Sunday, May 25, 2008

Heart of the Matter

Take a look over at Heart of the Matter and learn more about our family! If you have never seen HOTM, take some time and look all around their site. I think you'll be blessed; I know I am each time I stop by and visit.

I have lots of posts all swirling in my brain that I hope to post soon - mostly reflections on this year and plans for next!!!

Hope to see you soon.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learning How to Think

I have mentioned Thatcher has truly enjoyed his Mind Benders books. He still asks to do them first every day! We have also started reading the Encyclopedia Brown series. Both of these have been great starts to our study of logic.

Getting any seven year old to slow down and pay attention to details can be tough but add in the extra challenge of ADHD and it can get comical at times. Still I have seen improvement in the past few weeks as he is slowly learning how to think - to be more active in the learning process instead of waiting for me to spoonfeed him. It's been such a fun journey and has given me an exciting glimpse into what it may be like to teach an older child. :)

Here are two more resources I wanted to share that I feel have truly helped our Thatcher in this same vein...and they are super-fun board games! Guess Where is similar to it's sister game, Guess Who, but it is more complicated for older ones. The goal is to find what family members are in what room. You can simplify the game by just using a few family members or throw in the whole bunch for a more challenging adventure. Some of the reviewers on Amazon rated the game down because there is not a way to keep track of your guesses but to me that is actually a strength because it forces us to focus and be more deliberate.

Clue Jr. was recently added to our game collection at Thatcher's last birthday party. He loves being a "detective like Encyclopedia Brown!" In this game all the regular clue members are present but this time you are trying to discover who ate the cake, at what time and with which drink. Unlike in Guess Where, Clue Jr. provides a sheet to keep track of the clues you gather which is a great skill in itself. I don't know how long Thatcher will remain interested in this game but for only ten dollars it's worth it for us!

If you have any other board games you like, please leave a comment. I'd love to make a few more purchases for our summer break!


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fairy Tales

I read this quote awhile back and wanted to share it here.

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist.
Children already know that dragons exist.
Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.
-G.K. Chesterton

I know there are widely varying opinions on the role fairy tales should take in a child's life and education, but I came across a few more quotes worthy of consideration while researching.

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.
If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
-Albert Einstein.

And yet one more from arguably the most brilliant man of modern times:

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me
than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.
-Albert Einstein

We have so enjoyed our readings of Aesop's Fables this year. I have learned as much as the boys as I was only exposed to the most common of these in my own education. I am looking forward to reading and learning from fairy tales next year! Please leave a comment if you have any favorite collections/versions or other resources you would like to share.


Friday, May 2, 2008


How do you like the new look? Two big events (for me at least) are coming up soon: my 100th post and my one year "blogoversary", too! The plan was to have those events coincide and launch the new look at that time. Well, dh and I just got too excited to wait! That and he'll be out of town quite a bit in the coming month. He had time to do it today and the creative energy, too! Thanks, Honey!!!! I love it!

We'll be tweaking things for the next few days/weeks so keep checking back to see how things progress!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Weekly Report - Weeks 26-31

It's been sooo long since I've posted a Weekly Report - six weeks to be exact. We've been plugging along with not much new to report. Still here is a quick overview of where we are.

Math - We are up to lesson 150. Ten lessons to go and we are finished with Horizons 2. Yahoo! Today Thatcher took his test and made 91%. I couldn't be more pleased. We don't do all the supplemental worksheets, suggested activities and flash cards listed in the TM. I started out trying to do it all and it was just leading to frustration for both of us. The only thing we do in addition to the actual lesson is skip count each day. He now knows how to skip count to 100 by all numbers 1-10. We are spending time reviewing these since he still gets a little confused here and there.

Reading - We have been reading the first four books in the Encyclopedia Brown series. It's so fun to share this series with him because I also enjoyed them as a child. The author, Donald Sobol, even visited my elementary school when I was in fourth grade. I was so ready to stop reading Magic Tree House books I was about to scream. They were wonderful as starter chapter books but they long ago served their purpose. This seemed like a good series to move to. The unplanned benefits is that it has really supplemented our start to logic. He has to pay careful attention to the details of each story to try and solve the mystery. He hasn't solved one on his own yet but with some loving guidance from Mommy, he has gotten close a few times. I feel like he is finally starting to learn how to think and not just what to think!

I mentioned in a previous post, but we've also been reading Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Book 1. I also read a chapter to him in Prudence and the Millers every day as well.

Logic - He loves Mind Benders and asks to do these first every day. Next year we are going to branch out a little more (but that's another post!) but for now these are a perfect start!

Spanish - United Streaming Elementary Spanish has been a wonderful start for us. I really think that one of the reasons is Thatch likes hearing another voice other than mine ;) We will finish our fifth unit next week and then take a break this summer to focus on all the Spanish games and activities we own.

Spelling - SWO B is going well. We are up to Lesson 12 and Thatcher has yet to miss one on any test. I have decided to keep him going to build confidence and teach him to follow directions. He loves workbooks (sigh) and looks forward to finishing his assigned pages every day. We are currently doing two lessons a week. I am not planning on continuing with SWO next year as I have found some terrific resources that (I feel) will do all that SWO does and more!

Grammar - Not happening. I have realized that if we don't have a page to fill in it doesn't get done (double sigh). This is a me problem, not a Thatcher issue. I need to make some decisions about this for next year with this in mind. We do talk about grammar through copywork and in stories we read but nothing formal is being taught. I know so many say that formal grammar isn't necessary until later but I still feel guilty about this.

History - We are up to chapter 34 and will complete two chapters a week to complete SOTW 1 by the end of the month. Luckily lots of these chapters can easily lump together so it won't be bad at all. SOTW has been a great start to our history journey. This year we have basically stuck with reading the story in the book, completing the coloring page, map and doing a narration for each chapter. I have lots of ideas for next year in this area too!

Science - Nothing formal happening here either. But do you want to know something that made me feel better today? A friend of mine kept Beckett while Thatcher, Haddon and I went into town on a field trip. Now granted this friend has three children of her own, one of whom is a boy.Yet after keeping my little man for four hours she said, "I don't know how you get anything done with that one! He is into everything!!!!" Amen, sister. You take your eyes off him for five minutes and he is flooding your bathroom and water is pouring through your downstairs light fixtures. Ask dh how he learned this lesson ;) This kid is a mess. I love him with all my being but boy the stories I will have to tell at his rehearsal dinner someday!

I will do another Report once we have finished our school year. :) Yahoo! I get excited just typing that.