The last several weeks have been short school weeks here. But productive ones.
Zak sculpted a volcanic landscape out of Kinetic Sand. He said it was "from before any animals and humans, back when there was just tons of volcanoes everywhere." Despite the lack of scientific vocabulary, it was a very cool rendering. He even explained which ones were active, which were dormant, and which were still forming.
I found a great idea on Pinterest for helping with handwriting skills. While the original idea was for younger children closer to preschool and kindergarten age, I immediately saw how it could be a great aid to Grace and her dysgraphia. We put salt in an upside-down lid, chosen because of it's shallow sides. I wrote the words she needed to practice in big letters on line-less paper. First, she was to use her finger or the eraser side of a pencil to trace the words in the salt, checking them off on the sheet as she went. By using the eraser side of the pencil, she gets practice gripping the thin pencil, but making large letters in the salt eases the physical work letting her pay more attention to spelling and neatness.
After completing the list in the salt, she was then to use a marker and go over the words I had written in pencil. This gives her practice seeing the words and writing them without the added frustration of free-writing. She tolerated the exercise very well, so next time, I will also have her copy the words with the marker next to the list. Grace learning to write may be slow and tedious at times, but she no longer cries at even the mention of writing work, in fact, I am relieved and happy to say that she has actually looked forward to it the last few times, and has called it fun more than once lately!
Another avenue of learning affected by her dysgraphia is math. So we use similar principles when she needs to do written math work. Here was some domino math she did. I divided the paper into boxes. She was not happy about that, but she saw after how much it helped her to have enough space to clearly write her problems down and keep them separated. It allowed her to write the numbers larger which makes her writing neater, and she can find her place much better as well. She draws at random the selected number of dominoes and places them face sown next to her paper. She chooses one, writes down the problem, solves it and then flips the domino face down over the completed problem and then chooses another domino. We have done this several times, and now that she is getting used the process, we are now ready to start expanding it to the more complex addition and subtraction she's been working on in her book.
Zak wanted a break from his math book as well, so I sat him down with some dice. He was to multiply the three rolled numbers together. He actually really enjoyed it. We are going to do this again, but we are going to introduce parenthesis, and practice multiplying large numbers, we have a lot of dice so this could get very interesting!
I have given Zak a very long leash this year where writing is concerned. We have a formal writing program that he works on at least once a week. But the rest of the time as long as he is writing, it can take any form he wants. His favorite for a few weeks was writing his own comic book series. They are actually really good. His drawings are great, simple but full of information, and his plot
lines are interesting and full of humor. He has two completed and is working on at least one more I believe.
Until this cold spell, Zak has been thoroughly enjoying his new bike. And Grace is making good progress in balance and not being paralyzed by her fear of falling. I know she can esily do it, she's just not so sure of that fact yet.
Science these last few weeks has mostly been videos. And after a couple weeks off from formal "history", we got back with it this week. We started reading about early Rome, and got as far as various building projects. Roads, mile stones, and aqueducts. I set the kids loose with instructions to build or draw their own aqueduct.
Grace built one out of blocks.
Zak sketched one.
That's the highlights for now. Hope everyone else had a great last few weeks!