Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Schooly Update...

Well, here we are nearly at the end of the first half-term of the year and I think I've blogged about educating my kiddos ~ all of once?! Time for an update me thinks, but I'll try not to make it ALL about H'Ed!

DD ~ he is SO keen! So keen, that once he eventually gets dressed in the morning he just ploughs through his 'bookwork' and then nags me all day to do more!! I don't like to do too much in each day with him as I want him to absorb what we have done, so I have to be creative! I'm liking the materials on Lesson Pathways when I can get myself organised enough to have it ready (which is not often enough atm I'm afraid). He likes to paint, colour, use the computer, do puzzles, play games, cut & stick ~ and generally I can keep him happy! He is making really excellent progress learning letter sounds and his pencil control is great. He is able to sound out basic CVC words verbally and probably could write some if I asked him to (which I haven't tried yet). He easily identifies beginning and end sounds of words, and can hear rhyme, so I think basically half the battle is won before we even step onto the 'reading' road :D. He too, is a whizz at maths! He can read and write all numbers to 20 and do dot-to-dots with numbers beyond twenty with no trouble ~ saying the numbers as he goes along. He has just completed a maths book for 5-7's (excepting the pages that required multiplication & addition of money, which I deemed he wouldn't be ready for until he is at least 7). I think MAYBE I might start him on Miquon Orange right behind Lilo, and just take it slowly. He certainly likes to play with the rods :D. Any suggestions anyone (he was 5 in June)? Alison? I'll tell you what he already knows...

  • Count, read and write numbers/quantities to 20 confidently (says 'two-teen', 'three-teen' & 'five-teen' to help him remember those 'strange' numbers. I've used this method before and it naturally changes over time).
  • All basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle, star, oval, heart) and necessary properties of them.
  • Concepts of 'half' /'equal' / same /different.
  • Concepts of greater/fewer, more/less than.
  • Good understanding of sequence and pattern.
  • Concept/recognition of O'Clock.
  • Order of numbers (can fill in gaps in sets of numbers/number lines) ~ forwards and backwards.
  • Can recite 2,4,6,8,10 (although does not fully understand skip counting).
  • Brilliant at 'odd one out'
  • Can do some basic addition & subtraction with the use of manipulatives (not tried beyond numerates of 10 yet).
So ~ where do I go from here with a 5yo? I'd like to encourage and nurture him, without over stretching him or discouraging him. He's definitely the kind of kid who is very easily frustrated, so whatever I use needs to seem 'easy' and yet still help him to make good, steady progress.

Lilo  ~ seems to be FINALLY be getting the hang of reading ~ slow but definite progress :D. Headsprout and plenty of practice SEEM to be working this time around. She's feeling more confident about it that is certain and there is a whole lot less guessing/memorising whole texts going on! Maths wise she's been working on multiplication and continues to surprise me how great she is with numbers. She just 'gets' it :D We are using Miquon atm and nearly finished the Orange book. It really seems to suits her. I suspect, if it was something I had ever invested in, Maths-U-See would have been the thing for her ~ but I didn't/haven't/won't now! I do plan to skim through Singapore MPH 1a/b when she's done though, because at some stage I expect she will transfer her onto that instead and in the past I have found they supplement each other nicely.
She's done other cool things too ~ like started to join her handwriting (she does handwriting practice every day) and I don't know, but I actually think the joining of letters might be helping her reading! Strange how that works, but it does seem to. Aside from that, some STILE Literacy work, lots of puzzles, colouring, drawing, colouring, computer work (Learning Ladder/Tutpup/MoshiMonsters/Reader Rabbit/Education City, etc...) and we are reading Alice in Wonderland together ~ when I can muster the wherewithal to do so! It all adds up and she and I are happy :D.

Big Girls ~ they are doing well :D They are SO easy! They get up, get sorted, get on! TP is usually done by lunch time, but I have warned her that after Easter I shall be adding a couple more tasks to her day. Minnie works like a trooper too, but her work is a little more taxing due to her general 'level' being that much higher. But they find time to have some fun in their day :D. Yesterday they built these (the challenge was to build a 'flat design'); 
TP's USA flag.

Minnie's Butterfly.

Lilo's Butterfly 
(the bits at the top are the antenna, the odd red bits were because she ran out of whites).

Right now they are playing on 'Just Dance' (otherwise known as indoor PE when the weather is too fowl for outside).

There are things that Minnie struggles with ~ multiplication & division being her main stumbling blocks in maths. She just does not seem to 'get' the idea at all and practice doesn't seem to be helping! I must confess though, that it was an area I struggled with at her age (and probably still is not my strong point), so I think it will click in at some point enough for her to be able to function with it. She is definitely a reading-writing sort of girl :D. 

TP ~ is catching up nicely now. Her spelling seems to improving quite naturally, alongside her more natural & avid reading of books (well there's a surprise!) and her writing is making progress too. She still does not have the most 'logical' mind, but I see reflections of her eldest brother! He's a pretty good writer these days, so I think she will get there. It's so odd to think how desperate I was for Bugs to be writing stories at her age (coming up 9) and how shocked the school were when he started in year 4 and told them he had never written one! TP hasn't either, but this time round I really don't care!! I've come to the conclusion along the way that writing stories is NOT actually that important or useful and it's only fun IF it's something you enjoy. If you are forced to 'create' on demand your creative juices are highly likely to dry up!! Bugs these days is pretty good at prose & poetry when he CHOOSES to put his mind to it. I can't remember the last time I asked him to do a piece of creative writing, but sometimes he just does because he is actually a creative person ~ left to create under his own steam. I suspect TP is much the same & so I'm just waiting for her to bloom in her own time :D. She writes in her diary once or twice a week ~ I don't read it, but I know she can write!

Taz ~ well he is doing fine - reluctant still, but doing fine :D! Skiving off as much as he can get away with, but actually, WHEN he sets his mind to a task is very capable and struggles less than he thinks he does! He is a just typical 12 yo boy who tries to skim and dart through everything, but I'm not worried about his abilities, just his attitude!! ;D

Bugs ~ he's much the same, only actually his problem is not so much attitude (which is actually not all that bad), but time management and inability to prioritise well and/or recognise his own limitations! Same old, same old in fact! So he often ends up 'finishing off' over a Friday and the weekend, but I think he needs to achieve a certain level/quantity of work these days so that's just the way it's going to be!  Still chasing up college options for next year ~ but I think he'll get a work-load shock all the same! Ideally, I think he'd spend his days taking and editing photographs! I think he's pretty good (and in his shoes I'd do the same)! ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/doogle13/ IF at the end of the day this is where his future lies I don't want to stand in his way too much..! After baby is born we are planning a trip out together to a photography gallery (just linking in some possibilities for future reference) ~ looking forward to that :D
That'll do for now ~ all 'thunk' out now.
Catch up more soon...


Jan said...

My friend Helen uses maths from http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/ and really likes them for her little one - lots of stuff to think about, and I think you can either print it yourself or buy it as a book

Christina S. said...

We're so glad you like LessonPathways.com!

You might want to try looking at some of the older Pathways for him to see how he does with those concepts. (that's one of the nice things about LessonPathways - the flexibility to "mix and match" to find the right fit!)

We just completed a series on our blog on "Making Math Meaningful". You might find some inspiration there too. :-)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. You can reach me at ContactUs at LessonPathways.com.

-Christina S.
LessonPathways.com Team Member

jax said...

Try out some montessori techniques for multiplication and division? Nice manipulative based stuff.

Do the odds evens, use golden beads to get up to big numbers?

Did lots of this sort of thing at Monte with children around that age - as long as you follow them rather than other way around, I don't think there's any problem.