Saturday, October 4, 2014

And On It Goes...

Life is flying by at roughly the speed of a commercial jet these days.  We are managing to get school done about four days a week.  This last week we started swimming lessons.  Those will continue every Tuesday and Thursday for the next four weeks.  With church on Wednesday nights, our week is plenty full.  

I've started "designing" our school room for "real" school, by which I mean kindergarten and beyond.  My favorite past time these days is searching Pinterest and blogs for homeschooling room ideas.  I found some good deals on some shelving this week and put it all together yesterday (by myself!).  I've also started researching curriculum to decide what I want for next year.

A couple weeks ago, our lesson theme was Noah and the ark.  Our letter of the week was "Z" for zoo.  I adapted it somewhat, and we did more zebra stuff than zoo.  We also did some crafts with rainbows and Noah and the ark.  To make our letter Z, we took 2 marbles and dipped them in black paint.  Then we placed them on our "z" sheet inside a box.  Kyla got to shake the box to make zebra stripes across the Z.

My favorite new thing is lapbooking.  People do it lots of ways, but the main idea is making a lap book (duh!) that contains all sorts of information about whatever thing you choose.  Most of the time they are made out of manila folders, but they could just be card stock paper put together as well.  You can add all sorts of elements to the book and be absolutely as creative as you want.  They are easy to store and can be brought out to review or to show off.  Our first lapbook was a freebie I found on Homeschool Share.

Thank goodness that something I read about kids and math somehow stuck in my brain.  Otherwise, I would be absolutely sure there is something wrong with my 4-year-old's brain.  I realize that preschool is a little early to do math, but I just want to introduce the concepts to her.  The math curriculum that I am thinking I want to use requires the knowledge of addition and subtraction facts up to 10.  I don't know when we'll start that...maybe at the beginning of kindergarten...maybe half-way through...maybe not until first grade.  At any rate, we started slowly doing a little math.  But she truly does not grasp the concepts yet.  She knows how to figure the simple addition problems out using Legos as manipulatives and very much enjoys it.  If she didn't enjoy it, I would quit with it on the spot.  Here's what David Elkind, in the article "Much Too Early" says about kids and math:

Take the concept of numbers.The three levels of numerical understanding—nominal, ordinal, and interval—correspond to different forms of scaling. Nominal numbering is the use of a number as a name,such as the numbers basketball players wear on their uniforms. By the age of two or three,
children can use numbers in the nominal sense. By the age of four or five, children can begin to use ordinal numbers; they can order things according to quantitative differences. For instance, they can arrange a series of size-graded blocks or sticks from the smallest to the largest. Once the arrangement is complete, however, they are not able to insert a new,intermediate-sized element into the perceptual array. It is only at age six or seven,when they have attained what Piaget calls “concrete operations,” that children can construct the concept of a “unit,” the basis for understanding the idea of interval numbers. To attain the unit concept, children must come to understand that every number is both like every other number, in the sense that it is a number, and at the same time different in its order of enumeration. Once children attain the unit concept, their notion of number is abstract and divorced from particular things, unlike nominal and ordinal numbers. Mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, and multiplication can be performed only on numbers that represent units that can be manipulated without reference to particular things. 
What he said is proving to be right.  I'm so glad I read this.  I can relax and just let Kyla absorb whatever she can without worrying about the fact that she is not catching on to the concept of addition.  At this point, it is just good practice for her to write her numbers.  When and if she gets tired of it, we'll quit and pick it up down the road.

Kyla is loving swimming lessons.  It has been a lot of fun to watch her.  Kamryn enjoys getting to play on the Kindle all by herself while Kyla swims.

Last night I volunteered to keep a friend's kids so she and her husband could get out of the house by themselves for a while.  They have four kids, age three and under.  Their set of twins is about three weeks older than Kiaha.  It went just fine, and we had fun!  But I sure am glad I don't have triplets!

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