Friday, August 21, 2009

A Faster More Focused Day

Well, we had a much more focused day today. She finished everything she had left over from the entire week PLUS all of today's stuff. It really was more than I ever could have hoped for.

Of course, there is one catch... I have absolutely no idea why! I wish I did, I really, really do. Then I could replicate today's success and we would all be soooooo happy.

Time for some mindless television view...


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I really do think we are on the right track now. She is happy to do flash cards and worksheets. Math Adventure is her new favorite game. Now if only it took less than 9 hours to be done with school for the day...

Okay, it was just today that this happened but I swear that each school day seems a little longer than the one before. She's not getting more done, I'm not giving her more work, it's like she has become totally distracted. Guess that's what happens when you live in ADD land.

I need to work on next week's little workbook tomorrow, so it will be time to rethink and revamp. Hopefully we can find something that will keep her focused enough to complete her assignments; but allow her plenty of freedom too.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Math Meltdown

So we had a little math meltdown over carrying & borrowing (aka regrouping). I was watching her last week doing addition on Time 4 Learning and I noticed that she seemed stressed. We talked, did some problems on paper, and off she went relatively happy.

Monday I had to go out and my Mother helped her. The poor kid was dissolving over subtraction, not because she doesn't understand borrowing; but because the computation process is too slow. Unfortunately, Time 4 Learning doesn't have a built in process for catching poor performance and generating more practice, instead she stumbled through a section and then came the quiz! My mother quickly stopped her and got her playing a game and doing problems on paper.

Public school sucks realization #101 - it's not important that you get the right answer, it's only important that you know how to do the problem. I mean honestly does anyone think this really works?!?

We have stopped using Time 4 Learning for math right now (still using it for everything else); and are using flash cards for basic addition and subtraction facts, and tomorrow will start Kumon Grade 2 Addition. I liked the single topic focus and the fact that there was no huge program commitment to start. If she runs with it we may just work it for the rest of the year and see where we are then. She's already a much happier camper and that's all I really care about.

If you live near a Dollar Tree and you have a youngster learning addition and subtraction I suggest you run and look for the Teaching Tree Math Adventure game. It is a really simple 2 to 4 player game with about 36 math problems and a poster game board. Our girl just loves it and it was a simple matter to cut card stock into rectangles similar in size to the existing cards and add more problems (we're up to 136). There is also a state fact game (The Amazing State Race) and a money game (Shopping Cents), both simple but expandable and lots of fun for kids.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So, it's been a long day and I'm off to bed in a few moments. We had a fun trip to the library this morning and then we hit the wall. Adding with regrouping is not her favorite thing. Tomorrow we will work with the manipulatives, and I think it is time to break out the flashcards to strengthen those single digit adding & subtracting skills. On a good note she got to play with another story creater and she loved that. Night Night All!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two Days In One

A little late with the entry today, not that anyone is reading or cares...

Yesterday was a long day; but she really held up well. I need to be careful how much lesson reading I give her to do solo. She was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of the social studies lesson and so fascinated with looking things up that it took forever. I don't want to discourage her or encourage just skimming through and not really learning anything.

Based on what I'd seen earlier I did her last section, Penguins, as a joint read and that really seemed to do the trick. Lesson learned.

Today, based on what we learned yesterday, we started the day together doing her science reading and answering her questions on the penguin reading yesterday. It took just under an hour to do both and then she was off to the computer to do her Time 4 Learning sections. She loves that site and she is so excited to write everyday. Last thing she did was paint the sun for her solar system model, she has been dying to get her hands on that kit and now the project has finally begun.

We still have some reading to do; but for now she is out and about with the neighbor kids having a grand time.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Our 1st Full Week

workbook coverworkbook back cover

Today starts our first full week of school! We've done well on the partial schedule that has been in place for the last couple of weeks; but I have to admit it is a bit of a struggle. I would never have guessed it would be this difficult to get out of the summer/vacation mode.

week pageday page

I think Muffin is in for a little bit of a shock when we start working on this week's lesson workbook, it has a lot more in it for each day than the previous one. The good news is that she wasn't really that challenged by the previous workbook and the time it took her to complete was way less than I expected. I can tell there are going to be a lot more unschooling type activities in our schedule than I originally thought.

daily to-do list zoo sheet

My guilty admission though is that I can't wait for Friday, I love going to the zoo! I feel like I learn so much each time we go there, and it is such fun.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Creative Writing Scores Again!

So we were lazy yesterday and just hung out till early afternoon, then we buckled down and did a little Time 4 Learning. I think the easy math is starting to get on her nerves a little; but she also doesn't seem comfortable skipping the lessons and just doing the quizzes, so...

In contrast when we got to the Language Arts unit she just plowed right through it laughing and giggling all the way. She was once again entranced with the creative writing segment at the end and worked with it for over an hour, adding a few more chapters to her penguin story. I think I'm going to have to look at a better method of binding this creation.

Today is definitely zoo day, we haven't been in over a week and I think we are both going through withdrawal. We're focusing on the Slow Loris this time, I'm not sure what attracted her to it; but who am I to argue.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Handyman, The Math Monster, and The Writer

So I had big plans yesterday for finding out where we stood with math; but first I had to deal with a handyman who was going to fix a leak in my roof. Thank goodness the leak is in the garage because he really did do his best; but there are just no guarantees.

Then we finally got down to business on Time 4 Learning and boy did she devour the math. She was just plowing through it and while I'll want to keep up with some review, it's obvious that she could, and probably will, do a lot more than what they call 2nd grade. Of course, to me, what this really means is that there is a ton more time for the fun stuff.

She did a Language Arts unit as well and loved the part where she got to do creative writing. She did it not once but twice, without any prompting. Then she went and created a cover for her two stories and turned them into chapters in a book! It's good to see her having fun with all of it.

I'm not sure if we are doing our zoo trip today or tomorrow, as we have a few hot ones on the way. Not that it really matters, whatever day we go, I'll use the other to introduce her to our first science and social studies units. She'll be thrilled when she finds out that she gets to take the Solar System kit out of the box!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour

Maquettes - Clay models of characters

It was hot, the recorded high 97, and it was humid, and we had to wait in the blazing sun; but we had fun! If Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour is coming to a city near you, it is definitely worth it.

Dickens Memorabilia

We listened to an audio book for A Christmas Carol I bought at Dollar Tree last year on the way there and on the way home. From comments she made during the wait and in the train it's obvious that she catches everything, even when I don't think she's paying attention.

Looking at a model of the Carriage Hearse

There was so much to see and so much to hear that I wish we could go back multiple times, without the heat & lines of course. Based on the stills and scenes we saw today the movie is going to be visually stunning. So much work that you never think of goes into making these motion capture animations.

Sign on model of Scrooge & Marley Warehouse

They had information on motion capture, Charles Dickens, the actors & actresses, the costumes, the artwork, and just to much more to even imagine. There were even copies of Dickens' letters, original book printings, play books, and music scores. Then at the end you got to try out the touch screen face morphing. I can't wait to get our free downloads.

Miniature of Jacob Marley

After we finished in the train we went down to see the special trailer included with the experience. We are just so addicted to the Disney 3Ds, I can't even begin to explain it. It was so much the story I know and love, with just enough newness to leave me anticipating November 6th.

Mock up of The Volume where Motion Capture is done

Now we have to get back to the grind just a little and figure out where we are with Time 4 Learning and math. Then maybe a trip to the zoo at the end of the week, she interested in the Slow Loris.

Slow Loris

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Field Trip Today

So yesterday, we really only managed to make it to the library and get our new library cards. There are so many little things you have take care of when you move. Our girl did get her own card for the first time though and used it with glee. Today we are going to travel to see Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour. I figure it's close enough to travel to and it's a good lead in to reading the book. It was a Christmas tradition in our house when I was young to read A Christmas Carol aloud every Christmas Eve. Tomorrow I must get her online and work through some of the Time 4 Learning stuff. I know we are going to have to make some adjustments to get things hard enough that she's really challenged and not just repeating stuff she's been able to do forever.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting Started

I made the decision to homeschool for 2nd grade about halfway through 1st grade. Had I known then how hard the remaining school year would be and just how much time I would invest in getting my daughter through it, I would have just started then. I'm not sure what else what you could call our proposed style other than relaxed eclectic. I have collected a variety of resources and we will be using Time 4 Learning since she loves to use the computer. I've put together a couple weeks worth of homemade workbooks that include lessons I created myself, units from, units from Homeschool Share, and the units I want her to do from Time 4 Learning. We will be covering the basics (math, reading, writing, science, & social studies), penguins (they are her favorite animal), Brownies, and a couple of activities I'll let her choose as we go along. For art and music this year we will stick with fun crafts and learning to play her guitar, as long as it's fun. I'm sure there will be all kinds of challenges and hurdles I haven't even thought of yet; but I am truly looking forward to the adventure.