Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We're Back! (Week 15, day 1)

We finally got around to doing school today. We had friends from our Caltech days visiting from out of town until lunchtime yesterday, and although P asked to do school in the afternoon after they left, I felt that tidying the kids' room was a higher priority. We'd let all the kids do a good deal of unsupervised playing while we adults enjoyed each other's company, and unsupervised play by a trio of small children isn't conducive to neatness.

Bible (Catechism, Bible story, memory verse): I decided that this (half) week would be a review week. We went over all the memory verses we've learned to date, and read the story of the boy Jesus in the temple.

Calendar (Update day of week and date of month, record weather and temperature): This took a while since I hadn't made a new January calendar, but the kids watched me do it and thus grasped more of how a calendar is put together than they would have if I'd done it without their input.

Handwriting: I ignored this today, having decided to let P's copywork serve as handwriting practice. She traced the copywork, and I realized I need to give her a lot more practice on lowercase "d". I'll haul out a worksheet tomorrow, put a few samples in the middle and at the end of the line, and have her work on it then.

Language Arts:We introduced the letter D, and I demonstrated the difference between lowercase "b" and lowercase "d" on the blackboard. I wrote the word "bed", and, because the word itself looks like a bed, drew a person sleeping with his head against the vertical line of "b" and his feet against the vertical line of "d". I explained that if it were "deb", there wouldn't be room for the person to stretch out, so to remember which is "b" and which is "d", they just needed to write the word "bed" such that the person could lie comfortably. They can also hold out their hands, thumbs up, and say the word "bed", to remember which is which. P used this strategy when sounding out some of the words in this week's reader.

The reader featured a game of baseball, so I had to search my memory for an outline of the rules of the game. The kids were somewhat confused after my explanation, likely because I lack a deep understanding of the subject myself. But then, I'm not a U.S. citizen and I have no talent for round moving objects, so I have an excuse. It's probably a good idea for my kids (who are U.S. citizens) to have a rudimentary concept of the national sport. Perhaps Ari can fill in the gaps I leave...

E's "school": I hadn't prepared this week's SSGMR activity, but we read Horton Hatches the Egg and several poems. The kids are still taken with the poem "Brooms", which describes trees on a stormy day as sweeping the sky blue again.

Math (5-a-day, other activities): P wanted to do her 5-a-day on the top bunk (the bunk bed was a Christmas present from their grandparents). I was willing to let this happen, but she got discouraged with the 2-digit addition problem I gave her and turned her brain off. At least, that's what it seemed like. I told her to come down from the bed so I could help her better, and I led her through it step by step. I think she simply forgot what to do first, and the uncertainty paralyzed her. Once she got through that problem, the rest went fairly smoothly.

Part of the Language Arts for this week involves talking about standard measuring units (feet, inches, etc). I'm counting this under math since it's on the list of the next few math concepts I want to cover. I got out a ruler, pointed out how it was 12 inches long (E pointed out that it was 30 cm long - hooray!) and that 12 inches made a foot, and then put up my foot. Both kids commented that my foot wasn't nearly a foot long. Daddy's foot might be a foot long, but P's and E's feet were even shorter than mine. I talked about the concept of standardization (because if I needed a 5-foot piece of wood, and measured it with E's foot, or even mine, I wouldn't get a long enough piece for what I was building). This they grasped pretty easily. We then measured how tall each of us was. E is 3' 5.5", P is 3' 11.5", and I'm 5' 9.5". We measured the table as being 3' 9.5", and predicted that E would be shorter than it and P would be longer than it, and then verified our predictions by having the kids lie on the table.

Geography and/or science: We went to Titmouse Club this morning (it is offered both Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and we were busy yesterday but not today). The theme was insects, so the kids learned that insects have a head, thorax, and abdomen, six legs, and antennae. They did a craft involving 2 cups cut from a styrofoam egg carton being transformed into "insect eyes" by means of pipe cleaners. On the nature walk, the docents rolled aside a few logs, and handed out magnifying glasses to each child so they could closely examine the critters that skittered away. In addition to insects, there were worms and skinks. Later this afternoon, E was heard muttering, "What is a thorax? What is a thorax?"

P had wanted to make a book about one of the Scandinavian countries yesterday when I insisted on tidying instead, so I let her start a book on Denmark today though there wasn't time to finish it. She wrote "Denmark" on the front and drew the flag all by herself (Denmark's is a good one to start with), and I traced a map which she coloured in time to leave for her ballet lesson.

Other: P was glad that ballet lessons started up again. After ballet, the kids watched intently as I made a t-shirt saying, "No, I'm not having my baby yet. Yes, I'm sure it's not twins." Enough strangers think I'm huge that I'm ready to repel them with such a t-shirt.

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