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This Week in Learning: November 21st, 2014

Whilst learning has been happening during the three weeks since I last shared, when you don’t write learning notes weekly, despite your best intentions to remember all you don’t.  Fortunately I did jot down some notes so I have a general idea of some of what we learnt.

The previous weeks have been disrupted thanks to medical dramas and Carpenter’s homecoming for his College holidays. Also it’s nearing the end of the academic and calendar year and the heat has been intense, 40C (100F) days without air conditioning so the children are flagging, most days I’m pushing and prodding them along.  Not my favourite way for them to learn and not entirely effective.

Michelangelo(15) is currently the most diligent, achieving a majority of his studies despite the distractions.  He’s still reading his Didache studies, focusing on the Sacraments at present including Baptism and Marriage and most keen on Beginning Apologetics, having just studied the Eucharist and Sola Scriptora. He and I have managed to complete a few lessons of All About Spelling and he also achieved a couple of dictation lessons courtesy of Spelling Wisdom, his spelling ability is improving:) Michelangelo has put a massive effort into his maths lessons, studying for an hour a day, as he is determined to complete his current grade by the end of the year.

Science Matters continues to be a positive choice for him, says it is most interesting and he is learning alot.  Our history choice is a bit too much of a stretch, I was worried it would be, so we’ll find a different fit next year.  Geography studies have reached the ‘boring parts,’ mostly focusing on Earth Science, nothing really new for him there.  Michelangelo has expressed an interest to focus more on the universe and new space discoveries next year.  As usual Michelangelo has avidly read plenty of books including the latest Brotherband book and a re-read of some of the previous ones as well as a couple of Sebastian Darke‘s books (really good) and The Princess and the Captain(very sad ending), he also spent hours listening to Deltora Quest on his MP3 player.

Princess(13) is lagging, the year end can’t come fast enough for her.  She is just ‘going through the motions’ in completing some of her studies, though she likes studying the Catechism, next year I’ll introduce her to the Beginning Apologetics, she may enjoy them. She did complete some of her dictation lessons the fact she didn’t manage more is partly my fault, I need be certain to be more available. Princess has kept up with reading her poetry studies and her nature readings.  Maths is a challenge for her as she has completed the ‘easy’ lessons and now has the more difficult ones to complete.

Photo Credit: Michelangelo

Motivation is a struggle at this time of the year, how much should you push, when connections aren’t happening? Sometimes though we need to ‘go through the motions’ to form habits for connections to have a chance to occur.  Though I suspect in this heat connections aren’t going to be many.  Probably need to change focus for the last three weeks of the school year.  Any ideas?

Like the older children, the younger ones are also flagging. Jelly Bean expressed a dislike of our tick boxes, the children’s ‘to do’ lists, they made her feel pressured to tick, a ‘tick box mentality’ (my summation of her conversation).  This is always my concern with sheets, whilst they are a useful tool for direction and recording, they can also produce that mentality.  Anyhow currently trialing for the younger three a 4Rs list, in which I keep the notes.

Jelly Bean has hit a hard spot in her maths which is producing tears, we had a little break from maths but trying again, frustratingly she has a tendency to give up.  The boys continue to fly through their lessons, though all three children have a horror of answering any questions incorrectly, if they do they log out immediately and try again later, a bit of an odd and unhelpful approach.

Jelly Bean and Jack Jack have been enjoying writing stories, it’s been lovely to see their enthusiasm to creative writing.  They have a couple of ‘on going’ pieces they are working on.

We’re reading The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald and should finish it this week in time for Advent.  We’re also wrapping up Amy Steedman’s A Little Child’s Life of Jesus, it’s a lovely, reflective book. Jelly Bean has concentrated diligently on her reading, her massive (and incomplete) list below shows just what a marvelous effort she has been doing.  At this stage she is focusing on easy books and we’re happy for her to master them first before we encourage her to try the more advanced chapter books. Jack Jack has been reading too, though not as many hours as JB.  He’s re-reading all the Ladybird readers, which is good for his confidence.

Most exciting, I have begun Jem on Level 1 in AAR and love it!!! It really is an excellent program, which I plan on reviewing when we finish this book, for now I’ll share the letter tiles, the revision each lesson of the previous lesson, the mastery of the cards (which I’ve laminated for durability) all adds to the brilliancy of this program.

We abandoned Leaping into Literature sometime during the previous weeks, though sharing a remnant of books read prior to our desertion.

Leaping into Literature
Meet Captain Cook – Rae Murdie 3 Star
Meet the Anzacs – Claire Saxby 3 Star
On a Beam of Light – A Story of Albert Einstein – Jennifer Berne 4 Star 
Jandamarra – Mark Greenwood 3 Star
Bats at Library- Brian Lies 2 Star
Diary of a Worm – Doreen Cronin 1.5 Star
All Through the Year – Jane Goodwin 1.5 Star

Jelly Bean’s Pile (Incomplete)
Billie B Brown: The Little Lie – Sally Rippin
Billie B Brown: The Birthday Mix-Up – Sally Rippin
Ark Adventures: Crazy Chameleons! – Sally Grindley
Ark Adventures: Giant Giraffes! – Sally Grindley
Ark Adventures: Pesky Sharks! – Sally Grindley
Little House Books: Christmas in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House Books: A Little House Birthday – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House Books: County Fair – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Favourite Bedtime Tales: Little Gingerbread Man, Little Red Hen, Three Little Pigs
Billie B Brown: The Bully Buster – Sally Rippin
Billie B Brown: The Best Project – Sally Rippin
Billie B Brown: The Big Sister – Sally Rippin
Billie B Brown: The Secret Message – Sally Rippin
Billie B Brown: The Extra-special Helper – Sally Rippin
Frog and Toad Are friends – Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad All Year – Arnold Lobel
Days with Frog and Toad – Arnold Lobel
Owl At Home – Arnold Lobel
Big, Bad Bear – Zila Todd
The Giving Tree- Shel Silverstein
I Will Surprise My Friend!: An elephant and Piggie Bk- Mo Willems
Happy Pig Day!: An elephant and Piggie Bk- Mo Willems
Listen to my Trumpet!: An elephant and Piggie Bk- Mo Willems
The Long House in Danger: Olaf the Viking – Elizabeth Laird
The Dark Forest: Olaf the Viking – Elizabeth Laird
Berenstain Bear and the Tic-Tac-Toe Mystery
The Princess and the Kiss – Jennie Bishop

Sharing at The Wine Dark Sea’s Guilt Free Learning Notes

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  • Cassie Williams

    You got it done! : ) I'm not sure how you survive such heat without ac! I wish AAR was around when I was teaching reading. I've regretted not teaching my boys an intensive phonics program. Love all the Bella pictures!

  • Erin

    Yes you inspired me to write after you did yours. Btw did you want to join in the linky party at Melanie's?
    Well it was because I didn't teach the older ones a systematic phonics program that I bought AAR, hoping to correct the problems I'm dealing with with siblings.
    Glad you liked her pics:)

  • Angela

    Many of my kids are the same way when they get something wrong. I have one in particular who completely shuts down. Then I spend a long time trying to talk him out of it and by that time all my energy is completely sapped. I think maybe I should just leave him alone, but sometimes it gets to me :-/.

    Also, I think that doing *anything* in heat like that is a victory. Especially with no air conditioning. I know a lot of Americans talk about homeschooling through summer because it's too hot outside so we have to stay inside… but that's because the air conditioning is on!!!

  • Erin

    I know what you mean by shuts down:(
    Ah hadn't thought about American having the a/c on. Well many of our schools don't have a/c just fans, think it would be more sweltering in a classroom

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