Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I sing of nouns and verbs

Actually, this was what Aidan was doing this morning, to the tune of a rather banal hymn we sing at mass which goes:

Sing to the mountains, sing to the sea, raise your voices, lift your hearts..

Only he sang:

Sing to the subjects, sing to the verbs.

Or how about:

Young verb on the moor, verb on the moor, oh, brave and undaunted was the verb on the moor.

There were more, too. I wish I had jotted them down. He was on a singing spree.

Kieron and Sean have finished the Daily Grammar section on Indirect Objects and this brings them up to KISS where the children are asked to tell what structure a sentence has by labelling the different parts.

Basically, it seems that there are only a limited number of basic constructions:

S/V with or without various prepositional phrases
S/V/DO or a variation S/V/IO/DO
S/V/Predicate Nominative OR S/V/Predicate Adjective.

More here.

I hardly know anyone who uses KISS successfully in the homeschool — the site is so diverse, like a tree branching in all directions, that it is difficult to get up to speed, apparently, without spending a lot of time. But personally, I LOVE that stuff though I do have trouble using complex resources. I’ve been doing it my own SUPER simple way.

The boys have made real progress. They are really paying attention to syntax and how that relates to the meaning of the sentence. Sean, the kid who can do standard grammar exercises forever just by figuring out the “trick”, is now actually thinking about how grammar actually works. And Kieron was actually laughing over grammar today…. he thinks it’s funny to figure out which object is direct and which is indirect, by saying “he threw what? the ball or the pitcher?”

Aidan had his last speech meeting today at the school. He was reluctant to go and muttered a question: “Are we going to do tests?” But once he got there, he had fun getting to see his friends there, Mrs R, Mrs L and Mrs W. The speech therapist had made a game with him with the Eric Carle books Brown Bear and Very Hungry Caterpillar. She had little picture cards to go with them and was having him put them in order (story sequence) and tell the story from them. He loved this and did fine, which certainly gives you an indication that some of his problems with the non-contextual story pictures were just pure lack of involvement.

Then we spent a bit of time talking. The ladies felt a bit regretful at casting us out and expressed sub rosa willingness to help out unofficially if I ran into a road block with Aidan. The speech therapist gave me some hints for how to work on articulation, which seem like they might be able to be integrated with his “sounding out” phonics attempts. The special ed resource person asked if I’d been educated as a teacher (!) and quickly answered herself that of course I had, after homeschooling six kids ;-). I chatted to her a bit about homeschooling and Liam’s good record at college level. I was a bit surprised that she and the special education supervisor from town have both kept expressing all this seemingly sincere admiration particularly when I so often feel at a loss explaining how we do things at home. But sure, it’s nice to hear. They too mentioned a bit of shock that the best public school solution for Aidan was apparently to bus him for 2.5 hours per day. I expressed in very restrained terms my feeling that day school for the severely disabled would not be anything more than a parking zone for Aidan. They seemed to listen; they don’t have any control over this kind of thing, of course, but anyway I guess it’s good to be a decent witness for homeschooling especially up here where there isn’t a whole lot of awareness or official recognition of the phenomena.

Aidan loved the story work so much that this is what I think I will probably be planning for him for this summer and beyond. It combines his love for simple pattern books AND his love for visuals and “matching” things.