Simply Convivial

classical homeschooling, practical homemaking

Friday Five: math fits, correction routines, and digital tools

Faithful Follow-through

We had a little “I hate math” episode this week – I believe it might have been this particular student’s first one, but I’ve been around the block a few times by this point and it hardly fazed me. “I hate math” was written as the answer to several problems and tears were shed. Laps were run and doors were slammed. I remained impervious, as Cindy Rollins advised.

Anger was visible, so when the page was brought to me scribbled and graffitied, I simply wrote at the top “redo tomorrow.” This student is different from my others. Somehow, that statement was motivating. After a few minutes spent on the bed, the student returned and simply worked all the problems – correctly, the first try.

“I decided I didn’t want to do it again tomorrow,” was the answer given when I expressed surprise.

Alright, that did momentarily break my impervious exterior. We can never quite be prepared for what might send our kids off on a temper bender nor what will bring them back.

Kids are funny.

Favorite homeschool Instagram of the week:

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Feasible Fix

We’ve hit upon a good solution for kids turning in their completed work to be checked. I have a mail sorter that I can move from the bookshelf to the kitchen counter in the morning. When they finish their math page or other work I need to check, it goes into the mail sorter (any slot).

I sit down to correct things at some point in the morning, then return the work to their clipboards (to be redone) or to their book bins (the Latin workbooks) or the garbage (math pages that are completed).

It works well because it’s an obvious “home” for work to be turned into – last school year papers were left on clipboards or put on top of my laptop or just strewn across the counter. When the bin has something in it, I know I have a job to do. When the school day is over, it can be put away so it isn’t constant visual clutter.

It’s working out really well.

Fab Freebie

I have received so many questions about my master teacher checklist (kept on a spreadsheet), the kids’ Trello checklists, and my own Omnifocus and Evernote usage that I thought it’d be fun to give you a little tour of my digital systems.

Join me for a free live chat Saturday morning, July 30, at 7:30am Pacific.


Fast FAQ

A few weeks ago I received this question, and I thought it might be one others would be interested in hearing about, also.

Ann-Marie asked,

I have been homeschooling for 9 years now and still have problems in the Grammar/Language Arts dept with my three boys. I know you tend to do your own thing when it comes to this and loved what you had to say about it in your post, but, was wondering if I could ask for any specifics that you are doing that may help us a bit?

We also are of the CM/Classical philosophy. I have tried many different approaches over the years from mainly verbal discussion in morning time to one on one with workbooks and nothing seems to stick for long…not too much retention with it. I have never been too concerned, but, my oldest is nearing high school and it’s time to be more diligent with this.

Would truly LOVE to hear what you have to say!

Hi Ann-Marie! I’d recommend taking a diagramming approach, because you have to use your grammar knowledge to do diagramming, and it’s in using the knowledge repeatedly that it begins to stick.

I love Nancy Wilson’s Our Mother Tongue book and also Cottage Press’ Sentence Sense

When I teach grammar in our homeschool, we go over parts of speech almost every class, then cover the current topic, then practice with diagramming – always talking through everything as we go.

I never straight up correct students when they are wrong, I ask them questions to make them think through how to get to the right answer. “Hm, is it a verb? Who is doing it?”

Sometimes I make them write sentences that conform to patterns I put up (Adjective Adjective Subject Verb Adjective Direct Object Prepositional Phrase) and then we diagram a few of them to show how they are the same diagram with different words.

It is so easy for grammar to be lost when it isn’t being regularly used – don’t get discouraged, just keep at it!

Hope that helps!

Free-Reading Fans

The kids were caught reading this week:

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