Wednesday brought piano lessons, a playdate, a class at the Nature Center, a library trip, and AWANA. Thursday was a trip to town: I get my blood tested annually (thyroid), baby's dr appt, bank trip, visit with Grandpa and Uncle, a store trip, and then home. Friday was co-op all day. Saturday - I shopped for 25 bags of 40lbs each of pellet fuel, went to my uncle's funeral, stopped back at the store for more pellet fuel (it was a good deal!), and then hosted Book Club. The kids watched some of North & South with us (the British one, which is excellent) - it was a good lesson in what life was like in the 1800's amongst the working class (kids had to work too and were in factories all day where the work conditions were miserable).
Lessons were the norm (Time 4 Learning). The 10yo mastered long division (1 number into 2 or 3 numbers). The 8yo is doing well with multiplication (1 number by 2 or 3 numbers).
I've been really thinking about WHERE WE ARE GOING. I like that T4L hits all of the standardized testing topics. It is really our "bare minimum" thing this year. I really feel like there are some skill areas that we could be developing. Can I pull us all together well enough to teach some of those skills? Not sure yet.
I've been researching a lot. I'm fascinated with the Kumon method for math. A friend started me thinking on this last Wed. It seems the students that do Kumon, in addition to their schooling are very exceptional math students. They are advanced in math and excel on tests. I do not want to spend $95 per month plus $50 registration fee in order to get the same results:) It seems there is a lot of incremental timed drill. There is more to it than that, but I've made a list of things that I believe make up the Kumon method. I think it can be fairly reproduceable at home.
Another friend got me started on Model Texts (I think it is also called Mentor Texts). I'm still a bit fuzzy on this, but good examples of writing (picture books, novels, etc) are used to teach Grammar and good writing skills. Students study sentences from a book, find what makes it tick, and then recreate that same device in their own writing by mimicking it. I'm also thinking we need to develop writing research skills (read about a frog and then write about the frog, etc.) This might be a good way to sneak some history and science in there. I'd like to pull some text copies together that the kids could use highlighters on.
I feel that we've come a long way in Reading and we continue to develop good reading comprehension skills just from the things we choose to read. However, I'd like to now develop our basic math and writing skills. I'm really thinking more of my 5th grader than my 3rd grader. Although some of it can be introduced to her now, as well. So much of what I want to do goes outside of written curriculum. I really don't think that fill-in-the-blanks can teach these skills. It is probably best done pulled together oneself, in the way that one would like to teach it:) This is a very scary thing (I'm full of ideas and research, but not so great on organization and carry-thru).
I got a book from the library called Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma. It's one of those life changing, philosophy altering books:) I'm only on chapter 1, but I think it will be an eye opening read.