern to match her outfit, with 2 blues and a purple repeating, and after every 11 beads placed a red one on her string. E wasn't at all focused, and by the time he had 4 beads on his string he had lost interest, so I tied each child's necklace around their necks. P also wanted to make a bracelet, which she did, and E ended up with a 2-bead bracelet. I compliantly made a necklace of my own as well.

I felt that, as it was somewhat drippy outside and I felt too tired to take a walk, doing the "playing store" activity suggested in MOTL would be a reasonable activity. We took catalogs and index cards, and the kids chose roughly 20 items they wanted to "shop" for, we taped them to the index cards, and then priced them between 1 and 12 cents apiece. E first wanted to be the shopkeeper, but he didn't want to put the coins in the appropriate sections of the cardboard cash register and did want to buy things, so we started over with P as shopkeeper. She carefully counted out 16 pennies and 4 nickels for each of E and me, and I showed her how a nickel and 7 pennies made 12 cents. E couldn't keep his mind on what was going on, and eventually we put the game away because it was too frustrating to include him, and excluding him upset him. Nonetheless, the games covered several concepts on the MOTL record sheets, so I'll make a note of those.

We went downstairs and the kids drew pictures. P wrote on the back: "Momey" (Mommy) and "rok" (rock). She asked if the spelling was correct, and I tried to explain the relevant rules. I then started learning a Chopin nocturne I've been tempted by for way too long. P hung around quite patiently, and then tried playing piano a bit herself, and I offered her piano lessons if she wanted. I told her that, if she accepted, she would have to practice every day. She knows me well enough, I guess, to know that if I'm learning a new piece of music she's unlikely to get any attention from me, and if I'm giving her a lesson, she's getting attention from me. Daily practice didn't seem to her too large a price to pay, so we hauled out the Bastien Primer A, and she had her first piano lesson. Meanwhile, E's timer (to remind him to go potty) went off, and I went looking for him to ensure that he took the appropriate action. I found him fast asleep on the couch, and carried him upstairs to the kids' room, where he continued napping. When we woke him for dinner, he didn't eat anything, left the table about 3 minutes into dinner, and returned to the couch. When I was done eating, I sat on the couch with him in my lap until he suddenly vomited all over both of us. This explained a lot. I've seen this behaviour before - potty accidents in the morning (he had 2 at CBS), generally not feeling himself in the afternoon, taking an unusually long nap, and throwing up upon waking. Usually, the next steps are that he goes to sleep, sleeps all night, and wakes up as bouncy and happy as ever, so I'm praying that this time will follow the same pattern.

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