Friday, February 22, 2013

Cursive, Quizzes, and Louis Braille

Here it is, February quickly winding down. Another week of school has come and gone.
Things have been pretty routine lately.
The Kindle Fire was a great investment we made a year or two ago. Books for the older ones and lots of fun (and sometimes educational) games! It is also a huge help to our homeschool. Sometimes I am tied up with the three girls and Isaiah can quietly occupy himself with it.

Cursive IS an important skill to have and I wish schools weren't starting to fade it out. At the very least, children need to know how to read it and sign their name. They will need this skill to read old documents and sign for their driver's license! In our home, we have no set age to begin. My oldest actually began cursive in Kindergarten (when we were trying out ABeka), but never got very far with it. Since then it has been hit or miss. She's in 4th grade now and can pretty much do it without help. We actively practice it now, more for the neatness of it than anything. I also don't sweat the small things (all the curls and loops in ALL the right places). Each adult has a different way of cursive, so as long as they get the general idea I'm good. I NEVER do the middle loop in my cursive E and don't expect my daughters to. Aspen is 2nd grade and has just begun learning cursive, whereas Faith is 3rd grade and is not ready for it. Each lesson I've attempted with her ends in tears- she is just not  physically or mentally ready.

Two laptops- both cheap with not much extra to it- make our SOS lessons go a lot more smoothly. Faith and Aspen both are doing 3rd grade Math, but are on different lessons. Mistic, of course, has 4th grade Math and English. Two computers allow us to be more productive!
A really neat thing about this week, though, was Faith's first quiz! In our homeschool, we do not give tests or quizzes until 4th grade. I prefer to let the early elementary years be years of learning with no pressure. I know what they are learning (or struggling in) without a formal test. We discuss what we are learning and it never fails to come up in other conversations. Why do I need an official test or quiz to tell me this? Plus, I don't like the stress it puts on young children. However.... the older a child gets the more they should know HOW to take a test or a quiz. That's why we begin in the 4th grade. They do not get tested in every subject- just Math and English. My oldest is only 4th grade though, so I don't know what future grades will hold. ANYWAY..... My beautiful daughter Faith has struggled for so long in a lot of areas, especially school. My struggling student turns 9 in two months. It has taken us 8 years, 10 months to reach the point where we are slowly becoming "just a student".
See, I wanted to see where Faith was REALLY at. I hadn't been helping her a lot with her Math, but I wanted to make sure she was REALLY getting it- without me elaborating on what the question was asking or helping steer her thoughts in the right direction. Now, SOS does not seem to be as advanced as Abeka. Abeka has always seemed to be a grade BEYOND what it was labeled- based upon my research, 4th grade Abeka would be 5th grade Bob Jones (or SOS). However, the fact is that Faith is doing without much struggle THIRD GRADE SOS. Grade level!!!
So, I had her take a quiz and SHE PASSED! Boosted her confidence (and mine!)! Maybe you are where I was a couple years ago- facing the future of a struggling student, feeling unsure about how you were going to do this, not sure the best approach for your student, and hating to see the tears and pain in your student's face as they struggle. If you are, know that I feel for you and your student! But sometimes the BEST approach is to take the relaxed approach- allow them to grow and mature and go at THEIR pace! She may always struggle with some things, but she IS getting it! It's just a matter of time! 

Another area that I'm seeing progress in is reading. My 2nd grader is reading at a 4th grade level. She is whizzing through her first real chapter book, Childhood of Famous Americans: Abigail Adams. I loved these books as a child and enjoy hearing them read aloud to m!
Faith is reading HER first chapter book, thank you SO much Amelia Bedelia!!! The first of February debuted an Amelia Bedelia chapter book and it was EXACTLY the right thing to spark my little girl! She is reading it pretty fluently- struggling over a few words, of course, but there is a passion about reading that has never been there!
A passion that has driven her to read a chapter a day, in one sitting (10+ pages). A passion that has sparked a competition between her and her grandma! YES! It has taken us almost 9 years to get to the point where books are LOVED and she KNOWS she can read them! But we are here! Who knows what I'll be writing about months before her tenth birthday!

Instead of studying about Presidents this week like everyone else, we chose to learn about Louis Braille. Mistic had been reading about him and had requested that I teach them some more. I love hearing requests like this, so of course I jumped on it! I found crosswords, worksheets, and a coloring page.
Loved seeing this- Faith's handwriting has even came a LONG ways!
 I found several online videos to show them.

We REALLY liked the Braille lesson I found.


And that wraps up another fun week of our homeschool! How was your week?


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