Week 1: The Focus is to Focus
Hi there! We’re back to our regularly scheduled program.
We break from the December holiday to March. However, we still participate in our co-ops and extracurriculars and still do work. Just more relaxed.
It’s been a long time since I wrote about our homeschooling and there’s a lot of reasons for that. But let’s do a brief recap of our first week.
Good Intentions- Focus!
This week’s intention was simple. Get back into a rhythm, try not to think this is all for nothing, don’t let the pending apocalypse (nasty divorce) distract me from doing what I need to do as a mom and homeschooler. I know- dafuq, right? (side-eye, deep breath) I have a lot goin’ on. (exhale) Focus.
Confused? You can read a life update here.
Quick update on the home front. We are working without internet or tv service. Much of what we did in homeschooling relied on those services. Obviously, this blog and my presence on social media also rely on internet access. It means I’ve had to change up our system- a LOT. It also means we hang out at the library WAY more than we use to and rent lots of documentaries and educational programs.
We mostly worked in 3 areas- math, language and literacy, concepts and processing. You’ll notice, many of the activities and subjects overlap and I always integrate a game.
I pulled out one of Liam’s favorite games- memory. We actually have a few memory games. This week, we played Minions and Toy Story 3 memory games. I used words like match, mate, identical, same, and pair as we played.
If you can’t tell by the picture, I used this game to teach him how to count by 2’s. This is game-schooling. Sometimes he doesn’t even realize it’s “learning activities.” I’m thrilled to report- he caught on very quickly to this concept through this method.
In addition (no pun intended), I expanded on math concepts- asking, who has more or fewer pairs? And by how many?
We have a ton of games. If you’re interested in more game-schooling topics, let me know in the comments.
Do you see this paper? I found it on Amazon. The top line is the sky and the bottom is the ground. Perfect auditory and visual prompts to guide writing. I typically write on the first line to show him what I’m requesting him to copy.
We always do handwriting warm-ups before just jumping into writing too.
Motor Planning + Writing + Math = Sense
I’ve had to come up with unique ways to explain what numbers and letters look like to Liam. He gets confused by different fonts.
Why are there two kinds of fours?
Why do some ones look like sevens?
Why do some nines look like upside-down sixes and some look little a’s with a stick?
He’s right! It’s confusing and his challenges with motor planning, sensory processing, and fine motor skills add a few levels of difficulty.
The beautiful thing about homeschooling is dissecting how he thinks, then giving him options that he’s most comfortable with. He decided to write fours as tridents and not a sailboat- nines are straight, not curvy.
If you were sitting at the table with us, you’d hear-
Keep your two curvy like a swan. If it gets sharp, it turns into a Z.
Threes are just the bees’ (B) wings, not his body.
This verbiage not only helps him visualize what he’s trying to do, which helps motor planning but serves as an easy reminder aiding him in self-correction. It takes time and effort too. Pausing to explain the sharp points or corners on Zs- visualizing a bee within a big B.
We’ve been working on writing numbers for a while. However, it’s official! He can independently and correctly write numbers.
Adding, Subtracting + Building Equations
Aren’t these fun? They’re called Inflatable Number Blocks by Learning Resources- we call them math balloons. I bought these (and letters) from a teacher on Facebook for $10! The Mathline concept system- the thing he’s touching in the picture- was purchased from a teacher’s yard sale. I think this is a vintage version, but it’s still amazing.
This activity began with me saying equations, then he built the equation with the inflatable blocks. Auditory processing- thank you. Then repeat the equation placing his hand on the appropriate balloon. Finally, he’d solve the equation on the Mathline counter and attach the correct balloon to complete- saying and touching the entire solved equation again.
We’ve played with these before but never for solving equations. These were his favorite activity and he happily skipped break time to keep “playing math.” Eventually, this activity evolved into him creating his own equations following the same steps.
That’s Bubba Howard so attentively listening to Liam read. This dog hasn’t missed an opportunity for storytime since Liam was three. We have a library of high-frequency readers by Scholastic.
He’s become quite independent with these as well. Speech apraxia is still a struggle but I use prompt to cue him through word sounds. I posted a video on Facebook of him reading– and being silly. You can see the prompts he does himself.
Do you include your pets in homeschool moments?
Did I mention we live at the library?
Last summer, when my car was taken away, we’d ride the bus to Downtown Lansing and make a day of hangin’ out. One of our destinations was the Capital Area District Library. That’s were they have this giant mushroom nook.
Since getting a car, we stay a bit closer to home and go to the smaller library nearby. However, we decided to suck up the parking fee and hang out downtown.
Although we borrow educational material from the library, we don’t go there for homeschooling. Instead, we go there for free time and free wifi. I’m working on my laptop trying to build a business and another website, he watches shows on his iPad that he no longer has access to at home. It’s our focused “electronics time” in our otherwise unplugged life.
In the end- a good week.