Saturday, October 5, 2013

School Days

We seem to have found a rhythm for school, which unfortunately doesn't include a whole lot of school! 

On Monday's we go to Classical Conversations.  Link does not participate in the memory work (I figured he wouldn't) but he does like doing art and playing with his classmates after lunch.  He participates in the map games, but I'm not sure how much he is picking up.  You may wonder why we are still doing it if he's not actually doing the memory work.  I think there are other things that he's picking up, soft skills I guess you'd say.  The kids all do a little presentation during snack.  He's gradually getting comfortable enough to speak.  At first he would tell me what to say and I would tell his class.  After about four times, he actually spoke himself with me right beside him.  Then he turned to me and said "that wasn't that hard!"  His presentation consisted of about five sentences and answering a few leading questions from his tutor.  He's learning to listen to his classmates and ask questions about their presentations.  His favorite part is eating lunch and playing afterwards.  I think of it like a really big play date :)  He needs the interaction with other kids and I have a hard time providing that.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we are at home.  My main goal for those days is to do some kind of phonics and math.  If we manage more, that's great, but I try to make that my minimum.  We alternate between doing Montessori sound boxes and Happy Phonics games.  I thought it was funny that most of the beginning suggestions for learning the sounds in Happy Phonics were all Montessori activities.  So we were already doing those.  Happy Phonics just provides some games that we can play too.  For math, we have been doing the Bank Game and the Exchange Game with our Montessori golden beads.  I found this post about combining Montessori math exercises and it really hit home with me.  Link was getting burnt out doing things over and over, but he really needs more practice.  Switching things up a bit and adding dice helped for a little while.  Then we had to take a break.  He is still having a hard time understanding what exactly happens with the magic slide and has to have the number broken down.  I know he needs more practice so I keep holding off on the collective exercises.  Unfortunately that means he is loosing interest as he doesn't like doing the same thing for more than a few days.

The extra things that I try to add on those days are where Charlotte Mason comes in :)  That means I'm reading some stories, which all the boys love!  We are reading the Old Mother West Wind Series by Thornton Burgess and James Herriot's Treasury for Children.  We also go on nature walks and sometimes do some journaling.  I am occasionally able to throw in some Montessori geography with our land and water forms.  That usually ends with the boys making things with clay and playing with water :)  The boys were really interested in the map cabinet when we first got it, not so much now.  (Very oddly, they also aren't into the bells!)

You would think I'd have plenty of time to do these things every day, but its hard!  Little Beya has really thrown a wrench in our day :)  He cannot go in the school room anymore because he climbs out of his pack n' play.  So the only time we can go there is during his one hour nap.  Since we can't get all that we need to get done during that one hour, we do our math and phonics at the kitchen table now.

It also takes up a good bit of our day just trying to get Link to actually work.  My hope was that by using Montessori I'd have a very self motivated five year old.  I haven't done a very good job of implementing Montessori, so I can not blame the method!  Often I have to mention that we can't go to the park or some other fun thing if we haven't finished our work.  You may also be wondering why I keep saying "our work" or "I don't have time".  Well, that's because I have to do everything with Link. He will not work independently.

Ok, on Friday we do our Charlotte Mason co-op.  This is sooooo great!  We have about ten families and we do something different every Friday.  Yesterday was a field trip day. We visited an apple orchard off the Blue Ridge Parkway and the kids learned about pollination, bees, butterflies and other bugs.  They peeled apples, and ate them of course.  They sang folk songs and danced (not Link, but the others did.)  Then they went on a storytelling hayride (minus the hay).  After that we explored Linville Caverns.  On other Fridays we meet at a local park and alternate between the other CM subjects - Nature Study, Art/handicrafts and Artist Study, and Enrichment which includes hymns, poetry, composer study and recitation.  Our families total to about 30 people, with the kids ages ranging from 15 months to about 13 years old.  This has been such a great experience for us.  I get to hang out with adults and all my boys have some kids to play with!  The older kids are a great example for Link!

So that's our week.  I don't blog much about what we are doing because there really isn't much that is new.  I will however, wrap up this very wordy post with some pictures from our co-op field trip :)

Going down to the orchard
Peeling an apple
Just like his big brothers!
He was so tickled with his work!
Both of these boys were drawn to the bees!
He wasn't so sure of the cave, he was a little nervous about going in
In the bear hole :)
If there are rocks nearby, my boys have to climb them!

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