It's been a busy week here! We've become acquainted with our math gnomes and started counting, recording, and sorting. Stephen and Katie love the stories; Nicholas is a little slower to warm up. Nicholas is a creature of habit. This fall has been particularly difficult for him as he adjusts to Michael's absence and Mike's travel. I've noticed an increase in tics and tentativeness.I think he'll come along eventually, though. The rhythm of our days is becoming more obvious and that security is helpful for him. He's enjoying our alphabet studies and was very happy to be my recipe tester for the donuts for our "D" week Serendipitea! For Nicholas, I've added A is for Altar, B is for Bible to his studies during our Faith block on Thursdays. This book dovetails nicely with the alphabet unit and it also ties in well with our atrium studies. He'll add a page a week to his First Communion Notebook.
We've also added Picture Study to the plans. One of Michael's favorite places to visit is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He was there last summer and will be going twice this semester. In the spirit of Daddy's travels and geography studies, we're linking our alphabet and number art to Michael's travels, using Museum ABC, followed by Museum 123. Brief Picture Study plans for each letter are included in the weekly Alphabet Path plans. You're on your own for the field trip:-).
The big kids are busy, too. We've expanded botany lessons to incorporate Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany.
All the children will use this book as a spine to create main lesson books and further explore the flower study in the alphabet lessons. For Christian,botany studies will be taken even further, using the Botany Coloring Book and Kym Wright's Botany Unit Study. Look for notes and explanations of Botany plans on Serendipity as they unfold.
For literature and grammar studies, we've begun to use the Norton Critical Edition of The Classic Fairy Tales. I'm reading aloud the commentary to the older children and asking them to narrate it. Then, they are reading the variations on each fairytale, comparing and contrasting and finally, writing their own versions. Only six fairy tales are studied, with four to seven variations on each tale, so the children are learning those six tales and the nuances of them very well.
They are using the rough drafts of their narrations for our grammar studies. Grammar has gone all colorful for us this year, as we've taken a shine to Ruth Heller's darling picture books. These books are chock-full of grammar information and lessons which are so clever that they can be used from preschool through high school as long as the mother meets the child where he is. The books afford many opportunities for illustration and lend themselves well to a child's own assimilation and interpretation of grammatical concepts. One of Christian's learning challenges involves memory, particularly when it comes to multi-step processes. These glitches make things like long division nearly impossible. They also make traditional complicated sentence diagramming a study in frustration. One of the blessings of educating a child with special needs at home is that I often find that the materials which work best for that child are really golden for everyone else as well. Heller's books lend themselves well to individualizing grammar lessons. Christian retained almost nothing when presented with a myriad of different textbook/workbook grammar programs. This more organic approach is a much better fit--for all of us.
Finally, Karoline has learned a thing or two this week, too. But I think that deserves a post all its own. And I'm out of time for now, so it will have to keep until later. Have a beautiful weekend!