As it’s half term, all of the kids usual classes aren’t on this week, neither are mine. Which has worked out well so far- Kieran still isn’t up to par, and I sound a bit worse at the end of the week than at the beginning. We also tend to stay home more during half-term, probably because none of us like when the parks are over crowded!
We started a new routine a few weeks ago for all of us. Michael is trying to get in to work earlier so that he is home by 4:30 most nights. It was getting harder to organize a decent dinner for all of us if we are running around every evening at dinnertime. I’m out 2 nights a week, we aren’t home one night till 6, two nights they need to leave here at 5:20, and one night one child isn’t home till 5:45. And if the kids and I are out during the afternoon, we aren’t usually home till 4:30. So instead of all the hodgepodge running around-if he gets home earlier we can all continue to have our sit-down dinner together. I can’t stand different dinner times-except on the occasion when Michael & I have something different in the evenings. This way we can cook a decent meal and drop the kids off to their events, and nothing gets short-changed.
I have also become much more organized with the kids work. Up until January, we just did what we did, when we had time. I wasn’t too worried about structure, as the kids were progressing very well, and Kieran was still 5. Now that he is 6, it seemed the best time to add more structure to their work. Hazel really likes knowing exactly what she has to do before she starts, so she appreciates the list approach.
What I do now is leave them their practice work on the kitchen counter every evening, and they do it on their own right after they finish their breakfast. I write out what they have to do in their own notebook and that way they know exactly what they have to do. This includes some handwriting and math sheets for both, and a few other ‘refresher’ assignments. At the most-it shouldn’t take them more than an hour-unless they spend longer colouring things in. Hazel also works on her spelling words and some grammar work. Obviously no new topics or anything they can’t easily do on their own will be left, as this is just their skills practice time.
For Kieran we are working on improving penmanship and subtraction. His printing is nice, but not as strong and neat as I’d like. To help him increase it we’ve added some colouring in sheets to his morning practice session. I leave him a dot-2-dot page from an old book and he does that and colours in the picture. They surprised me by doing both sides of the page-but I’m not going to tell them just to do the one side! My two don’t really like colouring-in-books-and so the book has been gathering dust, but now that I ripped the pages out, they are both enjoying them. Maybe they just don’t like to colour in the books?
I’ve started spelling lists with Hazel. Seems a bit silly at times, as she can spell most words anyway. But what I’ve done is very old fashioned. I’m having her write the words and then write the definitions on Mondays, write the words 1 x on Tuesday & Thursday, and write a sentence for each word on Wednesday’s. To make the spelling list I went through her children’s dictionary and wrote down about ten weeks worth of words (10 words/week) that were in there. I broke them down to categories such as vehicles, food, jobs, etc… This way I knew they were in her dictionary when she looked them up.
I have also printed out this series of Dolch words from Enchanted Learning. There are 22 5-page sets that have 10 words each. The kids have to do a word search, fill in the blank sheet, a word shape puzzle, put the words in alphabetical order and then write a sentence for each word.
I have to say-she has blown me away with her sentences. You can tell from them she has never been to school. They aren’t all the repetitive ‘That is a…’ or ‘I have a ….’ or ‘I am ….’ type sentences. She even writes dialogues!
Here is a ‘story’ she wrote with the sentences from the other day. The words were: see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow and you.
I see the sea.
Look! The tide is coming in!
Three yummy ice creams on the cliff.
Let’s go home to xxxxx now.
Today we are going to see my two year old cousin.
She lives on the Isle of Wight. Up goes the ferry ramp.
We have had fun on the Isle of Wight.
But where are we going next I wonder?
To the yellow hotel of course.
I hope you had fun with me.
Honestly-those are not sentences I would have written at 7 years of age.