Saturday, November 17, 2012

Writing, Schedules, & J

Ever since the storm, we've cut back on our field trips and have been spending more time on academics.  W is doing wonderfully with Saxon Math.  I still can't believe I didn't try it sooner.  As far as reading, it seems that persistence, a varied choice of resources, and one-on-one interaction is working wonders. We're using the dyslexia workbook, paragraph editing, the 6th-7th grade bridge book, websites, and tons of hands-on and life-skills learning experiences.  Reading is everywhere in everything and W has firmly refused to be an outsider looking in.

W has also started writing essays.  Up to now, his writing has been made up of simple narrations, lists, and workbook stuff.  Orally narrating back what we read together was (is) also a part of learning to write creatively.  This week I decided to go for more.  W's first essay was about why he thinks he should get a new laptop for Christmas.  Apart from some basic technical stuff, it was very good.  He hand-wrote that one.  The second essay he did this week was a more involved narration on a bio of Thomas Edison.  This one was typed out.  Again, some spelling and sentence structure need some work, but overall it was a great essay.  He seems to naturally know how to be continuous and creative with a defined beginning, middle, and end.  So, do I need to bust out the writing workbooks?  Do I need to teach him the 5-point essay?  He's doing great on his own.  J was never taught the mechanics of writing and she consistently gets As on papers.  I think I'll go with my gut on this one and let him develop his own writing style.  

I have also come up with a new schedule for science and social studies.  I've decided to just follow the Worldbook layout for 6th grade (like my IHIP says anyway) but we'll alternate science and social studies every 2-3 weeks.  We had just spent a few weeks on classification of living things and basic ecology.  Next week is social studies and we'll take a few weeks learning about some continents, countries and cultures.  Then, the next couple of weeks will be all about microbes, algae, and fungi (then 2 weeks on Native American culture, then 3 weeks on the Human Body, and so on until June).  We'll be using text books, workbooks, documentaries, field trips, websites, projects, etc.  I plan on making this as fun and interesting as possible.  We'll see how it goes.

I think for 7th grade I'd like to try Apologia Science.  Although I do prefer a more secular approach, I like how the series is set up.  We'll try their General Science and if we like it, we may use the rest of the years as well.  Since W is still unsure about public high school, I'm making sure to get all my ducks in a row just in case he opts out.

We went into Manhattan on Thursday to go to FAO Schwarz.  W loves that store.  We don't go to buy toys, it's just so fun to wander around and experience everything.  W hung out with the Myachi guy for a while, learning new tricks and getting some cool advice.  I love that the creators of this toy are the ones in the store demonstrating it for everyone.  After she got out of school, J walked over to FAO to meet us.  We hit the second floor of the store together (she loves it, too) and then we went for lunch at TGI Fridays.  This weekend J had 2 birthday parties:  a sweet 16 in Staten Island and a celebration in Bryant Park with ice skating.  She is working the dance auditions again tomorrow at her school.  The dance director said she did a great job last weekend and should return this weekend - and then 2 more weekends in December.  J enjoys it a lot.  She said all the 8th graders look so little and that she feels like it was just yesterday when she was auditioning. At the studio, she's still learning some new choreography for the season.  They're doing a brief version of The Nutcracker in a couple of weeks, too (J is the Arabian dancer).

I'm so excited for the holidays.

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