Saturday, March 2, 2013

This Week's H/School Journal

In our homeschool this week...
...we did quite a lot of school.  Academically it was a productive week.

...Matthew worked mostly on three different academic areas:
  • Reading out loud and answering comprehension questions; 
  • Math.  He did lots of practice with triple and quadruple column addition and subtraction.  And he began to learn fractions; we had fun folding paper, drawing and dividing shapes, using measuring cups, and baking cookies...all to learn fractions; and 
  • Printing and a bit of spelling.  One great way to have him practice printing and spelling is to copy Bible verses...and this seems to be a good way to start the day anyway! addition, Matthew participated in gym class, swimming, skating, Awana, music, and art class; there was no karate class this week.

...Seth 'graduated' from Kindergarten and moved officially into grade 1 work!  He's progressing that well lately!!  He continued working at printing letters and practicing the sounds they make.  Every week now demonstrates progress of late - it's astounding.  Many of the things that were incomprehensible mere weeks ago he can now do with relative ease.  He can now print all but a few of his uppercase letters - he could not do this a month ago!  And this week, after he'd been practising his printing, I asked him if we should try sounding out and spelling a word.  With the word 'ant' in mind, I gave him the "A" sound in ant and he said and wrote down the letter "A."  Same with "N" and "T."  Then I asked him to say the sounds for himself, all together, and he did.  Then I asked him to say the sounds faster, and suddenly he said "Ant - I spelled ANT!"  Seriously, this boy is going to learn to read and write!!

As a side note, I'm so grateful that we're able to h/school this boy.  He would have totally floundered in the public system where he wouldn't have received the time/space/attention that he so desperately needs in order to accomplish what he's now accomplishing.  I'm no great shakes as a teacher, don't get me wrong - I'm not slamming the public system - in fact, I often struggle knowing how/what to teach and have to research everything to death and even then make mistakes.  But the fact that Seth has been at home has been huge for him - in allowing him to relax and feel safe in a secure environment, in allowing him the time to just be without having to worry about accomplishment (he's driven enough by nature without needing to feel pressure to perform).  His general transition into a happier, far more relaxed child is allowing his brain to relax, which is now allowing his brain to integrate functioning, which is allowing him to increase his abilities academically.  I can almost see the transformations taking place, it's that stark a contrast from a short time ago.  (Oh, and he loves that he's now doing work that Lizzie isn't - he whispers to me regularly things like "Lizzie's too little to do this work. She'll do it some day but not now."  "Absolutely," I whisper back.)

...Seth also worked on learning and writing more numbers this week - he's up to #19 now all of the sudden.  I should take some pictures of his work sometime and show you because I'm so impressed with how well he does now in this area.  He has a hard time remembering the number 10, but otherwise, he's great on his numbers.  Again, when I think of how things were just months ago...

...Seth's numbers were coming along so well that I began him on simple math this week and he was so excited.  I created pages of work for him around which numbers in a pair was greater than the other, ordering of numbers from least to greatest and greatest to least, and he even learned basic addition and the symbols for it.  He did great.  On Thursday/Friday, he did a whole page of 2+3= kinds of questions!

...Seth participated in gym class, swimming, skating, Awana, and music this week.

...Lizzie started working on writing numbers a couple of weeks ago and can now comfortably write the numbers 0, 1, 3, 4, and 5.   The big thing for her is still working on pencil positioning, but this week was far easier than last week and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in this area; it's starting to feel a little more natural for her.  I had debated for a while whether it was worthwhile trying to rectify her entrenched hand positioning, but I'm so glad we went this route because in the scheme of things, two or three weeks of adjustment will be well worth it, I think.

...Lizzie took part in gym class, swimming, skating, Awana, and music.

...we did more reading out loud:  More of the Little House books; Ursula Le Guin's Catwings series (again!); and more private reading with each of the kids.

Places we went and people we saw...
...we had no field trips this week, and that was just fine.  Sometimes I think we try to pack too much in to our weeks.  Matthew, in particular, becomes anxious if he's out and about too much - he's such a little homebody at heart.

...a friend came over for chai tea one afternoon and it was lovely to catch up on life over the past couple of months.  The kids played outside most of the time that she was here and so we had a relatively uninterrupted visit.  But then, she has four kids so I'm thinking she's pretty used to noise!  Thanks, E, for coming over.

...on my Thursday night out, I went out for dinner with a fellow h/schooling mom that I've been getting to know over the past couple of years.  It was the kind of dinner where we met at 6:30 and didn't even think about looking at the clock until 11pm...and then still visited a bit longer!  We always seem to have so much to talk about and so much in common.  She's probably the most well-researched, organized, hard-working, well-read h/schooling mama I know (these things we do not have in common!) - she amazes me.  I went to bed energized and smiling that night and woke up still smiling.  It was awesome.  Thanks again K.  We've decided that we're next going to go for dinner where we can have a favourite dessert of hers (yet untried by me) - have you heard of sex in a pan??

...we celebrated Matthew's birthday with a bunch of his friends.  He turns nine this coming week and so we invited twelve kids (plus our three) to a roller skating party!  More about the party in a few days!

My favourite things this week were...
...times with friends.

...a productive academic week and relative calm in the house.

...watching the kids make small toboggan runs in the front yard and spend hours sliding down them.  They would sometimes pile on top of each other on the little slidey-sled thingees and careen down for the few seconds that it took to reach the bottom.  They usually couldn't get up right away because they were laughing so hard.  There were also squabbles and things to be worked out, but overall they had a blast out there.  I'm hoping that we're entering the last few weeks where they'll be able to have fun in the snow before spring hits.  :)

...Matthew's birthday party on Saturday.  Matthew turns nine this coming week and so we invited twelve kids (plus our three) to a roller skating party today.

What's working for us...
...we're back to normal as far as Geoff's work is concerned.  Thank goodness. 

Things I'm working on...
...I'm starting to think about spring and summer!  I just registered the kids for spring swimming lessons and all three for a week of summer basketball camp (mornings).  Also, I've registered the boys for a 4-day (all day) soccer camp with some fantastic university coaches from all over North America who are organizing this special one-time camp; both of my boys are interested in playing soccer and so if the one-week camp goes well this summer, I'm going to do my best to get them into indoor soccer for next winter.  Oh, and I also just registered the boys for the same cycling program that they adored last year (Lizzie's still on training wheels so she's not able to join yet this year...hopefully next year!).  So it's looking like a pretty fun warm season around here.

I'm cooking/baking...
...I actually did some real baking this week - something I love to do but just haven't had a lot of time for since Christmas.  I baked cinnamon loaves this week (yum!), some chocolate-dipped macaroons with Matthew (to help cement his new knowledge of fractions!) and, of course, Matthew's birthday cake!  It was fun.  In addition, my Mom gifted us cinnamon buns and pull-apart buns - how awesome is that!

I'm grateful for...
...friends.  I have some truly lovely friends, near and far.  I'm so blessed by their presence in my life; life is just so much better with them in my life.


  1. You are such an amazing woman, and I feel incredibly blessed to call you a friend. Thank you for listening and really helping me (once again!) to get some perspective on life. I look forward to our sweet treat outing.

  2. Right back at you my friend. Loved our evening together and already looking forward to the next one!!!


  3. Sex in a pan is indeed a mighty fine dessert. Because of its provocative name, in Winkler it's called "that delicious dessert". Hilarious!!!!