Thursday, June 07, 2007

"Mom's School" Update

Day 2 of 'Mom's School' was draining. The Princess threw a fit very early on because the picture she tried to draw of a 'blue bird' looked like an 'eel.' She would not stop screaming. I decided that most of the catastrophe was because she had stayed up way too late the night before when she went to see the play... and of course she didn't sleep in. So I sent her to take a nap.

The nap helped a little bit, but the rest of the day was still challenging, and her "screaming fits" drain me. I find myself completely empty and useless for the rest of the day.

Day 3 of 'Mom's School' went a little bit better, though The Princess tried to have another screaming fit. This time I lost it and went off on a tirade about what mental hospitals were and how I was going to have to take her to one. This is NOT one of my proud parenting moments - OH NO... not even close. The good news is, she stopped screaming.

But life isn't meant to be easy. Shortly thereafter The Dragon decided to lock her bedroom door. And pull it shut. With everyone on the OUTSIDE of the door. And then we get the joyful (NOT!) discovery, that her bedroom door has a lock on it that requires a key. And we don't have the key. Long story short, eventually The King came home from work and struggled long and hard before he successfully jimmied the lock. There is no doorknob on her bedroom door at the moment. And that fact is not bothering me AT ALL.

We also had to venture out into the hurricane to go to Grandma's house for piano lessons. I told the girls they were "this close" to spending the rest of the afternoon in their bedrooms, or in the case of The Dragon, MY bedroom - and if they didn't want that to happen they would have to have excellent behavior at their piano lessons. No whining, no crying. They had two choices: Do exactly what Grandma told them to do, or ask nicely for more help to do what Grandma told them to do. Ironically, it worked. The piano lessons went off without a hitch. Success!

Day 4 of Mom's School is taking place as we speak. The Princess was doing math, she came to a review problem that upset her. She was told that "Megan had 15 marbles and two boxes. List all the ways that the 15 marbles can be put into two boxes." The Princess got a good start, until she got about half-way done.

"Oh noooooo!" she wailed. "How am I supposed to do this? Inverse Operations?!?"

I looked at the problem. She was upset because she head reached the point where you could put 8 marbles in 'blue' box and 7 in the 'red' box, but from then on out, you were using the same numbers -- just putting them in different boxes.

"Yes," I replied, "you need to use inverse operations."

Here's the thing: Inverse Operations? Before she started Kindergarten, I wouldn't have even know what 'Inverse Operations' were. Sure, I would've known how to do them if someone had stuck them in front of me, but the term 'Inverse Operations' meant absolutely nothing to me.

Now she's entering 2nd grade. Her workbook has a page entitled "Introduction to Algebra." I don't think I had ever heard of "algebra" until I was in 6th grade, which was when I had started "pre-algebra."

In a way, I think it's good that she's learning the terminology to go along with the math. In upper grades I was often frustrated because I didn't know what certain terms were, and didn't know how to do certain things until I had my "Duh!" moment and realized that what they were asking me to do was something I had been doing since 3rd or 4th grade. I just never knew what it was called.

But still, it's strange hearing all of these "big words" coming out of your little one's mouth.

On another note, all of her teachers generally despise using the workbooks that they send home for "practice" and now I know why. (Which is why they send them home, because they use other stuff in school). You get math problems like this:

Jimmy has 9 stamps on his card. He gets 8 mores stamps. How many stamps will he have to carry over to a new card?

Well gosh, the answer could be just about anything since they don't bother to tell you how many stamps fit on the card in the first place! If you look at the rest of the page, your best guess would leave you to believe that 10 stamps are supposed to fit on a card, but there's no proof one way or the other. I tested The Princess by telling her a certain number of stamps could fit on the card, and each time she came up with the right answer, so the concept was sound. But the question sucked.

Anyway, all in all, I thought that Math would be the hardest part of 'Mom's School.' Ironically, that's been the easiest part so far. I've been pulling out pages from a variety of workbooks, and The Princess does 4 or 5 of them each day. I give her a mix - a review of stuff she learned in Kindergarten, to the stuff she will be learning in 2nd grade (3rd grade level). Counting, identifying patterns, simple addition, simple subtraction, telling time, counting money, interpreting graphs, simple fractions, place holders (ones, fives, tens, hundreds, thousands), adding two & three digit numbers, subtracting two & three digit numbers, plus a little bit of multiplication.

We're on a roll.

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