Friday, January 25, 2013
Week in Review - Jan 25, 2013
It is hard to believe - but as we finished our 18th week of AO this year - we are officially half way through the school year. I am finding that things are going pretty well overall, although this has been a trying week.
Delta has finally been tested for some more badges in Cubs. They have been so busy doing things (tours, or other unusual activities) that they haven't tested for badges in over 3 months. Delta earned Swimming, the Blue Star, Observer, and Collector. He will test next week for Camper and Home Repair. (They didn't want to test them all the one day.) As we will be taking a bit of a break from school next week, he may finish up more, who knows. He has earned 5 of the 6 stars, and has his eye on that last star. Then I'll have to point him towards the Awards.... hopefully they will keep him busy for the next year and a half of cubs! He wants to do the snowboarding badge 0 but I can't figure out how we can possibly make that happen.
Echo has been having a tough week. She has had tantrums - yelling at me that she doesn't want to read (whatever). She hasn't wanted to do most of her AO readings this week - and she hasn't finished them for the week either. Yesterday I had to suggest to her that it would be a shame for her to miss her Beaver meeting because she would have to stay home to do homework. That made her more co-operative yesterday. I'm hoping that her having to do her readings next week while Delta doesn't have to do any will help get her back on track. Our diet has been a little less varied recently, and stress has been higher in general at home - so I suspect that one or both of those is affecting her. She does have times when she is very eager to please and help out....
Foxtrot finished "Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons" recently. I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not. So for reading now, she is reading from the Treadwell Primer one day, the Dick and Jane book (for the 2nd half of grade 1) "Our New Friends" on another day, and she is reading "Make Way for Ducklings" to me on the other two. I have started working on basic handwriting too - as she is already writing a lot, so I want to instill good habits. Although we use Italics, I find the Penny Gardner Italics program really just skims through capital letters. I figured I'd start with the capitals, as that is what Foxtrot is writing in on her own. So - I'm using the Peterson Directed Handwriting pages for print - just for the Capital Letters. She is doing great in RightStart A level as well - I think she is well over 1/2 of the way through.
Golf has also been busy - she is potty training! Ok, honestly I only started with her when I did (the middle of winter is NOT the best time!) because we were short on diapers one day. But she had shown signs of knowing when she was "going" before that.... and she is doing well! There were a couple of days after we started when I felt so bad for her. She didn't want to go.... anywhere. Not on the toilet, not in a potty, not in underwear, and not in a diaper either. So she spent most of those 2 days crying that she had to go but she didn't want to. I ended up sitting her on the potty when it was obvious an accident was about to occur, even though she didn't want to. She'd go, and would be fine for a short while, and then the crying and tantrums would start again. Ah well, it all worked out. She rarely (but does occasionally) has accidents. She even comes out of naps dry most days. I have her in just training pants and a t-shirt at home. When we go out - I just put her in a diaper for now. With the other kids I took a potty in the van so we could pull over and let them use the potty if needed. I'd have a folding toilet seat for in stores or wherever. But it is too cold to use the potty in the van (Mike is probably relieved...) - and I need to buy a new folding seat. So for now, we are just having her use a diaper when out.
Other bits of news - we have started using "All About Spelling". Delta was just having problems with spelling, and I couldn't figure out how to help him in a CM way - so after trying a couple of things - this made the most sense. Echo was also interested, and so I'm doing it with her too. They are both in Level 1. Foxtrot is also interested, but I want her to be able to write her letters properly first. I only got one student pack. When a child gets a card added into the review area, I write their initial at the bottom of the card. When they master it, a small star sticker in their colour covers up their initial. When all children using that card have mastered it, it moves to the mastered area. So far it is working well. It probably reduces the resale value slightly - but I figure that by the time 4 kids have used it, any resale value is a bonus anyway.
I considered entering the AAS cards into our Anki Flashcard program (which handles the review frequency better) - but I already know from experience that I don't like using Anki for spelling anyway. I need to have the child faced away from me so they can't see the computer screen - and I'm facing away from them, and it just doesn't work. I may reconsider Anki in the future - if the sharing of the cards with the kids proves to be too hard to handle.
We didn't have the 2'x3' magnetic white board - so I made a file-folder board using magnetic tape to hold the tiles - similar to this one. I'd love to make one with little metal boards, like this one, but I can't find the inexpensive metal boards. The closest I could find here, was 9x12 magnetic lap boards from a school supply store - at $8 each. As I'd need 4, that would be $32 - plus it wouldn't fit in file folders, so I'd have to work them differently. Doing a google search I found a set of 5 for $15 at amazon that I might consider buying at some point... but it isn't happening right now. The file folders are working ok for now - with just the alphabet on, usually only 1 or 2 tiles fall out of place. But I know that when all the tiles are on, quite a few seem to fall off. (I tried it out...) - I keep all of the paper stuff, teacher's book, and the folder board in a little plastic portfolio folder sleeve thingie from the dollar store. The cards, stickers, unused tiles, etc are kept in a little storage box from the dollar store too. It is big enough for a bit of expansion - I'm using bubble wrap to fill the extra spots.
In other areas - Math is going ok for Delta and Echo in Level C. They aren't at the 1/2 way mark of the level though. As many kids take 1.5 years for level C, this shouldn't bother me. It does more than I'd like though. We aren't playing the games as often as we should - and we aren't doing practice sheets. Bad mommy. I guess I should just get over the getting it done this year, and do more games and stuff. They are doing fine though. They are into the drawing lessons. I had ended up with 2 of most of the drawing tools (the T-square, both types of triangles etc) - but only had 1 drawing board. Well - I was at a dollar store and found an artist canvas that is almost the exact same size. It seems to be square - and for $1.25 I figured it was worth a try. Well, it is working perfectly! We are actually using the back side (it is smoother) - but I can do the lessons together still!
As for me - I'm still trying to work out modifications to AO for Year 3. The specifics.... which chapter read when, etc. And I'm trying to find a Canadian replacement for Squanto. Something around the same time period (roughly) that is about the same length and difficulty. And available inexpensively (or free). And is living. And of course is in Canada. I'm not having much luck.... sigh. I'm also looking at which options we are choosing within Year 3. So many things to work out, and only 8 or 9 months to do it in! I guess it is also time to do our report to the government. I hate those!