We have a complex schedule with the upper elementary group this year. The morning are for reading and English work and social studies–three mornings with Miss Sherry and two mornings with Miss Debbie and Miss Yasliz. There is a significant amount of writing going on and some work with geography that goes with the book they are reading right now about the Appalachian Mountains. We are “stepping it up” with these smartypants kids and everyone will be graded on spelling and grammar, even in everyday work. They understand how to use a dictionary and have full access to that while working, so spelling needs to be checked before handing anything in Miss Sherry is working on how to write essays and this will include the topic sentences, ending sentences, etc. We already see children meeting the challenge with work that is formatted properly–now if we can begin using more complex vocabulary in our writing to make it more interesting, then we’ll be ready for some challenging contests.
In the afternoons, we have both math and science with Miss Debbie and sometimes Miss Yasliz, as well. Science will be more hands on than ever before with this group and we began with cricket observations over the past ten days–looking up facts on crickets, drawing crickets, looking at them through the microscope and finally letting them go out in the yard. Those crickets were pretty interesting to watch and smaller than the last batch. We’ll get new insects to watch later in the school year. In math, everyone is doing a bit of catching up here at the beginning, but we’ve handed out math books and have regular daily work to do. MANY OF THE KIDS ARE STILL MEMORIZING THEIR MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION FACTS. This means there will be significant homework for those students, even on the weekends until these facts are learned. It’s hard to move forward until this is done. There are ways to learn these–flashcards, games of dice, problems of the day, etc. but at some point everyone must simply know those facts. Practice this at home daily.
We hope to begin tennis soon and have been doing a significant amount of art, associated with science. The kids chose poems yesterday to start memorizing for Poetry and Popcorn at the end of September, so ask to see their poem and have them read it to someone in the house daily until the words get more familiar. We’ll update this overview about every three weeks to keep everyone up to date.