January 5, 2010

Back to School....boy that was hard.

Yep. Holidays are over. My parents left on Sunday. I eked out another day of lounging on Monday. But today I had no excuses. Chris is out for the day, observing urology surgeries (what could be more fun??), and James is back at work.

So, my slacking days are over for a while...

Today we started back with homeschooling. I was REALLY resisting getting back to the books. So I made cheese biscuits. And waited for the Cable Guy. And when he didn't show up, I decided that we'd better just jump into school.

It was a really good day! It might not seem like it, since I'm about to complain a bunch, but other than those irritating small things, we got a lot accomplished!

Hannah knocked out her Numicon work right away. She's working on counting by 2's (I know, I'm way behind in teaching her stuff like that). I dumped out a bunch of small polished rocks for her to count. Of course, she immediately started making stories about a few of them. I couldn't deny that one looked just like a bike seat.

But away she went, counting up into the 30s by 2s. She is still chugging away and solidifying her addition and subtraction. We did discover (she did), that: 1+1+2+2+3+3+4+4+5+5+6+6+7+7+8+8+9+9+10=100.

Then she checked it with the calculator.

Calculators are a pain. I know that some are better than others, but I haven't gotten around to getting an appropriate one for Hannah to use. The one that we used today has large enough buttons for her, but when you enter 1+1+ (getting ready to enter "2"), the display screen gives you the running total, which is "2", which makes it confusing if you're not sure that you actually keyed in "2" or not. Another issue with most calculators is that if you're already familiar with using a phone, the numbers are in opposite positions. Phones start with the "1" at the top left. Calculators (and numerical computer keyboards) have a "7" at the top left. Who thinks about these things? Nobody unless you've got a kid who is a concrete learner.

Don't get me started on American coins. Could we possibly make them more confusing? Besides the usual complete size nonsense of dimes and nickels, now they have added a multitude of varieties of quarters and several differing nickels. Drives me crazy.

* 4 hours later--addendum: I just remembered another bit of coin minutiae that confuses Hannah is that pennies come in a variety of colors. Old ones are dark, sometimes nearly black, while new ones are sort of pink. At least the silver colored coins don't tarnish! *

Moving on...Hannah did many many pages of her Thinking Skills book. She's been doing a good job with her spatial abilities (as most kids with Ds do). She also wrote a very nice Thank You letter to her grandparents in Montana. (And reviewed the map of the USA.) Deciphering cursive writing was next on the agenda. I can see why it's hard. I don't know anyone who writes cursive like this:

Look at that example of cursive "bubble". I thought she did an excellent job of deciphering it. To me it looks like "l r i b b l e". Doesn't it look like it's an "r"?? Compare it to the "r" in "river above it. Of course they look exactly alike. Even after I wrote it out myself Hannah had trouble with it. I've never had a complaint with Handwriting Without Tears before, but I think the lower case "b" should be closer to the stem. Fortunately, Hannah won't have to read much cursive written by Jan Olsen. Unless I have to teach her using the HWOT cursive technique....

I'm not in any hurry to start her with cursive. Besides, she really has to know more spelling words to make cursive helpful. If you have to double check and sound out every word, two or three letters at a time, being able to write faster isn't going to really have any beneficial effect. Her spelling is coming along, but it's still really quite challenging for her. I don't allow her to use invented spelling (which I did with my other kids) because I don't let her practice things incorrectly. She is such a visual learner that if she sees something that is spelled incorrectly it's highly likely that she'll continue to use the incorrect spelling.

We were getting hungry for lunch. Guess what? Hannah requested Macaroni and Cheese. I know that's hard for you to believe, what with Hannah being a pastatarian and all. I, personally did not want to make another box of Annie's organic shells and cheese. Of course, after having cheese biscuits this morning, we needed more cheese for lunch too. So we decided to make REAL macaroni and cheese, a la Martha. We didn't have a full "Cooking with Nan" episode, but just a few short outtakes. (There is a real one in the works though!)

We finished up the school day with piano practice, and now it's almost time to get ready to go swim at the gym. Brrr. I think I might have to hang out in the hot tub.


Crittle said...

I completely agree about that "B." Ew.

The m&c looks soooo good. I'm pretending that I can smell it through the screen.

Josette said...

I love reading your blog so much. Thank you for sharing the details of your homeschooling adventures. We're behind you, so it always gives me much to think about. The calculator for instance....we aren't there yet, but I totally see us having the same issue. Right now Jessie is loving learning to text on the full keyboard of our cell phones. She is learning some spelling and the keyboard that way. I'm keeping it secret that it's something I'd like her to learn.

To Love Endlessly said...

what a great post. You caused me to think about a lot of things I never even considered before. Thanks!

Shelley said...

Hey Beth, quick question for you:
When Hannah was younger, what did you use to help with hand strength. This seems to be Grifyn's primary weakness. He doesn't have low tone issues anywhere else, but his hand strength is pitiful. He can't even make a mark on a paper dark enough to trace. They've been working with colors and those giant paint marker looking things at school, but he can't really make a meaningful mark....and with a pencil, there's nothing. He can't even play the computer game thing he got for Christmas because you're supposed to trace on the keyboard thing and he can't press down hard enough to make a mark that registers on the computer. This also carries over into dressing himself(buttons, snaps) and he can't turn a door knob to save his life. Any ideas????
I've considered purchasing the HWOT curriculum. Does it actually teach tracing and making meaningful marks (I seriously have NO IDEA how to teach him to trace)? Would you believe that our school district has never heard of HWOT and our private therapy center doesn't use it either?
I've tried everything that I know of to help him with his hand strength. He seems to be very interested in writing/drawing and LOVES his magnadoodle. But, his hands are just SO weak. Ideas???

Beverly said...

glad you had a good day back to school. we are taking another week off since Noah is sick and I need a break from it all.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, too. I like how matter-of-fact you are and you hit what's important...