Sunday, October 19, 2003

Sunday October 19, 2003

We missed Mass this morning. I wanted to go to the 11 am service, but Dominic and I have both been sick and we were just too tired.

So instead we began the weeks lessons. Week 9 in the curriculum is a review week. It's nice that I can really go over the things that I want to make sure he understands and skip over the things that he really knows.

Our first review was for handwriting. I dictated letters at random and he wrote them down. He did a great job. He formed each one perfectly.

For Spelling he completed two handouts which asked for beginning sounds and ending sounds. The only thing I had to remind him was that for ending sounds the letters needed to be lowercase.

In Reading he completed a handout which called for him to put words in alphabetical order. He did a great job. I did have to cut out the words for him as I don't yet trust him with the scissors. Of course he did promise that he wouldn't cut up any more sweaters or shoelaces. But I think when he watches me do it for him, he really understands the loss of trust.

In Math we reviewed counting by 1's, 2's, 5's, and 10's. He can count by 1's to 100. He's still having trouble counting by 2's. I'm working with him on the basic 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 which I've said will take him through to 100. He's already practicing, so I think he's finally ready to learn it. 5's and 10's he had no trouble with.

Science was a review of hygiene. Reagan understands the reasons for handwashing and toothbrushing. I didn't feel the need to get into too much depth on the subject. He understands it.

The social studies review in the book was about personal information. While I usually substitute Social Studies with History, I really wanted to see how much Reagan remembered. He needed a bit of probing on his address and phone number. So, we'll go over it again tomorrow and every day until I feel he's comfortable with the information. He had been at one time, but I don't think I'd called on him to repeat it for quite a while. Oops, bad mommy, no biscuit!

In my quest to find new ways to improve Reagan's writing while not making me want to tear my hair out, I have returned to the classical model. One important facet of a classical education at this age is dictation. I discovered today that it actually helps on several levels. I came up with four sentences that had to do with what we had done for school. I repeated each sentence 3 times which encouraged him to really listen (another problem I sometimes have). After that he repeated the sentence and began to write it down. I sat with him to immediately correct any mistakes in the formation of his letters. If he wanted to know which direction a letter faced, I would tell him. He's actually learning lowercase b's and d's. I told him that the upper and lowercase B's are looking in the same direction (B b) and that upper and lowercase D's face opposite directions (D d). D's look at each other. It stuck in his memory, so I'm happy. In any event, with me sitting there he remembered to space between words, put a period at the end of the sentence, and capitalize properly. With spelling, we would sound out words together and he would write them down. I really like this exercise, and he likes having me close, I think. It's so much nicer than correcting and having him fix work he's already done. He seems to feel he's failed that way. We were both happy when we were done, and he did absolutely beautiful work.

Since it's Sunday, and well, we did skip church all together, we read from "Leading Little One's to God". The topic was "God is Holy". It's funny the idea of communicating major theological topics to a six year old. I don't expect him to understand it at this point, but at least to learn it. It will provide a framework of knowledge that he'll build on as his ability to reason increases. Essentially today I had to explain the differences between each person in the Trinity, and what they do. Reagan thought they were interchangeable, as it's only one God. So, I told him to picture heaven having a big locked door. We'd need a key to get in. So, God the Father sent us a key. Jesus, God the Son is our key. But Mommy always forgets where she's put her keys, so Jesus sent us a helper. God the Holy Spirit is our helper. He helps Mommy to remember Jesus. I know the analogy is a bit juvenile, but it worked. Now he can see that each person in the Trinity has a different job, but the same purpose, bringing us into heaven someday, and into a closer relationship with God now.

I really love teaching him. It's probably the most challenging thing I've ever done. And I'm so proud of him. He's reaching more and more every day toward his potential. He loves learning, and is beginning to challenge himself.

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