Sunday, January 2, 2011

Back to the grind!

Rather than trying to figure out what I haven't posted about ;), I'll just jump right in and get going for 2011!

Our first day of school will be tomorrow. I will only have my two plus the little guy (14mo) I babysit. What will I have my two do? I'd like to move in the direction of me showing them things (I've said this so many times before, how come I don't follow through???) more often; at the same time, the 16yo is so far behind in his work, and I feel partly responsible for that, that he will take up a lot of my time. On the flip side of that, he does need to learn to take charge of his education and I will not ignore my own children's education just because he won't get his butt in gear! Oh my--I think I've finally hit the point of going, "If he doesn't get it done or fails, then that's really his problem." It really is, isn't it? I think I've been owning his problem for far too long. For a long while, it was really a matter of if I didn't do at least something, he would have completely given up. I think he's past that point. He does not want to give up anymore. He has a vision of having his high school diploma AND having it done by June 2012. I will not overburden him, but I will not make him my entire focus! (Yay for me! :D)

I'm going to take a little aside here and share an insight I had this morning about him. His sister was over a few days ago--just a little Christmas break visit--and she said something about her parents having been unhappy in their marriage for the last 10 years of it. The 16yo was 10 when they finally broke up. Which means he spent his entire life with parents who were unhappy. It clicked in my mind why he is so focused on fun and why he has spent the bulk of his life kind of ignoring the wider world out there, the big picture. I really wish there were a Montessori High School around here because I think it would be the ideal place for him to connect with *life* on a better level. There isn't one, so I'm going to have to do some serious reflection on this.

Back to the originally scheduled program... My two.

10yo ds:
*MATH: Keep going with the multiplication. He seems to like just having the sheets and working out the answers; doesn't want to use the multiplication bead board anymore. I haven't shown him the charts--I'd rather wait until he has a grasp of multiplication and then is working towards memory with random questions. I also have Ray's Arithmetic and could start giving him some word problems to figure out. So, for this week, I need to prepare some practice sheets with tables he has worked on for review, then add in some tables he hasn't done. Also, prepare some sheets with word problems. He can choose which he will do.

*FRENCH:  I'm going to keep insisting on the handwriting. He doesn't seem to want to suggest anything to practise writing, so I just keep coming up with things related to his life. "I love dinosaurs. My favourite is..." Now he has a PSP, so I'll be able to tie in more things. ;) I would also like to resume our nightly reading. We started Journey to the Centre of the Earth (in the original French) and he really likes it. We haven't touched it in at least a couple of weeks. I'm sure there is more that I could be exploring with him, but for right now, I'll just be happy to start having work done again.

*SCIENCE: We have some science experiment books out right now. I think I just need to take the plunge and pick some, rather than waiting around for him to pick some, and do them. I probably ought to have some "lab sheets" ready for him to write down the information, or for me to show him how we write down the information to track what we've done and learned.

*SOCIAL STUDIES: He had started learning the provinces of Canada, and somehow the fell away. I'll bring that back in. I'll provide a list of "Challenges" for him to choose to explore other than just learning where the provinces are and how to spell them, things like the flag of the province, the Premier's name, population, etc. Get him involved in seeking out information.

Everything else is extra! I know he'll be reading various books. Oh, one thing: I will be printing off a chart for him to just check off if he's worked in that subject area that day. We'll have a look at the end of the week to see what is getting done and what isn't.

13yo dd:
*MATH: She was working on multiplication with decimals before Christmas, and here and there on division. She liked some word problems that hubby brought home from school, so I think I'll search in Ray's to find some good problems for her to work on the multiplication and division. Once these are really solid, she will have an easier time with fractions and algebra. Actually, algebra's pretty easy for her, what she's done so far, but the deeper you go, the more it relies on really understanding multiplication and division.

*FRENCH: For right now, I think we'll just stick with her workbooks and I'll give her some verb conjugations to work on. I have to figure out a way to bring regular writing in French into the mix with her actually wanting to do it. Maybe we'll do a fun writing game this week: You write one line then do the first word of the next line; fold the paper so the first line isn't seen. Then the second person continues the story from that single word, ends on the next line with a single word, and so on. It's fun, no pressure, doesn't have to be good...

*SCIENCE: Have absolutely no clue. Actually, I purchased some Montessori science albums; I ought to look in those. Will I be able to have something ready for this week? Probably not.

*SOCIAL STUDIES: US map. She'd been working on it before Christmas. I'll have to make sure I'm working on it, too; it just helps her feel like she's doing something meaningful. :) I think I ought to try to break it down into areas of the US so we can more easily learn (well, for me, relearn) where they all are.

*ART: I am going to pull out her one course book this week and start going through one of the lessons with her. She's been ignoring art, in part because she really wants to be directed. I think I really need to find an actual in-person course for her to take next year.

*PE: Daily Egoscue exercises. Pete Egoscue has all kinds of therapy clinics and books on living pain free. The exercises are designed to help put the body into its proper posture--not just the back, but knees, hips, shoulders, everything. Dd has always had flat, pronated feet, and it's causing her more and more problems. I've been using the Pain Free Exercise DVD only a little and already notice a difference for my knees and general posture. I took out the Pain Free for Women book and there's a section in there for teens. I've told her about these and that I will guide her through them AND how excited I am to see how they will help her since she so often has pain in her feet after walking for even a short time. She commented that she had pain right away, and we hadn't even done anything. So that will be her daily PE routine.

For both of them, for Practical Life, they will be focusing on the care of their rooms for this month. I'm taking a FlyLady approach and will focus on morning and evening routines where they incorporate a little cleaning of the hot spots in their rooms, plus a Weekly Room Blessing (we will work out together what kinds of things to do each week). Once the hot spots are cleared and maintained (could take a few weeks!), we'll add in the decluttering. This will probably take until the end of February. From there, we will branch out to the bathroom. :D

For my dear little niece who is still in her funny little phase (she was here New Year's Eve and still playing shy and babyish; she apparently does NOT do this at home anymore, but there were people here she's not used to having here, and this behaviour seems to be very tied to *us*), I am going to show one new activity per day. That is my goal. I think I will make it PL one day and sensorial the next. She won't be back until Wednesday, so that means I just need to plan for, and practise, three activities. I'll have to have a look in Gettman.

As for the little guy... Um... LOL. I have Montessori From the Start out. I should probably have a look at it. :D

This week is actually a little odd: Little guy plus my two tomorrow, 16yo not here until Tuesday, then 3yo starts on Wed., with her sister coming after school. I'm thinking tomorrow afternoon is our only chance in January to have a field trip, so we'll head out somewhere. Not sure where!

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