Thursday, June 28, 2012

Math Plans

The other main area that I want to focus this year is the beginnings of math understanding.  Lydia can count to 20 and can count objects as well.  This year I'm hoping to instill a little more understanding like bigger/smaller, greater than/less than, equal numbers of things, and the beginnings of arithmetic.  I have no idea if this is too large of an order for her this year, but those are my goals.  I have a few math programs that I want to work through slowly with her, and just like reading, I have several supplementary math programs as well.

Miquon is one of the weirder math programs out there.  It is from the 70s and is sort of abstract, for lack of a better term.  It makes great use of Cuisenaire rods.  It is a program meant to be used through 3rd grade and is supposed to be especially good at understanding the why of math.  I've read tons about it and it sounds very promising, but I'm not sure how its unique approach will go over with Lydia.  It's something I'm going to have to wait and see.

Speaking of Cuisenaire rods, I recently acquired this book, Idea Book for Cuisenaire Rods. I plan on using it in conjunction with Miquon Math.  It has a bunch of games and activities to use to teach math concepts using the rods.

A more traditional, but still not quite traditional math program that I'm planning on using is Singapore Essentials Math A (and B too, when we get there).  I plan on making Singapore Primary Math our spine when Lydia starts grade school math, and I liked the look of these workbooks.  It looks like they will definitely help me in my goal of helping her cement the pre-math concepts she'll need later on.

Finally, the last main resource I plan on using for math is Mathematics Enhancement Programme, also known as MEP.  It's a completely free program written for schools and put out by the British government.  It's a little more concept-centric than a standard math program as well.  I plan to focus on the Reception (Kindergarten/Preschool) level.  This one is great because I can do it almost completely on Lydia's new iPad because it is all in PDF.

As with reading, I have several supplementary resources to use.  One of these is Kitchen Table Math.  This is less of a curriculum and more of a guide on how to teach math concepts. There are several websites (too many to list) that have worksheets you can print for different math concepts.  I also have been acquiring many math manipulatives (counters, Cuisenaire rods, pattern plocks, etc.), and more recently, I've been exploring the world of iPad apps to teach math.  It's too soon to tell if I'll use any of them.

So that's it for math.  I don't have a particular timeline that I feel she needs to learn any of these things yet, and I have I have a feeling she will probably get stuck several times, but hopefully we can make some progress this year!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Reading Plans

Lydia has known her letters and basic letter sounds since before she could really even talk (thanks Leap Frog Letter Factory!)  I have planned for a long time to take her through a thorough phonics program.  The phonics program I've chosen to be my spine is The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching ReadingIt's the first homeschooling book I bought after The Well-Trained Mind.
For those who don't know, a "spine" is the main book in a curriculum plan.  You use it as a guide or sometimes the only resource and then supplement in a child's weak areas as needed.  I'm not sure how well Lydia will do with a straight phonics approach or if she'll need more help.  OPGTR is a mostly no-nonsense approach.  If Lydia doesn't respond to it, I plan on at least using it as reference to make sure we've covered everything.

Another major resource I plan on utilizing if needed is Phonics Pathways.  This is another very thorough reading program, but it approaches reading a little more visually than OPGTR.  Either would work as a spine, I just like OPGTR better.

I have numerous supplements and readers and back-up spines that would all be fine to use if I end up needing them.  Progressive Phonics and Funnix are both complete reading curricula in their own right.  Progressive Phonics uses a series of readers that the parent and child do together to develop skills.  Funnix is a computer-based program with many lessons and worksheets that work together to teach the basics of reading.

BOB books, I See Sam readers, Reading Eggs, and Starfall are all a bit more supplementary.  BOB books are a series of readers that start very simply and get more complex.  They are great because children can start reading books early, giving them a sense of accomplishment fairly early on.  The I See Sam readers are similar.  Reading Eggs and Starfall are online websites with games that teach phonics skills.

Finally, we recently ordered Lydia an iPad, and I've found several apps that may help us.  I haven't had a chance to look at them yet, so I can't say if they are any good or not.

Like I said in my earlier post, I don't plan on using all of these unless I have to.  Lydia may pick up reading with very little difficulty or we could be at it for the next several years.  It is just hard to tell, but I do have a direction and a place to start!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Starting Up Again

Since my last post, we've had numerous changes with our family.  We've added a member (Adelaide), we moved, Lydia started and stopped preschool, and we finally received a diagnoses for her that should help us understand her more.

Now that we're starting to get settled in our new house, I've been thinking ahead.  Lydia turns 4 in a few months and I'd really like to begin to help her learn to read and work on math skills.  I have already begun to compile many resources to help with that and will be making posts in the future about my plans.

One of the challenges with Lydia is that I have no idea how fast she'll be able to progress and what types of resources will work for her.  As a result, I've been researching and acquiring many more programs and resources than I could ever use.  We'll take what works from them and leave what doesn't, but know that I have no intention of completing every program I talk about.

I look forward to blogging about our plans, our successes, and our flops!