Saturday, January 20, 2007

A great day in the old schoolhouse ...

Today was one for the record books. Dare I write about it, lest Monday go horribly awry? Am I tempting fate?

Ah, what the heck. Here goes: Today was a banner day in the world of homeschooling, both C and CC. The kids learned things, which is actually a usual occurrence, but we had enthusiasm in every subject, plus the every popular Getting Along and Minimal Whining. Both girls getting A++s in both of those categories.

For those who like the down and dirty details (and because I just have to write it down to memorialize this amazing occurrence) here's an outline of the day's events.

We got up at 7:30, which is something of a miracle in and off itself. (While CC is an early riser, with the ice, she'd actually been sleeping in until 9. And I could sleep until noon if left to my own devices, as could CEK).

The girls watched their standard 1 show -- Go, Diego, Go
since CC actually likes it too (a brief aside while I cheer -- loudly -- about the fact that she will now watch things on television other than the Mei Mei DVD). I drank coffee. Life was good.

At 8, the girls got to the table for breakfast and school. I had CC cut pictures out of a magazine for later pasting on cards (we're making sign language flash cards). I will have to go back and re-do all of that, but she had a great time with the kiddie scissors, and let CEK and I start Day One of Latin (Prima Latina). We discussed the pronunciation, expressed amazement that those wacky Romans could have an alphabet without the letter W, and then proceeded to learn our 5 vocabulary words for the week (which, really, is next week, but the materials arrived yesterday, and CEK wanted to start. Who am I to argue with enthusiasm?).

We listened to the CD for Lesson 1, went over the vocab again, and then moved on to "can we do math next, mommy?" Sure thing, kiddo. Whatever my baby wants.

So on to math. Which consists at this point of making addition stories within 10. But the kid's got it down. After yesterday's moaning and groaning, she zipped through today, easily figuring out that the blank in 10=_____+3 was 7. Go, Catherine! (By this point, CC has moved on to gluing. she's gluing anything and everything down to construction paper. Works for me!)

She did her workbook pages in record time, and later during the day when I wandered into the playroom, I found 5+3=8 on the magnetic board. Always nice to know she's playing around with numbers even without me or a workbook urging her on!

After math, she did her handwriting/copywork quickly and neatly (amazing). So then we took a break to do "school" with CC. We made cards with signs on one side and a color on the other. Four cards today: Black, Blue, Red, and Green. Then we took the same colored blocks and sat in the living room. I showed CC and CEK the sign for each color, and then we focused on Blue. I had the girls run around the house finding things that are blue and bringing them back to the living room. CC did great! (This evening at bedtime she wasn't quite as consistent, but she correctly told me and dh in sign that my mousepad is blue at dinnertime, so I think the tiredness factor works against her.) Tomorrow, we'll do blue and add in another color. (Oh, I forgot, she had her first speech appointment yesterday. More about that later!).

The signing is because of the cleft, obviously, but it also helps simply with the change from one language to another. For words with front-palate consonant beginnings, I'm trying to get her to say the exaggerated sound. Not much luck, actually, but Amy (at speech) will probably have better luck. Her surgery is scheduled for March 2, so presumably things are going to change with regard to speech and her ability to form sounds soon anyway. Mostly, we're just trying to increase communication at this point.

We also played "If your name is X" ... and if there was any doubt that Chenchen knows her name is Isabella, it's been erased. She LOVES to respond when "Isabella" is supposed to do something. And for the most part, she understands what she's supposed to do (hug sister, stand on chair, meow like a cat). Her comprehension of English is coming along like lightening! Her spoken English is becoming better, too. Though most is still inflection, we (or, really, me and Catherine and sometimes Don) can understand her. Today, for example, she said, "Where's Daddy?" Inflection and expression made the question clear (and since I ran to the sign language book to look up "where," the question should be even clearer next time!)

Throughout all of this, CEK had been asking when she could do her "experiment." Since I had no idea what said experiment was, I was reluctant to give her a specific answer, LOL! (She originally told me only that she needed a glass. Uh-huh, right. That gives me a warm, fuzzy, my-things-won't-get-broken kind of feeling). However, now she tells me that she needs a glass and water and food coloring. Okay! That I can handle. Experiment is scheduled for after lunch while CC is napping. And since it's getting on about that time, I let them play while I pretend to think about editing a manuscript. After perpetuating that hoax for fifteen or so minutes, I give in and make lunch, then call the girls. We do the lunch thing, and CC goes down for a nap ... wait for it ... without complaint. Wow. The planets must be aligned or something. Or I won the parenting lottery. Truly. Amazing.

Anyhoo, the day continues on its rosy way, with CEK reviewing sight words at lunch. We've been doing OPGTTR, but I'd found a set of 100 flash cards for sight words, up to and including words from typical 3rd grade lists. I thought I'd just see what she's picked up from going through her readers, and while I'd expected her to know more than where we are in the phonics instruction, I really wasn't expecting her to do so well (brag alert: she only missed 4!). Yay, CEK!

After that, she got to do the experiment, which consisted of her mixing colors in a variety of beer glasses. Somehow, she always got to black (this is the same kid who cannot keep colored Play Doh; it all turns brown). But she was having fun and learning and that's what counts even if it did look nasty in the end!

At one point, I watched her stir and said "double double toil and trouble," which sparked a whole conversation -- what was I saying, what did it mean, who was Shakespeare, what's a cauldron, could I read the whole speech?

And I did. We read the whole speech about 3 times (learning in the process that "chaudron" means, basically, "guts"), and CEK decided that she wanted to learn the chorus part. After that, she proceeded to label the food coloring as things like eye of newt, zombie hair, dragon wings, and my personal favorite, mouse chaudron. Yum.

Our science experiment concluded, we moved to the couch for reading with Mommy. We're reading the story of Joseph (and the dreamcoat) and once finished, we have the animated show and the Donny Osmond version waiting at Netflix. I've never seen either, but I saw the musical on Broadway in teh 80s, and loved it. I have no idea if CEK will like it or not. We'll see! We also did some geography reading, and she was totally into it, and even begged for more (shock and awe!).

After that, we moved on to the Animals book from some Childcraft volumes I picked up at a library sale. These books are old, but fabulous! Well illustrated, simply written, yet interesting. We read about animals and how they move and eat (and CEK discovered with fascination that SHE is an animal, too!) and she proceeded to tell me that I didn't have to tell her about the butterfly's tongue, because she already knew that from Go, Diego, Go. She also knew about sponges from Spongebob (a fact which I met with some wariness, but, in fact, she had picked up on some basic concepts, particularly as involve Sandy needing her helmet for air, and SB needing water). Later, she flipped through the book, stopping at the microscopic section and informing me that she knew about plankton from The Magic School Bus. At least she's retaining information, LOL!

Finally, we ended with a few of the tasks of Hercules (from the Usborne book). VERY simplified, but clearly right at her level. Even more gratifying, she begs for more when I finish!

And thus endeth school. We did watch an episode of Meercat Manor (we have several Tivo'd, and I'm fearing for Flower. Don't tell me!) while the girls made airplanes out of boxes. The day ended with PE, also known as "leaping off the couch onto cushions," a popular pass time around these parts.

All in all, a great day. Ya gotta love it.

(And, yes, in the evening I even managed to get some real work done. Truly, a miraculous day!)


Sunshyne said...

Thanks for sharing your day! It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your girls.

Julie Kenner said...

thanks! We totally did. Of course, I **did** jinx it, but today (Tuesday) was a 180 degree improvement on Monday, LOL!

Terri said...

I just started reading Carpe Demon and I'm absolutely loving it. Okay, I know this shouldn't matter, but I think it's just SO incredibly cool that you homeschool! I'm biased because I've been homeschooling mine for 9 years. Thanks for sharing your day and keep enjoying those girls!!

Julie Kenner said...

Thanks, Terri! I'm so glad you're loving CD (I absolutely love writing that series.) And I'm a little biased, too, but I think homeschooling is incredibly cool as well. Congrats on 9 years. That's fabulous!