Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New things in our school

Trying to play catch-up with posting. I've got all kinds of things in my head that I need to write and rarely have a few moments to get them typed out. Here goes. Thankfully I always have the option to come back and edit later.
We've made some recent changes for the boys and I'm very excited that they seem to be working pretty well so far. I posted before about starting the boys on the McGuffey readers and looking into Ray's arithmetic for Jaysen. Both have made a difference! Jaysen is enjoying reading, to the point that he is practicing his reading skills everywhere we go. Even reading street signs and menus and cereal boxes. Reading is finally beginning to click for him and it's beyond words exciting to see him loving his new skills. Joey is also enjoying the books and is beginning to learn new words.

The math was just what he needed. Ray's is based more on mental math and is perfect for Jaysen. He learned back in second grade, on his own and the astonishment of his teacher, to do mental math and has fought tooth and nail to write out his work when doing worksheets. His argument is always "if I can do it in my head why do I need to write it down?" He does make a good point, although it does make it tricky for Mom & Dad to help him fix his mistakes if I can't "see" where he went wrong. But, this is a natural skill for him and a strength and we need to encourage his strengths. Doing mental math was not something that was stressed much when I went to school and to this day I struggle to do math correctly in my head.

We have also decided to try our hand at a unit study. Eeek! Seriously though, I have always been intrigued by them and wanted to try them. It can be a bit overwhelming as they do require some time and effort to plan and prepare. Plus, what topic do you choose? To help with that decision I had the boys watch some documentaries on different topics and noted what caught their attention. Jaysen showed a huge interest in medieval times and the old west/pioneer period. Both are two of my favorite time periods. I did some research and found a literature based unit study based around the Little House On The Prairie book series called The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray. Everything I read about it called out to me that this was just what we were looking for.

I sat down with Josh, showed him the website, we talked and prayed about it. We both felt that this may be a good program for the kids. We asked them what they thought and both boys were really excited about it. So, we bought it! It's going to take some prep work and planning, but as I read through it I know the boys are going to have a lot of fun with it. Now we just have to decide when to start it. I can't wait to get started!

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