juthwara: (Default)
I think we are going to try to do Cranberry Thanksgiving again next year, the week before Thanksgiving, because nobody was focusing well last week.

Today, I tried to finish up a little with some talking about Thanksgiving foods and nutrition, largely because it gave me a sheet I can include in our portfolio that shows we engaged in nutrition/health and wellness education. So first, I showed K a sheet I made up with pictures of typical Thanksgiving foods - turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and pumpkin pie. I asked her what these foods might have in common and why they might get eaten at an American Thanksgiving, as opposed to harvest festivals in other countries. K didn't know, so we started looking up the foods in Wikipedia, and over and over, native to the Americas kept coming up. K still felt tha the thing these foods had in common is that they grew on farms, but I managed to get across that we eat those foods for our Thanksgiving because they're all native foods.

Then I had her cut out the pictures and we placed them on a printout of a plate with the food groups from myplate.gov by what food group they belonged to. And lo, we had one sheet to stick in the portfolio. I really don't feel first grade should be about output, but it's always in the back of my mind that I need to purposefully create some for the sake of the portfolio.

Tomorrow, Mirette on the High Wire. I had initially planned on Madeline, but while K liked the idea of learning about Paris and loved the idea of building a model of the Eiffel Tower, she didn't want to do Madeline. I looked at the FIAR list and strongly considered The Giraffe that Walked to Paris - K loves giraffes. But ultimately I decided that it wasn't a good idea to do that book when we wouldn't be able to go to the zoo, and also couldn't quite stomach the idea of talking about the Eiffel Tower while doing a book that takes place 50 years before it was built.

So that left Mirette on the High Wire. It's actually quite a good choice for getting K engaged, because the circus is always a fun topic. And I admit, I didn't plan this at all, but we went to IKEA last weekend and K begged us to buy her this set of circus finger puppets and now she's really excited by the circus. Really, I wish I had thought of it, but no, it was just dumb luck. This should be a lot of fun.

Other things accomplished today: read to the end of Progressive Phonics beginner book 1, did an MEP 1a worksheet.
juthwara: (Default)
Today, we got back to reading and math, which is a frustrating proposition in some ways, because I have no idea where to place her.

If you were to ask K, she can barely read a word. Certainly, if you want her to sound out a word, she won't oblige you. But at the same time, when she was taking the placement test for Reading Eggs, she got the first 20 questions right before getting bored and demanding an end to the test, at which point I decided it was probably better not to have her placed so high that she would be constantly frustrated and had her get the next questions wrong so we could get out of the test. But getting that far (and I suspect she could have gotten farther) required quite a bit of reading. A child who can't read doesn't start out on level 5 of a reading game. She can use our dvr well enough to find the specific episode of a tv show she wants, which you can only do by reading. And this summer, when we were looking for a dvd of "Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue," she found it and yelled, "Hey, this says 'Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Escape!'" So sure, sweetheart, we TOTALLY believe you can't read at all.

However, being fairly sure she reads much better than she's letting on doesn't tell me where to place her when it actually comes to curriculum. So I've decided to just start her at the beginning of Progressive Phonics, in the hopes that starting her out easy will help her gain enough confidence to start showing her actual skills. As I've said before, I like Progressive Phonics because it has the parent reading along with the child, which both gives K added confidence to have me carrying the bulk of the reading load and makes for much more interesting reading than "The fat cat sat" school of phonics reader. We made it to the end of the first beginner book tonight without much problem. She really likes to try to guess at words based on the pictures instead of taking the time to read them, but if you make her stop and focus on the actual word, she usually doesn't have a problem figuring it out.

Progressive Phonics has a handwriting component, but K really wanted to use the handwriting book we had been using with the online school, and since it's a perfectly good handwriting book (Zaner Bloser), I was fine letting her continue with it. She was really excited to discover she had moved from writing individual letters to actual words (her response: "Real words! Score!"), so I'm hopeful she'll respond well when we finish this book and move onto Writing With Ease, a writing curriculum that will involve writing quite a few words.

Math presents a slightly different problem. I have a pretty good idea of where K's math skills are, but in switching curricula, I'm not sure where to start in the new one. MEP levels 1a and 1b seem to be the equivalent of the first grade math she's been doing, but not necessarily covering things the same way. From what I can tell, 1a covers addition up to 10, which K can do pretty well, and 1b covers addition from 11 to 20. But looking at the sheets at the end of 1a, I'm afraid she would be a bit lost if we skipped straight to 1b, at least partially because the style of problem is so much different than the straightforward style of addition and subtraction problems she's been doing that she'll get too frustrated. So I've been skimming 1a and picking out some sheets just to get her used to the more game-like style of problem. Also, while we've certainly covered greater than and less than, she's never used the actual < or > signs, so the first sheet I pulled out tonight focused mostly on that.

I feel like we need to get her to the point that she knows the addition and subtraction facts up to 10, without having to figure it out with fingers or counting cubes. She has the theory down just fine, but again, there's a confidence issue holding her back. I'm hoping maybe some time with some math games will help cement some of these basic sums so she can move on to more complicated problems with confidence.

Tomorrow, a last day of activities based on Cranberry Thanksgiving, then we move onto Paris and the circus with Mirette on the High Wire.

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juthwara

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