Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Taking the Good with the Bad

It has been a mixed blessing kind of homeschool day.

This morning was rather horrendous as we tackled two Conquesta papers (English and Maths). The English was a breeze but while we have tackled multiplication, area and perimeter the Conquesta paper focused on division and fractions.

No matter how I tried to explain to Lulu that ultimately we would cover EVERYTHING in maths and that the sequence differs from school/country/curriculum she was just distraught and felt dumb. Anyway, disaster was averted after tea and toast; we persevered and she completed the test to the best of her ability. I glanced at it before handing it in and she did brilliantly - not sure why our kids underestimate themselves?

The one thing I am trying desparately to teach her is that getting stuff wrong DOES NOT equal failure. She is still so afraid to try answer things unless she is sure it will be the correct answer. School does this; of this I am convinced.

Slowly she is beginning to understand that through trial and error we grow and learn.

On the flipside we had some giggles today while studying Subject and Predictate - Mr Morton had us entertained! Even my Grade 6 daughter (who studied this early this year) thoroughly enjoy it and now says she understands the concept better than ever. Such a catchy tune I find myself humming ol' Mr Morton while folding the laundry!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Playing Around with English

 English is one of my favourite subjects to teach Lulu - there are so many options.  Spending time on grammar, parts of speech and the like is essential but thankfully so many other activities can keep it fresh and current; actually this can be said of all subjects if you take the time to brainstorm new ideas.

Some of the things we like to do include:

  • writing blog posts
  • book reviews 
  • word searches
  • writing letters
  • summarising articles of interest 
  • writing stories
  • crossword puzzles
  • reading a variety of books
  • listening to stories or documentaries
  • narration
  • comprehension
  • discussion

Comprehension exercise
I get such a kick out of some of her writing. This book review made me chuckle - see her response to  "What do you like least about the book?"  (I can see I was rather ambitious giving my poor kid unlined paper to write her answers!)

Every day continues to be an adventure - today she only did rote math, piano and art - the rest takes a backseat as she prepares mentally for her first tap Eisteddford this evening. The nerves are frayed and emotions sitting close to the surface.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Teaching Afrikaans

I have found it a bit of a challenge - this whole Afrikaans thing. In fact I have not addressed it all since Lulu came home 2 months ago.

I grew up in a dual-medium home; I went to an Afrikaans primary school for 4 years and I have always just understood the language. I do not speak it very often anymore but am completely competent in the language in terms of teaching it to a primary school level.

It is almost laughable to me that I have managed to raise three complete and utter 'rooinekkies' - they are clueless! My Grade 6 (formally educated) child can change a sentence from present tense to future or past tense but cannot tell you what the sentence actually means. Crazy.

Anyyyyyway, the point of my little rant is that I am scouring the net for afrikaans television programs from the 70's, 80's and 90's. It is generally well accepted that children learn best by engaging in a language regularly and what better way than to get them hooked on some fun programming.

They may well baulk at watching Liewe Heksie, Orkney Snork Nie, Nommer Asseblief and Trompie as it will be completely foreign but I am hoping that it will begin to instill in them a love for this quirky, descriptive language.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Our term is going well but we both miss Anne Frank. ;-)

Here is some of the work Lulu did around her life last term.

She loved learning about each person in the story

Understanding the key players in the story

We learnt about mind-maps - love her colourful rendition!

This term we have found that bouncing between the life of Mandela and doing Story of the World messed with the flow so we are finishing Book 1 SOTW this term and will do Mandela next term instead.

We are cruising through Math-U-See (MUS) Gamma and will probably finish up with this by the middle of the fourth term if not earlier. I am not pushing too hard as this curriculum is at Gr 4 level so she is well able to take her time and do plenty of consolidation. We will only begin our Gr 5 curriculum in the new year.

Life of Fred math continues to be our 'fun filler' when the drills of MUS get too much - Fred provides great humour and also shows her (us!) how maths is useful in EVERYDAY life.

With winter beginning to show itself we are enjoying knuckling down and working hard in our comfortable workspace - the kettle and toaster well at hand. Days like today I do wish I had all my sprogs home with me but for right now the other two are right where they need to be.