Friday, March 6, 2009


Ben loves math. That's all there is to say. He has finished his 1st grade math curriculum--finished it quite some time ago, in fact. When I bought the fat Brainquest 2nd Grade workbook back at Thanksgiving, thinking it would cover any gaps for the rest of the year while actually providing a challenge, I thought it would be especially nice for Ben to go up a notch in math--everything covered for first graders is easily completed by Emma, except for the actual forming of numbers, which she still has some problems with. She can do everything orally, though. Well, the 2nd grade math in that workbook wasn't much of a challenge for him, either.

Here we are in the first week of March, and Ben has completed that 2nd Grade workbook. All of it. We even did the cursive pages, at his insistence--I didn't begin the girls on cursive until 3rd grade, and I thought they had better fine motor control than Ben does. However, he wanted to do the pages, and he worked doggedly at them and now can write pretty good cursive for a 6-year-old. It isn't always immediately recognizable, but you'd be surprised at how good it is. His main problem is forgetting the size letters should be--his "tall" letters like h sometimes look like n's, for example. Now he wants to progress into 3rd grade. I had to tell him that it's good to review things you already think you know, and that even though he is doing beautifully, there are some things in 3rd grade that he just won't be able to do yet. For instance, that it requires much more writing. He enjoys writing, but being six, it takes him much longer to actually get a sentence down on paper than it would an older child. He is a great speller for his age, but not for a 3rd grader. (Or at least, not for MY idea of a 3rd grader!)

So now we are getting to the creative portion of the school year. This is not as much of a problem for the girls because their work generally lasts through at least May. This is because for a given subject, say Language Arts, I get many different components--there may be workbooks on spelling, grammar, reading comprehension, then there are novels for reading and different reports or journals to write. This spreads the work out across the year. However, for the younger grades I tend to rely more on multi-subject workbooks because first of all, at this age Ben just doesn't need to sit all day for school work, and second of all, this way we get an overview and can then focus on things he really enjoys.

He is still making pages for his history notebook, doing the Draw Write Now books, and playing his music CD-Rom. For science, we have been doing some books my mom gave him at Christmas time, which are a bit above his level I think but he seems to like the activities (lots of crossword puzzles, scrambled word puzzles, secret codes and things of that sort) and if I help him he does fine. For math I have started writing problems for him to solve. He loves doing addition and subtraction with as many digits as you want to throw at him--he loves carrying and borrowing. He's like a little accountant, scrabbling away at math problems, and I often get up in the morning and find that he has written out a page on his own and solved them all. And he rarely makes a mistake. We have been practicing spelling using a Leap Frog game meant for Grades 1-2, which is kind of funny because he seems to know almost every word in this game--but no matter how many times I remind him he insists on spelling "were" W-H-E-R and mistakes of that nature. And then of course we play chess and checkers and Battleship and cards, and he has been loving the finger knitting and he reads, draws and writes his own stories.

Looks like his school year will be wrapped up in May!

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