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Friday, June 4, 2010

Another enlightening day

The devotion today was about a fable writer named Aesop (ee-sop). The devotion says fables are fictional stories that tell a moral or teach a lesson. Some people think the bible is a collection of fables. They think the bible tells interesting stories and can even teach valuable lessons, but that they are not necessarily true. (I used to think that, before I was saved) Some of you grew up in the church since you were knee high to a grasshopper, but I was allowed to “pick” my religion. I know now, that the bible is true. And Jesus is the Truth.

We read two more chapters out of Exodus today. I’m glad JD and I are reading it together. This will means JD will be able 1. Say he’s read the bible when someone asks him and 2. Make informed decisions when unbelievers doubt his knowledge. JD is such a sponge when it comes to bible theology. Chapter 21 was all about the fair treatment of slaves and cases of personal injury. Each instruction came with a penalty; most were compensation; however, this is where JD’s eyes opened wide when I read “a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…” Chapter 22 was about the protection of personal property. Again, each instruction came with a penalty; most were compensation. Then, it moved to proper social behavior. JD and I had a long talk after reading these chapters. It would take too long to repeat all the information exchanged but I ended it with, “all those instructions were written for those people during that time frame. Today we don’t necessarily follow those instructions. We follow the laws written on our hearts. If you KNOW what you will do would be something that would disrespect God or bring dishonor to him, DON’T do it!” (I think he got it.) I also explained about the tabernacle and the time when Jesus died and the curtain ripped. That’s the point where we were no longer bound by that shopping list of laws and were allowed to approach God about anything.

I noticed JD was subtracting from the left to the right during the assessments and had questions about regrouping numbers when he borrowed from the number to the left. He also had questions about borrowing from a decimal number. So back to the basics we go. I copied three different house pictures and pasted them side by side. I told him the one on the left was Mr. Hundred‘s house and placed a $1.00 coin in it. Next, I told him the middle one was Mr. Ten’s house and placed 9 dimes in it. Lastly, I told him the one on the right was Mr. One’s house and placed 4 pennies in it. This visual seemed to help. I also taught him a poem I found online. “More on top? No need to stop! More on the floor? Go next door. Get one ten. That's ten ones more.” I also gave him an example of “194 kids in the neighborhood playing minus 15 kids who will do lawn work for the day.” The example 194-15 shows “more on the floor.” So you’ll have to go to Mr. Ten’s house and ask if his kids can come help do lawn work. I told JD Mr. Ten only gives ten kids as a bunch at a time (**for obvious safety reasons…) Even if you just say I only need 1 more he only give a bunch of ten kids. So when all ten kids move from playing in their yard to Mr. One’s house now there are those 10 from next door and the 5 already at Mr. One’s house for a total of 15 kids waiting to do lawn work. Meanwhile, Mr. Ten now only has 80 kids playing in the yard now. This visual and example worked out GREAT! Now that the concept was taught visually and I knew he understood regrouping or borrowing I gave him a worksheet filled with 24 problems ranging in difficulty. He only missed two! (This is one of those days where you actually get to see the light bulb go off and home schooling makes all the sense in the world.)

For the keyboard lesson I had him go to “Keyboard Climber” where the monkey climbs branches of the trees of you type the correct letter. If you do not find the correct letter he will get knocked in the head by a coconut. JD looked at his hands the entire time. I called him out and shortly there after he said, “I’m bored with this game.” So I had him close that down and type sentences. The topic was what will you be doing this summer. His first two sentences were: “This summer, I will have school and lots of it. I will have stacks of papers to do.” I stopped him and told him he was just mad that I was making him type sentences and that what he typed was hurtful because I am not a slave driver. I am only trying to improve his skills over the summer. I said, “Okay, type what you wish you could do this summer. He typed, “I wish I could drive a speed boat. I wish I could go water skiing. I wish I could go sky diving. And I wish I could climb a mountain.” (Wow! Those are pretty big wishes.)

This week for spelling I focused on the “Q-U” and “X-S” rules. Q and U are best friends. Wherever Q is U is right beside him. The next rules was X and S are mortal enemies. When they get close to one another they need a referee or mediator named E. JD admitted he did not study his words this week and missed one 1 out of 8 simple words.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A good day

The devotion today was about Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripkin Jr. holding the records playing in the most consecutive games. In 1941, Lou faithfully played 2,130 games and much later Cal played 2,632 games in a row. Their teams must have loved being able to count on them no matter what. God is also faithful like that. We know we can count on God to be with us, everywhere, all the time. We also need to remain strong and faithful, through all kinds of trouble.

We read three chapters in Exodus today. Chapter 18 was when Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came to visit Moses. After watching the people swarm him in flock Jethro offered some suggestions. Jethro’s advice was to pick some elders to handle the little problems, and only bring the serious problems to Moses. Chapter 19 was when the Lord revealed himself to Moses. He gave specific instructions for all of the people not to pass the boundary. Chapter 20 was where God gave the Israelites were the 10 Commandments. The last thing God told them about was proper altar building.

The grammar lesson today was about the different types of punctuation marks of: period, question, exclamation, comma, apostrophe, quotation, colon, and semicolon. I reviewed all the different marks with him and then gave him 2-3 sentences for correction. He did really good on this.

The keyboard lesson did not go as planned. He’s been through the online lessons twice now, but refuses to practice without looking. My goal for this summer is to get him to get the thought from his mind to the keyboard in a timely manner. (It’s so much quicker to type than write.) I had him type 5 sentences about the new sword he got. (**Side note…no living plants or animals have been injured or killed…yet!) One of his sentences was “Oh, look a chicken.” (Funny guy)

I told Jeff this summer I would also be enrolling JD in the newest Faith Christian Academy course called “Home Economics.” Jeff prefers “Bachelor Survival.” So every time I have JD clean anything I start it off like this, “Jonathan, Bachelor Survival tip, please clean….” He’s a hard headed student!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The sword is here!

The devotion today was about a king or queen being crowned and all the hubbub that goes along with it. Jesus is called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That means he outranks all the kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, and other national leaders. This means we need to honor and obey him. (Can you imagine how much more we would honor and obey him if he were right in front of us?)

We read two chapters out of Exodus today. Chapter 16 was all about the people grumbling and God providing quail and manna for them. There were still some that did not obey very specific instructions. Chapter 17 was about the water from a rock and the fight against the Amalek people, where Moses had to hold the staff up with the assistance of Aaron and Hur.

Jeff and all his infinite fatherly wisdom thought it would be nice for his 11 year old son also named “Hyder“ to have a fairly inexpensive metal sword to play around with. (Remember the whole “Sometimes as parents we make mistakes” blog?) Which makes me think of the time Jeff gave JD a small pocket knife that ended up in our truck tire, but that’s another story. So we‘ve been tracking the shipping on this WEAPON for several days now and today was to be the official arrival date. I tracked it at 10:00am and saw it was on a vehicle for delivery. JD has been watching the window like a hawk and every time a cricket farted he thought it was the FedEx delivery truck arriving. It finally arrived at 11:00ish. Great, now how will we get anything school related done today? I let him play with it after the math lesson. He had a hard time attaching it with a belt but quickly removed himself from the safety of our home to slay dragons or something. (*Thinking out loud* “It better not be any trees!”) CODE YELLOW! I must have a safety conversation with him. Because he is a male “Hyder” and for the preserved safety of the fruit of my labor (all living plants.) I told JD, "The sword will NOT be used to slice bushes, trees, and flowers." The look on his face said it all. (I was too late.) I followed that up with, "The sword will not be impaled into the pool or swimming floats, AND will NOT be taken on the trampoline." I asked if I had left anything out or left anything unclear. His response, “No.” Oh silly me...it will also NOT be used ON or NEAR our animals or other people. (Jeff, this was YOUR responsibility.) Why was I was too late? JD apparently saw a dragon in what I call his “giving tree.” He only slice a few leaves off. (Whew.)

Today for math I reviewed the analog clock. You know the ones with thee short hand and the long hand? Who knew technology (IE: digital clocks) could hinder education? JD missed an analog clock question on the assessment. That’s when I stepped in during the assessment and asked, “Are you sure?” His response, “Yep.” I rephrased the question for him and said, “If it’s 10:30 now, what time will it be in 40 minutes.” His response, “Ten.” That is what prompted this “time” lesson. He knows the numbers 1,2,3...counts for 5 minutes each. I showed him if we cut this “pie” twice we’ll have four pieces. Those four pieces are 15 minutes in time. I taught him to count by 15’s to get around the clock quicker; along with the phrases “quarter past the hour, half past the hour, and quarter till.” I told him each little dash in between the minutes is one minute. He already knew there were sixty minutes in an hour. This lesson seems juvenile for his age but I had to go all the way back to make sure he got the concept. First we made a clock with a paper plate and laminated long and short hands. We punched a hole in the plate and hands so they could move around. I also wrote 15 & ¼ by the three, 30 &½ by the six, and 45 & ¼ by the nine. We ran some drills where I called out the time and he moved the hands. He stumbled at first but got it eventually. Then, I had a sheet with clocks and hands showing a time. He was to write down the time under the clock. Finally, I gave him another sheet that had the time written on it and he had to draw the hands on the clock. This was just the beginning of the “time” lessons.

Today in English we reviewed sentences. It covered everything we’ve done over the last month or so. It includes : correct sentences verses fragments, the four kinds of sentences (declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory) simple and complete subjects and predicates, simple subjects and predicates, conjunctions (and, but, or), and finally run-on sentences. I either had him write a sentence or correct a sentence for review. This was tough for him, because I clearly wrote the in. Instructions and asked him to follow them. I told him next year he would need to work more independently. I told him I would be available for question, but he would need to read the instructions and follow them. Then I walked away. There was a lot of stagnate time where he was doing something other than writing or just sitting there wishing this was all just a bad dream. I had to remind him this task should take no longer than 15 minutes and if he would buckle down and do it he could go play.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Short days

From now on we will be on our summer schedule. I will rotate the following subject throughout the week: read 30 minutes independently, math basics, spelling strategies, basic grammar, and keyboarding. Total it will take 1 ½ hours a day depending on how quickly he gets his work done. These are subjects that either need improvement or a refresher course in the basics to make sure he has the concept down. Basic subtraction, multiplication, and division along with grammar were deficiencies during the assessment.

Our devotion this morning was about Captain James Lawrence when he exclaimed, “Don’t give up the ship!” During the War of 1812, he was mortally wounded but shouted to his men, “Don’t give up the ship!” Then it transitioned into giving up when the going gets tough. When it seems the odds are against us and were suffering instead of persevering. Paul wrote, “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance” Endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. So when the going gets tough…“Don’t give up the ship!”

We only read one chapter in the book of Exodus. Chapter was the song the Israelites sang after their rescue from the Red Sea. It only took them three days to start complaining again when a sufficient water source could not be located.

For math we took ½ hour to review the basic concept of multiplication. I used small bowls and pennies to represent 2 x 4 = 8. Then, we filled in the multiplication chart with all the numbers he knew without hesitation. We filled in the: 0s, 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, and 11s. All the while he was busy telling me the rules for each one. He would say, “One times anything is still one” or “Ten times anything, just add a zero.” But for more difficult numbers we don’t have rules. I showed him a nines pattern and what do you know he also showed me a nines pattern. My pattern is: the left column goes up one number (1,2,3) and the right side counts back a number (8,7,6). He said, “18, 81, 27, 72, 36, 63, 45, 54. They mirror one another.” We’ll work on the 4s, 6s, 7s, 8s, and 12s another day. (I’m in no rush.)

It’s apparent when JD sounds out words that he does not hear phonics sounds like I do. That made this next task was hard to teach, but thanks to a couple of hippies from the internet I was able to get through to JD. He thought it was slightly embarrassing to motion the sounds, but he suffered through and it worked. The lesson was long and short vowels. The long vowels say what they are: A, E, I, O, and U. But those tricky short vowels say something completely different.
A says “aah” like a baby crying (whaa) (I had him cry like a baby.)
E says “eh” like an old man asking a question. (I had him cup his ear and say it rather loud.)
I says “ih” as if you sat in peanut butter. (I had him look behind himself and say it.)
O says “ah” the like when you drink cold water on a hot day. (I had him lift his glass and drink.)
U says “uh” like lifting a heavy table. (I had him lift the corner of the table.)
Then, I had him do two small worksheets to sort out the long and short vowels into two columns. The last part of the lesson I introduced two simple spelling rules. One was “Q” and “U” are best friends. They hang out ALL the time. Wherever you find Q you will also find U. The next rule was the letter “X” and “S.” I told him, “Unlike Q and U, X and S are mortal enemies. You will never see S follow X anywhere at the end of a word. They sometimes get close to one another, but they always have a mediator. That mediator is the letter E.” He will have only eight spelling words related to these two spelling rules. (I absolutely dread teaching I before E except after C because there are so many exceptions.) This lesson was also only ½ hour long.

The last thing we did for the day was his solar system models. We looked up Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and made replicas. Once we have them all finished he will paste them to black paper to hang in the classroom. This only took about 15 minutes.