Monday, October 12, 2009

A Day's Work

I often get comments, both here and in real life, about how much we get done. Really, we don't do as much as it sounds like we do. Take today, for example.

If I told you we did bible, spelling, grammar, literature, writing, math, logic, penmanship, history, and science it would sound like a lot, right? Would you be more surprised if I told you that we did all of that in 2 hours and 15 minutes or so? We did, and here's how (times are very approximate):

Spelling is simple. I previously inputted their spelling lists into SpellQuizzer. Each child then takes their turn practicing their list on the program. The program plays the audio file that I recorded, which gives them the word and a sentence using the word. They type in the word. If they are correct, it plays a "yahoo" sound. If they are wrong, it plays an "oh no" sound and shows them the correct spelling. At the end, they have the opportunity to try the missed words again. It only takes 5 minutes, at the most, for each child to do spelling.

Sam had a test/worksheet that gave him 16 sentences in which one word was underlined. He was to identify the part of speech for that word. It took him about 10 minutes because he had to move to the couch to get some help from me while I nursed Madelynn.

Mika read the clause portion of her grammar text, Grammar Town. Each page is written in large type with minimal words to a page. It probably took her 10 minutes to read the whole section which covered dependent and independent clauses. It also covered how these are combined to make simple, compound, and complex sentences. It also covered how these are punctuated.

I had each child read A New Coat for Anna in preparation for discussing the various literary elements of the book later this week. This book is rated for ages 4-8 and is only 40 pages long. We are beginning our literary analysis with easy books to make it easier to see the various plot elements. As we get better at it, we'll increase the difficulty of our books. It only took each of them 10 minutes to read the book.

I took each child aside separately for this because they are working at different levels. With each child, we read a prepared paragraph and chose 3 key words from each sentence. Then they wrote the keywords down in outline form. Using their outlines, I then had them make up sentences for each set of words. This process took probably 20 minutes for each child.

Each child did one side of one page from their penmanship workbook. It takes them about 5 minutes.

Mika's math covered multiplying fractions. Rather than drag out the manipulatives, I drew a sample problem on the board. It took Mika one sample to figure out that all she had to do was multiply the two numerators to get the numerator for the answer and then multiply the two denominators to the the answer's denominator. We did two more samples on the board and then she completed the first worksheet page for the lesson. It took probably 15 minutes total.

Sam's math covered the beginning of exponents. He had already watched the 5 minute video segment yesterday so today I checked his understanding with a couple of sample questions on the board and then he took the lesson test. He's working the test pages only because a lot of the Zeta level is review for him. If I find something that he needs more practice with, we'll do them on the board. His math probably took him 20 minutes.

We worked a Math Perplexor problem together. I recreated it on the white board and the kids followed along on their own copies. They can do the Venn and Grid Perplexors on their own, but often need help on the math ones. I have them take turns reading one clue at a time. Then we discuss what the clue tells us and doesn't tell us. It probably took 20 minutes to work this one out together.

I asked each child to read the next chapter in our history book. I like to read with them, but sometimes I'm just stretched too thin. It took 15 minutes to read the chapter.

I asked each child to read a certain portion of our science book. Again, I look to read this with them, but at times I just assign it. It took about 15 minutes to read the excerpt assigned.

And that's it for today. Monday's are short days because Mika has computer clubhouse from 1pm to 3pm, Sam has taekwondo from 4pm to 5pm, and I have a meeting from 7pm to 9pm. The kids will get about 30 minutes of independent reading at bedtime.

By doing just a little bit of most subjects each day, we are able to keep on top of each subject throughout the week. Some days, we don't get to everything I'd like to get to. Some days, we'll give certain subjects extra time so we can either catch up, go into more depth with discussion or library books, or do an activity or experiment to go with our studies. Some subjects are only covered a couple times a week.

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