Friday, February 25, 2011

Learning This Week

Another week - GONE (almost)! Some of the highlights from the week:

Eli is zooming through Explode the Code 2 (phonics/writing book), so I went ahead and ordered him the next couple of books which made him zoom even faster. The books really suit him so much better than they ever suited Amirah. It's been a lot of fun. I ordered the books the precede Explode the Code for Raizel. They're on the easier side, but I'd rather she get really solid in all her letter sounds before starting Explode the Code 1. I wouldn't have her doing books really at all, except for that she begs to do learning time just like the others, so it makes her happy to have her own set. :)

Eli is halfway through first grade Saxon math, and doing a lot in first grade Singapore Math too. We'll just wallow in both until the fall, then I'll look to make a more concerted effort towards finishing Singapore 1A/B. It's more challenging then Saxon, and I think it is more effective at teaching mathematical thinking.

Amirah has been doing great using Saxon 2 as review and strengthening of math facts. Hoping to do Singapore 2B in the spring/summer. We'll see! But for now, math tears are all gone and we're having smooth sailing. I really think tears are a sign that a child is just not ready for something yet. I feel no compulsion to "push through" those tears and try to master something anyway. I think it's actually detrimental. Small, solid increments are so much better for strengthening their confidence and their skills.

Amirah has been doing lots of independent reading - she read a simplified version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Twits by Roald Dahl, and now she's reading Black Beauty. We're going to start the third McGuffey Reader this coming week, which starts to place more emphasis on elocution. I love that series for oral reading.

Chumash is going great. We're working each pasuk until she has at LEAST 80% mastery (can effortlessly read and translate a word and explain the parts of the word), and doing cumulative reivew as we go. In Lech Lecha she's able to begin reading a pasuk with 50% understanding, so that's a good start and it doesn't take much time to up that to 80+%. B"H! And all without stress or tears. B"H again!

For biur tefillah I've been reading every day from Rav Schwabs book. It is an excellent book for all ages and I've edited or paraphrased very little of the book. Eli catches on very well and we have great discussions about the meanings of each tefillah. This has been a highlight of the week as we discussed the mitzvahs that have no prescribed measure, and the mitzvahs that give us the greatest reward in olam habah.

In science, we have had a GREAT start in astronomy. They are each making books with illustrations and narrations. So far, we have covered the sun and Mercury. We have also had a great time going outside at night to identify things from our star maps, including stars, nebulas, galaxies, and planets. We can now find Betelgeuse, Sirius, and Aldeberan. FUN!!!!! I love learning their locations too, watching their locations shift in the skies, and using the stars to find the compass directions. We also got a really nice green laser pointer for a Channukah present, so we can "point" at the things we find in the sky. What a joy to really take in the wondrous vastness of Hashem's universe.

Time to cook, and cook, and cook. Better go at bionic speed...

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