Monday, June 14, 2010

A narration experiment

As a general rule, I have read most of the books aloud to my children as we have worked our way through our Ambleside curriculum. Well, at least until I thought their reading skills and narration skills were at a certain level (as decided by me, lol). Well, at least it worked that way with my oldest. She was doing her reading to herself by year 3 , unless it was a couple of the ones that needed Mommy to read simply because of true difficulty in reading/understanding (ie Robin Hood or Shakespeare - things like that). However, my son has been a different case. Part of that stems, simply, from his being a boy.

Young M picked up on reading fairly easily, but told others she could not read until she was around age 8 (what was that about??). But, looking back on it (and I figured it out within a couple of months), while she could do the decoding and mechanics needed to read, it was not fun and was hard work. Somewhere, around there, though, the boring decoding became automatic to her - and the joy of reading kicked in around age 8.
G2 is not much different, but about a year later in making this jump. Having had a baby and now another pregnancy tossed in there had made my brain forget about that delay and I was getting worried - after all, he is 9 already! Listening to him read out loud can be rather painful at times - unless, of all things, he is reading from the Bible. Then we have very little stumbling, stopping, etc. I have as yet to figure that one out....

So, today, I tried a little experiment. G2 HATES to narrate. Seriously - he hates it, complains about it, begs not to narrate. So today, I had him read 2 of Aesop's fables to himself, but told him he would have to tell me back what he had learned. He whined, but since they are relatively short, he did it. Yes, we should have been done with this book ages ago, but we are not, lol! Anyway, he enjoyed the first one so much, that he ended up going back and reading the whole thing out loud to me and then went on to tell me about how silly and foolish the people were to forget that they should be honest ("Honesty is the Best Policy" was the moral). The next one, he read and enjoyed as well. He did not reread this one, but gave me a fabulous retelling of it! Then, when he realized he had closed the book without the book mark in it, he ended up reading the next one in line when he found the place in the book, lol! And told me about that one as well!
I was really not expecting this big of a response to his doing that, but such a relief. I suspect, were I to look into it, he is not an auditory learning. I should know that one by now with him. And he has been getting harder books out from the library on topics he is interested in (if I see one more Star Wars book, I am going to scream, but I will accept the other normal space books, lol!).

That was my little experiment of the day and got great results. I think it is time for me to catch a nap while G3 is napping, M2 is playing in the basement and G2 is voluntarily cleaning his room (how weird is that?!).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I love that using Ambleside reminds me to teach my children a (sometimes) new hymn each month or perhaps a revisit to one they are familiar with already from church (we have a hymn of the month there as well).

I am always blessed by revisiting these songs that we sang in church growing up. Why so many churches have gone to "choruses" is beyond me. There is so much to be learned doctrinally within these songs that so many generations before us sang.

Doesn't that give you such a wonderful feeling of connections to the Christians that paved the paths here in America (and elsewhere) before us? Makes me ashamed to see that their hard work is being ignored these days, know what I mean?  Maybe, just maybe, perhaps if churches had not strayed away from songs of such a firm message that the hymns offer, can shoulda/coulda/woulda stuff to death - and we all know what is coming eventually.  Anyway, back on task - this months was "Revive Us Again":

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.


Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.


All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.


All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.


Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.


February's is "I Know Whom I Have Believed In".

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.


But I know Whom I have believ├Ęd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.


I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.


I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.


I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

What grade am I?

Did you know this can be a very hard question to answer if you are homeschooling your child? The easy answer (well, the one we give them to hand out to relatives and others within the community) is to tell them what grade they would be in based on their ages. That makes the person on the other end feel better as it is something they can understand.
However, if you have read the book Understood Betsy or are a homeschooling mom, you know that grade level topic can be a tough one to overcome, even in our own public-schooled minds.

One of the things I have explained to my dd (age 11) is just because a particular curriculum has a number attached to it does not mean that is the grade is considered it.  AO has years attached to it, but they absolutely do not coincide with a PS grade level. You see, using the Charlotte Mason method, you would not even start any kind of formal education with your child until they are age 6. That is 1st grade in the PS grades. And yes, it is a relatively simple year. That said, once you leave that year behind, it gets harder and by year 4, you are studying Plutarch's Lives, Shakespeare (the real plays, not the easy fun stories we did the first three years). You have added in Latin as well. Pretty sure most PS 4th graders are not studying all that (plus the rest of their lessons!).

Young M's reading and comp levels are out of this world. She astounds me sometimes (but cannot keep her room clean, lol! Kind of like Tim Hawkins says - well, he is 9, speaks Greek and eats bugs - what grade is that??). She does very well in her math when she takes her time and does not rush it (sometimes, like the rest of us she goes fast & makes mistakes because something fun is calling her). Where on earth would I put her in PS? I know lots of people send their children to PS for high school, but I just do not see that as a good option for any of my children. 

G2 (age 8) is slower in his reading than his sister was at the same age (unless he is reading his Bible - he can pronounce words out of there that I have heard grown ups trip over!), but is running ahead on his math. I expected this with him given that he is male and will develope at a different rate than a female. 

Young M can give me a narration from something she has read with no problem. G2 - well, we still do paragraph narration with him regularly. But, I know once he had narrated it, it is stuck in his brain for a long time. How do I know this? Because of the questions he comes back to me with days later. He dwells on things, turns them over in his mind and looks at them from all angles. When he gives me his thoughts about something, I make myself stop what I am doing and really listen - because I am apt to learn something from him. Sometimes I have to correct him on his conclusions, perhaps made incorrectly due to lack of information, but it is very, very interesting to hear how he came to his conclusions (and I know Exactly where I need to stick in that correction, if needed, lol).

How do you test or grade this kind of work? I know they are learning and learning well. I know, for the most part, they are well ahead of their PS peers. Oh, they cannot quote the latest Hannah Montana song, but I am quite okay with that because I know they are learning more important things right now - and not just history.

A few weeks ago, we were listening to a discussion on F2A and people were calling in to the show. The topic was the priest in Britain that said it was okay to steal from retailers if you were poor or really needed something. Anyway, something one of the callers said inspired Young M to tell me that in the book of Matthew, it said something relevant to the topic. I wish I had written it down because I almost drove off the road. I was flabbergasted that my 11 yr old got that out of the scripture and could apply it to this conversation we were listening to.

G2 has done similar things at Bible Study (I know pastor looked at him good and hard because the 8 yr old pulled out the gist of the scripture - and got it right. I think it surprised him a bit). This is the kind of stuff that the PS's do not care if my children know and would actually prefer that they not talk about it (let alone thinkreally hard on it), let alone test it. Yet it is the most important part.

I know there is more I want to say on this, but I am tired, the children are in from playing in the snow and the baby is asleep. I want to go rest my head for 15 min upstairs where the children are learning work ethic 101 - cleaning their rooms...heehee!