Homeschooling Summary Oct ’14: confusion on curriculum

Looks like I don’t have time to do detailed blogs yet so it’ll have to be one big summary for now. I aim to get some details out later as I personally find it fascinating how they’re learning.

Astroyboy:

Apple Tree Print

Apple Tree Print

Language: We’ve kind of stopped on the zhuyin intro for now as we end up watching TV during swim practice. Though what he is watching is Chiao Hu which is introducing zhuyin anyway. Instead we started on Sage Books level 1 book 1.  It’s kind of cool and amazing watching his interest reading the book.

I don’t know if it’s the Chiao Hu or hitting a growth spurt (I suspect the former) but his Chinese is way more fluent now. He speaks Chinese 90% of the time to his sister.

Math: He was shown the Intro to Golden Beads, Crisis of Nine, Hundred Board, Numeral layout, Addition Snake Game, Addition Stamp Game.  We’re really squarely at the end of counting and the beginning of working with 4 digit numbers.

He continues his obsession with counting everyday, whenever he can; speed limit signs, freeway signs , and most recently reading 4 digit numbers sequentially. He is now very comfortable saying two digit numbers, yet continues to be confused by 6 and 9. His obsession lies in counting up as far as he can. And like Thumper, has trouble figuring out what comes after 9, 19, 29, etc. but is making progress. We’re slowly working on the concept of 4 digit numbers. As you can see, he is being shown things that are out of his level (stamp game) but he really wanted me to show him the exchanges in addition because his sister was shown.

Practical Life: cutting, washing windows, can button himself now, likes to floss himself, getting better about folding laundry.

Art: an Apple print activity, learned about colors through oil painting (first time using it).

Sensorial: Geometric solids. 5 minute happiness with new material and then they don’t want to use it anymore. BUT, the other day, he starts cutting himself some geometric shapes and quizzing me on what they’re called. So he’s learning names of shapes himself anyway.

Culture: saw chickens, Needs of Humans presentations.  Totally cute.  The other day he wanted to draw the Bart station and himself.  Then he got quite upset with me because he wanted to draw the “……” I was drawing when presenting the Needs of Humans, to signal the little man walking, but I hadn’t understood what he wanted.  He started learning the days of the month and days of the week in Chinese.Thumper

I’m not quite sure what to say about Thumper as I don’t feel like we’re making progress at all.

Math:  addition memorization of 1 & 2, multiplication memorization of 2 & 3. Introduction to fractions.

Language:  Sage Book Series 2.  I’m amazed she actually knows most of the characters in Series 2 already and a lot in Series 3 as well.  We also did some zhuyin and she read on her own the book series from HsinYi, so getting some zhuyin practice.  But I don’t feel she has a solid foundation in zhuyin still.  We also practiced writing characters but honestly I don’t think they will stick because we’re not using them.  She practiced some strokes using the iPhone app.

Culture:  For culture after Needs of Humans presentation, I asked her to draw a pic of the things she would need if she were on a deserted island. We recorded the story on my iPhone and we will be slowly going through and putting it onto paper.

We’ve been growing peas so they saw it grow from seed, and observed a many mushrooms growing after the rain.

She learned much about chickens and bees from her 4H group but we have had no followups.

We’re reviewing how to say date in English since we start the day by looking at the calendar.

Practical Life: She made a Halloween bag and learned how to measure on the ruler and practiced her sewing. she likes to draw mad paint.  She has gotten good at getting cooking the bag of gnocchi from Trader Joe’s from start to finish.

ME

This month was for me one big confusion month. We started the month doing our typical routine of 3 hours a day 3 days a week. Eventually I figured out I did not like this routine personally. Not taking a break and doing 3 hours straight with just snack time was HARD for me. For one week, we went out for snacks and once walked in the morning.

By the end (last week) some days we didn’t even work in the morning. I would spend the morning prepping, and instead of making the kids ready for school, I just waited in the room while prepping. I discovered that they will learn and get work done if I just stay in the room, which I did a lot because I was prepping so much. Some days I would go after dinner and the kids would join me and I got some lessons in that way.

We joined a charter school, got funding, and I bought a lot of materials. We added to the shelves, geometric solids, geometric solids nomenclature, geometric shape nomenclature, fraction metal insets, writing papers, child size master pieces, art definition cards, chinese characters, a calendar, and I switched out most of Astroyboy’s math counting materials for more advanced stuff.

I started a spreadsheet to our presentations.

The hardest thing for me was figuring out our work plan. I finally figured some things out after consulting my teacher. But the whole month I tried different iterations to no effect. For every material that’s printable I usually end up ceating my own because I’m so Type A on the specs. This means things take awhile and I get anxious about it. I started not sleeping much because of the anxiety on needing to finish prepping.

The two things I did learn or figure out this month was 1) I need to do one presentation a day to each kid if I want to advance in our curriculum. Setting that rule really helps with my planning of what I need. 2). We need to do 3 hours a day 4 days a week because were doing bilingual education.

I feel that now that we’ve moved to non language and math materials, the variety opens up and school is much more fun. I still feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. But maybe this is because I don’t have a realistic expectation if what goes on in the classroom and how kids do their work. I will need to research that more.

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