Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Amazing Boy

This is my blog so I can brag on my boy I've decided! :) We are 6 weeks into our school year and Captain America just keeps blowing me away. I knew that he had picked up on a LOT of learning just from being around while I was teaching WonderWoman things and occasionally being in on a game or a project where he'd be doing the same thing that she was. But I had NO IDEA just how much he had picked up.
I went ahead and let him start with the Kindergarten math and reading this year even though he's not Kindergarten age till May. He REALLY wanted to do school like his sister and was looking forward to the day when he'd have his own books and 'work' to do. So Peter and I decided to go ahead and let him start and just see where it went. If he lost interest or didn't really seem like he was getting it or was having a hard time then we'd stop and wait until he was a little older and continue with his fun learning games and preschool type activities like he did last year.

Well, so far everything has been SO easy for him with the exception of writing, which I'm not really pushing much. He does a little everyday, but I've found other ways for him to practice his letters and numbers without having to use a pencil and paper. Here he is writing in salt...
He's now 24 lessons into his Kindergarden math and I've realized that he probably could have just skipped the first half of the book. I knew it was kind of review for him because we did a lot of counting and patterns, shapes and direction last year for preschool but I guess we covered a lot more than I thought! Here's how it all started when I began to realize this...

WonderWoman enjoys doing addition flash cards and thinks it's fun to see how fast she can make it through the stack of cards correctly. So the other day I was flipping through the cards with her and she got stuck for a second and I hear CaptainAmerica say "It's 15. (She looks at him shocked)...Joy the answer is 15. (She still didn't say anything, she just looked at him, then looked at me)...Say 15," from the other side of the room where he sat, and I thought, was just playing with his Batman toys. I - was - SO - SURPRISED! I know WonderWoman was too, that's why it took her a moment to realize he was really telling her the answer! This was the addition fact that he jumped in and answered for WonderWoman...
I said, "That's right! Great job! I didn't know you knew that!"... and then the competition began. He realized it was okay for him to answer the flash cards too. Apparently this boy's been holding back! He continued to race his sister for the remaining cards to answer and we all had a good time laughing and celebrating right answers and beating one another to the answer first. He didn't get them all right, but he sure tried. And the fact that he got any of them right blew me away! Right now, lesson 25 in his math book is beginning addition '1+2 and 2+3' and writing his numbers 1 thru 10. I think he's a little beyond that. LOL!

He's still not very comfortable writing yet, but that's totally fine with me. We've got years to work on that and if he can keep moving forward and give me the answers audibly, I'm fine with that! So after realizing that he was well beyond his current math activities, I decided to do a little detective work and figure out where he was at in other areas as well. He was so happy just to actually being 'doing school' this year that I just let him start at the beginning and thought that would be good for him, but now we're reevaluating where we're at and what we're doing.

He's been moving right along in reading and recently has been asking to read 'real books', not just the reading program we're doing. So I decided to give it a try and sure enough, he's ready! Now being the personality he is, he was keeping track of how many 'real' books he had read to me and was so proud to tell Daddy when he got home, so I decided to make him a chart to keep track of his reading to Me so he could see his progress and show it off. Visual incentive really works for this boy!
Here is his sticker progress chart for reading we started last week...
Now besides math, reading, and some handwriting every day I hadn't really scheduled much else specifically for him. We do the calendar, bible devotions all together and big time vocabulary, play tons of games each day and do activities that reinforce and practice skills he's learned but as a part of my detective work, trying to figure out really where this boy is in his learning, I asked him if he wanted to try something new this week. He of course said 'YES! What is it?!'
I said, 'Do you want to start some spelling lessons?' He (jumping up and down) says, 'Spelling! Oooh yeah! I'm gunna learn how to spell! Let's do it NOW! PLEEEEEASE can I do it NOW?!'

Let me just say...if I can do nothing else than make my kids excited about learning and give them that desire and direction to seek out more knowledge...then I think homeschooling again this year will have been worth it!

I found an awesome curriculum that WonderWoman started using during the last 1/2 of the year last year. It's called "All About Spelling" and is a multi sensory method of teaching spelling that so far, makes complete and total sense to me! I wish I would have been taught to spell this way. I've learned spelling rules that I never learned in school, the 'why' for the way we spell certain things and tricks for helping you remember how to spell them correctly. WonderWoman has done so well with it and I just knew it would be a good pick for CaptainAmerica too. Especially given his current lack of stamina for writing, this program offers so many other options for every learning style.
I pulled out the book and he shouts, "Oh I know, the 'C' says /s/ before 'E', 'I', or 'Y'!".....
I stood amazed again. He was apparently paying attention a few weeks back when his sister was working on that spelling rule. Wow.
The book is divided up into 24 steps, meant to do at the students own pace so you work on each step until they have mastered it and then you move on. So we crawled into the bottom bunk and sat close together while we opened up the book and worked through the first few Steps.
We worked through the entire step for each one because I really wanted to make sure I knew what he knew. I didn't want to move on and skip anything. After the first two steps I thought we were done but he wanted to do more. So we moved onto Step 3, then I told him we needed to be done for the day. But guess what he was up and begging to do after breakfast the next morning?? Steps 4 and 5!
Here he is exchanging vowels to make new words...
So far we haven't come across anything that he didn't already know. But it has been a good, thorough review for him and helped him to understand the concepts more confidently. It's also been a more concrete gage for me to see where he's at. He's obviously ready to keep moving on with this so we made another chart!  :)  Here's the one for spelling that hangs on the other side of his door.
This boy LOVES charts! And everyday he likes to count and see how many more steps he has left.

I know it seems like a lot of structured work for someone who's not even Kindergarten age yet, but Peter and I decided, why hold him back just because he's not a certain age yet? He really does love learning and as long as I'm not pushing it on him and he keeps wanting to do more, than I'm going to be available for him and teach him as he's ready for the next thing. He still has plenty of time to play and explore and do unplanned, unstructured things during his day, so I think we've got a good, balanced learning environment going so far. Lord willing, we'll keep it up for the rest of this year and everyone of them will continue to flourish, and grow in their love of learning.... that's my prayer anyway!

Here are a few more of CaptainAmerica activities to show off from recent weeks...
One of his math lessons was graphing numbers. Well, he wanted to do more graphing after that so he made a bar graph of how many boys and girls were in the family and noticed that it was exactly even.  That led us into a conversation about even and odd numbers then we did some skip counting on our number chart. :) Then he made a bar graph of his big LEGO blocks and the different colors. I just dumped out a pile of them and this is what he created. He then colored one square for each block. Notice on his paper he pre dotted the color in the order that he wanted them in to match how he had them laid out. I've told you about how he likes things precise and ordered and in straight lines...but it still makes me smile sometimes when I see him do things like this. It's SO obvious in his personality how his mind works! And it's completely different from his wild, creative, dramatic, all over the place sister! They are both SO amazing to me and their minds are beautiful! I love to watch them work! :)
SuperGirl has been doing a number, color and shape each week for her tot-school time. During our week that we did the number three we read all the stories we could find that had to do with threes. The Three Bears, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, etc. We did art projects and played often including these themes. Well CaptainAmerica sweetly put on a puppet show for his little sister retelling her the entire Three Little Pigs story on the puppet stage!
Cookie Monster was the wolf! And he used a pinkish Lion for the 3rd pig!
SuperGirl thoroughly enjoyed the show and of course my heart melted at his thoughtfulness to do this for her unprompted. All I can say, is I'm one lucky Mama. The Lord has truly blessed me with such wonderful little people in my life. I enjoy them so much! And I am so proud of all of them, but especially the new revelation about my CaptainAmerica right now.  :)

5 comments:

  1. You have got a brilliant boy on your hands! How cool that he loves learning so much. You're right, if you can instill the love of learning in him, he'll be set! I miss schooling my kids! Enjoy every day, it goes by way too fast. Before you know it, he'll be in highschool....ahhhh!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You go, Joshua! It's so funny because we always knew that Joy was brilliant and there Joshua was just soaking everything up. I completely agree with Jackie...take adventure of the fact that he wants to learn now...it will certainly be an advantage for him as he grows older. Great job, Bree.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You always motivate me to do more! LOL! Your blog is good for me, :) So keep it up! Luvs

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are amazing. If you don’t get a degree in teaching I will be sorry as you are a definite natural. Those kiddoes are blessed to have you as a teacher. Joshua is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah Captain America! We knew you were “super smart”! So proud to hear about all your school works and see your charts. Great job Joshua from your Nana & Papa! We love you! Send me a picture or one of your school papers to put on my fridge!

    ReplyDelete