Saturday, October 17, 2009
My aim was to practise such speeches throughout the year this year. We did it in a small way, but never really got stuck into it. However, now with the end of the year only weeks away, we are more focused on getting it right. I have written a "High School Musical" speech and one on government - our first term theme. We have gone through them a few times this week and Tamerin seems so happy and determined to master these speeches. Yesterday, she started with memorisation, i.e. to speak and not to read the speech. She has pictures and key words to help her along.
She had to practise how to say "probably", but otherwise was able to pronounce all the words and her tongue did not get all tied up. Afterwards, she gave me a big hug with shiny eyes and then went proudly off to say her new word to her mom. If I think how much she had to practise a sentence like "This year I have improved my ability to read...." last year. BIG IMPROVEMENT!
Praise the Lord!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
She does well her tests, but comprehension is still a problem.
I think "High School Musical 3" is a bit difficult for her, but she always thanks me so profusely for helping her to read it, after a reading session, that we keep going. I often give her multiple choice questions and then we practice asking and answering these questions verbally.
It is nearly the end of our school year, so we have to start thinking about her end of the year speech, what she is going to do for Christmas and so on. Last year, she made puppets and we had a puppet nativity show at her prize giving evening. Not sure what to do this year, Bible wise. Perhaps memorize and dramatize Bible verses?
She wants to play a song or two on her guitar and I also want her to do some water aerobics on prize giving evening. All this on top of her workbooks and other work.
Please pray for us for discernment regarding choices for her special evening!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
She has been tested and is currently doing ACE English and Math. For math we are currently reviewing some Grade 2 work like place value and adding and subtracting multiples of hundred and reviewing ordinal numbers. For English we are revising punctuation: full stops (periods) and question marks and starting sentences with capital letters. Tammy has always struggled with this, and the book has helped a little, but I had to type extra work sheets in this regard. Today she seems to have really grasped it! Praise the Lord. Right now she is busy with her self test.
She also struggles with the exercises where she has to chose between "is /are" and "was/ were". Tammy has never said "She were" or "The children was", but when she has to chose she gets confused and makes mistakes. I hate these exercises: to my mind they are not helpful and only confuse children. For the same reason I never teach similar words like "there and their" or "bear and bare" at the same time! We have always dealt with them separately and there has hardly ever been a mistake. But along comes these workbooks and.....! Generally these books are helpful, but sometimes I do not agree with the method at all!
There are often little cartoons in her books and we spend a lot of time reading these and adding words to the wordless pictures e.g there was one cartoon of two little girls waking and one said "We are going on a picnic today." (The other did not say anything). In the next picture they were watching rain through the window (no words) and in the last picture the mother brought in a tray of food and the one girl said "A picnic like this is fun too."
Tammy had to say how the other girl would respond to "We are going on a picnic today" and what they would say while watching the rain. ("Oh no, it is raining!" "That's too bad, now we can't go outside.) She also put words in the mother's mouth: "Look what I've got for you! Here are your snacks."
Expanding vocabulary and speaking fluently remain our highest priority and these cartoons have been very helpful in this regard.
We finished "My body" prematurely because the family planned to go to the Kruger Park, so we quickly switched to "Wild Animals" as a theme. She thoroughly enjoyed this and loved telling her family interesting bits and pieces e.g. how long a giraffe's tongue was (53cm) and why thorns do not bother them when they browse the Acasia trees.
We still practice to count money nearly every day: it is a slow, but promising process. There has been significant progress.
Tammy still keeps record of her gym progress on Excel. With the advent of the workbooks, time for life skills has dimished somewhat, however.
I've got to run. We have a short break and then it is off to swimming lesson.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This term we started with My Body and How it works as a theme. So far we have covered the heart and blood circulation, the skeleton and the brain. Tammy is quite interested and remembers a lot of detail - she has even told her family what she has learned. The challenge with this theme is how to keep it practical and in line with the vision to be as independent and self-sufficient possible one day, whilst also realising that she will probably not write matric or do tertiary studies. What do you really need to know about your body? To my mind, you need to be able:
- To know how to keep your body in tip top condition
- To know how to best utilise your resources (your brain, your muscles etc.)
- To understand what a doctor might tell you about your body
Thursday, June 25, 2009
7/10 for spelling:
She couldn't spell "provided" or "specifically", but she easily wrote words like "government" and "immediately".
7/ 15 for choosing and filling in the correct word.
The vocabulary came from our Disney World website work earlier this term, and our government theme. She still confuses words like "enjoyed" and "enjoyable". Some more revision needed here.
6/12 for completing sentences e.g.
"He discussed...", "I remember seeing..." "Yesterday...." Many mistakes here, but there were also gems like "I like it when... you sing the song to me." She would not have been able to do that even a couple of months ago!
13/ 15 for a monkey puzzle and questions on the "Our government".
9/10 for a monkey puzzle on general knowledge (Mostly other countries and sport.)
Questions included were "When is the shortest day of the year?" "Who is the president of Israel" "Where is the highest mountai in the world?" (She did not have to write the answer, but choose among 3 options and this in itself is a skill. I am very proud of her for reading, choosing without hesitation and marking the corresponding symbol!)
Long division: 1/3
Calculate the amount e.g. 80% of 200: 2/3
Calculate the %: 3/3
Multiplication (e.g. 59 X 7) : 1/6 (all adding mistakes!)
Adding tens and ones: 3/6 (she "carries over" when there is no ten to be carried over!)
Choose the highest/ lowest price, temperature etc.: 3/3 (very good progress!)
Round to the nearest Rand: 3/3
Convert $ to Rand (multiplication): 5/6
Counting of the money in my purse: 0/1 (big dissapointment here!)
Taking out R45 and R80: 1/2 (she confused R4 with R40 and gave me 2 x R2 coins and a R5 coin instead of two R20 notes and a R5 coin!)
Read the number (43,680,000 and 587,329): 2/2
Next term we will do one minute reading tests, dialogue etc. Right now she must practice guitar before her lesson! Our school breaks up tomorrow for three weeks of holiday and we'll be back on 20 July. To anyone reading this, have a wonderful holiday!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Tammy copies the verses out of her contemporary English Bible which she got as going away gift from her previous school. (I am at home at the moment and haven't got the title before me.) It has tiny print and when she received it, I never thought that she would be able to read it so soon.
Anyway, I first read a passage out of the Bible to her, with her following where I am reading. If the same passage is in the children's Bible also, I read that too, but sometimes let her read it. Then we talk about the passage and what God is telling us. Tammy then chooses a verse or verses from the passage we have read. Homework is then to copy the verse(s) in her "Bible file" in ordinary font and to "write the italics" - i.e. to type in italics the meaning or message. The italics are there to make the difference clear between the Bible verses and her (our) interpretation, but with blogging the italics disappear and she sometimes forgets to convert the sentences into intalics again. Last year I often wrote down "the italics", but this year I usually leave it to her to type the interpretation on her own and to make her own labels for the post. I still often have to help with sentence construction, but as in all things, help dimishes slowly but surely.
Last year and the first term this year, she also illustrated the verses - her file of last year is beautiful - but this year with more attention to academics and going to the gym this has fallen away. It is a pity because the art enhanced the message. However if she does the art for homework, she just rushes it and no real thought or effort goes into the illustrations, so it seemed to me a waste of time. I could not commend her "illustration" the next day and who wants to start the day with a dissatisfied teacher?
We sometimes pray together and sometimes takes turns. I try to get her to respond to the passages we have studied because if you talk to a friend, and your friend tells you something, you can't just talk about other things - you have to respond to what your friend has told you.
I am curious to know what other homeschoolers do for Bible. Please pray for us that we will do God's will in all of this.
P.S. We start every morning but checking homework and writing down the plan for the day and if I should forget to write it down, Tammy comments "And Bible..!"
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Tammy's language is coming along. I understand her speech better, but she is still inclined to rush when she gets excited and then speech becomes clipped e.g. "He go, you turn, like this (gesture) down...at the back.." Then I have to get her to slow down: "Come again. I missed that. Where did you go?" Poor speech patterns from the past persists e.g. "You want some tea?" instead of "Do you want some tea?" Past tense is still formed through the use of "did" - a habit of many South Africans! "What did you eat?" "We did eat..." However Tamerin now says "I want to show you what my mother did bought for me..." It is going to take lots of practice still to get rid of that "did".
Language exam will include
- Comprehension (filling in missing words and answering questions on a passage and choosing the correct option out of given words),
- Grammar (rewrite in the past tense; say whether it is a verb or a noun).
- Speech (reciting a poem, telling what she has read and talking about any topic she chooses. I hope to record it again so as to compare her speech with evaluation done in April.)
- One minute reading - same level as November 2008 (My Secret Unicorn) as well as from new text (Disney World Website or Zac Efron Annual. She can choose.)
- Creative writing: Make sentences with..... and Blog post.
As far as her journeying with the Lord is concerned: She still finds it hard to express what she understands at first when we read the Bible, but after we have discussed it and I have lead her with questions, her insight is quite amazing. E.g. that if Jesus is the seed from which our new life comes, people should be able to see Jesus in us, the same way you would see a mealie after you have planted a mealie. (1Peter 1:23) (See her Bible verse blog). After choosing and copying a Bible verse from the passage we read, she has to write "The Italics" i.e. what she understands the verse / passage is saying to her. Of course I help, especially with sentence construction, but in the end it is her record of what we have discussed. We have mostly been doing Bible study out of Matthew - we have just finished Chapter 7. It is a very satisfying and enlightening study.
God has a purpose here and I continue to pray for wisdom!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
So what do we do now? She is busy with Unicorn School and it starts with the unicorns preparing for exams. Seeing that her brother is busy with exams too, I decided it might be a good thing for Tamerin to also write exams. It might help her to join in conversations when she visits with her cousins.
Sooo.... what to "study" besides math and spelling? We have had several discussions on government and elections last year and earlier this year, so we will revise notes again. I hope to make the "exam" very practical e.g. to look up the telephone number of a certain government department. Just exactly what should every citizen know about government? I suppose we'll stick to the structure and functions of the different "parts" of government, the names and logos of the main political parties and taxes... and anything that is in the news this month.
Language will mostly be "fill in the missing word" based on her reader and her history notes, spelling, and finding the verb/noun/ adjective or adverb. (I find that it is important to know the difference between, for instance, a noun and a verb when using a dictionary.) I would love for her to make her own sentences with certain words as well.
Other subjects will be sport: again because it helps Tamerin to understand what is going on when family and friends watch it. (She has written on her Father's Day card: "I love watching rugby with you.) Tallying up the scores also provides good math practice. In rugby (our favourite sport) a goal counts 5 points, the conversion kick 2 points, a penalty kick 3 points and a drop kick also 3 points. In cricket you have singles, two's, fours and sixes and then there are six balls to an over and in limited cricket only 50 overs....
But why, oh why do they count 15, 30, 40 in tennis??
The math exam will include multiplication (e.g. 325 x 6), division (e.g. 325 / 6), fractions, adding with tens and hundreds, subtraction, percentages, rounding of prices and counting of money and reading of amounts involving millions and thousands.
Before finalising the study material, I better check on our goals again.
Please Lord help me to choose the right stuff and the right method to revise, and please let Tamerin enjoy it.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
She then converts $1 - $10 dollars as well as $100 and $1000. In the beginning she has made lots of mistakes, but she has done 2 sheets without a single mistake.
R 8. 35
x 8 (How does one underline this on a blogpost?!)
66 . 80
Today she made 2 mistakes - both with adding e.g with the above calculation when she had to add 4 + 2 she wrote 7!! Tammy, Tammy....!
She loves these calculations and I love them too as they involve multiplication, adding and the use of the decimal point. She also has to estimate the answer before calculating it i.e. 8 x 8 = 64 and 8 x 9 = 72 so the answer must be between 64 and 72, but today it will be closer to 64 because 35c is closer to R8 than R9. Since estimating the answer, she has made far fewer mistakes! This is also what she will use if she has to convert $ to R without a calculator or pencil and paper.
The other money matters that we practice is rounding prices. I have started with it last year, but only now feels that she understands. So we go through newspaper ads and she reads me the real price and then what it "actually" costs. R69.99 = R70.00. Great fun.
We also count money. We have been doing it for a long time, but it is not easy and Tammy has to really focus on not confusing R and c.
This week I also let Tammy "pay" for stuff.
She first counts her money to establish how much she can pay.
Then she has to round the price e.g R35.99 = R36.
Then she gives me enough cash to cover the price, but not too much (e.g. 2 x twenty Rand notes, seeing that she has no R10 note or coins to make up R6).
Then she has to calculate how much change she would get. (R40 - R35 = R5 .... + the 1c, but seeing that we no longer use 1c coins, the shop would round it and give her 5c.)
She has also calculated discounts e.g. 50%, 25% and 10% discounts. Percentages are not new to her, seeing that she always has to calculate the percentage of her homework or test results and we used percentages a lot when we covered the elections.
She still needs lots of practice, but she understands what it is all about and is very determined to crack it. This is very practical, fun numeracy and works for us.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Seats have not been booked yet, but it seems sure that Tammy's family will be off to the U.S. end of June. Disney World will definitely be on the intinerary, so Tammy and I have started to "study" this Disney World Guide. It loads faster than the official website and gives us everything we need.
I copy the text to a Word document and then we read it together, write down then new vocabulary and discuss the contents. Then we go back to the actual website and Tammy reads it to her family!! Great stuff!
So far we have done the home page on Disney World and introduction to Magic Kingdom. New vocabulary included words such as performance, recreation, destination, options, entertainment, unique, focus, specific, area, include, incredible. ("Incredible" is so "wow"! English is Tamerin's 2nd language and communication in either her home language or English has always been a very big challenge for her, so these words are "quite big"!) We practice the tongue twisters like specific by breaking them up into syllables as we have always done and she "reads" them aloud over and over until she can say them fluently.
For her spelling test on this weeks vocabulary, she scored 16/20! (Mistakes were: guid (guide), includ, (include) increadible (incredible) and imaine (imagine).
The discussion of the contents is very important. Tammy can tell you that 50 million people visit Disney World per year. She worked out how many visitors there are on average per day (50,000,000 / 365) and also what percentage visit Magic Kingdom. The practical math we have done at election time, is paying dividends! She can read thousands and millions and write down the numbers too! I am so proud of her. We also talked about Everest and checked on the globe where Nepal is. Will check tomorrow whether she still remembers what Everest is, but I am sure she does.
To reinforce the vocabulary (and facts), I make up sentences with missing words and give her the options to be filled in, in a box above the sentences. My aim is not to confuse or to test her, but simply to make language fun, to reinforce and to read with comprehension and focus! I use the same words again and again, but each time in a different context. Tammy has to read the whole sentence first and substitute the missing word with hmmm before she chooses the word from the box.
(I wish I knew how to blog word documents, but if I try to copy a word sheet, my blog refuses to publish it? Any suggestions?)
Anyway, typical sentences would be
entertainment / option / attractions / incredible / celebrate
There are many different things to do at Disney World. You even have the .............. to .................................. your wedding there.
The variety of shopping and ......................................... areas is simply ...............................................
One of the main ...................................... in Disney World is "Expedition Everest".
To help with choosing the right word, I refer to parts of speech such as verb, noun, adjective and adverb without making a big fuss. You need to know what verbs, nouns etc are when you use a dictionary and Tammy has to look up new words daily. When do children actually learn parts of speech in school? Grade 4? I haven't the faintest idea. We do not do "grade" work - we just do what seems necessary. Right now, being able to talk about the coming trip and to feel good about herself seem very, very necessary. (By the way, the looking up of words in the dictionary or telephone numbers, and fiddling with search engines form part of my vision of her working in an office one day. )
Homeschooling is the greatest!
Friday, May 8, 2009
This week we spent a lot of time on long division, using 6 every time as the divider. Tammy likes to follow a given method and she managed the long division quite well: we marked the number line with the six times table to help her count the sixes, but after a day, it was no longer needed. I realised that her knowledge of tables would kick in again, but it took some frustrating time before it happened.
What I found frustrating (and where I had to remind myself that she is "slow" and I need to be very patient) is when she had to deduct e.g. 20 - 18: For most of the week, she would do the deduction the "long method": She would say 0-8; no it can't, so I take a ten and cross out the 2 and make it a 1. 10 take away 8 is 2. 1 take away 1 is zero....! She couldn't just "see" that 20 - 18 is 2 or that 30 - 28 is 2.
But - praise the Lord - by today she started to take short cuts: 20 minus 18 is 2! Long division is the only division she can do: even 606 divided by 6 is done the long division way, but I figure, it doesn't matter, the short cuts will come with time.
We never have remainders - remainders are calculated as decimal fractions until the 2 decimal. It was good to see that 39 / 6 = 6.5. She knows very well that .5 is 1/2 and could see that the remainder of 3 is half a six.
Reading and other exercises are a bit on hold, until we really crack long division. She has made giant leaps through taking many, many, many baby steps! Tammy has had a very bad cold, so we did not go to gym this week - that's too bad, but on the other hand, it left us with more time to do math.
Today we spent most of the morning, making a computer scrapbook page for mother's day. She has a nifty programme called "Scrapbook factory", but I am not very familiar with it, so we struggled a bit, but in the end the page came out quite successfully. Next year, I'll make sure she takes more pictures of her mom. There were actually very few pics of mom on the computer. (Guess who takes most of the holiday photos?!) Tammy has a camera, but today the batteries were flat.
Our vision is that she will work in an office one day. My dilemma is now: is it better to practice to do this type of thing on computer, or should she get more practice using a ruler, scissors and glue? Which type of activity will be more beneficial in the long run? I am not too sure about this one. Either is fun: she loves working on the computer and the end result is neat. But cutting, pasting and painting are fun too!
Have a Happy Mother's Day!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Last week Tammy and I spent a lot of time calculating how many people would vote if the voter percentage was 80%, 70%, 60% etc. based on the actual number of registered voters. (23,180,000). The ruling party i.e. the A.N.C. had a 2/3 majority after the last elections and that meant that they could change the constitution by themselves. To ensure true democracy, it was hoped that they would not get a 2/3 majority again. We have a very high crime rate and service delivery throughout the country is deteriorating and in many places virtually non-existent. In these aspects, the country is a mess and change is desperately needed if we are not to share the lot of Zimbabwe.
Anyway, it was good talking to Tamerin about the importance of voting and how the parliamentary seats would be allocated. Today, we studied the real results ("results" and "statistics" were today's new words) and then Tamerin "practised" speaking about the results.
She again did a lot of % calculations - from very simple ones e.g. 10% of 100 and 10% of 200 to 65.9% of 17,680.729 i.e. the election results. The complicated ones she did with a calculator of course! She also calculated percentage the other way around e.g. 40/ 50 x 100 =80% . Here too she worked from very simple calculations to real election results i.e. 11,650,748 out of 17,680.729 (the A.N.C.'s results) and 2,945,829 out of 17,680.729 (the D.A.'s i.e. the main opposition's results) It was good to see that her calculations were the same as the official statistics!
So what did she learn in this theme?
- What elections are about and a basic understanding of how our government is put together.
- The importance of voting: the higher the voter percentage, the more votes are needed to get a seat in parliament.
- What an I.D. document is.
- The voting process
- To read figures that run into hundred thousands or millions. A million has six zero's!
- To calculate % and to have a basic understanding of percentages e.g. 50% is half.
- These % calculations helped to reinforce basic arithmetic: multiply and divide.
Thank you God for Tammy's good progress!
P.S. Tammy wrote (with help) on her blog about the election results. This helped her to verbalize her election information as she would explain it to her Ouma.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Tammy and her brother climbing up the rocks. Since doing water aerobics, Tammy's general muscle tone has improved much and so has her balance and stamina. She climbed up with far greater ease than December last year when they first came to visit.
Tammy's grandmother and her mom.
On top of the world. Tammy still had a fever blister: she had tonsillitis last week. The spare tyre around her waist is slowly but surely getting thinner and thinner.
Ouma Vossie posing with the horse, with brother Shaen and cousin Lee standing by. Tammy has always been fond of horses, so riding had to be included of course. Hendrik was at home, so that worked out well. I wouldn't want to saddle and handle the horses myself.
Tammy on horseback. She has several toy horses. Last year we read "My secret Unicorn". Getting onto the real thing was a little intimidating, but Tammy seemed to really enjoy it.
Big smile before the dismount!
While waiting their turns, the cousins had fun playing with the dogs.
This has been a great term. There has been noteworthy progress in especially the following areas:
- Spelling and ability to "make out" words. Big improvement.
- Pronunciation generally and especially of "long" words like "electricity".
- Ability to use multiplication purposefully e.g. every day she has to calculate how many problems or sums she had by adding the amount in a column with the number of columns. (She usually did about 60 sums per day.) After counting and deducting the mistakes, she has to work out the percentage on the calculator. She also converted Rand to Dollars. We will do much more of this as their trip draws close.
- Ability to determine "highest" or "lowest" number.
- Ability to read the thermometer.
- Knowledge of sport (cricket and rugby) and awareness of political parties in South Africa (We have an election coming up.)
- Understanding of the meaning of Easter.
- General fitness and improved muscle tone, coordination and balance
- Creative language (Speech and written language).
- Adding - this is a bigger problem than multiplication!
- To improve her posture
Have a Happy Easter. We will be back on 20 April 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We stop our reading quite often too discuss what we have read. If I don't do this, she doesn't pick up the story line. New words or words she has forgotten are written down on a small white board. I often let her look up the word in the Oxford S.A. school dictionary. We make sentences to explain the meaning of the word e.g Tammy is a resident of M...... Minh is a resident of S..... etc. (If you are new to this blog: Tammy is mentally challenged and English is her 2nd language.)
When the board is more or less full, we go through the list again. I.e. she reads the words and words are explained again if needs be. Long words are broken up in sections to help with pronunciation. I try to use syllables that she knows well and add the prefixes and suffixes. For example today we had recently. I wrote down cent (a word she knows well!) and had her read it. Then I added re and then ly. No problem! We also had attended. I wrote down ten for her to read and then added the rest. Again no problem.
If she struggles with pronunciation, we add similar (known) words to help e.g. when she struggled with malicious, I added delicious; She struggled to remember the pronunciation of au words e.g audition and applause, so I added August with which she is very familiar. This works like a charm. She had some problems with long and short vowels, but here again, I would give her familiar examples like use and us, at and ate. We have never bothered about rules, bus she is "discovering" rules as we go along.
Then she writes the spelling as in a spelling test, but if she hesitates, I quickly show her the word again. There is absolutely no point in ever misspelling a word, merely for the sake of a test. I find that in the twenty words or so, it is very seldom necessary to show her the word again. She spells with ease words like immediately, atmosphere, dedicated etc.
Lastly she reads the piece all by herself. It is heartening to see how she "makes out" the words. Fluency and comprehension improve all the time.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Five km down the road, I realize my gym locker key and more importantly my access card are still in my gym bag, so I have to turn back, unlock the gate again and retrieve bag - now about 12 minutes late.
When I get to the toll gate 30 minutes later, an alarm rings: my E-tag was upside down, so it has not registered at the gate - I have to reverse and the irate official tells me I can't go through, because the gate has now been locked. (She unlocks it for the other cars, why not me?) Oh what embarrasment! I have to push my way in another queue! I can just imagine everyone swearing at the dumb woman who goes in the E-tag only lane without an E-tag! Another few minutes wasted!
Once trapped on the highway, the traffic moves at snail's pace: another accident. I try to phone Tammy to get going with some work as I certainly am not going to make it in time. (Fortunately today we do not have to be at the gym at exactly 8:00!) Tammy does not answer. I try a few times more: no luck. I can just imagine her sitting in front of the T.V., oblivious to her ringing phone, which is probably in the kitchen. I fume.
Once at their house I am not in a good mood and hate myself for being so grumpy with Tammy. She doesn't know where her gym record book is, she hasn't done the weather yet, she hasn't done her homework and I don't feel too good about this day!
But God gives me the grace to calm down. In the car I ask her some questions about Global warming that we discussed yesterday. She answers beautifully. I ask her what she would like to talk about today and she says "Parties". "What party?"... "No, political parties." (She struggles a bit to say political, but says it clearly enough.) Bless my soul! We have discussed them a bit before as we have an election coming up in April. We have a glorious trip to the gym, talking about Jacob Zuma and the possibility that the prosecuting authority will stop the prosecution. She remembers that he is accused of CORRUPTION! And that he is the leader of the A.N.C and will be the next president! What a clever girl you are Tammy! What a joy to teach.
At the gym I measure her waist for the first time in a long time: she has lost quite a few centimetres around her waist: she still has a long way to go, but the aerobics are paying dividents. When we do spinning she generally seems fitter than a month ago.
We pick up a free local newspaper on our way back to their house. She chooses an article to read - Kind hands save a dog. New vocabulary out of this piece are words such as dedicated staff, comfortable, treatment, resident.
During tea-time she reads a piece out of her Zac Efron Annual to her grandmother: she does us proud as she reads fairly fluently and with understanding. Between some more reading and multiplication, she practices guitar. Yesterday she was lethargic during her lesson and plucked the strings very halfheartedly. Today however, she manages reasonably well to alternate plucking with her index finger and her middle finger. And she counts of own accord 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4 A great improvement.
A bit of a dissapointment was when she no longer wants to practice a dramatisation of the cruxifiction. She has originally chosen this piece to prepare for Easter, but for some unknown reason she now backs off. I hate leaving a project hanging in the air, but also realize that it will be futile to persevere with something she has lost interest in. She is keen enough to just read the scripture and I am grateful for that. God will give us another theme for her to dramatize and to perform. (Dramatisation really helps with her speech, but I feel pushing her will be destructive.)
Thank you God for days like this! Even if it started off on the wrong foot! And please forgive my foul temper! Please grant me more patience God!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
However, I picked up that her tables were a bit rusty. This surprised me, because she really knew them exceptionally well: not only in sequence, but also when asked at random. Anyway to make "math" a bit easier we are back onto multiplication, but this time "longer" multiplication e.g.
We converted miles to kilometers. (1 Mile = 1.6 km). She liked this. This was necessary to understand High School Musical 3 better and also to help her prepare for the U.S. trip and in any case it is problem solving and practice in multiplication and decimals.
She is busy writing a letter to Zac Efron. Formulating questions is still very difficult for her, but we are working on it. Spelling and reading ability are improving by the day, but she still needs a lot of guidance with comprehension. (There has been a vast improvement, but she still needs considerable practice before she will really be able to read a book on her own just for fun.).
Other new activities include water aerobics and swimming lessons and guitar lessons. In all of these she shows promise. (I will blog about these activities later.) Right now we are waiting for her guitar instructor. She has just had her 3rd swimming lesson. After lunch break she came up to finish her Zac Efron letter, but since I started blogging during break (and thus occupy the computer), I asked her to start on the multiplication homework work sheet so long. Guess what she said? "I would like to do division by 3...!"
She has done 3 multiplication problems while I've been typing this paragraph, but she forgot to add the tens, so I'd better stop babbling and help her.
Homeschooling is great! Have a great week.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The past week we spent quite a bit of time on converting U.S.D to South African Rand. The average currency last week was $1= R10. 50. How much is $6? Multiply with 10 and add 1/2 of the dollar value. Then check the answer on the calculator! What bliss! The exercise meant revising
- what to do when you multiply with 10 (add a zero or move the decimal point)
- odd and even numbers. 1/2 of an odd number means there must be a half (a .5), but even numbers divide cleanly - no half.
- adding e.g. 70 + 3. (For a while she was a bit confused and would say 100 i.e. she mixed the ones and tens, but she soon caught up again.)
Reading exercises were found in the Disney World website. She searched for the website and then clicked on "animal world". We copied the text onto word and now she did comprehension on sections she chose e.g. discovery. (As I write this, I haven't got the info in front of me - it's on their computer, but I hope you get the drift.)
Other work was discussing (and watching) cricket and checking live scores. How much must S.A. score to beat Australia? (Subtraction) How does the coach indicate it was a four / a six?
For rugby (the Super 14 tournament is well underway and the Blue Bulls of Pretoria are doing very well so far), we checked where the different teams come from and how many points are awarded for a try, the conversion kick, and a penalty.
School is fun!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The words are chosen from text she wants to or needs to read: i.e. they are most of the new words in a particular piece and include words I know she has struggled with before.
What I find very satisfying is that Tammy is now better able to split up a word in syllables and read it syllable by syllable instead of just guessing the word. When we come to a difficult word, I write down the "bits"and we practice saying it, bit by bit. Not only does it help much with pronunciation, but I find that in the end she can actually spell words like inevitably, mischievous, initial, relationship. (Bearing in mind that she is supposed to be mentally handicapped, this is quite an achievement.)
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tammy's first attempt at sewing a valentine - as you can see there was a lot of undoing!
Pinning "slippery" pieces of material together and getting the edges even! Not so easy, but Tammy has shown great improvement here, since last year. (Her very first sewing attempt was for Valentine's day last year - she was terrified of the machine!)
Taking out her valentine.
Her second attempt - the 2nd curve did not come out to neatly, but the first one's not bad he? (There was black thread in the bobbin and we did not bother to replace it with red - which turned out to be a good thing as it was easier to see the thread when she had to unpick!)
Friday, February 6, 2009
I have written down the dialogue between Troy and Gabriella (main characters in the movie) where they talk to each other after they have just met, and again after they have met again at the school. In between the two dialogues there is a short linking monologue by a nervous Gabriella expressing her fears and hopes for the new school.
The idea is that Tammy and her brother will perform this on her birthday party on the 21st. Tammy loves practising this little 3 min skit and she laughs at the jokes. Memorisation has really helped to improve fluency of speech and pronunciation. (She in inclined to say sh for s and s for sh e.g sour for shower and sho for so). We break up difficult words or phrases and keep on repeating them until she pronounces them correctly and says them fairly fluently.
The speech of last year is paying dividents: because we "drilled" the contents so that she could say it, she still remembers the facts and now we can continue with the same themes e.g. she said last year "We hope the new president (Obama) will sort out their (U.S.) money problems. " This week we reviewed our own government. We talked about how we have a parliament whereas the U.S. has a congress and how our ruling party (the A.N.C.) has more than 2/3 majority allowing them to pass just about any bill they want to, whereas Obama has to get the support from the opposition as well. She said she hoped he sorted out their money problems now and I could tell her that it is just what he trying to do this week. (We just fetched her friend from school and Tammy told her that it was the opening of parliament today - her "normal" Grade 4 friend did not know what parliament was...! Tammyexplained that that was the place where "the president stood in front and talked" and in reply to my "But why do they talk so much there?", she answered "They make laws." Very satisfactory. )
Tammy's dad went to Angola this week. We talked about trips, flights etc. I then let her calculate how long the flight would be (subtraction). (She struggles a bit with subtraction, but true to form, is working hard and showing progress. ) Then we planned an imaginary trip - she would like to go to Albuquerque (where High School Musical took place). With my help, she checked rates of flights, hotels and car hire on the internet. This led to subtraction: how much more would it cost to go in July than now? and mulitplication where the rates were given in $ instead of ZAR. We calculated that it would cost about R44 000 to fly there, stay in a hotel for 2 weeks and hire a car, but we have not calculated how much feeding ourselves or seeing sights would cost! This was a fun exercise and we'll definitely do something similar at least once a week... but then next week is Valentine's day and they are going away for the weekend, so we have only 4 days to make our valentines. Adele has suggested lavendar bags... hope it's not too late to get started!
Have a great week!
Friday, January 30, 2009
In my printed version I try to take out most new words - we now read just for the fun of reading and for the story. I have for instance substituted "learner" for "student", as she is more familiar with the South African term for school going children. However, of course there are also new words necessary to the understanding of the story like "audition" and "drama".
I also try to stick to the original dialogue so that it is exactly like the DVD, but this is not always so easy. In this video clip that I took yesterday she reads the dialogue of the basketball players discussing Sharpay. Until now she has not understood the reference to Sharpay as the Ice princess. In this exerpt there are still too many new words like "muttered". Today's had even more like "academical" and "accompanying", but I can't wait for Monday: there are no new words in Monday's piece. We are just going to consolidate for a while.
The sheet with loose words next to the page she is reading, is the sheet we used for matching, choosing and naming the sight words of this page. This method has worked well for her (and many other mentally challenged children I have taught before). I got the method from my sister in law whose Down Syndrome daughter learned to read very well this way. I will try to make a video clip of how we do it, but not next week...! No new words for a week!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Today we watched the eclipse. We made round holes in a sheet of paper and saw the half moon sun shining through the holes. After the eclipse, the sun shining through the holes made full circles again. She wrote about the eclipse in her diary and her homework is to tell her parents what an eclipse is and what we have seen. We practised the sentences a bit in class and I hope she remembers them. She really tries hard.
We also watched cricket. South Africa thrashed Australia! Tammy seems to understand the game much better. We watched a website which gives the score the continuously for a while. We worked out how many balls were left and how many runs S.A. needed to score in order to win. (Multiplication with 6 and subtraction.) We did the last few "unknown" multiplication tables today. (Last part of 7 and 8 times tables). I am looking forward to teach her multiplication problems. Adding with ones and tens is improving steadily - she understands the concept much better now and got 46/50 for her last homework.
There are so many activities we would like to do and so little time. Please pray for us that we will get our priorities right!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
She also completed the weather charts and register of November 08 on Excel. She fills in the weather on the calendar every day and on the first day of the next month, she enters this handwritten data onto an excel data base. Excel automatically reflects this data in visual charts. Tammy thinks it is so "cool". It helps to see that summer is hotter and has more rain than winter.
Of course our charts are not complete, because they only reflect the weather of school days, but one gets a reasonable picture anyway. This year we will add the daily rainfall - there is a rain-meter in the garden. Our charts reflected very few rainy days, as she only drew rain on the calendar when it actually. However, it seldom rains in the morning, so her charts reveal only about 1/3 of the rain!
Well last year's charts are now filed along with the printed register and the calendar with the hand written weather on it. Our register reflects all the outings we had and of course also all the sick leave or vacation leave either Tammy or I had.
We have started to read Hannah Montana: "A Nightmare on Hannah road" and it is a hit, but she does not read it as fluently as I have hoped she will. BUT she read 5 PAGES IT WITHOUT PRACTISING SIGHT WORDS BEFOREHAND! I must just be careful not to push this "test" of reading too far. It must remain easy and fun, so I will probably revert back to the match, choose, sight read method. It is a bit tedious for me, but she never seemed to mind and the important thing is, it worked. She asked for Hannah Montana work sheets where she can fill in words again. We will concentrate a little more on drilling of spelling as well - that is something the end of year tests indicated could be helpful.
For history we discussed general world news very briefly: the cholera in Zimbabwe, the trial of Jacob Zuma and the new political party COPE and more at length the fighting in Gaza. I copied news articles and rewrote them in simpler"Tammy" language for work sheets. Yet, even simplified there is a lot of new vocabulary! We have covered new concepts like infrastructure (a very topical one for anyone in Southern Africa!), the United Nations, firing of rockets, Hamas, controlling (of borders) destroy, smuggle, terrorists, import, export. The Gaza theme also compelled us to revise concepts we dealt with last year like refugees, borders, government, political parties, Egypt and Israel, elections, unemployment. Of course we used the globe to locate Israel again and maps to locate the Gaza strip and the West Bank. (While explaining I wrote on her board "people lose jobs" and she corrected me "People loose their jobs"! It was a sentence in her prize giving speech last November!)
We live in an interesting world and Tammy is part of it and should know what is happening is this world! She said she would ask at Sunday School that they pray for Gaza: "The fighting must stop." The pictures and news of Gaza fill us with such sadness! It is all so unnecessary, if only....
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Our overall goal remains getting her ready to stand on her own two feet (life skills) and to be able to do a job (probably as a clerk in an office doing something on computer) (academics) and to be a HAPPY, self-confident "independent" young lady one day! ( "One day" meaning by the time she is 18. She will be fourteen in February).
These are some of the objectives for the first term:
- To ask what God's will is everyday, and to be obedient! (God will tell us what scripture to read and discuss - He has always done it in the past.)
- To fill in a personal profile, so as to get her to know herself a little better. (I must compile the questionaire still today. It will contain questions like "What is your favourite colour? Who is your favourite T.V. star?")
- To improve language: speech, comprehension (verbal and written) and reading. (We made great progress last year, but this remains our toughest challenge.) Specific objectives this term: to talk about the themes we deal with and to tell the story of the books we read. Chosen books: "Nightmare on Hannah Street" (A Disney Hannah Montana book) and "My Secret Unicorn - A touch of Magic" by Linda Chapman. To practise talking about themes and other school work, we'll compile and "practice" a speech again as we did the end of last year (see previous post.)
- To practise conversations e.g. on telephone and to give verbal directions how to get to house from the main gates of the estate.
- Spelling: at least 20 new words per week. We did not really practice spelling last year, but in the tests I could see that practising it could help.
- To learn new computer skills e.g. publisher or on-line scrapbooking. (I don't know it myself yet, so will have to learn it with her. She is creative and being able to use the computer for expressing yourself creatively could be fun and less frustrating than working with hands that cannot really cut and paste neatly or draw lines or fold papers accurately. It can also be helpful to get a job in the long run .)
- To use the alphabet daily e.g. to look up words in the dictionary or specific telephone numbers.
- First term themes will include parliament, politics (we have an interesting election coming up and then there is the inauguration of the U.S. president), economy (the oil price, inflation etc., but with main focus on practical economy like shopping, making a budget, saving etc.) and we'll find a nature theme. Gardening perhaps? ( This will be a tough one for me as I don't like fiddling in the soil, but most women do, so I should encourage gardening. It could be very satisfying for her.)
- To make lapbooks of her themes, throughout the year. This term: parliament and the judicial system. (It sounds so grand, but it isn't really. The opening of parliament is soon: we watched in on T.V. last year and discussed it, but she will understand it much better this year. Jacob Zuma is constantly in the news and with new court cases definitely in the pipeline, courts, laws etc. are very topical.)
- To continue with her diary, but to bring more photography in it!
- To complete the weather chart more thoroughly - also over weekends - so as to get a better picture of the weather. She will also record the rain fall in their yard. (She still struggles a bit with highest and lowest temperature - but we'll get there, if we faithfully record it. I also want her to record the classroom temperature this year instead of just writing down the temperatures of the weather forecast The aim is improved concept of more, less, most, highest. lowest etc and also practice in the use of Excel as she fill in the data for the charts!
- Other math's: To know and understand all the tables. To improve adding with ones and tens. To practise estimation as basis for long division later. Measuring using decimals (length, mass, volume).
- To sew simple things like bags or pillow slips: things that she can sew without my constant help. (Any ideas for Valentine's day?)
- To use whatever the Lord provides in terms of learning content. Last year I found that He kept on supplying us with a practical, usable curriculum as life happened.
Dear Lord Jesus
Please bless us this year, as You have blessed us so much last year. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, so that we will hear your voice and be obedient as You tell us which way to go. Please take our hands - without your guidance and help, our efforts will be meaningless. Help me to choose the right content and methods for Tammy and help Tammy to remain positive, focussed and willing to work hard. With Your help, miracles can happen again.
Let it be so, Lord Jesus!