Sometime last month we got so focused on NaNoWriMo that I stopped posting here. And this month it’s been a struggle to get back into the school routine with all the Christmas excitement going on. Binky, our elf on the shelf, is back, and shopping is a whole different hassle this year (we are not going to any malls or even most stores – we’re in a red zone now), and my work is busy, and I’m trying so hard to get some school work done with Steven before his chosen Christmas Break starts December 21. I might do a couple more short posts for Yule and Christmas but I mostly won’t be posting until the new year.Continue reading “December”
This Wednesday was Steven’s 11th birthday. Luckily he doesn’t mind not being able to have a party this year. Last year, knowing that parties aren’t his favourite thing, we suggested doing something else. Maybe a shopping trip or just taking a couple of good friends somewhere. He chose to spend a whole weekend shopping, eating out, playing board games and video games… He now refers to his birthday as his “reign of terror” because as long as we don’t go over budget, he can do and make us do whatever he wants. This year I apologized that we couldn’t take him and his friends out somewhere and he said he’d rather have a “family time birthday” anyways. Apparently, until last year, he thought birthday parties were some kind of unavoidable social obligation.Continue reading “Birthday and week 4 Homeschooling”
Steven finished reading “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies last week, so I purposely didn’t assign time-consuming work at the beginning of this week so he could work on an after-reading assignment. He made a comic strip of a part of the book. Maybe not his best work, but he did do some sketches before doing the final copy. Next time I’ll give him more direction before he starts.Continue reading “Week 3 – randomly generated math worksheets”
We’re still doing French, Music and Phys Ed every morning. This week we did some French worksheets that focus on the sounds letters in various French words make (beginning sounds, hear the sounds). I think they’re meant for a younger audience, but they get the point across without being boring. I had Steven google each word to find the French translation and then listen to the pronunciation and repeat it.Continue reading “Week 2 homeschooling reflection”
Overall, I think the week went pretty well. Doing all the learning in the morning is definitely the way to go for Steven. Yesterday we got back from our walk late and I had to start work right away and forgot to be like “hey, do your work” and he “forgot” that it was Friday (after we had already done music, french and phys ed?) and getting him to start in the afternoon was a chore. But the rest of the week had very few complaints.Continue reading “Week 1 reflection”
I’m trying to get at least the first few weeks of school planned before school actually starts. Steven has decided he wants to start on September 1st, instead of starting on the 8th like regular school. I think his hope is to earn himself some days off before his birthday (something I mentioned in a previous post).Continue reading “Plan for the year and week 1”
We do some French every day, but it has become pretty obvious that Steven has lost most of what he learned last year. Last year he could form simple sentences and this year he barely has a vocabulary. He has also expressed frustration multiple times over the fact that the teacher he had was very strict and wouldn’t let them speak or use words they knew that weren’t part of what they were studying. I wasn’t there, so I only have what he says, but he gets really, really frustrated whenever we ask about his French class. I don’t think it’s entirely the teacher’s fault. She’s probably just teaching what she teaches his grade normally. But the teacher he had last year being so awesome. She went above and beyond to make sure the students could actually use what they were learning, which impressed me because I remember being in French immersion in High School and having friends in core French who still didn’t know any French. So I was really proud of all the progress he had made in French, and it’s frustrating to see him lose it.
All that to say we’re going to start working on vocabulary even more. I labelled things around the house in French so he can see them often, and we’re going to start speaking partially in french. Just simple phrases like asking what he wants to eat or telling him to wash his hands but it will hopefully help in the long run. Oh, and I found these posters that help ask simple questions in French, too. I printed them out 6 to a page, removing some that don’t really apply outside of school, and posted them on the wall.
We also started working on area and perimeter in math today, using legos to help out. I printed out these worksheets and had Steven make shapes with legos, draw them on the sheet and figure out the area and perimeter.
It looks like I’m going to be able to work from home starting early next week. We’ve cleaned out our spare room and I will be clearing off my sewing table to move in there and use as a desk. But before I pack away my sewing machine, I wanted to make some reusable masks. The CDC went from saying there’s no point in wearing one to saying it will probably help but they don’t want people to have a false sense of security. Definitely no false sense of security here, but I do need to go into work for some training to work from home, and I’m sure there will be other times when we need to go out as much as we don’t want to.
I’m using this pattern and literally whatever fabric I have around. I’m cutting up a couple of Steven’s old shirts, even. But for the inside, I’m using some reusable bamboo paper towels that we bought recently (originally because there were no regular ones anywhere, but I actually really like them). I had read an article in which they interviewed someone who worked on the n95 masks we currently use, and he said anything is better than nothing but bonded fabrics would be better than knit or woven. His example was the blue shop towels, but I think this is pretty close. I did the version with the pocket so we could add another layer if we wanted to.
We decided to do long division for our first day of math, because it would be easy to get it out of the way. Steven has always been really good at math, so it didn’t take him long to figure this out.
I printed out this cheat sheet that I used to explain long division and that he could refer to when he got stuck. Then I printed out a bunch of long division worksheets from homeschool math. I love that site, because I can click “create pdf” on the type of worksheet I want as many times as I want and it just keeps generating new problems, with answer keys too. I did the first 2 or 3 questions with Steven to make sure he understood and then left him to it.
Steven at some point decided that the solution to frustration is popping a bubble of bubble wrap and then going back to work. And then used this as an excuse to take a break and go search his room for “fresher” bubble wrap. But we have been talking a lot about coping mechanisms, and this one seemed pretty harmless, so I congratulated him on apparently finding something that worked for him (and timed how long it actually took him to find bubble wrap so he didn’t get too sidetracked).
By the time he finished all the worksheets and I marked them and he corrected the ones he had gotten wrong, it was lunch time. After lunch, since I didn’t really have anything else planned for the day, I got him to work on the workbook I had printed out from edHelper. They’ve been releasing a lot of free and fun workbooks for math, reading and writing. Lots of puzzles and drawing and creative writing. It is an American site, so some of the questions needed some extra explanation. And some of the questions involved sections of math that he hasn’t learned yet, so I told him to skip those for now. But overall I think it was more interesting and engaging than just regular worksheets.
Hope everyone’s having a good week (it’s almost over!)