We began Term 3 strongly and have continued to power along in the two weeks since. Rather excited as this is the most intense and productive our learning has been all year, lots of terrific learning happening:)
Bass is back at weekly speech therapy, therefore speech ‘homework’ is on the ‘must do’ list again, I’m failing miserably here, which doesn’t make the therapist happy, wince. Whilst big brother Einstein has been home, he has kindly taken Bass to his last two appointments and fortunately Anna Maria is available to step into Einstein’s role for the next three lessons. Weekly speech lessons have been a huge disruption to our learning this year, having assistance and therefore not interruption has already made a massive difference to our learning.
Jelly Bean made it clear that she is keen to be learning independently, except for Language Arts lessons with her brothers, she is happily undertaking her Faith, Science, History and Geography readings on her own. Working towards encouraging her independence in reading we selected books of larger, non-intimidating print. Already within only two weeks of consistently and frequently reading there is a marked improvement in her speed and enjoyment and she has been requesting extra books to read! Thanks to my friend M who encouraged me to expect more, as she said, “they(our children) are capable of more than we sometimes think.” so true.
- Sacramental Preparation for JJ and Jem has been kicked up several paces, I’m hoping to organise Jem’s First Reconciliation for next week and then only five weeks until their Confirmation and First Holy Communion. We’ve been concentrating on completing the Sacrament of Confirmation workbook with Jack Jack and My Jesus and I with Jem. We finished reading First Communion Days and have started Ten Eager Hearts.
- JB has been reading The Little Boy Jesus by M Redington White independently.
- Princess has begun Introduction to Catholicism and is really enjoying it, which is surprising as none of the boys liked that particular book.
- Michelangelo is continuing with Understanding the Scriptures and is also still loving The Beginning Apologetics Set.
- All five children have been consistently working at their lessons with Maths Online and making solid progress. Jelly Bean and Princess though are struggling a little with some concepts and Jem’s reading status means he needs assistance with reading questions.
- Read Destination Mars by Seymour Simon, Rocket into Space by Ragbir Bhathal and If I Were An Atom by Noel Wilson, with the younger boys, then they orally narrated though transitioning Jack Jack to an occasional written narration.
- They also experimented with starting fire via a magnifying glass. They were very safety conscious and conducted their experiment on rocks in a cleared area.
- JB read If I Were An Atom – Noel Wilson, Look Out for Turtles – Melvin Berger and Dolphin – Robert A Morris, then orally narrated her readings.
- Princess is reading Michael Faraday and the Discovery of Electromagnetism and writing narrations at the conclusion of each chapter, she has been struggling with condensing her narrations. This week we read and took notes of pertinent points together, I’ll continue teaching her note taking until she is confident to do this on her own.
- Michelangelo is continuing with reading a few chapters of Science Matters and watching two Kahn Academy Physics Lectures each week and taking notes.
- Read about Hungary and Ireland from Our Friends from Other Lands to the boys, and discussed.
- JB read Chebet and the Lost Goat (Kenya) and Antoine and the Ancient Coin (Switzerland) and orally narrated.
- Michelangelo began A Writer’s World: Travels 19-50-2000 by Jan Morris
- All the children are working on Map Drills. They began by tracing the continent of Africa, then tracing the African countries. The following week I encouraged them to draw the continent by freehand. Some of the children drew grids on the outline map and the paper they were to draw on, some just tried completely freehand and all impressed me with their ability.
- Began Child’s History of the World with the boys, realised it was not capturing their attention at all and gave myself permission to ditch it. Perhaps it works best as an individual read, not a read aloud.
- Began Story of the World Vol 2 instead with the boys, some chapters however are problematic, written from a Protestant worldview, so I will use Valerie’s plans including using Story of the Church, Catholic worldview. to counteract this. Because the nature of this book is more of an overview (though an excellent one) I want to flesh this period out more, we’ll be slowly reading the chapters to allow time to build on. The week we focused a little on Rome, read picture books; Christopher the Holy Giant and Saint Valentine. We also read about Romulus and Remus and the founding of Rome in Famous Men of Rome.
- JB is reading her way through an old History Reader, Great People Through the Ages by A Hitchcock. Thus far she has read about Hammurabi.
- Princess is reading Story of the World Vol 4 as with her science narrations she has been struggling to condense her notes. We worked on note taking for history together as well. This week we focused on when Japan Opened to the West and the Crimean War. Princess also read An Enemy Among Them about the Civil War which lines up with one of her SOTW chapters.
- Michelangelo began with Modern Times by Paul Johnson but realised his writing style didn’t appeal. He read supporting books on WW1, Soldier Boy – Anthony Hill and Gallipoli Story – Patrick Carlyon.
- M choose instead to learn further about Alexander the Great, he read relevant chapters from Famous Men of Greece and A History of Greece by J B Bury and most of Alexander the Great by Carole Wilkinson.
Some of our children have lovely handwriting, for which I deserve no credit and others have atrocious handwriting, for which I feel responsible. I have longed searched for a ‘magic cure’ to solve ‘all ills’ however last week I was struck by another revelation. A ‘magic’ resource isn’t going to fix this situation only consistent vigilance will, actually I’ve long suspected this but last week I owned it.
A couple of times a week I now gather together all children needing handwriting assistance and demonstrate on the blackboard, and the children practice. I circle the table, checking pencil grip, hand slope, letter starting points, neatness etc. The lesson itself isn’t long, probably only a little longer than it takes to gather them all together;) but I’m feeling most hopeful it will be effective.
- Princess learning 20 words weekly from ‘Spelling for Secondary Students’ a challenge for our competent speller
- Placing a big focus on dictation with Spelling Wisdom for our teens. Michelangelo is completing daily exercises, Princess a couple of times weekly. Already seeing a positive result.
- JB and JJ have begun dictation lessons using one of JB’s readers. They are transitioning better than I expected and I believe will be ready for more challenging passages soon.
I’m finding grammar most effective to teach in two groups, this generates a synergy which makes grammar popular. The children naturally fall into; our teens and JB(11) and JJ(9).
- I’m using an old text with JB and JJ, Marist Brothers Grade 5, which is a challenge for both. This fortnight we’ve focused on comprehension passages, vocabulary, nouns and their genders.
- Our teens have been focusing on participles (and I’ve been learning with them;) and adjectives qualifying nouns.
- JB and JJ have been writing a creative essay weekly. We begin one day, continue another and polish on the third.
- Michelangelo and Princess are working through Precis Writing – Ronald Lane with me, this ties in well with teaching note taking.
- They are also enjoying some creative writing, this last fortnight we used Story Starters as a jump off point. PC and I are really enjoying reading what the children write, as always an insight into their minds and souls.
- JJ has the skill set, he just needs consistent practice. Always a challenging time for both the reader and the listener;) He certainly isn’t reading of his own volition, he needs ‘reminding.’
- Jem has nearly completed AAR Level 1, and it continues to impress me. He is keen to leave lessons, which he isn’t ready to do, and begin reading, in which he surprised me that he can actually do!!
- After pleading to ‘read’ I handed Jem a selection of Mem Fox and other repetitive books and he surprised me totally by being able to read them, only a little guess work was involved!
Mrs Piggy Wiggle – Huge hit with the younger three, hilarious, they are upset the book is finished.
All The Green Year – Reading to the older two. It’s literally been years since I’ve read to my teens, but I am so determined to begin reading to them again. This is proving to be an interesting read to them both.
Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Innocence of Fr Brown – GK Chesterton
Wisdom of Fr Brown – GK Chesterton (1/2)
Soldier Boy – Anthony Hill (3/4, then too sad to continue)
Gallipoli Story – Patrick Carlyon
Alexander the Great by Carole Wilkinson
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Jack and Jill – Louisa May Alcott
An Enemy Among Them</a%