Do I want Bruce(6.5) to have fun over Christmas break? YES! Do I want him to have time to chill-out and relax? OF COURSE! But do I also want to keep him occupied so he doesn’t tear the house apart and drive me crazy YOU BET!
I’ve taken a possibly contentious issue between the two of us; screen time, and have attempted to make it a non-issue. Everything Bruce has to do to earn screen time is already up on this board, nicely taped to the wall. With any lucky, he will be able to manage it all himself. He can have as much screen time as he wants over the next two weeks, so long as he earns it. If he completes the whole chart, I’ll make a new one.
What is not on this chart is playing outside. But that is a given in my household, and not something that I felt the need to include.
This next idea I ripped off from Bruce’s elementary school! The great thing is that I can use it for both Bruce and Jenna(2.5). The idea is to “catch” my children exhibiting one of the five PRIDE traits: politeness, responsibility, integrity, diligence, or empathy. The positive reinforcement is that they get a “hoof print” for the chart. 10 hoof prints will win a night out alone with my husband or me. (Regrettably, not a night out for me and my husband. 🙂 ) I used brown paper grocery bags to cut out the hoof prints.
Here are the charts side by side on our family room wall. With a little advanced planning, I have hopefully set us up for success this winter break. But if things get too crazy, I can always blow up the bouncy house.
Do you want to know what I’ve been waking up to every morning of vacation? My six year old Bruce hovering and inch from my face saying “Wake up Mom; it’s time to do spelling.” The first morning of vacation I didn’t move fast enough for him, and he said, “You’re asking for it—Freeze Out!” and yanked the covers off of me. I couldn’t really object because that’s how I often resort to getting him up and ready for school each morning. 🙂
Two days into my Afterschooling Over Christmas Break project, he had read through eight books and I needed to add an extra poster board of options. He’s also done four Hands On Equations lessons, finished third grade in Dreambox Math, and as result, has earned a lot of time playing Lego Ninjago on the computer.
There has also been a lot of piano playing over the past few days, since Bruce suddenly decided he wanted to learn how. I’ll probably write more about this later because I have a lot to say about gifted children and intensity. Suffice to say for now, yesterday I was basically chained in the living room trying to keep Jenna occupied while Bruce (entirely of his own accord) spent about six hours at the piano learning 23 songs from his Primer Level Piano Book. I’ve never seen anything like it. When I would try to get him to take a break from learning he would become irate. So instead of waking up to my six year old asking me for a spelling lesson this morning, I woke up to piano playing instead.
Today was my husband’s first day of vacation, and as soon as we had breakfast I grabbed my canvas grocery bags, said “See ya later sucker!” and drove off in his new car! (Okay, maybe I didn’t really say that, but there was some evil laughter involved.) I finally got the chance to go to the teacher store by myself and look through all of the homeschool math curriculums I’ve been curious about.
Granted, twenty minutes of examination really can’t tell you everything you need to know about a program, but it seemed to me that the only similarity between Saxon and Math Expressions was the quantity of work they have children do. Philosophically, they are quite different even though both programs are published by Houghton Mifflin. Singapore Math Standard Edition seemed a lot more similar to Math Expressions, in terms of how they fall somewhere in the middle of the Back to Basics vs. Constructivist spectrum. (Please correct me if I’m wrong about this!) From what I could tell, both programs teach multiple strategies along with traditional borrowing and carrying methods. Where they differ, is that Singapore employs a lot more curriculum compaction, whereas Math Expressions has kids do page after page after page of work. I went ahead and purchased a Singapore 4a textbook just because I wanted to examine it further, and see what Bruce thought about it. Maybe it will keep him busy…