Had some storms move through Tuesday night - always fun to send the kids to the basement. After the spring we've had, they are justifiably a little freaked about tornadoes. A lot of my friends just about 10-20 miles east/northeast of us got hit *hard*. Scary!
It's been a fairly decent school week so far. I continue to be dismayed by how hard I have to work to get the minimums done with all 3 of my "official" kids. I feel like I run from the time I get up till after dinner, and all I have to show for it is math, reading, handwriting, some phonics/grammar, and maybe a bit of history or science or catechism (but not more than 1 of the proceeding 3!) I feel gratified at the progress we're making, but a bit overwhelmed at all the other stuff I *wish* we were doing!
Really, what we've mostly done this week is math and handwriting. S3 and A2 have worked on reading, and J1 has done some art and music, plus study for his big catechism test this weekend. We are definitely making progress in math and reading with the younger guys.
I am honestly so gratified at A2's progress with reading. 3 months ago, I was half convinced that he would never be able to read. He still isn't what I would call "fluent", and it's still somewhat of a struggle for him. But the improvements he's made are vast, and I am pleased with his progress. I marvel at S3 - I never really "taught" him to read, he just got it on his own, and he is close to being "fluent". My definition of "fluent" is, being able to read a more than basic book on their own with good comprehension. S3 has read Arnold Lobel books (think Frog&Toad, Mouse Tales, etc) with great success. I got him a couple "Nate the Great" books, and I think after he gets through those he'll go on to "real" books like Beverly Cleary, Boxcar Children, etc. A2 is still determined that he won't read a book till he gets through all 100 EZ lessons. He's on lesson 54 now, so we're more than halfway there. By fall, I think, he'll take off.
Math with the younger set is going a bit slowly. They both seem to be struggling a bit with subtraction. I'm less enthused about MathUSee - I think they might do better with a more straight forward approach. But - I just ordered "Beta", so we'll stick with it for a little while longer! It might just be a temporary bump - it's not like they're *stuck*, per se, it's just not coming as easily as it was there for awhile.
Handwriting went better today. I was a bit concerned yesterday about Alex's hand (he was born with polydactyly, and had surgery on his right little finger joint when he was a year old), but he did better today. They've all definitely got that "messy boy handwriting" thing going, but after working consistently for just a week or two, I am noticing some improvement - so I think just more practice is in order!
J1 is struggling just a bit with math. Primarily it's a concentration/neatness thing. Plus, he wants to do at LEAST half the problem in his head. I keep telling him - no, you have to break it up, write everything down and do it step by step. He doesn't buy it. I told him today that in a few years, he would admit I was right, and he flat-out informed me he didn't think so. I learned by hard experience that when you get to more advanced math, it is *vital* to be methodical - I guess he's going to have to learn the hard way, too! Plus, I think part of the problem is, he's bored again. We're at a tough point. If I accelerate him too much, he feels he's flying too fast, but if I don't, he gets bored and careless. What a dance it is to fit into what he really needs!
Must get to bed, but thought I'd write a quick update. Another couple days and it's a long weekend - horray!