Wednesdays this term were devoted to the Language Arts. In fact they were my favourite days as I felt the time available very helpful to dig deep and improve skills in this area. Although this was also where the drawback to a subject a day became apparent, for some reason events kept falling on Wednesdays so this meant that all of Wednesday was lost and LA didn't happen that week:(
Our three areas of focus were Dictation, Spelling and Creative Story Writing and for Chiara she continued with her 'English for Australian Schools.'
Dictation involved Great Editing Adventures which I wrote on the white board. Interesting results. Xavier actually did better than Dominic as he tried really hard and put alot of work into it. That is after he and Dominic stopped fooling around each time, for some reason they felt obliged to waste lots of time playing the fool:( Dominic's spelling was great where he lost out was his punctuation. He just doesn't seem to care and I can't motivate him to care. Although his speech punctuation has improved; this was because David made him correct his Round Robin story himself which had lots of speech marks involved. Great Editing was too difficult for Malachi so I took some passages from the Year 2 LLATL and 'edited' them.
For Spelling I borrowed a copy of the Australian Fitzroy Spellers and am very happy with them, I intend on staying with this program next year. Finally my children are making BIG progress in spelling, Xavier's ability was marked. Malachi and Mariah are becoming very good spellers. It is deceptive , the words seem too easy but then they become harder by the end of the list. I believe the follow up exercises help enormously too. Chiara continued with Wordly Wise for her spelling. All five were involved with our First Homeschool Spelling Bee which was a success and surprisingly all five did very well at the Spelling Bee.
Much effort was put into their creative writing. Chiara and Dominic are writing novelettes. Both have a very medieval, LOTR flavour to their stories. Xavier's long story also has a similar flavour. At this stage they still have to go back and edit but much to my satisfaction they are continuing their stories on in the holidays of their own volition:) Malachi and Mariah spent large chunks of days writing on their blogs, they were both very keen and write some interesting stories, narrations and copywork. This is where the time paid off, time was needed for this creativity.
Chiara continues to be very happy with English for Australian Schools, to be honest I need to mark much of it but I know from discussions she has a good grasp of grammar. This book combines grammar and writing exercises and is Australian! Just what I'd been looking for and from my favourite 'textbook author' Ronald Ridout.
Malachi is finally reading!! He is taking books to bed and reading of a night. I 'tested' him at the end of the term and he surprised me by being able to read the Year 4 Queensland Reader, he was pretty proud of himself too. Currently he is attempting LOTR, he is up to page 5. Mariah's reading is excellent, she is by far my child to have picked up reading easily and effortlessly, reminds me greatly of Chiara in this area.
I have decisions to make for next year, will we continue this approach or will we have a modified version or will we go back to the old way? At present I'm thinking along the lines of focusing on the basics, so in essence having more of these days, and having assigned readings. Decisions. decisions.