Thursday, October 4, 2018

Book Man

Last night just before lights out JJ(8) said to me, "I don't know what to read next."
Of course, that's just the right sort of thing to say to a mama like me.
I started to pull books off the shelf: The Moffats, Rascal, The Prince and the Pauper...

"I've been thinking I might like to read Sherlock Holmes," he said timidly.
"Of course you can. You may read any of the books on these shelves, you know," I replied.
He started to get excited.

This morning he kept finding more books he thought he might like: The Indian in the Cupboard, Hans Brinker, Peter Pan. 

He added in some books he wanted to re-read: Robinson Crusoe, The Phantom Tollbooth, Seven-Day Magic.

He sorted the books, now numbering about twenty, into two piles: the thick books and the thinner books.

I started envisioning these books scattered all over the house. This worried me a little, but I didn't want to squash that enthusiasm. "You could pick four or five for now, then pick more when you finish them?" 

This suggestion did not meet with his approval.

He did take out a couple of books that he thought he might not want to read right now after all: Mr. Popper's PenguinsHey World, Here I Am!

Then he asked me for a basket like the one I have for my current reads. Of course, I found him one. He now has a leather stool with storage space for all those books.

He pulled the seat in front of the couch and demonstrated how he can sit on the couch, reach over and open the stool, pull out a book, close it, and use it for a foot rest as he relaxes and reads.

I heard him talking confidentially to his younger brother this evening as he went up to bed:
"Hey MM, I'm a book man."

Monday, October 1, 2018

Works for Us: Daily Grams

One of the things that's working really well for us this year (so far!) is grammar. This summer I stumbled upon a old used copy of Wanda Phillips' Daily Guided Teaching and Review for 2nd and 3rd Grades. That title is a mouthful, but the newer version has been renamed Daily Grams, and it's easy to find wherever you buy curriculum.

The book has 180 days of lessons. Each lesson has four or five parts covering capitalization, punctuation, general review (alphabetization, parts of speech, prefixes/suffixes, etc.), and sentence combining. You can see a sample page here. Every time there is a new concept, it is introduced with a single sentence. For example, "Capitalize a person's name" or "The subject tells who or what the sentence is about." Then that concept is reviewed regularly in the following days.

I use Daily Grams as part of our "Morning Time," the lessons we do together as a family. I write the sentences on a white board, and we spend less than five minutes together doing the lesson. 

One nice thing about doing it on the white board is that I can often substitute words and sentences that connect with my children's life or school books. For example, instead of having my children capitalize "they live in austin, texas" I will have them work on "they live in charlottetown, prince edward island." Or instead of having them find the subject of "A lizard crawled away", I will have them find the subject of "The camel's hump is an ugly lump." (This is the first line of the poem we're currently learning.) Of course, if I don't have the mental energy to substitute like this, we just continue with whatever is in the book.

What I really love most about these lessons is that they fit in with my "do the little things, daily" philosophy. I could make grammar a big weekly or twice weekly lesson, but it wouldn't be nearly as fun and easy. And it is fun. The children are loving it, and they are having no problem understanding or remembering any of it. Even my Year 1 child is still doing fine with it so far (I do not require him to participate, but he's always there for the lesson.). My Year 5 child is also getting some additional grammar in his Latin program (Visual Latin).

I highly recommend Daily Grams if you want to do short grammar lessons daily together as a family. 
(And no, those are not affiliate links...I am just freely sharing something that works for us!)