Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Staying focussed can be hard sometimes

Okay, so it's only day two of a new week, but crikey, I'm asking myself this afternoon if we've done sufficient so far.

Considering I knew this week would be interrupted with me working on personal affairs, and I had a pretty straight-forward timetable planned for the week, I just don't know if I've made it exciting enough.

I know it's probably just me, because my head really isn't in the zone with school properly. The past week I've been busy on the phone, email or Skype and every time I'm using one or t'other, I need to have my wits about me which means I'm not concentrating on school. I simply set the kids a task and try to scramble my thoughts together into some kind of coherent order and tackle the phone call or whatever. That's one of the hardest things about dealing with anything other than school when you have littleuns around isn't it? You can't really take yourself out of the equation, into a quiet room and deal with the matter at hand. Nope, you have to stay in the area where all the kids are to keep an eye on everyone and somehow hold an adult conversation without wanting to yell at the kids, "sush, I'm on the phone," or "keep your brother/sister quiet for me PLEASE!," or "not so LOUD eh?!!!" etc.

... I'll be extremely glad to have this week over and done with. It feels very long ... well dah! is it any wonder? It's only the end of Tuesday for goodness sake! {smile} ...

So, anyway, time to console myself by reflecting on what lessons we have actually covered...

Okey dokey, yesterday I introduced tamāhine 1 to cursive handwriting. Her eyes lit up when I said we'd give it a shot, and for her first attempt, I think she did a splendid job. As a general rule I create my own handwriting practice sheets, however, I decided to use the Westvon freebie from Currlick. I ended downloading a number of the hugely discounted workbooks having received a headsup email that they are offering a very large discount. As soon as I saw the Happy Scribe Combo was about Uniformed Forces I just knew it would be ideal for our kids. Anything to do with the Police, Fire, Air Force etc (doesn't matter that they're American Forces!) I just knew they'd enjoy their handwriting practice even more.
So, manuscript and cursive handwriting is sussed for the rest of the month year decade !!!

Mathematics is rockin' along as always. I started tama 2 with Math-U-See Alpha on Monday. I haven't purchased a textbook for him though -- we're simply using one of the other kids old books as a guide. By the end of day one we'd flown through to lesson 4. Today he worked on lesson 5 and that went really well. I was going to move him into lesson 6 but a phone call put pay to that idea. He busied himself with something else until I was free, by which time I was happy with what he had taken the initiative to work on and told him we'd pick up on lesson 6 tomorrow. As I skimmed through Alpha, I wondered if I should just jump him ahead, but decided that no, we'll try to follow the textbook and do what we've done in the past. When the kids are happy to keep going, we proceed, when they're not, we'll stop. Pretty simple logic there really.

Monday we studied a little geography and tama 2 joined in for a spell. I knew his attention span would waiver at some point, but for the most part he was right into it. He gained a little understanding of cardinal directions -- even if he refers to north as being "up" is good enough to me at this stage.

Tama 2 also found the scale on the { screen } map the first few times, but after about 20 minutes of jumping back and forth to find locations on our { coffee table } world map and telling me the names of the oceans, or cities, or countries he had to find such as Anchorage, Alaska ... he started to get a bit pooped... but I'd kept an eye on how he was going and knew when to give him a rest.

We'll recap when we have our next lesson on Thursday and hopefully he's retained the info he covered with us.

Tuesday we read a few books at WeGiveBooks. Tama 2 read:

Tamāhine 1 read:

They both chose to read a couple more books afterward which was pleasing. I reminded them that the more books they read, the more "real" books will be given to kids in need.

Tama 1 and I are still reading the 39 Clues books. Oh yeah, that's something I hadn't mentioned on the blog, only Twitter eh? .... On Sunday, Tama 1 found all 39 clues as well as completed mission 10. It was a marathon effort, but we're all very excited with the accomplishment. Considering he was able to answer the questions on the very last stage of Mission 10 without having read all the books yet, it just goes to show how much he picks up from reading everything on the websites, listening to the authors interviews etc. I just wish we had a full collection of the cards. There's still a truckload he hasn't got, but oh well, the aim was to find the 39 clues and complete the final mission and we did that. So, that's all done, now it's just a case of reading the remaining books. I'm only up to book 8 (out of 10), so I've a little way to go yet. I've enjoyed these adventurous books and not surprisingly it appears there's a sequel. So I would hazard a guess we'll be involving ourselves with that series too!!! { very big grin }

I'm quite sure the books have helped tama 1 to think even more creatively. I'm hoping they will have prepared him to write his own story very soon. I guess we'll soon see huh?

Tama 2 joined us for Latin lessons today. I took the big kids for a harder lesson, and then tama 2 joined us when it came to the 'fun lesson.' Even though the letter 'v' is meant to be pronounced as a 'w,' I encouraged him to keep going and said it's completely okay to say salve as sal-vay instead of sal-way. He'll pick it up soon enough. A short lesson for tama 2, but a fun lesson. Tamāhine 1 and tama 1 were slightly thrown by the speed of chanting amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant but I tried encouraging them ... practice will make perfect, and besides, listen to me, I can't get it right straight away either !!!

We'll be mixing three curricula ... maybe even four ... for Latin. Variation and FUN is how I want them to learn. Sometimes the nitty gritty can seem overwhelming so I want the option to flick from one to another to keep everyone's spirits high and keen to learn it. If I was a confident foreign language teacher then I probably wouldn't have a problem but considering I couldn't have told you what a first conjugation verb was up until recently, then you'll understand why I'm trying to find as many resources as possible to keep everyone going.

That's pretty much our lessons to date. Reading, writing, arithmetic and a few others thrown in to the mix. Nothing too different to what we normally do, so why on earth did I start the post off saying I am worried we haven't done enough then? ... seems like the kids are doing fine after all that !!! { big sigh of relief }

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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