Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 15, day 4

Bible (Catechism, Bible story, memory verse): We reviewed the most recent catechism question and introduced a new one, and we read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.

Calendar (Update day of week and date of month, record weather and temperature): The weather was beautiful when we went to check it - somewhere between cool and warm, and perfectly clear. So I let the kids play outside for 15 minutes instead of heading immediately back upstairs to record the weather.

Handwriting: I let P's dictation count as handwriting; she wrote yesterday's tracing from dictation and had no trouble with spelling. I brought up the timer to keep her focused, which really helped.

Language Arts: P read her reader before lunch - she's really doing well with this week's now, and I'm going to let her read some of the Bob books tomorrow and Thursday instead to see how many she can read now.

Math (5-a-day, other activities): Again, the timer (and the promise of playing with pattern blocks if she finished before the timer dinged) helped tremendously with keeping P focused on her work. I'm also taking care not to give her the more difficult problems first, since she's easily discouraged. Today, she finished with 5 minutes to spare (I gave her 15 minutes), and I found a sticker to put on the top of her work.

The kids both played happily with pattern blocks, and then I hauled out our "Think-It-Through Tiles". When I was a kid, this was one of my favourite toys. P wasn't ready for it when my mom got it for her 2 years ago, but today she enjoyed it. It calls for fairly complex thinking (I seem to remember it being a simpler system when I was a kid). There are 12 numbered tiles and 12 lettered spaces. The child finds the problem in the book that corresponds to the number on the tile, solves the problem, and finds the solution in the key which gives the correct letter in which to place that number of tile. The child has to remember that if the answer to tile 7 is 3, she is looking for 3 on the key and not 7 (this tripped her up all the other times she tried to play with it). Once all the tiles are placed, you turn the container upside down to reveal a pattern, which matches the one given in the book if all the problems were done correctly. P did 2 pages in the first book, in which all the problems simply involved counting objects and finding the corresponding numeral in the key. The simple problems made it fun for her and she loved finding the patterns at the end (this was my favourite part, too, when I was her age), so I foresee us taking this toy out again.

After the Think-It-Through Tiles and pattern blocks were put away, P wanted to play a card game, so P, E, and I all played Go Fish. E is really starting to recognize numbers, so it was more fun than it's ever been to play with him. Once we'd finished Go Fish, P and I played War (E didn't want to), and each time she captured one of my cards I encouraged her to tell me by how much she'd beaten me (her 6 took my 3, so she said, "I won by 3!"). She seemed surprisingly quick at this and did it all mentally; I don't think memorizing math facts is going to be a struggle at all. When a face card took a number card, I just had her say, "I won by a lot." Eventually I will introduce the idea that J=11, Q=12, K=13, but not for now (when we play cards, A=1 and is the least valuable card, because it only has one symbol on it. This makes more sense than the standard valuation).

E's "school": We read The Bee Tree together. I'm thinking there was more, but it's slipped my mind.

Geography and/or science: Today's theme at Titmouse Club was "Animal Detectives" - that is, ways to figure out that an animal is or has been nearby. They talked about things to look for and listen for, as well as how your sense of smell (skunk) or touch (mosquito) might clue you in. We looked for and didn't find tracks, but the craft involved rubber molds of various animals' feet, which the kids used as ink stamps to make tracks on paper. P found a worm-eaten leaf, which she realized showed that a worm had been there.

I was going to have P finish her Denmark book, but couldn't find it. It was on their table yesterday, and today I searched their entire room and there was no trace of it. Bah.

Other: I found an online source of free piano lessons for preschoolers, and felt that if I could include E, we might be able to be more consistent (since I wouldn't be trying to keep him off one piano while teaching P on the other). So I did the first lesson with both kids, and they both grasped it (basically, finding groups of 2 and 3 black notes on the piano keyboard). This system makes more sense to me (in terms of how my kids think) than the Bastien method, so we'll see how it goes for the next few weeks' worth of free lessons. If it goes well, I'll buy the rest or make up my own in the same style (of course, the free lessons only take you so far).

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