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Monday, November 10, 2008

Simplicity works, who knew?

In front of me, other than my computer screen is the bulletin board that has our human body lessons planned out, our year at a glance and our first quarter spreadsheet as well as our daily routine that I refer to. I love my spreadsheets that I can glance at and know what to do next without having to drag out a notebook or the actual books and do on the spot planning.

I reworked Camille's Nobility Record to have check boxes and listed out what she needed to do in a day, including chores and areas that needed focused on with her behavior/character. I've been revamping that 1 form every week for the last 4 weeks. I'm done.

Today, I put notebook paper in the front of her first quarter notebook and wrote: Monday, November 10 at the top. Then I wrote, Independent Work and listed out what she could do on her own. Under that I wrote out Together Work, Chores and Errands.

With just a pen and paper, I can write out as many details I want or just do the broad strokes. I can list the things that we need to do after lessons such as errands so that she understands that we have other stuff to do. It also provides me clarity. Who knew it could be so simple? (Rhetorical!) We crossed out what she/we did as the tasks were accomplished and each day I will write down what needs to be done the next day. No fancy form to print out, no spreadsheet finagling.

Oh, Times Tales was great today- Camille went through Part 1 and memorized all the little stories and best of all- had fun. She can't wait to do it again tomorrow. Also Danny is drawing faces! Not only that, he is speaking in longer and more complicated sentences, truly communicating. I wish I knew if it was maturity or the effect of preschool (or a combination) but I won't linger on that too long, I'm just happy to see him progressing!

A fabulous friend (everyone should have a friend like this) sent me her copy of Math-U-See's Beta TM, DVD and Student Text, Camille and I will work on a few lessons. The ones from Beta I want to try with her are:
Lesson 12- Adding Money; Mental Math
Lesson 13- Column Addition
Lesson 14- Measurement, 12 Inches = 1 Foot
Lesson 15- Perimeter; Fact Review

We're going to start tomorrow and then do Times Tales afterwards, I want to see how we like Math-U-See. It presents concepts in a different way than Camille has been taught, which I think will be good for her and me.




Anonymous said...

We have been using Math-u-See for 2years now and it has been WONDERFUL. I love how each lesson builds on the last and it is so very logical. I wish I'd learned math this way. It is so simple and the extra practice sheets are great. There is an online worksheet generator if you need additional help as well. The videos are brief but so helpful and he is so funny and gentle in his manner of teaching.
I'm thrilled with it. And my daughter is really understanding it.
I'll be interested in hearing what you think of it.
Mary Anne

christinemm said...

Hi Jessica,
Three things---

1. I came here to tell you that today while culling books off my shelves I found a book that made me think of you. It is one that I have not yet used but should have, and will use in the future. I hope.

The Everything Kids' Nature Book by Kathiann M Kowalski, published in 2000. Part of that series of "everything" books. A library might have it too.

It is largely based on biomes and gives a nice short overview perfect for reading aloud. Then there are lots of tidbits all around in sidebars. You can dip in and out of those as you feel you want to. It has spotlights on certain animals with a page of info on them. This seems just right for an elementary grade intro to all these topics. Also to supplement with more colorful and interestin to look at picture books on these topics, possibly from the library.

In addition to the biome chapters there is one on general nature, one on "life" such as food chains, water cycle etc., one on people affecting nature and one on enjoying nature.

This is not a living book or a narrative telling a la Charlotte Mason. But in one inexpensive volume it has good info much nicer than to use the Usborne book as recommended in TWTM.

(I am doing a huge family library re-organization right now.)

2. congrats on scoring 2 nominations for the Home School Blog Awards. I voted for you in both categories.

This is the first year I wasn't nominated. Oh well!

3. My older son used Math U See from K-grade 5 and it was very good. My younger used it from age 4 until almost done with Gamma. I really like the program. However we have our reasons this year for a switch-up. I bet I will go back to MUS soon.

I felt that MUS built a strong foundation and that is what is important in the early years. I have no clue how it will be to switch mid-stream for someone who learned by other methods beforehand though.

Good luck and have a great week!

my5wolfcubs said...

After a post of Jennefer's about RSS, I started a google reader page and then had to come over so I could add you. :) I've been happy w/ MUS for 2 of my kids.
PS Sometimes there is nothing like a pen & paper! Or a pencil to draw... :)

Emmy said...

I'll be interested to hear how you like Math U See. I've been doing a lot of thinking about MUS and MOTL lately and went over all the details with Dh to get his thoughts as well. He loved the look of the real-life math application of MOTL but like me was hesitant to give up the framework of a program like MUS - of course we laughed about how it would be great to have both! Somehow the answers we come up with always seem to be the most expensive! :) For now I'm continuing MUS (I've got 3 kids using it right now in Gamma (8yo), Alpha (6yo), and Primer (4yo)) and I'll continue to lurk and research on MOTL.

Good luck - I'll look forward to the update!