Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ramblings about Accelerated Math with My Little Man

I have been in a tizzy about math the past several days. I really try not to plan math too much other than to say that this is what we plan to do next. You never know when a child will fly through lessons and when he will need to squat on a topic. One of the benefits of home education is that I don't have to take into consideration an entire classroom full of students. Anyway, Duncan has used Saxon 54, Saxon 65, and half of Saxon 76 and I had planned to use Saxon 87 next.

With Duncan the problem, in addition to his sloppy 8yo boy handwriting making workbook type materials look really attractive, is that due to Kumon, Key to Algebra Book 1, Math Mammoth Order of Operations, and Hands on Equations he has jumped ahead of his current material in Saxon 76. However, I can't just skip him ahead through testing or whatever, because he hasn't worked with some of the geometry presented in Saxon and it is integrated into the rest of the program.

Another problem is that it is pretty clear that at Kumon Duncan will be hitting Algebra 1 topics by next fall at the latest. Even if I slow him down by requesting less work and stall by requesting more repetitions, he will be hitting Algebra topics long before he could complete the second half of Saxon 76 and all of Saxon 87. Kumon is implicit learning, so I want to explain concepts at home before he hits them at Kumon. It is unlikely that he will want to sit still and listen to the whys of a topic if he can already fly through multiple pages of the topic and come out with the correct answer.

Grayson, my middle son, used Saxon from Saxon 3-87 alongside Singapore Primary Maths. I wish that I had never moved him out of Saxon. I don't really want to be in this same place with the little guy, but the grass is looking greener and all that.

After banging my head against this dilemma for a few days, I have decided that next semester Duncan will be using Key to Algebra Books 2 and 3 while simultaneously doing Math Mammoth Blue Series Geometry 1 and 2 (all the sections with unfamiliar material and any other sections that interest him). Key to Algebra Books 2 and 3 cover the pre-algebra material included in his current Kumon level and Math Mammoth Blue Series Geometry will cover the geometry that is in Saxon. He will also continue with Hands on Equations.

After this is finished, I have several good ideas for math, but I am trying to resist actually planning it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Favorites of Classical Literature

What is your favorite classic? I don't really have a desire to discuss the definition of classic, so just think of classic as meaning whatever you want.

I wrote my high school senior research paper on Shaw, so I must have put high value on him at one point. Everyone should be familiar with Gilgamesh, Odysseus, and Beowulf, even if only in summary, because epic heroes are, well, epic. And frankly, Moby Dick is quoted too often to be missed. My boys have read quite a bit of Shakespeare, but while I have included the required Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet, they are not my favorites. Oh, also, while I see the value of discussing The Scarlet Letter, I detest Hawthorne's writing! Basically, I am really girly when it comes to my favorites of classic literature. I mean I do adore Lord of the Flies, value the message of Animal Farm, think that Poe should be mandatory reading, and appreciate Great Expectations, but my favorites are just plain girly. So, while these all of the previously mentioned literature may be of value none are favorites.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is the work that leaps to mind as a favorite, because it is delightful. Everyone should see it as a ballet before reading and then after reading they should all memorize Puck's ending monologue. This should be done about 7th grade or at least before high school. (If a family enjoys bawdy humor, I also recommend Much Ado About Nothing. All boys should memorize at least one of Benedick's monologues. If a family wants a strong female character and to discuss the treatment of Jews and the trade of money lending in Europe, The Merchant of Venice is fabulous!)

Branching out from Shakespeare into my other girly favorites, I really like Alice in Wonderland and Sense and Sensibility. Along with A Midsummer's Night's Dream, these are the stories that I will read again, because I want to revisit the characters and the plot. How corny is that?

On the other hand, outside of what is probably considered classic into modern science fiction, if your family can deal with a lot of sex, Stranger in a Strange Land should not be missed. This is another that I have read again just because I wanted to watch the message in reruns. Hhmm- well, now I guess I must reconsider Poe, I go back and read him again and again.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday- Week in Review

Duncan is my 2nd grader.
Mei is my friend’s 5th grader.

Our poetry, language arts and history memory work.
Poem 2
The Tiger by William Blake

List the 8 parts of speech.
Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, Interjection

Tell me about Charlemagne.
In 800 A.D. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor of Europe.

Duncan's memory work for math.
What is the legal move when solving an equation.
Whatever you do to one side of an equation you must also do to the other side.

Mei’s memory work for math and LA.
What do we call the answer to a division problem?
The answer to a division problem is called the quotient.

Language Arts
Together we continued with MCT’s The Music of the Hemispheres and Sentence Island. Duncan tried Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He tried it a while back and couldn’t get into it. This week he finished through chapter 11, so that is going well.

At my house Mei read The Story of the U.S.A. Book 2 Chapter 1 and completed the comprehension work. I think this will give some of the comprehension guidance I was wanting.

We finished the noun side of our parts of speech lapbook.

Mei's completed noun section.

Duncan's completed noun section.

The plural noun minibook is the coolest!

We reviewed verbs (action verbs, linking verbs, helping verbs and verb tense) using worksheets from the Scott Foresman Grade 5 Grammar Book.

Mei has completed lesson 51 in Saxon 65, continued working in Math Mammoth Blue Series- Fractions 1, and finished lessons 3 and 4 in Hands on Equations.

Duncan did Kumon, continued Math Mammoth Blue Series- The Four Operations, and completed Hands on Equations Lessons 3-7.

In history Duncan and Mei covered Chapter 21 of Gombrich’s A Little History. We also read about Charlemagne and Vikings in SOTW2. We completed a minibook for Charlemagne and match books for Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson.

Outside of Duncan's left. Inside of Mei's right.

Duncan's inside green. Mei's closed pink.

We didn’t really move forward in science this week, but Mei and Duncan did watch the Moody science video The Red River of Life.

Both Mei and Ducan started Learnables Spanish 1.

Other Stuff
Cool Stuff
On Tuesday Mei and Duncan went climbing.
Mei is a spider. She moves so fast I had a difficult time snapping photos and keeping her in frame. She made it to the top on 10 of her 12 climbs.

Duncan is just a little too small and just couldn't reach quite far enough with his little legs and arms, but he gave it a good try. While he never made it to the top he made it a pretty good way.

On Friday Duncan, Grayson and I went to see the Impressionist exhibit at the Frist with Mei, her mom and the rest of our art class. Of course I couldn't take photos in the exhibit, but the all kids had a great time in the art project room after the tour.

Duncan's print.

Mei's print.

My print.

Not So Cool Stuff
This afternoon we had the thrill of taking Grayson to the doctor to get an ankle x-ray. His ankle has been wrong since sometime during volleyball, but the x-ray showed no problem with the bone so it is a muscle/tendon thing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Thanksgiving

My mom and I. She left Sat. morning, so this is how I look without make-up and jewelry and before using a hairbrush. LOL But, I got the photo.

The big guy upon rolling out of bed.

Grayson managing to open his eyes.

The little man squinting beside his Gigi.

Taking the big guy back to college I65 north through KY was inching along.

Yes, some people back there are switching drivers on the interstate. This wasn't the only time I witnessed this move.

The big guy read.

Grayson read some and slept some.