Monday, September 12, 2011

First week

Week one of school has come and gone, leaving us mostly intact. Our workload is really light right now, and almost everything we're doing is review from last year, so the only real challenge has been to keep K interested. I've taken to doing things like telling her if she can pass the quiz at the end of the math lesson, she can skip the lesson. Because somehow it doesn't seem like a worthwhile use of either of our time to review counting to ten with a child who has been counting over a hundred for over a year. To my surprise, Science has gotten off to a poor start. Although perhaps not so surprising when you consider of all of the world of exciting, hands-on topics available in the universe of science education, they opted to start six-year-olds out with a rousing discussion of classification and the scientific method. Whoopee. I believe tomorrow we talk about safety. Be still my heart. Part of the reason things went poorly is that we started out last Tuesday watching a video from BrainPopJr (a website she loves), which, while it was on the scientific method, used magnets as the sample experiment to illustrate it. So she got really excited about magnets, only to have me open the textbook and attempt to interest her in talking about classifying animals, along with a discussion of the various things scientists do that made their jobs sound very dull indeed (Did you know scientists observe and record their findings? And communicate? Doesn't that sound like exactly what you were interested in when you were six? Yes! It's non-stop science excitement over here, I tell you). They sent us safety goggles, for crying out loud, so I'm taking that as a promise that science will start to get more hands-on and interesting. One very pleasant surprise has been how well FastForward, a set of reading computer games, has been going. It was a huge struggle to get K to do it last year. We finally wound up sitting with her the entire time, working the mouse for her and chivvying her endlessly. As a bribe, her teacher allowed us to let her skip one day a week, and we still struggled to finish the allotted amount every week. But now? She's doing it mostly on her own, with no complaint. To my great shock, she actually wants to do it every morning. There's one game we need to work the mouse on because it moves so quickly that even we have trouble responding quickly enough. And there are a couple games where I look over her shoulder and help talk her through some of the questions because I think she will learn more by my coaching her through finding the correct answer than getting the answer wrong on her own without any explanation as to why it was wrong. Plus, she's much more likely to stay interested if she's doing well, and I'm not about to mess with this sudden miracle turnaround in attitude. So one week down, going fairly well. Here's hoping for more of the same this week, hopefully trending in the more interesting and more challenging.

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