Two and a Half Weeks Left and Counting

24 Aug

Lately I’ve been casting wistful glances at our mountain stack of books for second grade, wishing it was time to get them out and flood the room with new-book smell. Sometimes I allow myself a few minutes with one of them…I’ll sit down with one and leaf through, relishing the crispness of the clean, unmarked pages, sighing with anticipation at the delights that await us…even the paper cuts I accumulate are all part of the fun.

That Writing with Ease workbook is particularly captivating…it’s 3 centimetres thick. I’ve covered it with book-covering film so the cover is oh-so-glossy and sturdy and hopefully with stand up to Esa’s attempts to destroy the book once he realises it’s really an instrument of torture.

I’m even more thrilled about second grade now that I’ve managed to save the SOTW Volume 2 Activity Book to my computer. If I’d bothered to read the downloading instructions, I wouldn’t have wasted 4 of my 5 downloads. But I thought I Knew What I Was Doing, so didn’t read the instructions. That’s not really like me at all, but vanity doth cloud my judgement at times…

I’ve also been perusing some of the audio books and lectures on Peace Hill Press. I bought a few (download versions…the ability to save files went to my head) and I’ve really enjoyed The Joy of Classical Education (only $.99!) This is definitely one I’ll listen to again and again, particularly if I need a little homeschooling pick-me-up.

I’m also thrilled I found the audio stories which supplement SOTW. These CD’s are pretty expensive to buy in the UK, and I prefer downloaded versions in order to save space AND you get them immediately. We’ll definitely buy a few of these as we go along. And next year I’ll buy the SOTW 3 audio book download from them as well; far cheaper than buying the CD’s. It crossed my mind that I won’t be able to resell them since they’re MP3’s and not CD’s, but then I realised I probably won’t want to resell them anyway; I can see us using these for a long time, so downloaded versions are perfect.

Esa’s getting really excited about second grade, too. Poor boy…he has no idea how much torture work awaits him this year.

I am a little concerned with the workload. We may need to cut something out if it proves to be too much. Oh well, tweaking is a specialty of mine.

Speaking of tweaking…

I’ve recently done some tweaking to our second grade schedule. It dawned on me that I’d only worked in a total of 8 weeks’ holiday. Now, if it were a year ago, I’d be finding a way to reduce that (silly, homeschooling-crazed mother that I was am was am was…oh, who am I kidding…?), but I found myself looking at that schedule and nearly hyperventilating at the lack of lines on the spreadsheet reading ****HOLIDAY****. It now has many more holidays worked into it (and my defibrillator can get a  much-needed rest.)

One more week (after this week) of prehistory/phonics review/math facts memorisation, then a week off, then we shall begin second grade.

Speaking of memorising math facts…

Ugh. This just isn’t going anywhere. I knew it was going to be hard work, I knew it was going to take time…but what I didn’t know is that after memorising 12 facts, as new ones went in, old ones would fall out, despite the repetitive drill. I thought if we did one set a week, introducing 3 new ones each day for 3 days, reviewing them all each day,  that he’d have them down. It started out well, but then our little house of flash cards came crashing down. He’s getting them confused and we’re only on 3’s. There’s just no way we’ll make it to the 9’s the way we’re going about it. I’m not really sure what to do. Not knowing his math facts is slowing him up when he does his work. Not sure if we should just persevere, try something else, or leave it for a while.

Maybe I should have him write a set out 10 times each day. That’s what one of my teachers did. (Ok, it was 4th grade and for multiplication tables, but it did work.) I do think a multi-sensory approach may be better, though. Will have to do some googling.


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12 responses to “Two and a Half Weeks Left and Counting

  1. Elsie Hickey Wilson

    August 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    HI, Michelle,
    Oh, so exciting! I taught second grade for almost twenty years! It is a real transition age and so much fun learning takes place. They start out as “little kids” and as the year goes on they find themselves and blossom!
    Great year for digging into science and social studies.
    They finally have experiences that they can relate to the whole world out there!
    I really miss the adventure of starting off on a new teaching/learning year!
    Yes, the number of books and other stuff is a huge pile looking at them in Sept! But, soon, you both will realize he will whiz into them and being looking a round for more!
    Have fun and have an adventure!

    • whimsyway

      August 25, 2010 at 5:56 am

      Thanks Elsie. 🙂

  2. Michelle

    August 24, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I have never made my kids memorize their addition and subtraction facts (multiplication, yes). Both my almost 10 year old and my 12 year old still sometimes count on their fingers, but… they are doing really well in math. My 12 year old rarely gets a problem wrong.

    Memorizing multiplication facts is REALLY important. I learned with my oldest that it is very hard to progress in math without having those facts memorized. If I could do it over with her I would have stopped all math work until she had them all memorized. Addition and subtraction facts don’t seem as important to memorize because you can count on fingers and eventually though repeated use they become memorized naturally.

    Good luck with your school year. I love getting and looking through new books, too.

    • whimsyway

      August 25, 2010 at 6:02 am

      Originally I wasn’t planning on having him memorise his addition facts, but it’s causing him problems now with Singapore. The problems he’s working on have multiple steps and having to stop mid-flow and work out the addition is causing him to get off track; he forgets where he’s at in the problem. And he’s never been taught to count on his fingers, so adding larger numbers is an issue. I still count on my fingers; there are some addition facts I still don’t have memorised and I don’t want that to happen with him. I think we’re going to give it a little rest, though. He’s kind of going through a “I don’t want to learn anything new in the skills area” phase. When we start it up again we’ll take it slowly. I agree about the multiplication tables; those just gotta be memorised. 🙂

  3. Neo

    August 25, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I’m finding myself tweaking and reviewing my plans and curriculum resources, even before we start! It must be a homeschooling “occupational hazard”!

    Math can be a tricky one. The basics must be right before one can proceed to the more complicated operations. I think you’re doing the right thing by taking a rest and slowing things down a little, just to let the basics sink in. Singapore Math tends to go faster than other programmes so don’t worry if you need to take more time on the basics – you’ll catch up soon enough! In our math programme, Tiger has been working exclusively on additions only for the past 12 months, and won’t start subtraction until next Spring.

    • whimsyway

      August 26, 2010 at 5:46 am

      Thanks for the reassurance, Neo. I have this need to keep up; I don’t like getting behind. But you’re right, Singapore is advanced and I’ve also started Esa on it early, so there’s no need to rush.

  4. Sheila

    August 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    If I remember right, we did a lot of visual stuff: throwing dice (you can add/subtract/multiply them), bundling felt pens (this is really effective when grouping 10’s), and I always had the abacus sitting on the table so he could see the numbers. We also played games while we were walking where I’d throw numbers at him and he’d have to add them (or whatever). He preferred games where there was an edge of competition.

    But it can be such a crap shoot – all of a sudden you’re on the other side and they know it all and you think “Why did I obsess over that?” with a laugh. Sounds like a good year ahead, though. You are FAR more organized than I am.

    • whimsyway

      August 28, 2010 at 7:12 am

      Thanks, Sheila, I may try some of those games. I know, I need to put it in perspective…he’s only 6 and I’m sure we’ll get there. 🙂

  5. Neo

    August 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

    You might want to check out “Schoolhouse Rock – Multiplication Rock”, as another way to help with memorisation. It’s recommended in the homeschooling book I’m currently reading.

    Here is a clip I found:

    • whimsyway

      August 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

      Thanks, Neo, I’ll check this out.

  6. Neo

    September 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Someone I know uses Timez Attack. She find it a fun multiplication tables game for her children. You can download a short version for free here

    • whimsyway

      September 3, 2010 at 9:32 am

      Thanks, Neo, I’ll take a peek at that one. 🙂


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