Thursday, December 3, 2009

Week 12, day 2

Yesterday (Wednesday) was packed brim-full. I had a midwife appointment in the morning, followed by Arabic Bible study, and after coming home and doing school with the kids, I took P to ballet and had time for a quick bowl of soup before dashing off to the rehearsal for the Houston Symphony Orchestra Chorus's Christmas Pops concert. Needless to say, there was no time in there for updating the blog.

Bible (Catechism, Bible story, memory verse): We reviewed the catechism to date, and read the first part of the story of Esther (how she became queen).

Calendar (Update day of week and date of month, record weather and temperature): Again, the kids thought it was cold, and I thought it was cool. The temperature was in the upper 50s.

Handwriting: I had P do a page of the phonics workbook, and write her name neatly at the top. Her dictation in language arts also counts as handwriting.

Language Arts: In addition to the vowel worksheet, there was a "chore description" activity. P chose instead to describe how to braid a bracelet, which she did fairly well. When I read her description back to her, she saw an obvious hole in it and filled it in.

Math (5-a-day, other activities): We only just had time for this, but P did her 5-a-day well. We didn't have time to finish the last question (I asked her to make 30 cents using at least one quarter, which she did, but there was no time for her to make 30 cents another way, because we needed to go to ballet).

E's "school": Nope. Didn't happen.

Geography and/or science: Nor this.

Other: Because of so much other going on.

I've been meaning to insert a musing on the value of learning to read at the same time as your kid. I'm thinking here of my studies of Arabic. I've known most of the letter sounds in Arabic since I was 13, but fluency is hard to come by. When I'm at Arabic Bible study and the ladies take turns reading aloud a few verses each, I feel extremely stupid. I force all my powers of concentration into pronouncing the words on the page, but there is no mental power left over for parsing the meaning of what I just read. The ladies are all supportive and encouraging, but I can tell that it's frustrating for them to hear me going so slowly. Suddenly, I have sympathy for all the kids who were in the "other" reading groups, and for the adults who stumble over words when called on to read aloud. (Since I've been reading fluently since I was 5, I'm afraid I always felt mild disdain for people who couldn't). I know that, with practice, my skills will improve. I'm also sure that it makes me a better teacher for P and E. The immediacy of this experience - being faced with a page full of squiggles, and pouring all my energy into turning the squiggles into words - helps me grasp what it's like for a small child doing this for the first time. So, homeschool moms and kindergarten teachers, let's hear it for learning to read a phonetic language that isn't your own, for a deeper understanding of what it's like for your kids.

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