But that's not to say the little boys did nothing.
First up were horse lessons on Monday.
There is a wonderful ranch about 25 minutes from us (using the shortcut my good friend knew about) that #1 took lessons at last year. This ranch, Wild Ones Youth Ranch, uses their horses and their time as a ministry and so charges next to nothing for lessons. Next to nothing like #1 goes once a week (again this year) for $5/week for an hour group lesson. The little boys this year took part in the Dollar Days, $1 each for an hour of riding/chores.
The "chore" was brushing saddle blankets before the riding...
And brushing a horse after the riding. Tough stuff!
#1 had to take a minute with the horse since she was there too...
#3 and I also tried to stay up with his normal kindergarten work. Math, handwriting, history, science, etc. But I took this week to work on a couple of areas I was noticing a problem.
First up was place value. I downloaded Jolanthe's wonderful "Days in School" chart and used it last year, #2 was in charge of adding a day back then. #3's in kindergarten this year and so it is time for this chart to be his job, and for him to learn about place value. My mom laminated the chart for me this year and even used fancy magnet lamination. But #3 wasn't getting it. When we got to 9 days he said, "Mom, there's no 10." I told him (in an excited, I've got a secret for you kind of way) that I was going to show him how we "make" 10 the next day. All the next day (and the next and the next) brought was his frustration because he didn't "get" the concept.
So we hit the Dollar Store for some straws and some rubber bands and instead of reading lesson that day we sat down at the table and talked about the poor lonely straws in the ones cup who were just waiting until there were 10 of them so they could have a party. And look at these lucky 10 who got rubber banded together and put in the 10's cup for a party! Now there's 1 group in the 10's and 3 lonely guys in the 1's cup - 13 straws! I'm not sure if it stuck but I know he's not frustrated anymore and that's enough for me as we spend the rest of the year practicing and waiting ourselves for all those groups having little parties in the 10's cup to get together for the big party in the 100's cup - we get to have a party that day too!
The next area that was causing some issue was reading. I'm definately of the mindset that when they are ready, they're ready and until then there's only frustration and a dislike for reading if a child is pushed. I'm not wanting to push #3 but at the same time I think some consistant and gentle work on reading is appropriate. We're working through "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" which I used part of when #2 was learning to read. We went through the letter sounds part last year. So we have been working on part 2, short vowel sounds, 3 letter words. When we got to the end of that section #3 still wasn't even trying to sound out words on his own. He would wait for me to sound them out then he would put the sounds together to say the word. But I wasn't comfortable moving on.
The last day we used the book, I slipped the bookmark back at the beginning of the section before putting it away. The book suggests taking a month or two off but I'm not comfortable with that so I thought we'd just repeat the section. Then #3 saw the place the book mark was marking and got upset that that wasn't where we should be.
Hmmmm. Keep going even when I think he's not ready or make him upset by repeating?
Instead of either of those I pulled out our new alphabet letters and our Read! Build! Write! page and made cards out of the first lesson's words. We started simple. With the alphabet and the sounds they make. Then we went through the words. It was dramatically better. He sounded out many of the words by himself. Starting them and even working it out when he'd miss a sound. (I'm sure the chocolate chip after ever correct word helped.) We repeated the same words (without the writing) the next day and it was even better! So we'll be using this method (chocolate chips and all) to repeat the section and see if we don't see some encouraging progress.
Oh, I made our word cards both upper and lower case. The alphabet letters are uppercase and it was causing a lot of stress for him to first figure out which letters he was looking for. I'm hoping by doing the cards with both he'll start working that out himself.
We'll be back to rowing next week and I'm really looking forward to it - Lentil is up next!