Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, October 15, 2010


We lost our internet for over a week which threw us back on our home resources --  basically a pile of books to read and discuss, plus some Geometry and Latin.   My high schooler enjoyed this and as I'm trying to decide how things should go in the second quarter, it seems to me that it might be good to cut back to 3 "Computer School" days and then the other 2 as "Reading School Days" (his terminology).

It would cut down on my online planning too, which was taking up a lot of processing units in my brain.

So that is where things are as we launch into the second half of the first semester. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Figurative Language and More

I was writing a lesson on figurative language for my 9th grader.  Here are some overflow resources I didn't use but wanted to get off my toolbar.

Simile, Metaphor, Personification -- more suited to middle school -- a slideshow presentation, a bit silly.
Quizlet on Literature Symbols.

We are slowly plodding through our survey of paragraph types.   I really didn't want to have to make Kieron write stupid phony paragraphs demonstrating the types so I am relying mostly on analyzing pre-existing paragraphs.    But I thought of a good idea for using paragraph types in a fictional focus (which is our primary focus this year, writing fiction).

What we do is use the paragraph type for a plot starter.  For example, for cause and effect -- write a story where something simple has significant consequences.  For a process type -- write a story that is dependent upon a task (it could be like a task in a computer RPG).    For definition..... hmm... maybe I will have him make up some strange artifact or other and so the story will be centered around that.   He LOVES this -- some of my other kids would really have resented this much direction but it gives him a boost.    I give him these ideas as suggestions, not as tasks -- he is welcome to grab them and run in any direction he wants.  He has come up with some nice pieces of writing that he is proud of, and he is learning.

While I'm still talking about English Studies, here is one more thing.   I decided I am going to try to have a Focus for every year and then spend the previous year exposing him to the theme of the next year.

For example, this year is Narrative -- narrative is at the heart of writing.  So we'll approach everything through fictional narrative.  Meanwhile I'm trying to get him ready for Logical writing next year so he's learning some logic and also learning to analyze words, sentences, paragraphs and whole works.  But in a lowkey way, mostly based on exposure and some discussion and thought questions.

Logical Writing is where the writing helps you think things out -- Cause and Effect, Comparison/Contrast, Definition, Process, Classification, Example are all ways of thinking, and there are probably more.    I don't want to start having him write these until he has had lots of oral and reading exposure to them.    And we will approach it in the Progym way -- gathering wisdom through collecting maxims, comparing, etc. (Sort of like Classical Writing: Diogenes, with a commonplace book etc.)

If it is difficult to transition to this stage, then I will just have him retell various stories (narrative, fable, description, summary/condensation) then slowly work on fitting this into the larger argumentative format.

Then Junior Year the focus will be on research -- which means that in Sophomore Year, the "exposure" learning will be focused on how to gather and utilize information.  

In Senior Year there will be some big project but I haven't really figured that out yet.   Ideally it would be good if he could pull together his own course in some subject -- this is what the older kids did at this age, in different ways.   This requires you to be able to use all the previous learning and synthesize it, which is difficult but usually very motivating if the student finds his own area of interest.

Manipulatives Online

Most people have probably already seen this, but the NLVM Manipulative site is very cool for reinforcing math concepts.  It's for Grades 3-5 but I find it helpful for my younger and older students, too. 

A few quiz and review sites

This PurposeGames site is neat -- you can play simple pushbutton games like Timeline of Ancient Mesopotamia and Map of the Fertile Crescent.

Aidan is big into online jigsaw puzzles, and we found this puzzle site where you can create your own.  

While we are talking about it, here are some Art Jigsaw Puzzles

And Garden of Praise has some online puzzles for Bible stories, art, and biographies of famous people. 

Speaking of the Bible, here is a nice site:  Genesis to Jesus, How a Catholic Reads the Bible

Here are a few more quiz and flashcard-making sites:

Basically, I look for ways to repeat things in an easy, somewhat motivating, and non-pressure way.   I find my kids generally need a way to interact with content -- they aren't too much into crafts and that kind of thing; so we do arts and crafts separately from learning content because it doesn't really sink in that way.