Wednesday, January 26, 2011

pedro and the pig tails

Things are going to start picking up a bit around here now that we're back into the full homeschooling swing again, so if you're not checking in regularly, you'll have a pile to catch up on!

We started our Latin America block on Monday, and already I'm super excited about it. To the left is the kids learning to do the Samba in the Latin America cultural class they are taking as part of our Monday afternoon homeschool classes. They also are in an absolutely fabulous Spanish Conversations class, where I'm coming to realize that they actually do know quite a bit of Spanish, despite our rather haphazard approach to it up to this point. Makes me feel a little less guilty about not getting in more Spanish sooner. They actually came home and both immediately sat down to their "homework" (a card asking questions about themselves), and they both enthusiastically filled it out in Spanish.

At home, we're doing "la raspa" (the Mexican Hat dance) as our cultural dance. Our spin and fold is to the Spanish children's song "Vamos a cantar" -- we spin while we "cantar" (sing), repeating the opening verse ("Ahora vamos a canta, a cantar, a cantar" -- which is "Everybody sing now, sing now, sing now") and spinning between each of the following (and somebody correct me if I'm using the wrong words!!! It's hard to make up verses when you don't speak the language yet!!): we "saltar" (jump), we "reptar" (crawl), and we "rodar" (roll). We recite our poem for the week in Spanish, and then in English.

We're in a Trickster cycle with our story work, and I found some Mexican Trickster Tales in the book The Eagle on the Cactus: Traditional Stories from Mexico, retold by Angel Vigil, which I then adapted for our uses. Our first story was "Pedro and the Pig Tails" in which Pedro (a character who starts every story out of money and down on his luck, but winds up tricking someone eventually to put himself into a better situation) was working on a pig farm, and sold the farmer's pigs to a passerby in order to make some easy money. The trick came in when he kept the pigs' tails and stuck them in the mud by the river, then convincing the farmer that the pigs had escaped and got themselves stuck in the mud. Above is J's drawing and summary of the story, below is Zoo Boy's rather limited attempt.

Granted, pigs tails sticking out of mud DOES capture the essence of the story, but it would have been nice to see a little effort put into the drawing -- Zoo Boy's general attitude was to get it over a fast as possible. And then, when it was time to write in the summary, he insisted that he never did that before. I flipped back in the book to show him the trickster drawings (with summaries) that he did for our African American block, and he burst into tears and had to leave the room for a short time before he could pull himself back together and sit down to his work. Poor kid -- it's a combination of things -- first, just getting back into the full homeschooling routine feels cumbersome to him. Next, he just finds handwriting so challenging.

Most of all, we already felt "off rhythm" yesterday because we have new Therapy sessions on Tuesday mornings now, so our "schoolwork" is pushed off until afternoon. I may have to reconsider that (not the therapy, but the schoolwork). I really wanted to make sure we got some schoolwork in on Tuesdays since we're taking Thursday off because J's Guitar/Piano lessons, our swim session, and a standing playdate up in that same area eat up pretty much the entire day. (I've already had to add Monday mornings into our schoolwork schedule, otherwise we'd never get anything done!). But after yesterday's experience, I'm thinking that it might not be realistic to get that type of work done in the afternoon at all, maybe if we just do a bit of practice work and read a story it would be enough, especially since I think therapy drains a bit of the boy's energy and puts him on edge to start with. I'm meditating on it, we'll see what comes about.

In other start-of-the-semester news, J began his higher level Ballet class last night and loved it, along with his new instructor (who is a man, wahoo!). The instructor had positive things to say about J too, so it's an all-around love-fest.

And Zoo Boy had a speech evaluation yesterday morning, and it turns out he just needs a little work on precision of a few sounds and he should be good to go. So good news there, as he hates speech therapy (and thinks he speaks just fine, although he gets really upset when people don't understand him). But he's agreed to follow the program for a little while, and he liked the therapist he saw yesterday. And she told me that she's willing to fit him into her schedule if the therapist he's scheduled to work with doesn't wind up being a good fit for him.

So all in all, we're off to a good start!


MM said...

Are you still trying to take morning walks? What do you do when it's too cold to go out?

Harvest Moon Farm said...

It was my intention to walk regardless of the weather, but after the first few really cold mornings,the kids (well, mostly Zoo Boy) lobied to find other methods of exercise instead. I'm not worried about J getting enough exercise, he dances almost every day for at least an hour (some days over 3 hours), but Zoo Boy we have to make an effort and get creative with. So he's bouncing on his moon bounce for a set amount of time every morning, we're "mall walking" on Wednesdays, swimming on Thursdays, and walking on the track on Fridays. Their outside time at this point is either free-form play or sledding.

Jennifer Marchman said...

This is awesome! Are you doing a sage? Who? If you're looking for someone:

Jennifer Marchman said...

Oh! and do you want me to mail you any Mexican food ingredients from Tejas?

Harvest Moon Farm said...

Jennifer, Beth already had a Benito Jaurez story that was in progress -- she let me have it to work on in exchange for taking it through to completion for addition to the library.

Harvest Moon Farm said...

Oh, and thanks for the offer of Mexican ingredients! I'll keep that in mind if I come up with something we can't get here! :)