The new timetable is so far proving useful and, this week particularly, we have got back into a much better routine. I have been pleased to see the boys (all 3 of them) working independently at their Kumon in the morning. Something seems to have clicked for our youngest son with his reading, and he is enjoying figuring out what words say. He is also enjoying writing (Christmas thank you letters today) and he is trying to put sounds together to write words for himself. He will be six at the end of this month, so I am aware that I need to do more with him, and include him in more formal learning activities. I have started some of the Ambleside Year 1 readings with him this week - "The Just So Stories" and "Our Island Story" (history of Britain) which he has enjoyed. There are a number of trips coming up in the next few months which I have prioritised sending him on with his dad and Grandpa.
Our eldest (now 10) is also making good progress with his Kumon. He has moved on to long multiplication, and has literally wrestled with some of the recent pages. He will groan and complain and declare it can't be done - especially when, to his frustration, about half his answers prove to be incorrect. "You can do it," I say, "because the other half are correct" and he will work through his corrections demonstrating increasing perseverance. My husband offered to sit beside him to offer some support at one point when he was very frustrated. "No!" he declared, "I will do it myself!" And he did. When the sheet he has struggled with is finally 100% correct, he is so pleased with himself. It is great to see. His ability to figure out these problems in his head already exceeds my mathematical competence.
Our middle son struggles more with maths, so we have been working a lot on his number bonds and on addition without finger counting, which my husband says is important. I realise I still finger count, and after considerable repetition, my middle son can add up quicker than I can. He is now beginning to apply the simpler addition to more complex sums. He is increasing in competence and confidence.
Yesterday, we picked up our Marco Polo project, which we haven't done for some time. the reading was about the Mongols and, at the end, I told the boys to pick any aspect of what we had read and to present it in their scrapbooks as they chose. They could use the book, or do further research. I remember six months ago a similar exercise meant pulling out the facts together, me listing them on our board for the boys to copy down, and this was rather laborious. They lacked the skills and confidence in their writing to work more independently. But yesterday, they took the task on straight away and just got on with it, writing far more easily, speedily and confidently, my middle boy researching "Facts about Yaks" (topic of his own choosing) on the Internet with some interesting findings!
We followed up on this work on Mongolia today by attempting to make yoghurt. We shall see how that turns out!