Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thoughts of the week

LemurBoy caught on to reading in a bigger way the other night. I'm pretty sure he jumped a grade level in the course of an hour. He started figuring words out from the context and then seeing how the letters fit together to make the word. Then he started trying different possible pronunciations if the first one he tried didn't make sense.

All things I've been trying to teach him for the past two years. Something suddenly just clicked.

He still has a ways to go before he's really an independent reader, but now I feel that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

This happened two days after I checked out Phonics Pathways from the library, but before I actually did a lesson with him. Magic book!

I need to figure out what I'm doing about handwriting. LemurGirl is 4, and very motivated to write, but holds the pencil in her fist and forms the letters all wrong. Intervention is obviously needed before bad habits are set. The italics curriculum doesn't really seem appropriate for her (It encourages waiting until 7 or so to start, and really seems designed for older kids), and it isn't particularly working well for LemurBoy as-is, either. I like the italics, so I may try editing it into something that works better for us.

The latter two thoughts remind me of my third one. LB's sudden cognitive leaps with reading, the feeling that we're spinning our wheels and not making much progress with Math Mammoth, and the handwriting thing make me think that we need to start making our curriculums work for us, rather than the other way around.

So... LB is days away from finishing the first half of HOP level 1. However, realistically, he already knows most of the second half. He needs more exposure to the associated sight words and some of the phonemes, but there's really no reason to keep plodding through on the parts he already knows well. So I'm running him through the workbook review at the end, and checking to see where he's actually having trouble. We'll do those sections, and all the sight words and stories. Then we'll probably do the same with grade 2.

With Math Mammoth, I'm going to say that we're done with the in-depth addition/subtraction stuff, and move on to another topic, but try incorporating 5 minute speed drills to get the facts down a bit more. I like that it teaches different sorts of mathematical thinking, but I have a feeling it's confusing and boring him, which is causing us to get hung up.

With italics, I'm going to cut and paste (perhaps literally, with scissors and glue) a letter formation guide, print out a copy of the alphabet, and have them go over that for a few days, then move on to the copywork, rather than keep going with the individual lessons. LB tends to get hung up on details and forget what he's doing when I try to do CM-style "quality over quantity" lessons, so I think I'm going to drop that idea.

LG says, while I was preparing dinner:

]00=7ou'u,kklk aa

Things I want to buy:

* Pencil grips
* 3-hole punch
* Math Mammoth 1-6
* SOTW 3
* Laser printer

Printer probably isn't happening any time soon, unless we happen to find one used. The rest will. But I REALLY want a printer I can print stuff on with less concern about cost per page, especially with the Math Mammoth stuff.

One of my friends back in our old town is thinking about homeschooling her boy, who is right around LG's age. Darn the timing. I referred her to my old homeschooling group, as she was afraid that all the local homeschoolers were Christians who taught Creationism. Far from it, thankfully.

Book reviews ain't happening this week. I have three books started. One I like, but it isn't the type to rush through. One is part of a series that I've read the rest of, so I feel kind of obligated to give it a shot, but I'm not really in the mood for it. The third sounded like an interesting premise, but so far isn't particularly compelling.

That's ok. Some week when I read multiple books will undoubtedly come along. These things tend to ebb and flow for me.

And I've placed a few objects of utter fluff on hold to help ensure this.

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