Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Winter Quarter- Duncan

Are we there yet? I am ready to play with new curriculum! I admit it. I have had the winter blahs this quarter and have not been updating my blog regularly. However, we have been chugging away at our studies. So, a big thanks to Beth in SW WA for typing her Winter Quarter Wrap-Up and kicking me in the pants.

Duncan is wrapping up the winter quarter of second grade. He is terribly asynchronous in his subjects. His math ability is way ahead of his language arts. I have high hopes that sometime in the next year and a half he will suddenly decide that he likes books, because my mother has reminded me that while I read early I didn’t read for pleasure until somewhere between 9 and 10.

He is also asynchronous in development. Although he is academically ahead of his age-level peers, his emotional development is right at his age level and his motor skill development (both large muscle group and fine motor skills) may actually be below his age level. So, he may figure the tip on the dinner bill, duck down because the waiter embarrasses him, and then fall out of his chair because he has no sense of balance. He went from being a tiny middle schooler, to a normal second grader, to a giant preschooler in the span of a few minutes.

The biggest change for this quarter is that we started Classical Conversations!

Math: Duncan wrapped up Key to Algebra books 1 through 3 and the geometry section of The Complete Book of Algebra and Geometry.

This week we began Foerster’s Algebra with the Math without Borders lectures. About two weeks ago Duncan pulled it off the shelf and brought it to bed. After perusing it he informed me that he already knew everything in the first three chapters. While I think that he is familiar with the material, I want him to go through the lectures and problem sets in order to become familiar with the format and to work with the more challenging problems at the end of the sets.

He really wants the Teaching Textbooks Geometry that I have borrowed from a friend, but I am leaning towards Math-U-See Geometry first. (If I can just remember where I put the stinkin’ DVD set!) Patty Paper Geometry is out of the running, because his lack of fine motor skills would make it more frustrating than educational. However for now, while we get into a flow with Foerster’s, I am having him use Math Mammoth Geometry.

Last night I pulled out Jacob’s Mathematics: A Human Endeavor. Although I know I shouldn’t plan too far ahead, I really think that he will enjoy this book. Maybe, it can be a Friday/ Fun-day book next year.

Reading: Duncan can read. He just doesn’t like to sit still, quiet, and alone. Last night he was reading Percy Jackson on his Nook, but he has started that book before and not finished it.

Around Thanksgiving my extra student began using a reading comprehension book, so in February Duncan started Early Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book D. I wanted to start him where he already had complete mastery of skills in order to just work on this type of answering the questions format. When he is finished with this, I plan to go directly into Reading Comprehension in Varied Subject Matter Book 1.

Writing: Duncan has a fabulous Classical Conversations tutor who has scheduled topics for presentations each week. I know that some of the other tutors/ groups/ classes are not as organized about or excited over the weekly presentations, but Duncan’s classmates are fabulous with this. So, our writing and typing this quarter has been built around Duncan’s presentations. I have used IEW with my older two children and in preparation for Duncan to go into Essentials next year I have been introducing him to some of the IEW material through his presentation work.

Grammar: Grammar this quarter has been very minimal. I have been writing sentences on the white board from the beginning of Practice Island for review, but this isn’t happening regularly. Where is the embarrassed emoticon? I hope to get back on the ball spring quarter. On the other hand, Duncan wanted to go back and learn the Classical Conversations English Grammar memory work from first semester, so he has had some grammar through that.

Spelling/ Word Study/ Phonics: In February we started Spelling Plus! This is the first spelling program that Duncan has used. He is also plugging along in MCP Plaid Word Study D.

History/Geography: Duncan memorized the history sentences and geography for Classical Conversations. He also went back and memorized the first semester history sentences (but not the geography). We used our handy Kingfisher History Encyclopedia to further cover the information. (As a side note- my pretty red cover has fallen off of my old handy Kingfisher that my college age son used many moons ago and I am sad.) He has given presentations on Robert Fulton, William the Conqueror, his favorite Bible story, how to build a catapult, the Black Plague, and the Colossus computer. He memorized the Presidents song.

Science: We are using the weekly Classical Conversations science sentence and exploring it using Sciencesaurus and The Usborne IL Science Encyclopedia. He also went back and memorized the science from first semester. We covered astronomy first semester and half of the first semester of Classical Conversation's science covers astronomy, so this wasn't a big stretch. This quarter Classical Conversations did weekly science experiments from Van Cleave’s 201 Awesome Experiments. I didn’t think they were particularly awesome, but they were completed experiments that focused on the scientific method! Also, Duncan’s fabulous tutor is very enthusiastic and in part thanks to this all the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Music: I must say that music just isn’t our thing. Although Duncan likes his violin teacher, music isn’t where his heart is. Classical Conversations covers a little bit of orchestra and music history the last six weeks and so we pulled out the old Calvert music videos and are watching them again.

Drama/ Art: The third six weeks Classical Conversations covers some art history with projects. That was so quick and fun and easy! On Fridays Duncan attends a drama and art program. He loves drama. Art isn’t his favorite thing. Like music, his heart just isn’t in it except unlike music there is also a getting dirty aspect to art that is unappealing to Duncan. LOL

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