Wednesday, January 15, 2014

a few simple things

I have not written about actual learning, so here are a few simple things that we are doing:

Read aloud. About a year ago, the boys politely but firmly declined my offers to keep on reading to them good night stories. 7 yo said that he can read well enough on his own. I fretted about it for a bit, discussed it with other homeschoolers, but decided not to push the issue. We still got tons of library books, and the boys read all the time. 4 yo (as of this week!) looks at tons of books, too, and she has her favorites. She is more than eager to get HER good night story, and has been bringing two or three books at a time. About a month ago, out of the blue, the boys asked me to read to them a story while they were lying in bed. I thought that we need a chapter book and grabbed "Pollyanna" which I was pretty sure nobody read yet. I got it from some library sale. We have been reading a chapter a night. 9 yo very early on said that she has the concept of hakarat hatov (recognizing the good). I have never read it before, so it is fun to follow the story with the boys and to be on the same page.

Label everything. For years, I was thinking about labeling objects around the house in Hebrew, so that we could learn all the new words painlessly. Somehow, I was not getting around to it. Since 7 yo got diagnosed and I was searching for all possible approaches to deal with his writing and spelling difficulties, a teacher friend recommended doing a word wall, so that the words and their spelling was constantly before him. I combined the two ideas and started labeling everything around the house. I do five words per night. It tends to skew towards objects, and I try to pick the words where English spelling is not obvious. Some nights it's fun, other nights I am having hard time coming up with what to label. 

Base ten blocks. For 4 yo, it's perfect material for building a succah. 7 yo uses it for regrouping in adding and subtracting large numbers. 9 yo used it today to model division with remainders. I got a relatively cheap plastic set, and if you are considering getting one good math manipulative, I recommend getting this.

Daily vocabulary calendar. I picked it up in Costco sometime in the fall. We keep it at the breakfast table. The boys like reading the word and especially its etymology on the back. Yesterday 9 yo said: "Today will be bad. The word of the day is berate." Somehow, we managed. I can envision writing sentences, using words in conversation, challenging everyone to come up with a sentence which uses the most new words. Instead, it is unobtrusively sitting there at breakfast, waiting to be looked at.

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