Sunday Salon: Homeschool, Harry Potter and Happenings.
Life has returned to normal (as we know it) and we finally started 5th grade lessons this week. James has fully recovered and is back to being talkative, inquisitive and feisty. We've been reading "Carry On Mr. Bowditch" for English and the story is giving both James and I much to think about. In the story, Nathaniel enjoys learning and is curious about everything. When he wants to know something, such as astronomy or math, he picks up a book, studies it and writes down everything he learns in a notebook. So lately, when James starts asking me his various questions as he does, I refer back to the book (nudge nudge wink wink) that he needs to start searching for the answers himself and not use me exclusively as his encyclopedia. I've been pushing him to be more involved in his studies and be a bit more independent. In that vein, I realized some of the curriculum I had chosen was too teacher intensive, which allowed him to sit back and let me do most of the reading and explaining.
He loves looking information up on the internet. Especially when it is a subject that interests him, such as Harry Potter, Bionicles, Toy Story 3, etc. Previously he had told me he wasn't interested in doing online or computer studies. Guess he thought it would take the fun out of it. So, I tried an experiment. I loaded up Math Blaster on my laptop and started the program. He came running when he heard it and said, let me try it. He sat down and an hour later, he was still going. Did the same thing with Typing Instructor Deluxe. So I took the plunge and after hours of researching different programs, decided to go with Alpha Omega's Switched on Schoolhouse History and Geography. Luckily it picks up where we are with history right now, is computer based, challenging, multimedia based so lots of different ways to learn information and most importantly, student led. We'll also be trying out their workbooks - Lifepac Health Quest and a couple units of science.
Assigned reading has really been a hassle up til now. If he isn't interested in the story or doesn't hold his attention, then he doesn't retain any of it. Until he discovered Harry Potter. I have all the books and all the movies and he's been wanting to watch the first movie for a while now. But I didn't think he was quite ready for it yet. I told him in order to see the first movie, he had to read the first book. That way he would know what is going to happen in the movie and be able to understand it better. We ended up reading the book together, me reading it aloud and answering all his questions as we went along. Then we watched the movie. He loved it and wanted to watch the rest of the series. We've since watched the next 3 before reading the books and as I expected, had to explain alot of things. His assigned reading at the moment is reading 2 chapters a day of The Prisoner of Azkaban. After each chapter, he narrates to me the who, what, where, when and why so I know he is getting the story. The Harry Potter series has turned into a great teaching tool as we discuss good and evil, friendship, bullies, magic, love and he who must not be named - Voldemort.
So, I think we've got enough variety now that will challenge James, keep him from getting bored and save my voice. Speaking of challenges, I just finished reading "Emotional Intensity In Gifted Students by Christine Fonseca and will be posting my review on October 15th. Be sure to check out her post below and enter to win the book. I love the book because it is all about coaching your gifted child in how to deal with his emotions versus trying to fix things for him. How to deal with explosions - before, during and after. And also how to deal with our push button issues. I tried using some of her strategies and have had some interesting results. Well worth reading!