Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feeling Good ;)

We did not get any serious work done today. The 16yo didn't have all of his resources yet, people were tired and sluggish, so I decided we would have a nice visit to the library and then after, go get the 16yo's math resources.

At the library, I ended up walking past the kids' audiobooks. I decided to pick something. We used to do it all the time, complete with having a basket of books in the van. We don't do that anymore. I've decided to start taking various steps that will get us to a happier "school" place. And getting an audiobook was one of them.

I managed to pick just the right book: Strider by Beverly Cleary. It was so enjoyed by all, even the 16yo, that when we finally got home, he asked if we could bring it inside to continue listening. So we did. And that's all we did this afternoon. :) It was very nice.

I've been reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. One of the things she says in it reminded me of how much more reading and other things used to saturate our environment and day. It is such a simple way of bringing the world to the kids, regardless of their age.

The library routine is going to be a reinstated one. Maybe not every week at the moment, since we already have Wed. and Thurs. afternoons busy for the next while, but at least every 3 weeks, when the books are due. The 16yo hummed and hawed, "Do we all have to go in?" "Yes." In the end, I ended up in a section looking for a memoir book by Gary Paulsen and in it was a book that had no choice but to capture the 16yo's attention: Sir John Hargrave's "Mischief Maker's Manual". How can you find a better book than that for a typical mdoern 16yo boy? lol. He's brought it home with him as part of his homework. He had started "Superfudge" yesterday, but I think he might switch to this.

I haven't informed him of it yet, but I want him to read 15 books by the end of the school year. I got this idea from the Book Whisperer: she requires her grade 6 students to read 40 books during the school year. Assuming they don't have a full 10 months, that's over 4 books per month. 15 books works out to 3 books per month, on average. I have only told him so far that I expect one book to be done by the end of February, and that if he picks a really long book, it would count for more than one book and could be done later. Once he finishes a book, then I'll spring it on him. I also want to kind of get a feel for just how fast he is reading: I am willing to lower the requirement to 10 books if it's really too much to expect from him. But I don't think it is. He's not reading books at grade level, at least not yet. Things he finds enjoyable and will keep him going.

Oh my gosh--this has just helped me with figuring out something. I have decided we need to reinstate silent reading time. Today was to get books, so now we have them. Tomorrow is Wednesday, which means French class in the afternoon. I think we will have a long morning time, have lunch, and then they can spend the first 30 minutes of French class doing silent reading. They have, so far, usually been hidden away somewhere, of their own volition, playing games. It wasn't really what I had in mind.

In any case, I'm starting to feel good about the schooling going on. No, it's not where I would like it to be. No, I haven't figured out exactly where I would like it to be. But it's moving in the right direction. :)

A P.S. to my earlier post: my tired 3yo niece finally put herself to bed for a nap. You know a child is tired when...

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