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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another good day

Sorry it took so long to get this day's blog out. I noticed this evening that I had not been taking attendance or keeping a record of our classes since we started this year. Attendance is required, and records of classes or activities are recommended. I just received my "We noticed you're a homeschool...would you mind filling this out so we can come visit you?" I'm armed and ready now for a state visit.

Today was another good school day. It started with our devotion. Next, I had him do one math worksheet. It was adding and subtracting whole numbers. I had him write the problem in graph paper AND keep each number in it’s individual cell (like a prison cell). This helped tremendously with the sloppy math problems. It also helped him “keep track” of the pesky carry over numbers.

The next lesson we did together. It was a social studies lesson on two kinds of deserts. One was the Antarctica and one was the Sahara. One of my goals this year is to teach JD how to take is own notes. This will of course come in handy for college when he’s out from underneath my wings. I managed to teach JD how to “take notes” by abbreviating words, making symbols to represent words, or draw pictures of the fact or information given. Most all of JD’s notes during this lesson were in pictures. This lesson took SO LONG to get all the notes, but it was a success! I really should have timed it, but I didn't. I kept repeating important information and asking him, "Do you think you need words or pictures to remember that information?" After a discussion on how he was “going” to draw it, I kept encouraging him to stop telling me and do it quickly. I said, “Your college professors are going to lecture you on a topic and you’re going to have to draw pretty quickly.” He did draw detailed pictures of the facts and information as he saw it in his mind. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to recall the facts with what he drew, but when I asked him later what all those pictures meant he was able to tell me. This idea came from a Dr Linda Silverman who co-authored a wonderful book called Raising Topsy-Turvy Kids: Successfully Parenting Your Visual-Spatial Child.

JD and I had a great time in science today. We started the individual study of each of the nine (oops now eight) planets in or solar system. Funny quote from JD…“All of my life I grew up learning about nine planets and that’s what I’m sticking with. How dare they kick out Pluto.” (…All of my life?…) I found a detailed, interactive, kid friendly website at http://kids.nineplanets.org/ . I pre-typed basic questions and cut them information sheet down to 3x4”. All JD had to do was fill in minimal info or circle info for each question. The info was: What they are made of, their size in one word, location from the sun, any visits by American spacecraft, temperatures, if they had water & ice, the # of moons, any features like mountains, valleys, plains, craters, volcanoes, and their symbol. Once JD finished a planet I glued that info sheet onto either a brightly colored green or orange index card. The rock planets were orange because they are close to the sun and “hot” planets and the gas planets were green for the green fog one has after relieving gas. (Not my choice…that was ALL JD.) Visual spatial kids remember things that are either or both humorous or colorful. (Again, Dr. Linda Silverman.) We only did the “inner” planets today, and we had fun sitting side by side tag teaming the would be long task.

The last lesson of the day was in Language Arts. I had JD type a poem about something he has fun doing like: swimming, playing on his scooter, or playing video games. He chose to type a poem about his dog Tater Tot. Here it is…
Tater Tot
I like to play with Tater, because she is a cool nater.
She has so much energy, she always catches up to me.
She is a funny little beagle, we got her from the pound, she’s legal.
She’s just a sweet pup, not yet all grown up.
She was born in December, and that’s all I can remember.

I’ve made a strategic move this year in lesson scheduling. We do the Language Arts lesson last this year. I did this to use the amount of time something takes to do as parental leverage. If he takes too much time to write or type what he needs to then it’s HIS time he’s burning a hole in and not mine. All I say now is, "Once you're done with this and I check it over, you are done for the day." It’s amazing how quickly things get done. **Note to self…move the math worksheet lesson closer to lunchtime.

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