Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Good Start

Two days into a new term and the enthusiasm is blowing me away. I don't know when I remember two weeks break doing the kids so much good. Maybe it was the fact they could spend the majority of it in the garden, I dunno, but they have been just fab the last two days!

Phoebe is up and raring to go in the mornings and thoroughly seems to be enjoying her little bit of school at the moment. Boo is her usual enthusiastic self J and even Joel has kicked up very little fuss. BrightmindsOnline has definitely been a good move for him. In fact yesterday I had him and Boo working together on Junior 1 science (life processes) and while some of it was a bit above Boo's head they both came out of it with a good understanding of what the seven life processes are (what all living things have in common) and they were both able, with a little bit of assistance, able to record them in their 'science' exercise books. I was really pleased with it. Jake did the same work when he came home and didn't do much better at it than them!

I've got Jake doing 30 minutes of BrightmindsOnline when he comes home from school (if he has no other homework) because I really feel his educational level is dropping L. I did the MEP maths Year 5 assessment test with him over the hols - he struggled with some of the year 3 level work and only got about 70% overall, which works out to Level 3. When you think that he was working at Level 4 when he entered school almost two years ago this is a bit disheartening and when we discuss things at home that I know he has covered at school I realise that he remembers very little of it - in many areas, but especially science and maths, which used to be his strong points. It really saddens me and I really worry about it, but at the same time I am still not sure I can cope with adding him back into the mix at home the year after next. I think I shall continue to work with him more outside of school, without overloading him, and gently coaxing him back into the feel of HS, with the hope that he will see its benefits and not kick against me too hard. Honestly speaking though, I think even he can see that he is not doing as well as he was and he is a little disappointed with himself. Tests have always, strangely, been fairly good motivators for him. I guess that he has always thought of himself as one of the 'clever' ones because initially he really was, but now he is bog-average (if not less than) and he is not too happy about that himself. I think the MEP test was a bit of a jolt for him and working on Brightminds - particularly the science part - has made him realise just how much he has forgotten/never learned/really does not know/really should now and needs to know! Poor kid - I feel badly about all this, but at the same time, I know I couldn't have had him at home these last two years - or next either for that matter. He is still too much of a trigger in this home (not only for me) and I need him to be a little more together/mature before I can take him home again. Then I fear we will have a whole bunch of 'catch-up' to play which will not be easy either!

ATM both Boo and Joel are working through some the MEP maths material, which is mostly review & consolidation for them (that was the intention), but at the same time gives them another way of looking at maths - a different perspective to Singapore. I believe it is important for them to see that maths does not always LOOK the same and they need to be able to work with it whatever the presentation. My intention next is to cover a bit more Miquon with Boo and maybe start it with Phoebe too who seems really keen on numbers and number work and much as I don't want to quash that by formalising it, I do want to capitalise on her obvious ability with numbers and I think Miquon will do that for her. She sat at the table saying "I had four chocolate fingers and then I ate one and had three. Then you gave me two more, so now I've got five. If I eat these I will have 6 in my tummy!" - so, that's addition, subtraction and more addition all thrown in (4-1=3, 3+2=5 & 4+2=6, or 5+1=6) and I do not even prompt it - she just does it! So whereas reading and letters are a slog for her, numbers just seem to come naturallyJ.

Now…what to do tomorrow..?

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