Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When a Block Falters

We are in the last week of a 3 week language arts/humanities block. Our main focus is to summarize our weekly story and to write the summary.

It isn't going well; none of us is inspired. I think my choice to read kindergarten fairy/folk tales may have backfired, as they don't have a lot of depth to carry us through the week. Don't get me wrong - the boys have enjoyed hearing the stories. It might not even be the stories; it might be that the summarization block is so similar to the fairy tale verses block that it is a bit of a rehash.

I'd like to think that other factors are affecting us, such as not having the school room in tip-top shape, or being off rhythm because of my illness, but it feels like something deeper than that. This morning T-Guy couldn't even remember which story we read Monday (Little Red Cap). It didn't speak to him.

Beth writes that to really be growing we should miss the mark about 20% of the time. Obviously, I missed the mark. The question today, Wednesday, is where do I go with this information? Do we finish out the week as planned? Do we let it go and prepare for the next block?

The block hasn't been a total flop. We've been working with word families and sight words and T-Guy is really starting to get it. With just a little prompting he can make it halfway through Hop on Pop (he becomes too fatigued at that point, so I have him stop). J-Baby has far fewer sight words memorized, but right now he is still enjoying the process. Word Families haven't clicked for him yet. He does like to read the Fairy Tale Verses book we made in the last LA block, and can get through the first two BOB books (Mat and Sam). Even if these are recited from memory or cued by pictures, they are still an important step on the road to reading.

I think the best thing to do is to keep working with sight words and word families, and let the summarization drop. We can spend some time decluttering and organizing the school room, add "putting the school room to bed" to our routine, and maybe do a couple of fun projects.

Looking at essential energy and where things happen organically, the boys are getting a lot of informal recall/summarization work with the stories Papa reads them at night. That doesn't address the writing portion of the work, but we still need to remediate in the area of handwriting.

This weekend I am planning our next math block, the four processes. We did this with the Christopherus 1st grade materials, but I want to do it again. We enjoyed the last math block, and I expect that this math block will go well.

1 comment:

  1. I think that is a good choice. The beauty of homeschooling is that we dont have to do something just to check it off our lists. When it isnt working, it isnt working. I think your right to focus on what is feeding the kids right now and revisit this later, or not at all. Maybe just enjoy the stories as stories and let it rest for a bit. With the heat and all it is great you guys are staying focussed on all that you are. :-)