Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trying Other Ideas...

So I never got my kids over to the last blog about a math playground site.

Instead they are going to IXL math. Ten minutes a day is all I ask but they each go more. They like getting certificates which are emailed to me and I print them and announce the award the next morning during class time. I like the awards for how long they have been working, number of questions answered, percentile increases in the grade level they are working at. It was nice to hear my son say out loud that he wondered if he would get a certificate this week. He earned two and the girls both earned four. I like the time clock the kids see, and as they answer correctly they earn ribbons and at the same time lose ribbons for incorrect answers. This ribbon thing keeps Bethany going and not giving up when she has a setback with wrong answers.

Since I started to assist at the TJED Lehi Academy about 9 weeks ago, I am happy to say that our children are picking up the responsibility for learning. I initiated a change to require 10 minutes of math, reading out loud to me, mad writing, mad minute (math skills), and language arts through literature each morning that we are able to meet for family learning time. It's working. That's all there is to it. Instead of 30 minutes just 10, and the children work harder, learn more, and can share more in return. It's nice.

At the academy, I like to bring in my microscope and have the kids figure out or draw what they see. Next week I'll bring in honey bee body parts. I enjoy teaching the history program that Susan Wise Bauer created. I'm going to continue the program with my children. I'll probably go back to the beginning of vol. 3 the 1500's and catch up to when we entered the class with the American Revolution. This coming week I will introduce Lewis and Clark and nature journals for all the children to use. I plan to share my journal from writings and drawing I did while living in New Orleans. This is going to be a fun week together.

I have decided to use for myself (my writing is sad as you well know) and for the children the Excellence in Writing program. I like what Andrew Pudewa says about writing, spelling, and how boys and girls learn. I took his advice to have the kids learn spelling words via spelling bees and it has been so helpful and painless. Plus Mattia is able to spell easier and I include hand signing the letters of the word at the same time to use more motor skills for her. I really like that I can return this program at anytime if we are not happy. I'm going to start with myself and see if the kids will come along. I think they are going to find it fun to work with Andrew via the dvd program. My idea is to invite other kids this summer to go through the units with my children.

I just finished reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I like the ideas of how she instills a desire in her 6th grade students to spend time reading. This is her program; read 30 minutes is class each day and 20 minutes at home. I had forgotten about genre's. I like the idea of book commercials. I like that she has shared forms and ideas that have helped her class. I would like to take these ideas and do a summer weekly book club. Maybe along with the EIW and history with Story of the World.

I see how much my children like having a few more kids doing the same thing or doing it a little better because it encourages the other kids to try just a little bit more and give honest work.

Eli is working daily on a math skills program that Gove wrote for him. He has been using the program for one week now and cut off one minute this week on his mad math test.

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