Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Do you know the answers..?

I cannot rave about BrightmindsOnline enough. Today my 8 yo and my 6 yo hand in hand were learning the seven life processes. This is Junior 1 level science and Boo is really not struggling with it, just needs the odd bit of prompting here and there.

So, can you tell me what 'MR NERG' is the mnemonic for?

And, do you know what all living things are made of, as opposed to what all non-living things are made of? (one word answers)

Jake has also done the whole of this section and I think it's really helped him too. He did some work on Materials today though (one of last terms topics for us) and I was shocked by how little of the vocabulary he understood. How can an almost 10yo not know the meaning of 'transparent'? I think it is all linked to his 'auditory-memory' problems (as diagnosed last year and largely ignored by the school). I think he is taught too much from the front in spoken word, then they do worksheets - fair enough - but there is very little hands-on science happening from what I can tell and it worries me, because this is how Jake remembers - when he sees and does things with his hands it is much more likely that information will be retained by him. In actual fact I think most of my children learn that way - like their dad! So with the ones I have at home we do stuff lots of ways; we read, we do worksheets, we 'play' with the information and we regurgitate it. The older ones write down what they've learned in words, charts and diagrams - whatever. The younger ones draw pictures and tell me what needs to be written to go with them. And so my 8 & 6 year olds are better able to express their knowledge (in words and pictures) than my 10 yo is L.

Anyway - remains to say that I am very impressed by the level of BMO (as I will now call it) and highly recommend it to you all!

On a less progressive note; I have restarted Phoebe on Headsprout - back to episode one (bless her). She 'gets' the lessons as she does them, but fails to retain them to the next day. I really am wondering if she has similar problems to Jake, only difference is she is SO afraid to get things wrong she goes mute and won't even give it a go L It is worrying and I don't want her to feel a failure by setting her back, but I also don't want to race ahead when she doesn't have solid blocks to build on! Headsprout is VERY repetitive (to the point where I think she would be bored, but she isn't), yet she fails to retain anything beyond the span of the lesson time. What she learns today she forgets tomorrow.

Not sure where to really go from here…not an auditory learner for sure - really struggles with 'hearing' sounds correctly, so 'feel' becomes 'fill', or 'full', and 'fr' becomes 'fur' - really hard to work on that. She consistently hears 'vvvvvvvv' as 'fffffffffffff' too - Hmmm!

Not a kinsthetic learner - I don't think - in that even hands-on activities have not really helped her retain (might try play-dough letters though, not done that yet).

Not visual - I don't think - or she would be remembering more of headsprout than she is, as it is very visual!

Or it might just be that she is a bit of all of these, but has retention problems. I feel a bit lost!! I'm hoping that with lots of repetition, encouragement to try (if I can hold my patience when she won't!) and slowly, slowly edging forward we will just 'get there' in the end. I'm not sure what I'll do if she doesn't learn to read by the end year (i.e. Dec) - that'll be a whole new ball game for me. None of mine have had a problem up til now - not like this one - and my whole 'curriculum' is geared towards reading children. She is SO bright in other ways I feel she will be really hindered if she simpy can't do it, yet I do recognise that there are kids out there who really can't learn to read at this age (if ever) and if it turns out that way I shall be asking for lots of advice!!

That'll do me for today.

Btw - now I've figured how to blog from Word again (having Office 2007 J has made that possible) you will be probably be hearing more from me. Picassa has got easier too, so picture posting is simpler too - all good news!! Blogging from Blogger was a fiddle - this is easy J and I get my smileys too!


Anonymous said...

I cant remember how old Phoebe is but Em had vvvv/ffff problems till about a month ago and she is nearly 7, equally she also has the same problem retaining information.
What we do is, whatever she has learnt we repeat back to her and also get her to recall it after a short period and narrate back. It seems to help Em.

How does BMO compare to Ed City (Which we dont like very much)
I find Ed city repetative and longwinded and is really only for backing up previously learnt rather than teaching new things.

Caroline said...

Phoebe is 5.

Regarding BMO vs ED City. BMO only covers yrs 3-6 atm. They are planning to have the KS1 package before too long (I shall sign up for that too). It is heaps cheaper than EC and is one payment for as many children as you want to add on to it! It is designed as SAT revision and does assume some previous knowledge of the topics - It doesn't actually 'teach' the child as such, BUT I think it can be used as a major teaching tool. There is enough in it to actually teach the topics with - iyswim. And there is enough repetition to make it stick without being boring! You can even turn off the little characters that 'chat' to the children (which mine find irritating). The certificate is printed at the end of the day with all the 'scores' for what has been done on (one for each area - maths, science & English), but you have to remember to print it before you change subjects or it forgets what you did. However in the teachers area it does keep a record of what each child has achieved. This is not however a 'progress report' like you get with EC - it's just scores, 8/10 etc.. You can assign certain 'topics' - but not PER CHILD - what yo assign for one you assign for all. It does not quite have the functionality of EC in that respect. It's a lot more basic! :)

I like EC - but do find parts of it frustrating. The kids find it a bit slow at times and get confused because it uses the same activities in all areas of the Curriculum - so they think they have 100% stuff when they haven't (they did something in Maths and don't realise they need to do the same activity in English too - now called Literacy).
Also the phonics is very inconsistent in its methodology, which I have emailed them about - still not heard back though! I do like the fact that it is SO customizable though and their progress reports are a god-send to me, as I cna't always be on the children's shoulders!