I’ve started Kieron on Saxon 65. Almost every kid in this family has gone through at least part of Saxon 65, and that’s usually about all we can manage of Saxon. Before the age of 10, Saxon seems too much and too scattered for them, and after the age of 10, it just seems scattered. This may well have something to do with my family’s learning style and not reflect on Saxon’s approach at all. But around that age it is a good consolidation, review and also trouble-shooter -I can see whatever gaps there might be for the middle school years. I like Saxon 65 but it’s the only one of the Saxon series we’ve really gotten our money’s worth on.
Last year Kieron got where he could do all the multiplication facts in a bit over 3 minutes. This year he appears to have forgotten them. Computer drills don’t seem very useful for him in practicing arithmetic facts. They are better for a nice motivational introduction to concepts. Place Value Pirates helped with place value and Power Football helped with decimals. I am afraid I will still have to sit down with him and just go through drill sheets until he is back up to speed. It is some consolation that Liam, also, was slow on the math facts in 5th grade, and yet has been quite a good math scholar in high school and college.
Sean has finished book 4 of Key to ALgebra and is starting Book 5. So far no real hitches at all with this and furthermore, I’m pleased to see he remembers fractions and decimals pretty well.
Brendan read Shadow of His Wings and is now reading the Concentration Can, where Jerome LeJeune testified in a court case. In Witness to Hope, we are up to the partition of Poland between Russia and Germany, and it is very interesting to have this Eastern Euopean close-up on WWII. Karol Wojtyla is presently working in the factories and attending clandestine classes at the Jagiellonian University, where almost 200 professors were ambushed and deported to concentration camps where most of them died. They called it “cultural decapitation” — targeting out religious and academics, realizing that ideas were the big threat to totalitarianism.
Clare is still spending a lot of time on her music — listening, reading and practicing.
In this next week I want to organize some kind of reading plan for Sean and Kieron. The main motive is to have a way to introduce IDEAS.
Neil Postman writes:
Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think …
As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.I am not a purist about no-video games, no-TV etc. But I do admit feeling uncomfortable when the kids seem TOO much disassociated from any of the real, permanent, enduring things. Or to be honest, that isn’t the main issue — the issue is that I don’t want to fail them and the culture by not imparting my beliefs about what is important. One of my big regrets about having gone through 16 plus years of school was that I had to listen to so many points of view that were not my parents’… so much time on things that don’t really make a difference in my life now.
Aidan is trying to read a little! He was carrying his 100 Easy Lessons around and brought it to me and sounded out two words I hadn’t gone over with him yet.
Paddy has learned pretty much all his letters and numbers through the Quia Alphabet Match and through playing the Math Dojo game. I have to tell him what the answer is but he has to find the number and type it in. He does Math Baseball and Power Football the same way.
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