Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Plans are all very well and good, but ...

... experience teaches me that things won't always go according to plan.


As I stood at the kitchen making breakfast I looked across at tamāhine 1 and thought to myself how much I take for granted not having to rush the kids off to school. It's 8 o'clock in the morning, and tamāhine 1's relaxing with a good read of her choice. Mum's not saying, "quick, into the car kids or you'll be late for school!!"


Today I sat down with tama 2 while tama 1 worked on Gamma Math-U-See Lesson 24 and tamāhine 1 did online MUS exercises. [Tamāhine 1 completed Beta on Friday 30 October, but I won't be moving her into Gamma just yet as I want to practice certain math facts for a while longer, hence online practice.]

Unfortunately it didn't go well with either boys. Tama 2 became hoha about reading, so I ended up letting him step away and play after less than 20 minutes because I knew he wasn't going to cooperate. I just wish I'd been quicker about letting tama 2 go because I probably would've avoided a little meltdown from tama 1.

Being the intelligent, deep-thinking and probably over-analysing son that he is, tama 1 can easily become upset when he gets something wrong.

Experience has taught me how to manage these moments, but today no amount of coaxing, cajoling, inveigling was going to work. So, I ended up sending the kids outside to play and said we'd come back to school after a long break. [Again, that's experience with our kids talking.]

I knew it meant a two hour plus break. During this period I too could take a breather and figure out what the underlying problem was. After much thought, I realised:

One problem: They could all be tired. I suddenly remembered tama 1 went to sleep at a very, very late hour last night. No wonder he couldn't focus. Of all days to try moving him into bigger multipication equations. Nope, today was possibly not the best day to have him work on it.

Another (possible) problem: I was teaching tama 1 to do the equation in the traditional method of multiplying, and not the Steve Demme way. I now blame myself that I hadn't used the new method; after all, I have followed the philosophy of Math-U-See all along, but I was uncomfortable changing the method to multiply simply to suit myself! I don't like to use the expression, 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks,' but it kind of rings true for me at this juncture. My head swirled trying to change to the MUS method, so I stuck to what I knew.

If you're familiar with Gamma Lesson 24 then you'll know what I'm talking about. I wasn't taught to do multiplication this way at all and yet, my reasoning to use the traditional method is because whaiāipo and I have used our method in front of, and with the children, on many occasions, yet I made the terrible mistake of thinking tama 1 was comfortable with this method.

Once I left tama 1 to it, he got himself bamboozled. I'm sure his mind would've been swirling with questions like ...
Do I add this carry-over number to that digit?

Do I multiply the totals? ...
When he did the first few examples with me, he was fine, but he obviously wasn't ready to move on alone. Throw into the mix a double-dose of tiredness and a big dollop of "I don't like to get things wrong" and voilà you have the perfect recipe to become upset.

Needless to say, when we did finally return to school work, we left maths and did other subjects instead. Everybody was a lot happier and able to concentrate.



I started the day with a photo of tamāhine 1. I'll end with a photo of her as well. Our beautiful 6 year old lost her third tooth as she cleaned her teeth getting ready for bed tonight! No, she's not singing ... I had to ask her to open her mouth for the photo because when she smiled you couldn't see where she'd lost her tooth, lol.



Today we had success with Lesson 24 multiplications. I was happy enough for Tama 1 to complete one page, but said if he wanted to try two pages then we could give it a try. We took our time and I sat back watching him work. He needed the occasional guidance but overall it was all him. We will take our time and if tomorrow he doesn't do so well, then that's okay. Patience is one of the greatest gifts I am learning as a homeschooling mother. That's not to say I've perfected the art of patience by any stretch of the imagination! but I have at least learned how to read the signals from each of the children when to stop, slow down or pull back altogether.

Tama 1 used the following website for his spelling.

{Actually, there are quite a few good teaching tools disguised as games aren't there?}

Yesterday the bulk of my attention was centred around the boys. I tried to move across to tamāhine 1 and help her also, but it was more in the form of sitting at one end of the desk and asking, "are you doing okay tamāhine 1?" and that sort of line of questioning. When I did finally get to sit with her, I could see she was doing fine, and I just thought "that-a girl!!!"

Today it was important I did something with her, so while tama 1 had fun practicing his spelling on Wordcentral I sat with tamāhine 1 as she worked on her math lesson. She'd already completed the Venn Diagram lesson by the time I sat with her, so I made sure I was there as she worked on Patterns.

One of my aims with tamāhine 1 at the moment is to improve her spelling. Phonetically, yes, she's fine. By building her love of reading I know she will pick up many words so it's a two-fold process. Keep the reading up and build the spelling. Tamāhine 1 probably has more language arts in her daily work than she may like, but at least I'm finding different things for her to use to keep her interested. Two of the library books she read today were:

It's always nice to have a 'real' book to read, as opposed to reading from the computer, nē rā?!

She made a good job of reading these books. Words she found difficult:

fromage de vache ... any surprise there? ... hardly
Juanita del Zorro - I pointed out Juanita is my friend's second name
Dolores del Zorro


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing some of your more challenging moments along with your many successes. Seeing the challenges makes you more inspiring,not less. i get you about the no stress of not getting them to school in the mornings. i have just been thinking that myself.