Home schooling Progress
Ah……nothing like kicking back and resting with a three-year-old…
So the first four weeks of home school are done. I’ve been trying to approach this as a puzzle. What can I do to fix the things that I see that need fixing in their education and in their character? Those are the two things I’m keeping them home to work on.
I feel as though Joshua has made amazing progress. Seriously. Amazing. First, he started out way ahead of where I thought he was, so that made the academic part fairly easy.Today I had to introduce the kind of multiplication problems like this: 38 x 3. I thought, “Oh, this will be big.”
I accidentally included three such problems in his seat work before I even introduced them. He blew me away by getting 2 of the three CORRECT. I was puzzled but impressed. There was no scribbling on the paper, either. He did it all in his head. I’m sort of amazed by how much he has accomplished since school started. There is no way I could have ever solved 48 x 3, without someone teaching me how first.
Actually, what Joshua needed to work on was more in the attitude department and the paying attention department–behavioral stuff. He has grown by leaps and bounds in attitude. I finally took my mom’s advice and found more ways to praise him–about behavior–at the very beginning of the school day. That way, he started off on the right foot right away.
Attention isn’t a problem at home anymore. I know that he has to do all the writing on the board when learning something new. I try to take as much listening as possible out of the equation.
This morning, I was putting JD to bed, when Joshua came by the door, and said, “Mom, I totally get why you had me copy Proverbs 1:8. Obey your mom.” He chuckled, and then he ran downstairs for recess.
This boy’s grades are flying high, and he reads so many books, day and night, I can’t keep up with it.
My main objective is to bring Caleb up to grade level with his reading this year. So far, this is not going as quickly as I’d hoped. He started off like a rocket, and then his progress slowed way down. I think I’m going to have to switch gears. I was really pushing Phonics, but Caleb folds up like a envelope when I whip out the Phonics tests.
Everyone says, “Each kid is different.” That couldn’t be more true. However, Joshua improved his reading by reading all day long in the 2nd grade, so I think in THIS particular case, my next course of action should be to try to do what actually worked for Joshua.
ALSO, the Classical Conversations stuff–Caleb is way behind where Joshua is on that. Joshua has it all down pat. Caleb has a little of it, but he especially does not have any of the songs. He also refuses to sing. This is the exact OPPOSITE of Joshua who sings the answer to everything I ask him. I tell him to recite his 3 times tables, and Joshua sings them. I haven’t even taught him a song for them, and yet he still sings them. I’ve always thought that would work for everyone. Caleb is proving otherwise.
So tonight, I retreated to the beach to pray and think, and that’s when a light bulb went off in my mind. Caleb had such an INCREDIBLE first week, and he was so very very happy and dedicated because he felt successful. He was getting lots of praise. He’s still getting that, especially in math, but not so much in the language arts and CC memorization stuff. If he thinks he’s behind in something, he shrinks away, and doesn’t want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Caleb is afraid of failure.
Now I know what the problem is, so I have a few ideas for addressing it.
1. Go to the library this weekend and check out even MORE books that are on his level.
We were throwing books into the book drop last week, and it was taking so long to turn in our 40 books, a line formed….sort of embarrassing….A lady said, “That’s a lot of books.” I smiled and replied, “It’s a lot of children.”
I think his 2nd grade reading book is just a touch above his level.
2. Way more celebrating of Caleb’s victories
3. Explain how fun it is to master something that used to be hard. That kind of victory tastes so much sweeter than when something just comes easily, and you don’t have to work for it at all.
Behavior wise: Caleb is still doing really great. He just always seems so happy.
Oh, you know Daniel. Right now Daniel is in his room, playing with toys when he should be sleeping. As long as he stays in his room and doesn’t bother anyone, I let him be.
I do feel like I don’t get to spend as much time with Dan now that I’m always working with the big boys. However, you can bet you can still always find Daniel by my side in the kitchen. That boy does love to cook. He also knows how to work the Keurig and likes to make my coffee for me. He cleans up, he plays Legos, and sometime in the last month or so, he graduated out of night time pull-ups, saving us at least $20 a month. Daniel is a joy. One day, his wife will thank me, and I will have to say, “It wasn’t really me. This is just who he is.”
When it comes to 3-year-old pre school, I’m like this, “Dan, look, this is a three. See? Put your finger on it, and say ‘three.'”
“Good! Now go get me three airplanes.”
Dan returns 2 minutes later with three airplanes.
“That’s so great, Dan!!! All done. Now you can go play airplanes!!!”
That really is about all I do. He is good at tracing his name and numbers and letters as well. I just don’t have the energy to come up with an abundance of pre-school “activities”!
disclaimer: Those two random patches of sod on dirt were like that when we moved in. Grass has to be watered constantly to grow here. We have it in the front only.
Tiniest Man now walks everywhere. He even ran a little today, which made us all laugh. His favorite words to say are “aaaaa, aaaaa, aaaa,” which I think is mama, “Hey”, and “Night night.” He loves to say “night night.”
He shakes his head “no”, any time we say “no”, which is also adorable. He’s a good little block builder too. His favorite toys of all are his dinosaurs and his polar bear. He carries those around and roars, pretty much all day long.
He is still highly opinionated and aggressive. I’m convinced that the more children you have, the more aggressive they get because…well…..survival. Don’t even think about taking a toy from JD. It will never work. He will go full scream on you, and he has the grip of a kid whose fought some battles.
And Big Man has gotten a lot done too. I feel SO APPRECIATIVE of this guy these days. Alan built this fence, which is now complete. Our trampoline should arrive on Tuesday, and then he will build that too. Thank you so much, Alan.
I think God sees me the way that I see John David, “Oh little one, why don’t you go to sleep?? You know you are tired.”