Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekly Report - January 7-11

This was our first week back after a 3 week break and it was a struggle for all of us. I had a hard time enforcing a routine. Next week should be better, though.

Our biggest event this week was my decision to add in IEW. I found Teaching Writing: Structure & Style, with all the video tapes and notebook, at Half-Price Books last summer. It was only $25, so I decided to get it. I didn't watch the first tape until last week, though. I really like it. I know it is very structured, but Robert definitely needs that, so I think it's a good fit for him. Ruthie is already very creative in her writing, so I'm sure I will de-emphasize the dress-ups when we get that far. She doesn't need much help in that area.

I'm following the syllabus in the notebook, so we spent this week just doing key word outlines. We did the first one all together. The next day, I let them choose a paragraph and I did it one-on-one with them. The following day, they did it completely on their own, just re-telling it to me from their key word outline when they were done. Next week we will begin actually writing the paragraphs.

We are still studying Handel for our composer study. We spent a long time on Handel's Messiah. Ruthie was able to recognize a modified Hallelujah chorus in a kid's show a couple of days ago. "Hey, that's Handel!" We listened to Vox's The Story of Handel and really liked it. Our library has a lot of them, but I just realized they are only $2.98 each at Amazon, so I may just go ahead and order them. The Vox CD ends with "Water Music", which works out well since that's our next piece to study.

Friday morning the kids played at a daycare for a class of 3 year olds. A friend of mine works there through a special early-intervention program with the school district. (Does that make sense?) I saw her at church Wednesday night and she said they had been studying musical instruments and asked if Robert and Ruth could come play for them. They agreed, and decided that they would play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" together, then each play one piece of their own.

This was a great plan until we got there. Even though Griff had tuned the instruments that morning, Ruth's A string was completely out of tune. I called Griff and he walked me through adjusting it. While tightening the peg, I went too far and broke the string. Whoops! Ruthie was (understandably) upset. We finally decided Robert would play "Twinkle..." on his own, and she picked a different song - one that she could play with just her 3 lower strings. So, it worked out okay, but I could tell she was still upset. Especially when they asked Robert to go to two other classes and play "Twinkle..." for them. I felt very bad for having broken the string. :(

My goal for next week is to get us on more of a structured schedule. I think we'll accomplish a lot more.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about the string! I hate breaking them. The year I taught jr.high orchestra (worst year of my life, hands down) I broke almost every string on every school cello just because they were so old and worn out. My students loved that I was the one that broke them.
Tell Ruthie it's a good time to learn shifting so she doesn't need an A-string :D
We had a hard time working back into a routine too. Our break was so nice though.

How long do you study a composer? Right now we're spending a month on each, but I'm thinking hard about going for longer next year so we can really get into more of their music.

Rhonda said...

My husband told me he thought the string was probably about to break anyway. That was the string that was so flat when he tuned the instruments. That makes me feel a bit better.

Ruthie does not like shifting. It's easier than it was at the beginning (oh, the tears!), but she still doesn't care for it.

We follow the Ambleside Online composer schedule, so it's typically one composer for 12 weeks. You can see the schedule at

Handel is one my husband's favorite composers, so we may spend longer on him.

Thanks for commenting!


Rhonda said...

One other thing! My mother-in-law is a jr. high orchestra teacher and absolutely loves it. She's fantastic!

LisaWA said...

How fun they were able to play in front of other kids! It encourages the class and your children!

Our first week back wasnt the best, but I am hopeful for next week! *Ü*

Have a great weekend! Lisawa

Tina said...

Oh poor little girl... and mom. :o)

And what a blessing to be able to share their talents with others, even if it didn't go the way you all had planned.

Thanks for sharing your week.