Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week 25: Tips, Tricks and Major Accomplishments!

I'll admit it. This winter I have been struggling to find a groove, as I have mentioned in previous posts. The addition of 3 days out of the house for workouts, plus two for the kids has meant that I have easily become disorganized with the more bookish lessons. Something motivated me last week to sit down and make a very simple assignment chart for them for the week, and it proved so helpful. I have used assignment charts before, over and over, and they always seem to be only moderately helpful for us, but this one, this week WORKED.

I also made a shift in how I asked DD7 to approach her math lessons. Rather than plopping down two sheets of math for her to do, I asked her to do as much as she could in 30 minutes, and what she didn't finish she would need complete before free time / computer time as "homework" for lack of a better term. (Thanks to my friend Heather for giving me the idea to do it.) It has worked beautifully. She no longer feels overwhelmed by the amount of math she needs to do, and stays more focused on the task so as to avoid the homework.

Major Accomplishment! (aka Bragging Mom Alert!)
The major accomplishment of the week is that my son finished his first full essay! He wrote a paper about his Japanese family's situation during WWII. It was a difficult assignment for several reasons. First he was writing more than he has ever written at once, so the length of the task was daunting. Second, he was writing from information he had gathered from a lengthy interview with his grandfather in which he took notes. We also recorded the interview, but he primarily used his notes. The spelling and some of the facts, dates and places were a bit sketchy in his memory, as he was a young child at the time of the Japanese relocation, so it was up to us to do a bit of research and match up our information with public records. To add to the challenge, this information was difficult for DS 11 to put into words because it was personal, and he felt a strong desire to please his dad and grandfather with the final product. Finally, in the middle of the paper the poor guy got delayed by a stomach bug, and set us back a week. What we thought would take one solid week to accomplish took several, with quite a few touch-ups and tweaks. The end product, however was well worth the effort, and I am so proud of him! It was a major goal we had set for this school year to integrate history, family history, and writing skills.

Now that this major project is done, we will wrap up the end of WWII and Unit two of Tapestry of Grace, finish our last chapter of science and the "school year" will be over. We will go away on our annual beach vacation, and then through the summer we will do "summer school" type lessons in math, grammar, writing, and possibly geography. I am working on a plan for that, since the kids tell me that is where I "dropped the ball" this year. I can see the light at the end, and I am so ready for vacation! A glorious week at the beach to play and soak up the sun with my favorite people cannot come soon enough. Well, yes it can. I have a lot of prep-work to do to get ready for the trip!

Summer vacation is coming soon! 

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