Friday, October 2, 2009

Week 5, day 5

It's always a relief, after 2 consecutive days where we have only the afternoon to get our schoolwork done, to have an entire day to do it in. P has finished learning all the letters in her handwriting workbook, and the remaining pages involve writing words. I still need to remind her about how to write certain letters, and she often reverses z, b, and d, as well as 3 and 7. My plan is that, after next week (when she'll finish the current workbook), our daily handwriting lesson will involve writing on the chalkboard, including wet-dry-try, to review all the letters. The Sonlight language arts curriculum will start using words containing only letters studied to date (so far, B, F, M, R, T, and adding A next week) for copywork as of next week, so I'll let that cover paper-and-pencil practice. By teaching B first and not D for a number of weeks, she'll only be practicing B and hopefully I can get her consistently writing it the right way around before we add D.

No language arts activity was scheduled for today, so I asked the kids to think of something fun to do that started with R. Running round and round and riding bikes was the first thing they came up with, so we spent 20 minutes outside. They drove their bikes (E has a tricycle, and P has a bike with training wheels) to a cul-de-sac where a large puddle had formed after last night's intense thunderstorm. After riding through the water got boring, they took off their shoes and splashed wildly. Once we were back inside and I was helping E put dry clothes on, my sister-in-law dropped by with her little boy (he'll be 1 next month). We all hung out with her for a bit, but when she went to change her baby's diaper, P decided that doing her math 5-a-day would be much more fun. It didn't take her too long, and she got 4 of the 5 questions right. The one she missed, I'd been tricky - I'd asked her to circle 2 identical shapes, but I'd included both a 5-pointed star and a 6-pointed star, and she circled both of those initially instead of the pentagons that actually matched. When I asked her to count the points on the stars, she realized her mistakes and crossed them out. She then went downstairs to show off her work to her aunt, who was interested enough in the MOTL approach that I showed her all the books in the program before she left.

During lunch, Ari described how much higher the bayou was after last night's rain, and we decided to go and see it. It turned out to be more of an adventure than most of our nature walks are. First, while balancing on the plank that crosses the creek behind the back yard, E toppled sideways and fell into the creek. He turned around underwater while trying to get up, and there wasn't a dry portion of his body. Fortunately, the shoe he lost floated, so after I'd fished him out and comforted him, I was able to fish the shoe out as well. Imagine, if you will, having a volleyball strapped to your abdomen (about the size Baby is right now) and balancing on a plank while trying to reach a floating object a foot and a half below you without falling in. I felt quite pleased with my success. Once we were all successfully across the creek and past the lake, I removed E's shirt and shorts one at a time to wring as much water out of them as I could. Meanwhile, P trod in a fire ant hill. The fire ants didn't take kindly to this, and filled up her shoe and bit her, so once E was properly clothed, I helped P take the shoe off and squish all the remaining fire ants. She wanted to walk barefoot the rest of the way, but I knew how unpleasant it would be for her to step on something sharp, so I insisted that she replace the shoe. When we reached the bayou, it was quite a bit lower than Ari had described, but we sat on top of a large drainage tube and threw debris into the fast-flowing current. Sometimes pieces were temporarily sucked into the tube, but they all eventually found their way back to the center of the bayou. I reiterated to the kids my dislike of fishing and how I'd rather not fish even for such beautiful creatures as they are. They were suitably cautious - E's mishap was still fresh in their minds. Once we'd run out of debris to toss into the bayou, I wanted to walk along the path and see more of the bayou. Unfortunately, the path was so muddy that I couldn't keep my footing, and I slipped, falling on my behind. E, whose hand I was holding, also slipped and bashed his mouth into the top of my head. I was muddy, he was muddy and crying, and we decided that home was the place to be. Everyone felt much better once we were back on the main path, and rinsing off under the tap next to the back door and getting a change of clothes did a lot to improve our moods yet further.

While E was distracted with something else, P and I started playing the coin memory matching game. She completely grasps how to count coins in values up to 10 cents, constructed in any possible way, so, for example, she could see that a card picturing a nickel and 2 pennies matched a card picturing 7 pennies. E came in halfway through, but he hasn't caught on to the strategy of remembering where the cards he looks at are, so he didn't make as many matches as P or I did. He found this upsetting and partly crumpled one of the cards. Next time, he and I may need to be teammates. However, he's quite good at counting the number of coins on each card, though the difference between nickel and penny values is a bit challenging for him. P enjoyed the game, though, and I think she'll be happy to play it again.

After the card game, we read a book on coral reefs. It was written at a perfect level for the kids to understand, which is rare - usually the only books that are at all interesting are more than the kids are able to sit still through. This one had the right number of pictures and the right amount of explanation and interesting detail without requiring concepts the kids didn't yet grasp. We can certainly read it again!

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