Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 11

This week was a bit unusual.  On Sunday, all three girls were a little sick, so we stayed home from church.  On Monday, they seemed better, but on Tuesday afternoon, the younger two had fevers and Lydia had a horrible sounding cough, so every day since we've stayed home.  Lydia only went to one day of therapy and missed dance class.  We also watched way to much tv.  And by "we," I mean the girls.  I don't mind letting them when they are sick, though.

On Sunday afternoon, the girls were well enough to "help" us make a jack-o-lantern.  They were very excited to pick out the pumpkin on Saturday.  Lydia and Eleanor seemed very nervous about touching the pumpkin "guts" and got bored watching Dad after about 5 minutes, but they were very excited with the end result when we put it on our front porch.  Afterwards, we watched the "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," which they loved and have watched several times since.  This is the first time we've ever really attempted Halloween with them.  Lydia has come such a long way in the last year that we are actually contemplating taking her trick-or-treating, something that we would never have thought possible last year.  Next week, I'll post pictures of the girls in their costumes.  Lydia is going to be Winnie the Pooh and Ellie is going to be a frog.

School continues to go on like it should.  Every day during lunch, we work on calendar, memorization, and mapwork.  Then after lunch and when Ellie is down for a nap, I ask Lydia is she would rather go down for a nap now, or do math.  She always wants to do math, then reading.  We usually spend an hour or so combined doing them and then she goes down for her required hour-long nap.  This system is working really well for us right now.

I did decide to add a subject to our day.  Lydia's fine motor skills are coming along nicely and I think she's ready to start some early handwriting practice.  I decided on the program Handwriting Without Tears for her because it was designed by an occupational therapist and honestly, it looks like it was designed for her.  I don't love the font, but I only plan to use it until her skills are good enough, and then we'll probably switch to another program.  That probably won't be until 1st or 2nd grade, though, so we'll see.  I've ordered my materials and they should get here in the next week or two.  I'll write more about it then.

Lydia did pages 9-14 of Essential Math A.  I think she has officially figured out the concept of less/more.  It has been a long few weeks, but I feel proud that I was finally able to explain it to her in a way that she would understand.  I realized that it wasn't an issue of comparing (so which is more, 7 or 9) but that she honestly didn't even know what the words "less" and "more" meant in relation to each other.  So we spent and entire math lesson just taking the little people manipulatives I have and putting more in a group and less in that group.  We did this back and forth and back and forth.  After that, she seemed to catch on pretty quickly and today she did a less/more page in EMa and got them all correct!  We worked on a greater than/lesser than Miquon sheet all week, but I think we'll probably repeat it now that she seems to be understanding better.

Lydia's reading is coming along.  This week she read her first 5-letter word, "bells."  We're almost done with Lesson 41 in OPGTR, but she's now 20% done with Reading Bears and still a bit ahead in it than her OPGTR lessons.  Her reading is getting quicker and she's starting to recognize a few common words without having to sound them out.

I went to a consignment sale this week and found this set of Nora Gaydos readers for $3 in like new condition.  They are perfect for where Lydia is right now, so we'll be using them as extra practice.  It was a nice score.

We've been working on solidifying her part for the Primary Program which is this Sunday.  I'm a little bit nervous because she's been gone from church for two weeks and hasn't been able to practice at all.  Tomorrow they are having a special practice, so I hope that will be enough for her.  It will have to do, I guess!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 10

We went out of town last weekend to attend Tyler's little brother's wedding.  As a result, we decided to go ahead and take off the whole week.  It was a fun trip, and especially fun because Tyler rarely gets to go with us on trips because of his schedule.  Lydia loved everything about it.  She was very excited about every aspect of the airport, from the airplanes to the escalator.

The girls had matching dresses for the wedding and looked adorable.

And Lydia loves to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Sunday mornings on TV, and she loved being able to see the Tabernacle in person.

So while it was a ton of work and quite exhausting, it was a fun weekend.

In other news, Lydia finally got to take off her splint.  The doctor's appointment was pretty fun too, because Tyler got to be her doctor!  We happened to have an appointment on the one afternoon he does family medicine rotations, and his doctor was assigned to us.  This was a great thing because Lydia is very nervous about doctors.  So although the doctor Tyler was assigned to had to check her after Tyler was done, Daddy did a bulk of the work.

As for school, we had a slow start after our trip.  We didn't do any school on Monday or Tuesday, but have gotten back into the swing of things since Wednesday.

We did pages 4-8 in Essential Math A and a page of Miquon.  Lydia is still struggling a bit with less and more, but is getting better, so I'm moving on and just continuing to review the concept every day.  We also continue to count to 100 with the abacus most days, as well as counting by 10s to 100.  She still needs a fair amount of help, but she's improving.

Still reading through the readers.  She is almost done doing all the reading through Lesson 40 in OPGTR (should finish tomorrow), although concept-wise, she has pretty much finished through lesson 48 or 50, though she still needs lots and lots of practice and solidifying.

 I've been horrible about read alouds.  Besides scripture study and Daddy's night time story, I haven't been reading much to them.  So this week I decided to read them The Hobbit.  It should take a while, but I wanted to reread it before the movie comes out, so I'm motivated.  They still don't get a whole lot out of chapter book read alouds, but I do want to make it a habit.

She's finished the 3rd Article of Faith and is now working on memorizing her part for the Primary Program at the end of October.  She'll have to say this part in front of the whole church, so I want her to have it down to give her the best chance at success.  The part she is memorizing is, "Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me. My favorite story about Jesus is when he helped Peter walk on the water."

Harvest Time:
We are going to do our activity tomorrow as a family.  There is a place nearby with a corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, etc.  We've been reading about autumn leaves and The Leaf Man especially has been a hit.  I don't even think that this book is part of the curriculum.  I just picked it up because it fit in the theme of leaves.

Same as usual.  Calendar, art, music, and pages 21-23 in Color, Count, and Cut.

And that was our lighter school week! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 9

This week we went to the doctor to check on Lydia's arm.  She's going to have to keep the splint on for at least another 2 weeks.  Luckily, she doesn't seem to mind it too much and it isn't really affecting her daily activities.  On Tuesday, we went to the lake and the girls had a lot of fun throwing rocks in. We did school every day this week except for Wednesday because we were out of the house the whole day.

In this picture, Ellie had already fallen into the lake twice.  Luckily just her pants got wet.

Looking for rocks.

Rock in mid-flight
We did pages 1-4 in Essential Math B.  I can already tell that this is going to be much slower going.  Right now Lydia is struggling to understand the difference between less and more, and since most of the future lessons build on that concept, I'm trying to make sure she understands it before we move on.  So far we've used Cuisenaire rods and she is starting to understand that if a rod it taller than another, it is more, so I'm going to attempt to apply that concept to numbers.  I think I might also try to use a number line and show that if a number is to the right or left it is more or less.  We might be right here for a while, though.

We've also started counting to 100 with our new abacus every day, and then counting by 10s.  A week or two of doing this, and I think Lydia will have it down.

We're continuing reading through my readers.  Lydia is getting better and faster, but she's still pretty slow, which is ok.  We're also doing Reading Bear every day, and she has actually gone farther in concepts with it than with OPGTR.  She understands about double letters and "ck".  I still want to make sure she gets a good grounding, though, so I'll continue to make sure she's read all the selections in OPGTR.  I don't mind teaching her concepts ahead of time as they come up though!

She has memorized the directions on a compass, and she's working on the 3rd Article of Faith.  She's doing well with her review every day.

Harvest Time:
We did the bread/Little Red Hen unit last week.  The girls enjoyed the book and I got a DVD from the library about how bread is made, from growing grains to baking.  We also made the yellow pound cake that is suggested in the plans.  The recipe uses the same ingredients from the Little Red Hen book we read.  I halved the recipe, and although the girls enjoyed it, I didn't like it.  That's probably a good thing because it would likely have killed me if I ate more than one slice (so much butter!).  Lydia and Eleanor did enjoy helping me measure and mix the batter, too.

She did pages 16-20 in Color, Count and Cut.  Everything else is about the same.  We reviewed the Renoir prints and listened to our Debussy playlist.  I did get a children's book on impressionists that has a few Renoir paintings in it from the library, but we haven't read it yet.

And that was our simple week.  Next week we're going to take off because we have a wedding that is going to take up much of our time.  We may do school for a few days, but we'll see.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

First Quarter Review and New Goals

We've been doing preschool officially for 9 weeks now!  It's been great and I've really enjoyed myself.  I feel like Lydia is enjoying herself too.  I've wanted to homeschool for a long time, but one of my main concerns was whether I would be better at it in theory or in practice.  So far I'm loving it, so on we go.

I plan to homeschool year-round, taking breaks when we need them.  Even so, my goal is to do at least the 36 weeks that brick and mortar schools do.  I remember that every 9 weeks we'd get a report card, so I think 9 weeks is a good time to look back at my goals and see how we're doing.

Back in July I wrote down a few things that Lydia could do and what I'd like for her to accomplish by the end of the year.  Here's those milestones, with her current ones added.

July: "Right now she knows and recognizes all the letters and their sounds.  She can occasionally tell me the first letter of a word when she hears it.  She can also spell her name using magnet letters without any help."
October: She can read all cvc words.  She can also read several short vowel 4-letter words.  Mostly these are ones that end with double letters, like "mall," but also words that end in -ck.  She's still fairly slow at reading, but she is definitely improving and progressing.  We haven't worked at spelling at all.

July: " She can currently count to 20 without help and recognize numbers 1-12 when written.  She can mostly count small numbers of objects (10 or less) and tell me how many of something there is, but sometimes double counts things or guesses."
October: She can count to 30 without help and recognize numbers 1-30 when written.  She can count objects with accuracy if she takes the time.  She understands the concepts of smaller/larger, same/different.  She is struggling with the concept of more/less.

I think she's done very well in 9 weeks.  She's also memorized 2 religious pieces, 2 poems, and 4 facts/lists.  I've seen a marked improvement in her fine motor skills and her coloring has definitely improved, as has her tracing.

Goals for the year
July: My goals for this year are to have her reading at least cvc word on her own.  I want to complete Essential Math A and MEP Reception for math and be able to count to 50 or more on her own.  I'd also like for her to be able to write her own name.
October: Get through Section 6 in OPGTR (she's in section 4 right now), which includes many blends and digraphs.  It doesn't include silent "e".  For math, I'd like for her to finish Essential Math B and as a shooting high goal, I want her to also finish Miquon Orange (we dropped MEP Reception).  Once she finishes Essential Math B, we'll start on Math Mammoth 1A.  I think this will probably be sometime around February, but we'll see.  I also think it is totally possible for her to finish my memorization plan, so that is also another goal.

So there it is.  I'm doing these goals and progress reports more for me to have a record in the future than for any one else's benefit, so if you made it this far, congratulations!