Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Eagle And The Wren - Scottish Trickster Tale

This is our last trickster tale of the unit. Phew! The energy is getting really wild.

The different types of birds were chattering about which was the best flier. The Eagle overheard and joined the conversation. It was decided that the highest flier would be considered the best flier. Yes, the Eagle was the leading force behind this decision! So everyone tried to fly as high as they could. But no one could fly as high as the Eagle. When he was sure of his victory Eagle began to celebrate. And who should stir in the feathers of his back - but the wren. Being well rested, Wren was able to fly even higher than Eagle - so she won the contest.

Brother loved the story and was giggling uncontrollably when he realized what had occurred. He figured it out before I was finished reading and laughed through the rest of the story. It was really cute!

Here is his picture. His energy is CRAZY. Way up in the left, you can see the Eagle and the Wren. He has decided that they live on an island, and that the island was made by volcanos. So his entire island is filled with exploding volcanoes. Kind of like how he is feeling right now. He thinks the volcanos are beautiful and brought a volcano book down to show me after he was done his pictures.

Also, we exploded our volcano with baking powder and vinegar last night. I think that he incorporated our science experiment into this picture.

The Two Foxes - Scottish Trickster Tale

The next story was about two brother foxes who stole the fish from out of a basket on the man's back. One fox laid in the path pretending to be dead. The man picked up the "dead fox" and put him in the basket so that he could sell his pelt. Once in the basket, the fox started throwing out the fish for his younger brother to cart off. The man didn't hear any of the squeaky noises in the basket or the sounds of the fish hitting the ground. He was too excited thinking of his future with the proceeds from the sale of the fish and fox fur.

Brother included a thought bubble to show the man's dreams of his future.

I thought it was rather selfish and wasteful of the foxes to steal ALL of the fish. It felt like more fish than they could eat. But brother just thought the story was hilarious!

His little fox sure is cute. He definitely caught the energy of the fox with his flash of red with a long nose.

The Fox Outwitted - Scottish Trickster Tale

The next step of our Sages unit is to follow up with some trickster tales. Trickster tales reflect the wild and crazy energy of the eight year old - or second grader.

Our first tale was of a fox who caught a vain goose for dinner. The goose outwitted the fox, getting free again. Brother loved it. He told his dad about it at dinner.

Brother wanted to tell a story with his picture. So he broke it apart into two scenes.

John Muir Unit study

Another aspect of the Sages unit study is that we carry it through the next math block. We will do this by continuing our movement activities through the math unit.

I am not doing really great at having a circle right now. Brother has always resisted it - which makes a lot more sense now that I know about his unintegrated reflexes. So we go for a bike ride or walk in the morning, followed by his physical therapy exercises. The exercises don't take much time, but they can be straining to him because they are re-wiring his brain. It was much worse a few months ago though. And some of the exercises that he really hated have been completed.

After his PT we dance to Loch Lomond and one movement activity that is directly related to the John Muir story. I am probably going to add another dance in a week or so, depending on how this week goes. He loves the Loch Lomond song. We found a version of it on YouTube to listen to a couple times.

We have also made Cocka Leekie soup and Scottish Meat Pie. The Cocka Leekie soup was really fun. He wrote up the grocery list and we went to the store together. Also he did the math to figure out how much stock to add to the soup. It was really great to have him use math in a real life situation.

We plan on doing some more Scottish cooking, going to a Scottish dance and doing another craft.

John Muir Unit Study Ch 4

In this chapter, John discovers the Giant Sequoias. He also sees that they are being logged. Brother was a sad about this, but the fact that this happened so long ago provides some separation. In addition, Brother felt very empowered by John's actions to save the remaining trees.

Here is Brother's close up of the Giant Sequoias. He really wants to show the feeling of the size of the tree. He was really involved in the feeling.

And his summary.

John Muir Unit Study Ch 3

In chapter 3, John leaves his family and goes to University. He changed his name from Johnny to John. This really effected Brother. He was very interested in Johnny deciding that he had become a man.

This is a picture of the dome that John built his cabin by. Brother was very interested in the idea of having a little stream running through the hear of the cabin.

And the summary. Each day Brother takes more ownership of the summarizing process.

John Muir Unit Study Ch 2

In the second chapter Johnny Muir, his little brother and his father moved to America. The rest of the family follows once the farm is established. This was a hard chapter for me because Johnny had to leave his grandfather behind. I was supposed to do Tonglen Meditation on the story before sharing it, but I didn't have time before we started. So I was sad when I read about the leave taking. Fortunately, both of brother's sets of grandparents live here, so while he picked up on my upset, he wasn't particularly upset by it himself.

Brother is very interested in engineering - so he was mostly interested in the ship that Johnny and his family would have traveled on.

Here is the summary. He did a lot more of the summarizing this time around. He definitely has opinions about what should be said. We were running late today - so he only wrote one sentence. I finished off in the orange below.

John Muir Unit Study Ch 1

The Enki curriculum provides us with Sages stories. They are stories of wise people who started out a bit precocious but grew and developed. Beth suggested that we start with John Muir as he played in a castle when he was a boy and my children are both really into castles right now. It was a great suggestion. Brother could really see himself in Johnny when he was a boy and enjoyed experiencing Johnny growing into a man.

This is a picture the castle that Johnny and his brother played in when they were boys.

This is Brother's first official summary. I did most of the summarizing to provide an example. The next day, before we wrote down the summary, we edited it to be sure that everything Brother felt was important was included.

His writing as much improved. I write two sentences on the chalkboard and he has to copy it onto his paper. I also write the same two sentences down on a piece of paper which I set by him. He used to completely copy off of my paper. However, the visual therapy has really improved his tracking. He is able to copy completely off the board now, and actually seems to prefer it. Brother wrote in orange and I wrote in purple. Brother also corrects his work in purple.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vision Challenges

This year Big Brother turned eight years old. It feels like he is bright in a lot of ways, but I was very concerned that we hadn't seen any indication that he would be reading in the near future. In addition, he had a lot of trouble copying words from the board onto his paper. Brother would lose his place in the word and in the sentence. These indications led me to set up an appointment with an Optometric Physician. As expected, Brother's eyes would not converge or track correctly. This made me feel a lot better because it explained why he wasn't showing any signs of being an emergent reader. He was unable to focus on the words to be able to read.

Brother's treatment plan included a daily computer program that exercised his eyes as well as some non-computer home exercises. In addition some reflexes, which were important when he was a baby, did not integrate properly as he has grown. So we have exercises to integrate these reflexes.

On the bright side, I am seeing progress with reading. We are reading the Sally, Dick and Jane pre-primers from 1965 and doing the associated workbook. He loves it and the print is big and clear enough that he can read it. And he loves the pictures. On the negative side, his brain is rewiring and weird side effects are occurring. For example, when he is focusing hard, his body starts to itch all over. Obviously that is pretty darn distracting! Fortunately, our therapist provided me with a pressure activity I can do along his spine to reduce the itching. If it doesn't work, then I also have a pressure activity I can do to his face. So far this is really helping out.

Meanwhile, I feel like we have really been floundering. I wasn't getting the feedback that would keep us moving forward with the curriculum. My fellow homeschooling friend, who is really organized - said that we were in a state of emergency. That made me feel a lot better. The most important thing was the visual therapy and the physical therapy. So other things would slide a little to make space for the triage work. However, things have improved and we are no longer in an emergency situation. This weekend we participated in a special needs call with the Enki curriculum writer and she got me moving in the right direction.

So, as of this week, we are moving on with our official second grade curriculum!