Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Many moons ago when I was an elementary education student I was required to keep a reflection journal.  Hated it!  Well, the truth is it is a good idea.  When you sit down and ponder what is working and what isn't you are able to make the changes (or not) necessary to provide a better education for your students.  

This evening while writing about our school day I realized I had to make a change for 9yo.  I had to admit the grade three Daily Reading Comprehension passages are just too hard for her.  You can't practice comprehension skills if you can't read 15% of the words.  Tonight I put on my big girl/teacher undies and bought the grade two book.  I'll admit I was a bit disappointed.  I was hoping she could step up to the 3rd grade level, but she can't force her brain to do something it isn't ready for.

I have to continuously remind myself to relax and work with her where she is.  If we are consistent she will progress.  Really. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This is work!

I am putting together a loop schedule for 13yo and realizing that trying to individualize education is work.  No wonder I like textbooks.  You open up the textbook and start where you left off.  I like that.  It makes planning easy.  Now I'm trying to plan around what I perceive as her gaps.  Instead of "doing the next thing" I am thinking about what she needs.  This kind of planning takes more effort.

The loop:
  1. French
  2. History/Geography
  3. Core Knowledge
  4. English
  5. Art/Music
  6. Christian Studies
  7. Latin
  8. Writing
  9. Science
  • Math lesson 
  • Latin vocabulary
  • Memorization
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling
  • Typing Instructor
  • R&S Upper-grade review flash cards
  • French flash cards

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Last Tuesday, 13yo dd talked to me about having "holes" in her education.  I decided that using Core Knowledge would be a great way to fill some of the gaps.  When I tried to suggest it the next day, she gave me a hard time and I was quite mad about it.

Tonight (Christmas) I was sitting in a recliner feeling drugged from all the food I had eaten and 13yo asks if we are doing school the next day.  I could tell from her tone of voice that she was actually making a suggestion.  In my brain I was thinking, "What?  I don't want to do school tomorrow!"  We spent the next hour or so talking about the changes we want to try.

Tomorrow she and I will ease into a new school schedule (The Loop).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nancy Larson Science

Woo Hoo!  I am SO excited.  I just received my Nancy Larson Science 1 kit via FedEx.  The box was packed with amazing goodies (butterfly garden kit, ladybug land kit, x-rays, insect cards, field guides for kids...everything you need for 71 scripted science lessons.)

I used Saxon Math K-3 with my now 16yo and from what I can remember this seems to use the same format.  I will admit that I did not continue to use Saxon Math with my younger children due to the fact that I was overwhelmed with life at the time, but my 16yo has fond memories of her math lessons.  I think Nancy Larson's Science will be an even bigger hit with my 9yo.

Wait?  Did I say 9yo?  Yes I did  : )  Their website states, "Nancy Larson Science 1 is recommended for ages 5-8 and is appropriate for older children with limited science experience."  We definitely qualify since 9yo has had very little formal science instruction.  I am choosing to start her with Science 1 to make sure she has a good foundation to build upon.

Most of all, I'm looking forward to having fun with my daughter.  That is what happens to older mothers.  They realize that being uptight didn't get them anywhere with their older children, so they might as well have some fun.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Filling gaps

It drives me crazy when people act "shocked!" that my kids don't know (fill in the blank.)  All they accomplish is making my children feel stupid.  And yeah, it is usually a family member.  Come on, people.  Everyone has gaps. 

For some reason my normally confident 13yo seems to be the most susceptible to these attacks.  She thinks she's dumb and that other kids her age know so much more than she does.  I can't change how my relatives act, but I will do the best I can to help my daughter with her academic self-esteem.  I think reading through the Core Knowledge series, What Your nth Grader Needs to Know, will be a good place to start.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Week 1

Kiddo dragged her feet today even though she didn't even realize that it was Saturday.  I pushed her because I needed to go Christmas shopping.  It took us two hours to do:
  • hundred number chart (by 1's, 2's, 3's, 4,'s, 5's, and 10's)
  • count by hundreds to 1,000
  • calendar (sing days of the week, sing months, Today's date is...)
  • flashcards (addition, multiplication, general math)
  • R&S Math 2 lesson
  • R&S Math 3 lesson
  • R&S English 2 lesson
  • R&S Reading (two stories a day and two sets of flashcards)
  • Daily Reading Comprehension worksheet
  • Grammar Minute 2 worksheet
  • Beginning Geography worksheet
 She is doing better with her math facts, especially multiplication, than I expected.
multiplication: x1, x7(3), x2(7), x10, x11
addition: doubles, +0, +1, 3+2, 8+2, +10, 11 and it's parts

It certainly hasn't been fun, but it has given me hope.  As long as we remain consistent I now believe that she might pass the test.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Commence operation "Drill and Kill"

I introduced 9yo to multiplication (repeated addition, groups of) this morning and have added the x1 flashcards to her pile.  She now has double addition cards and x1 cards.  I'll add some geometric shapes, etc. type cards soon.
She's already finished her four grade 2 math worksheets and it's not even noon.  I hope to split the grade 3 math over 3-4 small work sessions during the day.  Don't want to fry her brain. : )

Edited to add:  Long day.  But, by the end of the afternoon I think she enjoyed having time with Mom. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Teaching to the test

Yes, it is true.  I have every intention of teaching to the test.  Between the 9yo's delayed time line and my slacker personality, we have a mess on our hands.  We are required by the state to have her take a standardized test before August 15th and she isn't ready.  At all.

The overall plan?  Be consistent.

We will be doing test prep (drill and kill) six days a week until the test.

  • math facts
  • math lesson