Monday, January 2, 2012

Day Five, End of Week One

By Days 3 and 4, my patience was pretty thin and I wasn't sure if Catherine was learning anything.  But, I really felt guilty because I had yelled at Catherine so much that she had broken down into tears several times.  I needed to change my behavior and, hopefully, her behavior.  I decided to have fun activities and try to do more fun things on Friday so that Catherine would enjoy school.  I could not continue to argue with her, yell at her, and hurt her feelings.  This had to be a positive experience for her.

When I woke the girls up, I suggested that we have a pajama day.  They loved the idea and even wanted me to wear a nightgown also.  I also took a friend's suggestion and let Catherine write out her vocabulary and do her math problems with a marker on a mirror.  Both girls loved this "twist" on worksheets.  I was glad they enjoyed it, but was not comfortable with them using a glass mirror.  I was too afraid they would lean in to it and break it.  So, this weekend I bought white boards for them to use.

I also was impressed that Catherine asked me what her spelling words were.  In school she had 12 spelling words each week.  The GCA curriculum did not include spelling lists, so I didn't even think about it until she said something.  Upon her request, I made her a list of 20 words.  For our health credits, we will be studying the human body, so I gave Catherine 20 words which were all body parts.  We let her choose some of the ones she wanted to learn how to spell (eyebrow, forehead, and knee were her choices).  Friday night while we were making dinner Catherine sat at the table and wrote out the words in the order I had given them to her the day before.  She got all but shoulder spelled correctly.  I was impressed!

Sabrina loves using the snap cubes to practice making patterns.  She will only do a few before she gets bored and wants to move on.  One of my challenges with Sabrina is her lack of a sustained attention span.  She is only 4, so she needs a new activity every 10-15 minutes.
When Catherine was doing her math problems on the mirror, Sabrina wanted to help her.  Catherine used Sabrina's fingers to do her math.
The most fun thing we did was our Health Study.  GCA does not provide any lessons or materials for Health, so we have to make it up.  I got some books from the library on body parts and read 2 of them to the girls.  They were My Hands by Aliki and My Feet by Aliki.  Both were good reads and taught the girls the various parts of your hands and feet.  The foot book talked about various silly things you can do with your feet, such as drawing a picture by holding a marker with your toes:

 Or putting finger puppets on your toes:
The girls loved those silly activities, giggling incessantly.  Catherine even said "this is so much fun, Mommy!"  Finally, she was enjoying school.  I was so happy.  The girls also had Daddy draw with his toes when he got home from work.  I loved seeing all the excitement.  The next day when Catherine was getting dressed, she ran and showed me her sock.  It, like all socks, had an area for the heel and another area for the toes.  She was learning some of the vocabulary from the books!

We also did some silly activities with our hands, like holding a pencil without using our thumbs:
 We also practiced doing things without using our hands at all:
 Sabrina trying to cut a sheet of paper with her toes:
Earlier in the week we had done some online lessons for History.  The lessons were on the continents, the oceans, the parts of a compass, and the parts of a map.  Both girls loved sitting next to me and doing these lessons.  While we were driving in the car the next day, Catherine pointed out to me whenever she saw the words "North," etc. on a road sign.  We also played a "globe game" on Friday (we sat on the floor and tossed a globe between us, pointing out something on the globe each time).

I decided that Catherine does best with new material.  Of course she still needs practice on "old" material.  I am trying to think of ways to let her think she is doing something new even if she is just reinforcing or strengthening skills she has. 

I also decided that we did a lot of work, but I am not sure what she actually learned.  So, for next week I want to be more intentional about what we are actually studying.  The first week I kind of made up stuff as we went, rather than do lesson plans.

Here are pictures of the books I mentioned in this post:

1 comment:

Anji said...

I'm glad it's going well, Victoria! I still have to call you; I'm sorry it slipped my mind! It was hard being in Minnesota--aside from the fact I had to visit everyone, Truth got sick! :-(