Monday, November 16, 2009

Hooray for Monday!

We started the morning with some handwriting practice. The kids HATE it, and I don't blame them, but they need it! They both developed really bad habits in early elementary, since handwriting was never officially taught in their school. Supersim's first grade teacher told me at the time, and I quote: "With all the curriculum we have to cover to get them ready for second grade, we just don't have time to practice handwriting." Um, maybe I'm way off base here, but isn't legible handwriting one of the things kids need in second grade? And in life?

Anyway, we use a variety of practice sheets for handwriting; our current favorites are the A-Z animal books from LightHome. I only make them spend 15 to 20 minutes on it, as long as they are doing their best effort. And we do handwriting no more than twice a week because I don't want them to get so burned out that they just zoom through it.

I wanted to show the kids how punctuation and the use of onomatopoeia can add interest and excitement to a story, so we read Jan Brett's Hedgie Blasts Off! I got the idea of using great children's literature to demonstrate great writing from Mastering the Mechanics by Linda Hoyt and Teresa Therriault. It's an excellent resource for teaching writing effectively. Supersim is learning how to use quotation marks and the correct places to use commas; Dude is learning about complete sentences and using exclamation marks for emphasis and excitement. (The Jan Brett book was his request.)

After a snack break, it was time for math. As much as possible, we're trying to avoid worksheet fatigue, so we use a variety of techniques for math. We use lots of math manipulatives, including Math-U-See, and we read math storybooks and play the games in Family Math. Today we read Life of Fred together and the kids worked out the problems on their individual dry-erase boards (more fun than paper.) Then we tried out multiplying two and three digits by one digit.

Later, we pulled out the microscope and looked at random stuff, which is always a good time. Sugar crystals are pretty; shavings from the pencil sharpener, not so much. We were all pretty icked out by the chicken we'd had for lunch. Then we sprinkled some dry yeast on a slide; the little pellets look a bit like Cheetos when they're magnified. We dropped in a teensy bit of warm water and watched the show!

Finally, we did a bit of fingerprint art, Ed Emberly-style. It was a great day of home education, in my opinion. We learned, we had fun, and we enjoyed our time together. What more could we ask?

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