Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Speaking in the Moment!

This week is monumental for Pamela! Last week, we wrapped up our Round-Up preposition stories (page 15) ala the Association Method last week and, on Monday, began present tense verbs! She has struggled with present tense for years (is eat instead of eat and eats), confusing it with present progressive tense (pages 15-16) (is eating). When Pamela was younger, I drilled this syntax ala ABA-style, but ended up frustrated because she needed the methodical, multi-sensory methods applied in the Association Method.

One of the staff members at DuBard recommended the Reading Milestones program as a nice supplement to the Association Method. I won an eBay auction for all ten Level 1 primers and workbooks for half the price of a brand new set ($83 versus $209--quotes include shipping and handling). The problem is that all the sentences are in present tense, not present progressive tense, so I decided to stray from Teaching Language Deficient Children for a spell and introduce present tense first. After all, she has already mastered present tense for sees, has, and wants for singular and plural subjects as well as first, second, and third person subjects. I might as well use the material at hand. Each primer has six stories, so, with ten primers, that equals sixty school days or twelve weeks of material. That will afford plenty of time to work through singular and plural; first, second, and third person; pronouns; etc.

The workbooks are too basic for Pamela because they work on printing and spelling, skills Pamela has had for many years. I decided to snap photographs of the all the pages for a story. I use the images from the workbook to develop my own worksheets in Excel that are more Charlotte Mason friendly and with greater focus on syntax mastered by Pamela. Even better, since I am not consuming the workbooks or primers, I will be able to retrench some of the money invested into these workbooks (thank you, eBay). If I time the sale during the summer when educators are searching for materials, I might do well.

In all, she does four pages a day, tailored to her needs and abilities. This looks like a lot of work, but once I got my format and figured out a consistent way to manipulate images, I spend about as much time preparing as I did before. The first page warms up her brain in practicing the syntax du jour. The next page works on order in storytelling (first, second, and last), another weak spot for her. After that, another page allows her to practice answering questions with syntax she already knows for maintenance. My focus is not purely comprehension, but rather syntax. The last page is pure Charlotte Mason style: copywork (top), written narration (middle), and dictation (bottom).

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