Whew! We are at the end of the week and we managed to wrap up Moose’s Term 1 this week. The original plan was to keep schooling last week and have this week be the exams/break week; but we had our great trip to Washington last week and saw a lot of really neat places (looking at you, Museum of Flight!). While we did get some work done, there was a lot that didn’t get done, so we just shifted the remainder to this week. The glorious buffer comes through once again!
For Moose, we finished up reading Understood Betsy and Saint Benedict: The Story of the Father of the Western Monks. (Those book links are affiliate links, btw!) The rest of the books roll into Term 2 (and some even into Term 3!). It’s nice that not everything changes all at once, and all I’ll need to do is select a different Saint biography to read. Next week is Exam Week for Moose, which should be interesting since I’ve never done a Charlotte Mason style exam. I’ve used the exam on the Ambleside Online site and did some changes to reflect what we’ve read and done. It should be pretty fun and interesting.
(Exams serve a different purpose in a CM education – you can dive deep into the thoughts behind exams at the Ambleside Online site here, at Simply Charlotte Mason here, and at Charlotte Mason Help here.)
After I finished Understood Betsy, Moose just looked at me like he couldn’t believe the story was ended. He quickly claimed that he really didn’t care about “a stupid girl”. 😉 I get the feeling that when it comes around again for Wok’s Year 2, he’ll be back in listening to it (it also sucked Peanut in, since she didn’t get it during her second grade year).
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If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve had some issues regarding Peanut and “elastic time”. We have had some small successes in helping Peanut to stay on task and get her stuff done without zoning out and dawdling. A big help: a timer and natural rewards (such as, “get X,Y,Z done by lunch” type stuff). But even still, there’s a lot of issues in transitions and just general motivation. I could give her a carrot, so to speak; giving her a certain number of minutes to use on the tablet or watching TV, or an allowance or whatever.
But I wanted her to have self-motivation, in that I want her to stay on task and focused based on her effort and not on the carrot at the end of the stick or whatever. When she’s an adult, she’ll have to get down to business on her own effort and gumption and get stuff done. I want her to develop that in the house.
I sat down with Peanut and had a small chat with her. I explained to her that her break week will come when she has completed 12 weeks of work. If it takes her 15 weeks to do 12 weeks of work, that’s fine. She can move at her speed. If she needs to take some time to complete stuff, that’s fine. I won’t shove her through each week. We will take our 20 minute lessons, have some natural rewards, and armed with the knowledge that she is in charge of when her break week comes up; let her go to town.
The first day it was kind of … meh, like she was still mulling over how exactly this was going to impact her. The next day she overheard me telling Moose that his break week was next week. She asked when hers was. I told her technically it should be 2 weeks after Moose’s, as I staggered their starting days but if she needed an extra week or two to work through what is assigned for week 10, she could take that time. Light bulb! Suddenly things clicked for her and she realized that she’s in the driver’s seat with her education, at least the pacing of it. She’s staying on task much better now and can have her sustained attention for the 20 minutes of lesson.
Another breakthrough Peanut had was in the math department. She started learning how to subtract four digit numbers and was just stuck. For whatever reason her mind just couldn’t wrap itself around the concept of regrouping these large numbers. We slowed way down and just kept plugging at it, over and over until – it finally connected. You could see the connections being made and suddenly it went from impossible to easy-peasy. She started asking me to make up math problems for her to do, after doing all the ones in the workbook.
It is so gratifying to see your child finally make those connections, after wrestling with the concept for a while. It’s probably one of my favorite things about homeschooling, is being present for all the connections and revelations and “aha!” moments.
Have a great weekend! 🙂