Sunday, June 28, 2009

Call Me Ishmael

Summer is a great time in our house. Mostly because school is out. There's no waiting for dreaded phone calls, no worrying about academics being shunted aside in favor of watered down "make work" or "compliance", and little worry about increased stress levels (for all of us).

Summer is a time of tending the garden, kids going to camp, taking a vacation (holiday), and neighborhood festivals. Academics aren't totally left behind, but they're done on our schedule and in light of our kids' needs, not on the school system's. Liz does a yeoman's job of making sure the kids read (and get read to) each day, and filling the gaps of things they didn't quite get during the school year. She's even found kids versions of classic books for them to read.

Buddy Boy struggles somewhat with math, and Liz has systematically investigated how he processes math problems, and come up with some novel strategies to assist him. After months of failing to be able to memorize basic multiplication facts (e.g., 6 x 6 = 36), Liz found some workbooks that use stories and rhymes to assist in memorizing math facts. They seem to be working.

But studying is pretty low key, and the kids don't seem to mind a couple of short sessions each day.

So what did we do today, when temperatures topped out at 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 Celcius)? Stay inside, crank up the air conditioning? No way. There was a local carnival in a nearby park, and the kids kept asking to go.

We didn't stay all that long (it was pretty hot, after all), but the kids had a good time. Afterwards, we went to a local ice cream parlor for another time honored rite of summer.

Sweet Pea had a little trepidation about tackling the ride pictured above (you sit in a seat that goes around and around in a big 50 feet vertical circle), but eventually said that she wanted to do it. Although she looked a bit scared when it started up, by the end of the ride she loved it. Buddy Boy went with her, and provided moral support.

Buddy Boy's also been working on jokes lately (everything from "knock knock" jokes to puns). Sometimes they're funny, sometimes they're not, but he's getting much better overall. When he got off the ride, he walked up to us and said very seriously, "Call me Ishmael". We just had to laugh.


kathleen said...

That sounds like a wonderful day...I would love to know the math work books that you are using-as my son has the same problem with his multiplication.."Call Me Ishmael"-what a riot.:)

Niksmom said...

Three cheers for the slower pace of summer! Buddyboy sounds like he's making good progress...and what a wit! ;-)

Hope your pace is slowing down some too and you have opportunities to write more. I miss your voice on the internet but know you are doing some good stuff in your own life. Interested to hear more about school. Or trips to the ice cream parlor...or even Buddyboy's joke repertoire.:-)

kristina said...

A whale of a tale (sorry, couldn't resist!) Sounds like some of those classics are sinking in?

Charlie's ridden that ride before on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore---great views of the ocean, Jim told me (I am a complete chicken about rides).

Mrs. C said...

LOL You're doing a great job! It's been pretty hot here, too.

Casdok said...

And hot here. Hope your summer goes well.

Club 166 said...

I'll get to posting about the math books when I can. They've made a big difference.

Summer IS a great time. In part I get to relive the feeling this year, as I am not taking any classes this summer. It's great not to have a deadline every week (though I have a lot of projects that have been piling up).


Daisy said...

"kids versions of classic books" - great move! I found a stack of simplfied classics at a thrift store and bought them for my classroom library. These books are never, never on the shelf; they're always in someone's desk for silent reading time. I'll never forget the student who was so lost in Robinson Crusoe he didn't hear the rest of the class get up and leave for science! Gotta love a kid like that. (He attends an environmental science charter school now, too!)