So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

School Days Update

I suppose Rugrat and I are doing well with her schooling. And though she started at the beginning of September, she will complete it all.

The school gives those who start later an adjusted progress percentage goal in recognition of that. You have to reach it by the end of  the school year to advance to the next grade along with completing the correct number of hours. Oklahoma (and most other places too) expects all the children to average 6 hours per day which includes both seat work and instruction as well as other activities, like field trips, studying, and testing.

The time is about right for older students (about an hour per class per day) but kindergarten and even 1st grade, I would imagine, tend to have a hard time making up the hours. It is a general requirement, though, set by the school board so it's not something we can really change. The teachers suggest things like watching a science program or field trips or having them help with recipes (fractions, addition) and such. Even just going over spelling words in the car can count. Eventually it adds up.

Rugrat's progress percentages are all ahead of where they should be and many are 100 percent including Art, which she finished today. So she is now done with Art, Physical Education lessons, Social Studies, Science and History. She only has Math and English (which is broken down into Handwriting, Phonics, Language and Literature) left.

The progress bars have a feature that allows you to see when they will be completed using the current schedule as well. I foresee that we will only be having one Phonics lesson and one Literature lesson during the last week or so of school. Plus her daily 30 - 60 minutes of P.E. activity.

Her time is good too although getting that 6 hours is definitely harder for us than for Dude or than it was for Chick the last couple of years. And with so many of her courses getting completed now, I have a feeling it will be getting much harder.

She doesn't seem to have difficulty with the lessons anymore so much. Math is working through subtraction right now. The teacher told me that addition and subtraction are primarily introductory in kindergarten but she seems to have it down. There have been times when I can tell she has gotten bored with it because she understands it so well and the repetition gets old. Often at those times, I'll just stop with that lesson if I can tell she's good.

She would tell anyone that her favorite subject was Science although I'm not sure exactly what in particular she liked about it. While she didn't particularly enjoy History, she did like the geography part of it as well as some of the distinctly American symbols (like the Statue of Liberty and the flag). She liked doing the Art projects but the lessons themselves were a pain. It was more of an art appreciation course that I felt should have been geared towards older children. At times, she was supposed to remember artist's names or style. I thought that kindergarten art was supposed to be finger paints and crafting. Good thing it isn't a core class.

Language is more of a vocabulary course which has been a good thing. Her English is probably better for it although I thought of Language, at the beginning, as a pointless course. Her handwriting is fine too except that she likes to rush through it which makes for some sloppy work. "Slow down" is a common refrain during handwriting.

If you remember, I complained when we began that Phonics would be our hardest course. Let's just make a complete turn-around there. It is probably the easiest one now and the one she most looks forward to. The lessons are designed to take about 50 minutes. When we began, they usually took about 2 to 2 1/2 hours for us. Now they run between 35 and 45 minutes usually. And she generally calls the parts of the lessons "games." I really didn't think I'd eat my words on Phonics but I am happy to do so. She's reading better NOW than either of us had dared to hope for by the end of year.

My biggest issue now is Literature. To me, it was a break in the day. You sit and listen to a story. How hard is that? I can still remember sitting in a circle around my teacher's legs (she was always in a chair) as she read to us. It was like a chance to stop doing lessons and chill for a while.

Rugrat, however, is the worst about Literature. She sits quietly and fools you into thinking she's listening. But then you ask her a question about something that happened in the story and she stares at you blankly. We go over each story three days in a row, reading it each time, so if repetition was what she needed, it looks like things would go well on the third day. But they don't. I have tried everything I can think of -- stopping every paragraph to go over what just happened, having her repeat things as I'm reading, reading in animated ways, recordings. Nothing.

It's very frustrating because she can almost recite word for word some of the books in her room that we read at night before bed. I know that she can pay attention. I just can't figure out how to get her to do it. If I ever figure out that one, we'll be home free.

So there it is. The ups and downs. Lately, it's been a lot of ups and just a couple downs. If life were always like that, I would be a brat for complaining. So I guess I won't. Or I'll try really hard not to. :)

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