Monday, November 14, 2011

Homeschool Update

66 days, over a third into the official "school year". (Colorado requires 172 days, with an average of 4 hours of instruction per day.)

How's second grade going for dd7?

Math - Oh, the pain! She STILL doesn't have her addition facts down. We've done flashcards, online games, board games, memorization strategies, and addition fact recitation. The only thing I can think of next to try is timed minute drills targeted towards the exact facts she needs to master. Conceptually, math is fairly easy for her. She picked up borrowing (called "renaming" in her math worktext) just last week with very little trouble. She could do her math work in 1/5 of the time (or less) if she just had her addition facts known to automaticity.

Reading - She's a great little reader. :) I like our current reading textbook, Our Country from Open Court. Not only is it a good reader for her level, but we are also covering the history of the USA at a level that is appropriate for her. Because it is a 1973 edition, I do find that I occasionally have to explain a few things. For instance, although negro means black in Spanish, we no longer call a black person a "Negro" (this came up in the context of the Lewis and Clark expedition). We've also had to discuss why the book uses the word "Indians" for Native Americans. That's the price I pay for using free books from my mother's old school library.

History/Social Studies - I really appreciate having The Story of the World to use as a spine for history studies. We're up to Julius Caesar now, which is fortuitous as the Christmas season approaches. Tax issues around Jerusalem and King Herod's actions make more sense in the context of the Roman Empire. We also are learning American history as part of dd7's reading schoolwork. And, of course, we do fun things like attending a Martinstag lantern parade and a Diwali celebration last week.

Foreign Languages - She picks up a smattering of Spanish vocabulary from her part-time attendance at a charter school; I think it's just enough to reinforce what she has learned from Dora and Diego. German continues to go well because her father only speaks German to her and we assign her 3-4 German vocabulary worksheets each week.

Writing - We do a small amount of dictation some days, and on other days she does a Draw-and-Write from the Enchanted Learning website. She wrote our family newsletter yesterday. It was short but fairly well-done, given her age.

Music - We do a little each day, either singing a song, playing the recorder, or practicing the piano. I could ask more of her, but it doesn't seem worth fighting over. She's learning to read and enjoy music and play a little on two instruments, and that seems like enough for now. I guess I'm no "tiger mother".

Art - No formal curriculum is needed or used at home. She draws almost daily on her own as part of her playtime projects. She does receive some instruction from an art teacher at the charter school.

Physical Education - I drive her to school in time for recess, and she has PE instruction there some days. I find it amusing that recess is her favorite part of school.

Science - We read a science article daily and watch a lot of science videos. She loves science and absorbs information from science videos and library books like a sponge.

Socialization - Thanks to the part-time attendance at the charter school, she is getting some socialization, which has been mostly positive; the one time she was called a mean name, I was standing by her and able to smooth it over for her immediately. Family and church friends also help satisfy her need for interpersonal interaction. She's an introvert and thus relatively easy to satisfy in this respect.

The year is going well. She is happy and learning a lot. Last week, she spontaneously said she was very glad I was her mother. I think she actually has an inkling of how lucky she is....

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