Sunday, October 3, 2010

Term A, Week Three

Highlights from the week:

We have been getting together with some homeschooling friends in the neighborhood one or two mornings a week for some "P.E./recess" type fun, and this week we biked down the River Trail to Utah Lake. I had never biked out there before, and it was really fun and beautiful. The kids did great. It was 4 miles round trip but nobody got too tired or complained (I think that's an advantage of doing these things with friends). It took a couple of hours, and we didn't get started doing "school" until after 1, but it was worth it.

On Friday we had arranged a field trip up to Tracy Aviary with the Boys Club I coordinated. It was a follow up activity to our owl pellets a couple weeks ago. David was able to come with us and we had a great time. My favorite parts were seeing the birds in the bird encounters (a red-crested turaco and an American Crow), seeing the HUGE Andean Condor basking with his wings open (very zen-like) in the sun, and hearing the family of five kookaburras laugh and laugh and laugh. I don't know if I knew (if I did, I'd forgotten) that they are called Laughing Kookaburras.


Red Crested Turaco

Kookaburras have long been one of my favorite birds. I think they are just so cute and chubby. I learned that older offspring often stay around and help care for their younger siblings. David said he read that on a couple other bird species' signs, too. So neat! The kookaburras at the Aviary were a mom and dad and their three youngsters, all hatched this past spring. The chicks were already full-sized, though.

In other news, Spud is doing really well reading his beginning reader books. We have quite a number of Bob books, which he likes okay, but he really likes the Clever Critter books by Nora Gaydos. We only have the Advanced Level One set and one of the Level Two sets, but I am tempted to get more because he likes them so much. I think I should probably just check out other first readers from the library and save the $. I've reinforced to him over and over that if he doesn't know a word he can either sound it out or ask me (or both), so he has stopped doing his, "Uh, uh, uh.." pathetic thing when he gets stuck. That is big progress!

Noodle finished her math on the Green Track (I'll explain more later) so she was able to earn the cute hedgehog she'd picked out at This is the Place Park gift shop, plus an extra four dollars. The idea is that she controls how quickly she moves forward with math and if she can master the material faster, and have a Green Level Effort (finish with minimal mistakes in an appropriate amount of time without needing reminders to focus), she can earn rewards. If she moves at our old pace, one chapter a week with many "focus reminders," that's a Red Level Effort. In between is a Yellow Level Effort. Probably sounds a little more complicated than it is. Anyways, her math covered some new ideas the last three weeks and she is doing well at understanding them. I think she needs to solidify her add/subtract facts, though, so this next week we are going to do review and drill. I'm hoping that it will be easier for her to stay on task when the small tasks that make up the problem can be completed more automatically.

We are using Prima Latina for Latin this year (only Noodle and I, though Spud does listen in some), and I am really enjoying it. I think Noodle enjoys that we are learning it, though she kind of grumps when it is time to do it. As we learn a bit more vocab and can talk "secretly," though, I think the allure will be stronger. But I'm enjoying it a lot!

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