Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Day of Studies-

Many often ask about how we do our studies at home. We are very eclectic in how we do things,  mixing traditional studies in some ways and some with "not so traditional" ways.  It is often really hard to explain since I tend to "ad lib" quite a bit if you will~ I thought perhaps sharing some examples of a few of our school days might really help others to understand a bit more. As you read on things might become more clear. You will see I often take advantage at every turn to make something into a learning experience, not so much me "teaching" it to him but through his own efforts, I try and find paths for learning~

Our youngest is taking a bit of time to recuperate from a virus and is also on his delight directed learning month~ he only does reading and mathematics along with delight directed topics for this month and next ( November).
Today I thought I would share about a day with my teen- the following is what we did broken down by each subject area;

Mathematics - He is working in his Teaching Textbooks and works independently on his Math on most days. I have him work independently through the lectures and try some problems, but if there is any misunderstanding we will work new concepts together. Today he worked on Fractions with parenthesis and Equivalent Fractions.

On his break we went over his daily written checklist ( this is a list of all of his subjects/lessons that he refers to daily and checks off as he does ) to see how it was working and if we need to do any tweaking and decided we did need to make a couple of changes so we did so.

Dictation is usually next ( Spelling)- We are working in the 3rd book of Spelling Wisdom.  Today it was a passage from Charles Dickens writing "Hunted Down".  He missed two words for his passage; countenance and the word quantity.
I work with these two words by pulling them apart according to their syllables and blends to help visualize the word better.  We also talked about the meaning of the word countenance and how we could tell what the word might mean according to the contexts clues. He then looked up the word and practiced using the word in practical terms.  For the word "quantity" he found this word trick since he left out the "t" in the word and spelled it "quanity".  I explained how some words are spoken differently than they are spelled and gave him some examples of such words we say differently than we were to spell them. We continued to talk about how we often pronounce words differently than we spell them and then the conversation brought us to the language of Latin and Greek. He expressed he wanted to learn to read/write Latin so we shall look at this later on.

We then talked about the author Charles Dickens, looked up some of his works and looked up a few books he may want to add to his list of literature reading.

As you can see this was much more than just "spelling" it encompassed literature learning, vocabulary, word usage and other explorations. It was a great discussion.

History was next. He is learning about Ancient China and just finished the other day reading about Confucius and today was reading about Lao Tzu.  After reading and doing written narrations in his OneNote, we had a discussion about how Confucius compared to eachother and how Lao was more the spiritual side of the ancient culture etc.. another great discussion.  We talked about how his thoughts and beliefs could be transcended into our culture of today.

He also began reading the book suggestion in our Oak Meadow entitled "The Rainbow People", which is a collection of Chinese Folk Tales. A delightful book and quick read for the more fluent reader. As he started reading he really enjoyed the different tales. 

Art was also combined today with our History. He was learning a bit about Bamboo the other day and how important it is to China and so he tried painting with a bamboo brush with ink and created his own bamboo painting.  

While our discussion about Charles Dickens, my son brought up a quote he recently had heard or read ( can't recall exactly where but he has an exceptional gift for remembering verses and quotes) from Charles Darwin ( my feeling is the name Charles probably is what jogged his memory) it is as follows " Its not the strongest of species that survive, nor is it the smartest species, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change". ~ Charles Darwin.
After hearing him recite this, he started giving me his own thoughts on this and so, it seemed only natural for me to ask him to think of the quote further and write a five paragraph essay on this particular interest of his.
I decided he needed some more information to go by and had written up this essay guide/graphic organizer for his essay. (scroll down to Graphic Organizer to writing a Position Paper).
He used this as a kind of guide for his organization of thoughts.  He began his draft and will be working on this essay throughout the week.

Grammar- We then moved onto Grammar with Grammar Revolution, this also is a very independent study which is done used videos online.  He then writes/draws his diagrams in his OneNote ( which is really neat since he is also learning more about technology using more tools/techniques on his laptop) today it was about Diagramming Transitive Verbs. :)

Literature:  Our classic literature reading continues with the Swiss Family Robinson. He is really enjoying this book and loves the authors ability for description and has brought this up many times. I think it is a great model to be used for understanding the importance of description while writing. I used to have him read so many pages... but since his reading has become so much more fluent I now tried to establish a time period so that within that time he will read as much as he can. As time goes by I will continue to add more time as his fluency rate increases. He started out in September reading for 30 minutes and is not up to 40 minutes and I plan to increase it again to 50 minutes next month etc. I found this to work very well.

That was our day today~ I plan to continue sharing our days to give more examples of how we learn in our home.


Peggy said...

Thanks for the outline.I am forever struggling to put into place more for my kids. My 2 are still not at grade level although they have had a tutor,almost 3yrs.Wilson,OG tutor.I am so concerned that they 15 yr.old dd and13 yr.old ds are so far behind. any thoughts on how to get the fluancy up.She has no interest in reading anything.We use video and audio for their history and science.I don't even work at all on grammer formally only in speach and in her emailing.

Learners at Home said...

Peggy~ I am glad you found the outline helpful. We actually used Wilson for a while but it was definitely not a fit for us. I left that program behind us OG was not for us, strangely though, it has been known to work for many, many dyslexics or struggling readers. For us, PG ( phono graphix) worked much better as a remediation method. We tend not to focus on grade levels since I found grade levels didnt really help us learn as we wanted, it sort of boxed us in so that if my 3rd grader at the time wanted to learn about something, using grade levels seems to have boxed us in and we didn't like that. We like to stretch things a bit as you can tell. :) In my opinion grade levels are only for schools because they have so many children and need a way to monitor these childrens progress. We don't need that since we see daily what their progress looks like and can journal this progress or struggles daily. :)
I am wondering what reading level they are at - now~ I think one thing that helped my reader was to start with audio books and we would get a book to match it and follow along.. this really helped, especially for older children. Modeling reading, ( I read alot) helps too we read together as read alouds also. Sounds odd, but I found that really introducing them to good literature truly helps them love the written word. My son is really enjoying Swiss Family Robinson right now. :)
I would love to help and give ideas if I can some more.. if you would like to consider joining my Blog Frog Community (left side of blog) we can chat through email that way :) I will set up a conversation thread in the forum about reading struggles. :)


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