Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekly Report

We are still enjoying the Middle Ages in our history reading. Here are a few of our favorite resources from the past week or so. The Minstrel in the Tower is only halfway done. We're reading this one together!

As far as reading on his own, Cullen finished up the Magic Treehouse book, Knight Before Dawn, as well as a couple of Star Wars titles - all pretty light reading, I know. I don't want to only and always have him read this type of book, but a few choices that are easier to read, yet still interesting, seem to help Cullen's reading speed and fluency. I try to challenge him most of the time, but also to toss some easy and fun things into the mix.

The basic subjects are all moving along pretty well. I am guilty of slacking in the area of writing instruction, mostly because he has a history of resisting in this. He will compose all day long if I am the one dictating, but he does not want to write. Seriously, there have been tears before over my request for a little drawing and two or three sentences in response to something we've read or learned. This past week, though, Cullen has been writing and drawing like crazy on his own. I'm not sure what triggered this, but I am so glad to see his enthusiasm! I've tried to just let him do whatever he's motivated to do in order to keep it fun. My challenge next week will be to gently pull some of that into an intentional exercise or practice.

Math has focused on mental calculations and shortcuts in addition and subtraction. Cullen considers this more fun than work, so no problems here this week. In science, we've read about and watched videos on reptiles and birds. The session of clay classes came to an end, but he begins a multi-media art class next week.

At the awards day for this session of chess classes, Cullen's coach told me that he has definitely been improving and learning as far as chess skills go, but that the most remarkable progress has been in his sportsmanship. This was terrific news! His extreme competitiveness and intensity makes being a good sport something that Cullen has had to intentionally cultivate. It's the primary reason I signed him up for these classes to begin with.

We've had Cullen go with no video games this week (for reasons I will not detail to protect his feelings) and very limited TV time. He has been surprised at the number of things he has enjoyed instead! We've agreed that it is a very good idea to limit screen time more than we've done in the past. Cullen's response was surprisingly positive - Good! I can make more drawings!

He also dug out the playmobil castle, knights and pirates. You can tell by listening that he knows a great deal more about the era than he used to, especially when he moans about not having a proper seige tower. Maybe we can make one with cardboard this week.

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