Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Our Schedule, or What We Really Do With Our Days

We have been trudging along here, about the same as usual. T. has not yet taken to zipping though his subjects with alacrity and enthusiasm, so I'm still holding off on adding in our writing program. Rod & Staff grammar for fourth grade does have some writing exercises, so we will make do with what is there for a while. It is still taking us 'til 3:00 or 3:30 to finish the subjects we have (not counting homework, which T. brings on himself through dawdling), and I think that is a long enough day for a squirmy nine year old. (Lest you think the child is unduly burdened, rest assured that he enjoys a leisurely morning, with school starting between 9 and 9:30, and then has about forty-five minutes for lunch. I really think the most likely place for us to get the extra 45 minutes a day or so that we need for a writing program is a strict 9:00 start time and a little less shilly-shallying during lessons.)

An example of the kind of doofy behavior that mucks up our efficient schedule is taking place right now. Being the kind mommy that I am, I read T. the four pages in his book about the African savanna today. All he had to do was answer ten questions, with the book open in front of him. One question was, "What would happen to the savanna if there were no predators?" T.'s answer was, "The dead corpses of the grazers would rot and die." I told him that that was wrong, (and also, of course, that a corpse can't die), so he tried again with, "The grazers wouldn't ever go to Heaven." Wrong. Another example, "What is the function of the savanna grazers?" T.'s answer, "To be a snack for the predators." Aargh! Not only did I just read the book to him (too bad he was thinking about Japanese cartoons the whole time), but he has the book in front of him and only has to read. Which would apparently be asking way too much. He has ten history questions to answer tonight too, left over from yesterday, when he swore that he would do them eagerly tomorrow (today) if Only he could go over and play at his friend's house then. Same deal with the open book, easy questions answered right in the text (consecutively, because I don't want to tax his dear little brain too hard), and he hasn't answered one in the last hour. My only consolation, and I'll admit it is pretty pathetic, is that I'm pretty sure he would be dragging out homework and giving ridiculous answers if he were a public school student too, and at least I don't have to get hauled in for a parent-teacher conference to discuss it this way.

K. is enjoying Hooked on Phonics very much, and is through #5 of the first of the little story books in box 1. She also likes Singapore's Earlybird 2A, although it is a little too easy. I think we might try the Horizons Kindergarten math when we are through with Singapore, as it looks like it might be more challenging but still appropriate. T. seems to like the variety and layout of Horizons. K. hasn't started Latin yet (I think I might start her next year in Prima Latina, depending on how her reading comes this year), but she sings along with the songs in T.'s Latina Christiana and has learned to conjugate "amo." She is currently taking a rather smug pleasure in being the "good" student.

"And when is she going to post her school schedule?" is, I'm sure, the question that you have been asking yourself. Since it seems to be the subject of the night (for me), here it is:

Every day we have:

Math (flashcards; Singapore, textbook, workbook, extra problems, or challenging word problems; and Horizons. We take a miss on the flashcards if we hit our one hour cut-off before we get to them.)

Latin (Review of vocabulary, prayers, and conjugations. Then we do the songs from the Latina Christiana cd, which is the high point of our school day. Then work on the week's lesson.)

Grammar (Rod and Staff. Nice sunshiny yellow covers and beautifully straightforward lessons. Everything should be this easy.)

Spelling (Spelling Workout. Monday we do the pre-test, then an exercise each day until Friday, by which time, God willing, he knows any of the words he missed on the pre-test and doesn't miss any new ones.)

Piano. (T. is supposed to practice for 20 minutes a day. His time seems to move more quickly than one would normally expect.)

Then we also do:

Bible Study on Monday through Thursday. (Christian Studies, from Memoria Press. This is okay. Last year we used Explorer's Bible Study, which was all multiple choice, and I wanted something more challenging. Maybe it is just the OT that I don't love. I do like the map work. We are still in Genesis.)

Logic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Logic Countdown. This is easy, quick, and fun. T. enjoys it.)
Reading Comprehension on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (Reading Detective. This is another quick subject, and T. likes it fine. I don't think we will need to use it past the first book in the series.)

Science on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (My World Science. Nice program for science lightweights, which we are. I bought some Prentice Hall Science Explorers (used) for when we are through it.)

History on Mondays and Wednesdays. (Story of the World. We are halfway through the third one, but I am determined that we will finish the fourth as well this year. Got to keep on schedule for those three tours though history. These really are good books for elementary school history.)
Copywork. We do this most days, mainly for practice in cursive handwriting. T.'s cursive is dreadful, but so is his printing.

Memorization. We actually do this every day when we have a poem we are working on, but we are between poems right now.

Geography. (The kids enjoy singing the song about the Fifty Nifty states and putting together the puzzle. Learning about each of the states seems to have slipped off the burner in the last couple weeks.)

Classical Studies. (This is my impressive name for the times when I read Greek and Roman myths to the kids. We get this in a couple times a week, as we can. They like Hawthorne's Wonderbook for Girls and Boys.)

I think that is it. Oh, and T. reads. Nothing impressive, though, and I no longer even care if it is history related (it never is). K. does reading (learning to read, that is), writing (copywork), and math. But if you notice any glaring gaps, just assume that we do cover whatever it is and I just forgot to mention it.

*Addendum. T. did finally pull it together and answer his science and history questions. They weren't all correct, but most were, and the answers were not all in complete sentences (though he did put capital letters at the beginnings and periods at the ends), but at 8:15 I was happy to call it good enough. I like to imagine that these things will get easier as he keeps doing them. After he finished his work, he pulled out The Dangerous Book for Boys and has been happily making paper airplanes ever since. I count that as voluntary reading!


Jules said...

Wow! Thanks for posting all of this. I was planning to place an order for some "real" curriculum for Samantha tonight but after reading about what you are using I may wait and re-evaluate. It's so hard to know what will work and I hate spending the money if I am not sure about the product. I am thinking I may do some more research into my Science and Bible picks.

Jeremy has been using Hooked on Phonics too and we both love it.

It sounds like your days are full! I giggled when you said that you were pretty sure T. would be giving goofy answers at public school too but this way you don't have to go in for a P-T conference! So true! ;)

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Actually, the first science answer was creatively kind of right.

The dead ones would actually stink up the place a bit, and the live ones would probably die! Ha, ha!

N. loves the Dangerous Book for Boys, too! I just hope I live through it.