Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Busy Busy Busy

It's actually been a while since I've blogged as to what we're actually working on in our school so I thought I would touch base with that today.

We've been talking about base-10 this week,
something I am not entirely sure why we hadn't discussed before except the fact that our math book didn't cover it at all and just went straight into addition and subtraction.   Garrett figured out he could make rods of 10 with his Legos (but was NOT thrilled when I told him he had to put a shirt on for pictures as you can tell by his face). Ash then figured out that single Lego's could be used to represent a unit of 1. Which makes me wonder why I bought a tub of math manipulatives when they're gonna use Lego's instead.. lol

We've really been pushing Garrett on his reading lately. Ashleigh is reading well above her 1st Grade level, however Garrett is a bit slower at it then Ashleigh. Part of Garrett's problem is the fact he does not like reading and therefore will spit out any random word in an effort to guess the right one and be done with it. Right now, Garrett is required to read approximately 50 words a day in order to earn 2 hours of gametime on the PS4. Garrett has recently discovered Minecraft which is right up his ally as far as games go. He was playing Little Big Planet because he really enjoyed the building portion of the game. Minecraft in creative mode, however, is nothing but building and so he took to it like a fish in water and has been at it ever since. I don't think he has bothered with LBP since we upgraded Minecraft from the PS3 to the PS4. I wish I would have known about that before I paid 60 bucks for LBP3 and instead could have just paid the 5 bucks for the Minecraft upgrade..

The reading has been a real issue though. In order for him to earn his game time, he has to read his 50 words. We started with trying to get him to read books, that was a no go as he wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. So we started with rebus chants that we picked up from Rainbow Horizon Publishing on Currclick. I picked them up back when they had a huge sale, not knowing if I would ever use them or not but the price was super cheap. I'm really glad I got them as for the last few weeks, that's all I could get him to read without him throwing a fit.

This week, we moved on to reading Level 1 books. This has been an issue as he doesn't want to read books but is being told he can either read or have a "no game day", his decision. The decision usually results in him reading, however there have been lots of tears before we actually get started.  He's doing a great job of sounding out words and figuring them out once he gets it into his head that he's going to have to read whether he wants to or not if he plans on playing the video game.. lol

Now with half the school year done, I'm starting to think long and hard about curriculum choices for 2nd grade. At this point, I am debating if I want to invest in Math U See but I do know that I need to figure out a Geography or History curriculum as well as an English/Grammar curriculum for next year. I'm also considering attending a Homeschool convention this summer to actually look at various curriculum but unfortunately the convention is the week before we leave for Florida so I'm not sure if its going to be possible. We will have to wait and see I guess.


  1. I enjoyed reading your blog today Brenda. As I read the subject matter I could almost visualize the drama you guys endure. I commend you all for the challenge of working through the problems that must arise from a small, familiar group as opposed to the indifference of a large group of students in a school setting. Hands down, I believe the benefit of home schooling far outweigh the results procured by the schools today.
    That you included bits about the emotional drama, inventiveness of stacking lego's and incentives for effort really gave me a clear view of what's going on. It also made me remember methods I've heard of in the past I'd like to share. As I've shared before, I loved math. I also loved building things, figuring out how things work and using my hands. I became a carpenter which encompasses these things together. When I read your account of Garrett using his lego's to stack 10's, I remembered a retired neighbor of mine that got a patent on a set of wooden numbers from 1-10. Each digit's height measures the same in inches, (1 being 1", 2 is 2" and so on) which delightfully described the relationship between accretion and units of measure. Where a 1" (inch) number stacked on a 5" number measured 6"'s or a 3" stacked on a 5" and a 1" measured 9 inches. You could actually sit the 9" number next to those and they would be the same height. I thought Garrett might have fun cutting out the numbers on poster board w/ an exacto blade, maybe color coding them w/ marks-a-lots and learning measurements as well.

  2. My boss tested me once by pulling the tape measure out and pulling the tape out of the housing, pointing to a mark on the tape measure and asking me what value it represented. I looked and while I was thinking, he closed the tape and said, you took too long. Well, it was only opened 3 sec. and I then knew the expectations he had. He had proved that I wasn't up to snuff and I didn't like that. He didn't ask met to, but, I went home that night and drew an inch, w/ all the marks, small and large (as they appear on the tape) across an 8-1/2" piece of loose leaf paper. This allowed for a lot of room across the page for 1" (plenty for the next step). Then I wrote the values under each mark (0, 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, 13/16, 7/8, 15/16, 1"). I did this 5 times down the page and had memorized every mark by then. I know I was older and had already understood fractions a little, but, I was really surprised how easily memorable the marks were after drawing and labeling them all out in repetition. I learned other things as well. Like half of 7/8 is 7/16, half of 5/8 is 5/16 and half of 3/8 is 3/16. Do you see the relationship w/ the numerators and denominators?? You can further learn w/ out too much trouble that half of 1" is 1/2" or half of 1/2 is 1/4 or half of 1/4 is 1/8. Something is definitely going on w/ those pesky denominators.:) :) :) Pretty cool huh?? Anyway, I'm glad I did draw out the inch that night because he tested me again the next morning. He pulled the tape out of the housing a ways and I blurted out the value for the mark he pointed to, .......... "11/16", as he closed the tape. "NO", he pronounced, w/ a sly grin. I was stunned and embarrassed. I went back home thinking, "I know I was right", but decided to draw them out again the same way I did it the night before. Just for practice and accuracy. Of course he tested me again the 3rd morning and I blurted out "13/16", but really quickly before he closed the tape. I was quick and right, but he said, "WRONG". I was dumbfounded, shocked, angry. He then smiled and said, "it was 9 and 13/16's. You see, I was so focused on learning the individual lines between the inches as he needed me to know immediately w/ out counting marks, that I didn't account for him pulling the tape out of it's housing to the 9th inch and the 13th mark. To be sure, I had really learned the marks between the inches, after the first night of homework, which was the goal.

    AND ONE MORE................

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  4. About Reading; I saw the movie (The Ben Carson Story, featuring Cuba Gooding Jr.) about Dr. Ben Carson (head of neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins, Ret.). He was brought up in the inner city Detroit area. Very poor, single mother up bringing. She cleaned houses and had a job at a very rich, learned (lur-nid) man w/ a huge library in his house. She asked him if he had read all those books and he confirmed, "most of them". She was having trouble w/ her two 8 and 10 year old sons getting into trouble w/ the kids in the neighborhood. She also couldn't read herself and wanted more for her sons. The employer helped her learn to read a little and gave her access to the books, carte blanche. She immediately went home, told her sons they would have to go to the library, find and read a book a week, followed by writing a book report they would read back to her (as she could not read as well as they). If they did this, they could watch "one hour of Television a day" (remember, back then there were only 4 channels and no cable). If not, no TV the next week. If they had trouble w/ a word, she gave them a grave look, one of concern and told them to sound it out. The boys didn't know she couldn't read for years. Ben Carson remembered finding that, although they could not afford vacations of travel, he could go anywhere he wanted in these books, different ages, places, subjects like medical, geological, astronomical, political, historical etc... He found he could put himself in the shoes of a different person and imagine ideals from a different perspective. He became very successful himself and is now a prospective Presidential candidate for the 2016 election. His brother became a successful engineer as well.

    I can't describe the excitement I feel when I think of a child that realizes the potential of the blank slate that is consistent w/ his youth. Having fun, giving incentives, regulation or disincentives and just the interaction and encouragement that comes w/ family is inspiring when I get to read about your affairs and encounters. Thank you so much for sharing.



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