Saturday, October 15, 2011

Catching Up

We've been back in NC for some time now, but things got off to a shaky start what with Chris leaving for training again and with my surgery. So that explain the yet another long break between the posts.

Things are almost back to normal now:

I pretty much cut down on all the detailed planning for our homeschool that I did for the first couple of months. It's mostly because apart from math and reading, nothing else tended to happen as planned. M sets up his own pace here. I figure, since he follows along with math and reading, I can reciprocate by following his lead in all the other subjects.

At this point our daily school work looks something like this:

Math - first, we do 2-3 works sheets of logic and reasoning problems. He's working through a problems marked for ages 5-6 now although it's definitely not effortless. Since many of these problems require connecting the dots, drawing circles, coloring and otherwise putting a pencil to paper, he gets to work on his fine motor skills.

More Math - then we do "counting math" for 10 minutes or so. We are still staying within 1-10, but mostly working with numbers between 5 and 10 - adding, subtracting, even dividing. Also working on the concepts of odd and even, zero, and half of something (works so well with M's current interest in matching quantities of just about anything to his age, 4.5). We still use a lot of manipulatives for this math.

Reading - I'm grateful for a Russian cartoon called Smeshariki. M loves it (ok, I do too 'cause it's so funny). More importantly, he is a lot more willing to read now. The key is to have a reading primer book that's built around the cartoon. Thankfully I do have this book (having borrowed it from my cousin). So every day we practice reading two-letter combinations and then move onto longer words. M is a bit more fluent now, blends much better and is not particularly scared of long words. At least he was fine reading "воронка" and "мухомор" and a few other longish words. We are even trying some very short and simple sentences now.

More Reading - generally we end up our school with a reading session where I read chapter books. It can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on M's mood. He always loves this part of our school. The coolest part for me is that now he recognizes small-print letters in the books and points them out to me. He can even read some of the book titles, especially if they are short and the typeface is simple.

Everything else - this includes building with Legos (he actually prefers little blocks now and is not very interested in Duplos at all). Or it can be tinkering with his rather large collection of spare parts and junk. Or it can be playing with an even more sizable collection of rockets and robots. Starting this week, it's all about making decorations for Halloween.

Other than homeschool, he goes to soccer once a week and loves it so far. We also go to playgrounds, have playdates with his friends, and generally fill up our time with all sorts of interesting things, such as going to a Lego festival (actually, Chris took M there since I was in the la-la land thanks to Percocet).

Thankfully, Chris took quite a few pictures plus M told me all about the gigantic Lego StarWars sculptures. I think it was seeing these sculptures that made him re-consider Legos as a building medium. Before the festival he wasn't too keen on Legos. But afterwards, if he gets a new idea for building something (like every 5 minutes), he says that he can do it out of Legos. Because, as M put it, "you can build everything with Legos".

Finally, he's back to the idea of being an astronaut. Which means wearing his space suit, helmet, gloves to the playground and carrying an American flag ("so I can stick it into the ground like astronauts on the Moon and my friends will understand then"). So after running around the playground for a while and sliding down the slides, M decided that it was time for him to fix the rocket (the big slide). So here you see him clinging to the side of the rocket, trying not to float away into space while performing extensive (took him like half an hour) repairs on one of the boosters.

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