Friday, August 31, 2012

Week 4

We're starting to fall into a rhythm.  Our weeks don't vary a lot, but they certainly keep us busy.  Lydia started dance this week, so that was new.  She is always afraid of new things and experiences, so she didn't actually make it into the dance room this last week, but I did get her to sit and watch for a little while.  I assume it will take her a few more weeks before she'll be in there loving it.  She loves the little ballet class DVD I got from the library a few weeks ago, and it almost the same thing.

We continued therapy and went to a playdate at the park.  Besides dance class, the only thing really different this week was that we went on a hike!  It is quite the adventure taking a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 4 month old hiking on a trail by myself, but it was fun.  We went to lake Wedington, which is about 15 minutes from our house.  The trail I chose is actually an overnight hiking trail, but we just went in maybe half a mile or so.  We had to take a very slow pace because both girls stopped often to pick up sticks and rocks and nuts.  Eleanor even found some blueberries.  At least, I think they were blueberries, but I wouldn't let her eat them in case.  I don't know nature well enough to say one way or the other.  I've been considering getting a few Audobon guides for the iPad and taking it with us on hikes like this so that we can identify things, but for now, they are just learning what pine cones are and other information I have off the top of my head.

 After the hike, Lydia wanted to go see the lake, so we went to the lake and both girls threw in rocks and sticks.  Lydia was very upset when we had to leave. "Want to look at the lake some more!"  She said this over and over all the way home until I mentioned that we were having pizza for dinner, which was sufficient to distract her.

We've done well with school this week and Lydia is right on track to reach all the goals I have set for her by the end of the year or even earlier.

In Essential Math A, we finished pages 88-105.  This ended number order for the moment and moved onto shapes.  We finished shapes and are now working on patterns.  I think we may be stuck here for a while because patterns are difficult for Lydia.  I expect we'll be doing a lot of supplementary work on patterns using manipulatives.
In MEP math, we got through lesson 4 in Reception and will be doing lesson 5 this afternoon.  MEP is sort of weird and I'm not sure I get it yet, but she seems to be able to do the lesson material so far and I plan on keeping it up for the time being.

This is more of the same.  We are still working on cvc "a" words, but I've seen a marked improvement in the last few days.  Starting tomorrow, I think we're going to move on to cvc short vowel "e" words too.  She seems to have grasped the concept of blending and is doing much better with sounding out words.  She still has a problem with guessing, but I think that comes with the territory.  I've found ReadingBear to be a very helpful tool.  Lydia doesn't like to practice reading very much, but she will ask for more practice with ReadingBear.
She read her first 2 books all by herself this week (mostly).  They were just BOB books, but she did it anyways.  It is sort of funny, though.  I bought them thinking we might use them, but because of Lydia's personality, I didn't think she'd care about the "reading a whole book by yourself" aspect.  But she really seemed to feel a sense of accomplishment when she was done.  I was very proud of her.
We also continue to work through Progressive Phonics and are through page 7 of the first reader.

We've continue to do the day of the month and day of the week.  For memorization, we review all our past memorization and have continued to work on the continents and their locations.  Lydia is almost done with that, so we'll probably start something new early next week.

We got through pages 11-22 in Rod and Staff's Bigger Steps.  Lydia's fine motor skills are coming along very well, and I talked to her OT about starting her on a handwriting program.  She agreed with me that Lydia isn't ready yet for actual writing, but that pre-writing activities are good for her.  So we'll continue doing these workbooks, and I think I'll throw in some Scholastic preschool worksheets I have for pre-writing practice.  Pre-writing is tracing lines and zigzags and circles.  Things like that.  I'm also being very strict with Lydia about using a correct pencil grip whenever she is coloring or doing school work.  It is starting to pay off and I am having to correct her less and less.

That was our week.  It is raining outside right now and I promised Lydia that she could play in the rain if there wasn't lightning.  I think that will be our afternoon and it is a good end to our week.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week 3

It was another good week at our house.  The girls are keeping me very busy, and it is only going to get more so when Lydia starts up dance and soccer within the next few weeks.  It's a good busy though, and it keeps them happy (and dirty).

The weather continues to be nice, so we are spending a lot of time outside.  On Saturday, we took a drive to Eureka Springs and rode on an old fashioned train.  Lydia absolutely LOVES trains and has for years.  I think that this ride was the highlight of her life.  Every day since she has asked me if it is Saturday again so we can go ride a train.  The train ride itself was fun.  It had an old fashioned conductor who we enjoyed and at one point they let us get out and put pennies on the track to see them get squished.  We are definitely going to try to take a ride on the trains in Utah when we are there this fall.

We did pages 75-87 in Essential Math A.  Lydia keeps flying through it, even though we are getting to stuff that she didn't know before we started and are actually doing the lesson part of each page, and not just the worksheet.  This week has mostly been about teaching her that numbers have an order, both forwards and backwards.  Essential Math A only deals in numbers 1-10, so we've done a lot of counting forwards and backwards and a lot of filling in the blank and looking for patterns with number orders.  For example, today we got out 10 little plastic people and counted them.  Then I told her one walked away, and asked how many were left.  I kept doing this until we got to zero.  The point was to show that counting backwards was the same as removing one each time.

We also started MEP Reception.  It is a little different, and we only did the first lesson, so I don't have a whole lot to report on that yet, except that I can already see that it will stretch her a little.

We continued to work on short vowel "a" cvc words and are working through lesson 30 in OPGTR.  I think she's getting it better and better.  I discovered that she will practice longer if I use the iPad or laptop to help her instead of letter magnets.  So we are doing ABC Magic Phonics on our iPad, which is basically just an app of words that you can sound out.  I also discovered, and I think I'll be using it a lot.  It is a website of videos that sound out words and then show you what the words are.  It is pretty well done and Lydia enjoyed it.  We're still having a problem with guessing, but I think that's fairly normal.  Oh, and we also are learning our first sight word, "the."

Lydia started reading her first Progressive Phonics reader.  It has text that the parent reads and then the child reads the words in bold.  It allows a more complex story than a reader that the child does on their own, and I like it so far.  We are on page 6.

Memorization/Calendar Time:
We continue to do calendar almost every day.  We have moved on from "Happy Thoughts" for memorzation and have started learning all the continents and their locations.  We still review the First Article of Faith and "Happy Thoughts" every day, though.  I am especially focusing on making sure Lydia says all the words and says them clearly.

Lydia finished About Three early this week.  She started the next workbook in the series called Bigger Steps.  She is doing fairly well with it and got through page 10.

A few of Lydia's favorite things to watch are the Life and Planet Earth documentaries by the BBC.  We often watch these on Sundays before church.  Lydia's favorite is the Life one on birds, and she loves to draw lammergeiers with sidewalk chalk.  These documentaries, combined with the things that come up in day-to-day life are all the science we are doing right now, but I think she's still learning a lot.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Week 2

This week was rather hectic.  Lydia started a new schedule at therapy and we did a lot of out of the house activities.  Monday was so beautiful, that we spent the entire afternoon playing outside.  On Wednesday, we went to my in-law's house for the day and played there and at the splash park near their home.  The girls LOVE the splash park and I really wish we had one nearer to us. (This picture is from earlier in the summer).

On Thursday, we had a play date with several kids at our house, which is always fun.  Lydia and Eleanor both got completely filthy, digging in the dirt, but they loved it. Tyler came home early from his rotations, so I was finally able to get a new driver's license (I lost mine a few weeks ago), go grocery shopping, and hit up the Rhea Lana half-priced sale.  I got the girls some new clothes and a few stuffed animals.  My favorites of the animals were a raccoon, otter, and ostrich.

As for school, we didn't do quite as much as I would have hoped, but I did reach my minimum goal.

We did pages 61-74 in Essential Math A.  We are now getting to stuff that is a little more challenging for Lydia.  Up until now we've been coasting quite a bit, so I expect we'll start slowing down.  Lydia already knew how to count things and could read her numbers.  Starting today we're going to be focusing on number order and patterns.

We're still working on figuring out blending.  I'm seeing that Lydia is completely capable of blending, she just doesn't really want to do the work lots of times.  So she'll see the word "can" and will tell me that it is "cat."  So we're focusing on looking at the whole word and taking the time to sound out each letter or section of the word.  She also has very little stamina for it, which is age appropriate. So right now I'll do a main 5 minute lesson where we work on a few words, and then throughout the day, I'll ask her to sound out a word here and there.  We're staying on lesson 29 of OPGTR until she masters this.

Read Alouds:
I was bad about these this week.  We read several picture books, but I'm not sure we read the Book of Greek Myths at all this week.  Oh well. And Eleanor ripped another library picture book.  Grrr.

Memorization/Calendar Time:
We continued to solidify the First Article of Faith, focusing on saying every word exactly right.  We also began memorizing "Happy Thought" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
For calendar, we talked about the date, and she now knows it is August and can read the year as well.  We continue to say all the days of the week every day, focusing on what today is and what tomorrow is.  She has the week mostly memorized, but is having difficulty translating that to today and tomorrow.  I think doing it every day over time will clear this up for her.

We did pages 15-28 of About Three.  Mostly it was pre-writing skills like tracing lines, but there was some matching as well.  I was especially encouraged today, because we did a page of same/different, and Lydia picked out all the different objects perfectly.  We've been working on this, and just a week ago, she couldn't do it!

Oh, and Lydia and Eleanor spent a ton of time with their Leap Frog tag reader this week.  We have a U.S. map a solar system map that go with it, as well as this set of animal flashcards.  Lydia can pick out Pennsylvania, Texas, and California, and she knows where both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean are compared to the U.S.  So that's nifty, especially since we're doing the oceans later this year as one of our memorization items.  She's learning a lot from the solar system one too, especially combined with the Make a Scene: Outer Space app that she loves.  The app is basically an interactive sticker book, but she's getting familiar with the planet's names and several constellations too.  They're both learning so much from our tag games, that I'm considering getting the World Map and the Human Body ones also.  Maybe for Christmas.

That was our week.  I'm loving homeschool preschool so far!

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Week of Homeschool Preschool

This was our first week of official homeschool preschool.  It went as well as I could hope.  Lydia seems ready so far for all the resources I chose for her, which was my biggest fear.  I'm finding that I am really enjoying teaching her.

We started Singapore Essentials A a few weeks ago because I wanted to.  It's the only resource we started early, but Lydia loves it.  We do several pages most days and I usually have to cut her off.  So far she's done really well except with the same/different concept.  I'm pretty sure that is mostly a language issue, though, not a concept issue.  I will definitely keep working on it though.  She completely through page 60.  The other issue is that she is mostly not ready to start writing yet, so as a result, we are doing a lot of it orally.

Since Lydia has known her letters and sounds since before her 2nd birthday, we skipped that part of Ordinary Parent's Guide and started with basic blending.  Yesterday, Lydia read her first word "at," and today she moved onto her first 3-letter words, "cat," "sat," and "bat."  We completed through Lesson 28.  She seemed very proud of herself as we did the lesson with her upside down on the couch because she was too hyper to sit still.

The first day I tried it, I used the book and she whined and was not interested at all.  So the next day we did reading, I got out the magnet letters and a cookie sheet and after pre-reading the lesson, taught it without the book.  This went over WAY better and I think I'll just keep doing that.

I decided that the general theme I will have for this year's read-alouds is fairytales, myths, and legends.  It's not rigid, but it gives me a starting point.  To start off, we are reading the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.  We got through the creation story, the battle of the Titans, and we learned about Olympus.  We also read several picture books that the girls enjoy, and we continue to do family scripture study every evening, which mostly consists of reading The Book of Mormon out loud to the girls.

Memorization/Calendar Time:
Every day, we talked about the month, day, season, and year.  We also talked about the days of the week and listed them.  Afterwards, we worked on our first memorization selection, the 1st Article of Faith.  I think Lydia will have it memorized by the end of next week, plus or minus a few days.

ETA:  I was wrong!  She already has it memorized.  I took a video of her saying it all by herself (not very clearly and slowly, but it is there.)

Lydia got through page 14 of Rod and Staff's About Three preschool workbook.  It is mostly a pre-writing, preschool skills book and she enjoys it.

That was our school week.  We enjoyed it very much and I'm excited to teach my little girl more!