Monday, October 6, 2014

Today was a good day

Here's some New Math for you:

My husband's new job means he has a wonky schedule -- sometimes he has the usual daytime hours, but other times he has to work until nine or even eleven p.m.  On those days he either goes in at the usual time in the morning then comes home for a long afternoon before going back in around five, or he's home in the morning and goes in after lunch. 

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I'm slow to adapt.

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We've had nothing but Morning Time since "starting back to school" (hah!) in August, and we're doing well if "Morning Time" (hah!!) happens before three in the afternoon.

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But today?  Today we managed not only to finish Morning Time in the actual morning, but to have our afternoon session as well.  :-D

For now, I only have the two youngest (14yos and 11yod) with me for an afternoon session as my 15yod completes her studies independently.  As I've mentioned before, she's taking an online Great Books course where she's currently reading Dante's Inferno and Dorothy Mills' History of the Middle Ages.  She also practices the violin for one or two hours, and she's using The Teaching Textbooks' pre-algebra curriculum, and Visual Latin.

So here's what I did with the younger two:

* First, I'm using the cursive handwriting program from The Logic of English, which I got a couple of years ago when it was a free download.  Today we had a quick review of the letters that begin with an upswing -- i, j, u, w, r, p, t, and s.  That took five minutes at most.

*  Then we moved on to Classical Composition I: Fable Stage.  When we left off I was doing the whole thing orally because these two students were barely reading, but their skill has really taken off on the past few months, so we'll be doing more of it in written form.  Today I began by reviewing the three parts of a story's plot (recognition, reversal, and suffering), then I read the fable and had one of them narrate, then they gave me examples of recognition, reversal, and suffering.  Tomorrow we'll review the variations they've learned so far, and continue with the next part of the lesson.  This took about twenty minutes.

*  Lastly, I gave them their books for independent reading and new composition books for written narration, which they've never done before.  Since we're just starting written narrations I didn't correct anything at all -- I just marked it to show that I'd read what they wrote.  Later on, after this has become a daily habit I'll start marking corrections they need to make.  When I did this with my older students I chose one area, or one kind of mistake they were making consistently, and then when that area improved I moved to another.  Generally I choose to correct grammatical mistakes over technical ones like spelling and punctuation, since the technical things tend to work themselves out over time and are far easier to correct, where grammatical errors tend to indicate sloppy thinking.  They spent about half an hour between reading and writing, but this time will increase as we go on -- I deliberately kept the work light for today.

One thing I did differently with these two than I've done before was to keep them at the table with me for their independent studies.  These are both pretty extroverted and are more successful when they're working around other people, even if they're not actively engaged with each other.  So they did their reading and writing while I did mine.  It was a pleasant setup for all of us.

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October is a gorgeous month in Virginia












Even the weeds are pretty


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