This week was full of snow, again. Sunday we went for a short family hike to enjoy the beauty of fresh snow. It really lifted my spirit to be outside for a while. I wish I was better about heading outside on cold days.
This week I read, “The Sign of the Beaver”, Newberry Honor Book and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 1984. The boys and I started reading it together and we should finish over the weekend. It’s the story of a 13-year-old boy left alone to tend to the new family homestead, while his dad goes back for the rest of the family. He ends up developing a friendship with a boy of the Beaver Tribe and learning many of the tribes ways. What I really liked about this book was the way it gently showed the main character opening his thinking to consider multiple view points. I also liked the way the main character showed tremendous strength and responsibility, but also made costly mistakes.
I absolutely love that the boys get to choose what books they want to read. I keep a spread sheet list that includes the reading level so I can see general trends, but they are free to choose material they think will be interesting. They seem to spend much of their time on non-fiction books about a variety of animals.
We are prepping for standardized testing this month. I really don’t care for standardized tests or feel they are an accurate measure of what kids are learning. We do them because it meets state requirements and helps the kids practice in a low stakes environment. My biggest problems are that I resent the practice time spent making sure they know what to do with separate answer sheets and the mundane / annoying nature of some of the reading passages. I always did well on these things when I was a kid, but as I read through them now, I find them so boring and unimportant. At any rate, I’ll be glad when it’s over and we move back to more meaningful learning and exploration.
Speaking of fun learning opportunities. We are planning to celebrate Engineers Week again this year with a week (or two) full of engineer activities. It seems there isn’t a standard national week for this event so we will be choosing either March 9th or 16th as the start date.
Earlier this week I posted some great winter dinner ideas.
This week I found a couple of blog posts that really spoke to me:
I particularly liked Marianne’s post over at Abundant Life, “Experience Dyslexia”. The demos were really eye-opening with regard to how hard some kids are working and how impatient teachers and parents can be with kids when they are having difficulty.
I’m also enjoying Sarah’s series over at Clover Lane as she does a multipart book review of Parenting with Grace. We strive to use positive techniques with our boys as we guide them toward independence, so this series touches on a lot of the methods we use.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
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