Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 14

We ended up taking Thanksgiving week off.  I wasn't in the mood to do school and our schedule was all messed up.  We had a great Thanksgiving at my in-law's house and got back in the swing of things this week, doing a full week's worth of schoolwork!

Doing one of her Winnie the Pooh puzzles

On Monday night for Family Night, we made apple-cinnamon ornaments for our tree.  We used this recipe.  I remember making one of these when I was about 8 years old at a church activity and that ornament smelled so good for years.  Since we had to keep all our breakable ornaments off our tree this year because of all the little ones, we thought this would be a fun activity for our poor little tree.

Making cinnamon ornament

This week we focused on number bonds.  Number bonds are basically just addition, but they are presented in such a way that they attempt to help the child understand that 10 is just made up of 4 and 6 or that 7 is made up of 2 and 2 and 3.  Lydia loved number bonds.  Every day this week, when we started math, she'd tell me, "number bonds are [my] favorite."  Because she enjoyed it so much, we got a lot done.  She did pages 28-39 in Essential Math B.  In the workbook, it shows pictures of things to represent the numbers, but for every problem, we also did number bonds with the c-rods and for a few problems we used our regular linking cubes as well.  This isn't the first time this concept will be demonstrated to her like this, so I'm not expecting mastery, but she seems to like it and mostly understand what is going on.

In Miquon, we "made" numbers.  The worksheets had a number at the top, say 7 and all the addition problems were trying to figure out how to make 7s.  Because these were very similar to number bonds (but technically super simple algebra), we did several of them for different numbers and then today started actual addition problems!  I see a lot of practice in our future, but she seems to be starting to grasp it all.

Lydia finished lesson 49 of OPGTR, so she'll start 50 next time we sit down.  She seems to be really understanding all that we have done so far.  She can now read words like "gifts" and "stuff." I'm afraid because in a few lessons (lesson 54) she'll start digraphs and I think they will be considerably more challenging.  I do she'll be up to the task, though.  And she's already exceeding my expectations for her for this year.  I was originally just going to be happy if she started to understand blending, and now it is looking like she will be reading on a first grade level or so by the end of the year!

Wearing their matching hoodies while playing with playdough.
We're still working on memorization.  She is working hard on Proverbs 3:5-6 still, and I think she'll get it soon, maybe by the end of next week.  We've stopped listening to Debussy because we're listening to Christmas music instead.  This will be the first year the girls will really be excited about Christmas, so my goal is to help them understand the cultural aspects as they are fairly concrete.  Christmas tree, Santa, Christmas songs, very basic Nativity story, etc.  So far they are having a lot of fun with it and one of their favorite parts so far has been the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 13

Our family had a great weekend and enjoyed the last of the beautiful weather.  It still isn't too bad out, but it was great last weekend.  Our week has been uneventful, but we did do school every day except for Wednesday.  Oh, and Adelaide is officially crawling.  She is still very inefficient at it, but it is there.  I'm sure she'll get better in the next few weeks, too. 

We started EM back up.  This week has been mostly focused on counting to 20, which is something Lydia has no problem with thanks to Tally Tots. Even Eleanor has almost got it down thanks to that fun little app.  Mostly I've been using this time to try to introduce the idea of place value, which will take a lot more time, I think.  Anyways, Lydia finished p.25-27 in EM and did a few pages of Miquon.  She almost has counting to 100 down, but it is going to take some more practice, I think.

Coloring her math book.
Lyddie is halfway through Lesson 48 in OPGTR.  She is doing so well.  I am really excited about her progress.  She continues to get faster and to understand more and more blending concepts.  A few more lessons and we'll be into digraphs!  She has yet to read spontaneously, but she's doing well in our lessons, so I don't mind. It will come, I'm sure.  She still wants me to tickle her at the end of every sentence, which seems to be fairly motivating.  It has the side effect of helping her recognize when a sentence is done, too, so I'm not complaining!

We started Handwriting Without Tears this week.  I bought the preschool teacher's manual and workbook because her fine motor skills are about a year behind where they should be.  So far she's loving it, even though we haven't even done any writing yet.  This week we worked on getting her familiar with the 4 different shapes that make up every capitol letter as well as the words "vertical," "horizontal," and "diagonal." 

HWT has wooden shapes you can buy, but I didn't think it was worth $30 for them, so I made my own from the template in the book.  It took me over an hour to cut them all out of cardstock and then laminate them, but they turned out pretty well, I think.  The 4 shapes that HWT teaches to make capitol letters are big curve, little curve, and big line, little line.  I made 6-8 of each, and Lydia has enjoyed playing with them to make letters on her own.

Lydia likes it if I help her spell her name.

We also have a chalk slate that I'll break out later, but this week was mostly just getting familiar with the shapes and learning about correct pencil grip.

Lydia finished "At the Seaside" and we started Proverbs 3:5-8.  She is amazing.  She's going to be almost done with what I planned for the whole year by Christmas.  I'm going to have to sit down and come up with some more for her to do.  She really loves doing memorization and we do it almost every day, even when we don't do the other subjects.  I usually quiz her on it while I make lunch and she acts very proud of herself when she gets them right.  Here's the list of we've done so far.

Watching big sister work on school.
That's our week.  We'll probably do an abbreviated week next week because Daddy won't have school on Thursday and Friday.  I expect Monday-Wednesday to be business as usual, though.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 12.5

We had another week of school that had less school than I would have liked, so we'll call it week 12.5.  We only did two days of school.  I just couldn't get my act together.  Oh well.  We had a fun week though.  We went to the lake to go see the last of the fall leaves and the girls enjoyed throwing sticks and rocks into the water.  We also went to Grandma's house and then went "exploring" (a walk in a forest.  Lydia insisted that we were exploring).  On our "exploration," we saw a caterpillar and looked it it for a little while.  Lydia now knows that butterflies come from caterpillars, so we'll call that science. Our weather has been in the high 60s/ low 70s this week, so we've been trying to enjoy it while it holds.

Eleanor at the lake.  Notice Lydia's rock hitting the water

Not Adelaide's best picture, but she had fun at the lake too.

For math, Lydia worked on a few Miquon sheets.  Like I mentioned last week, we're sticking with Miquon only for a little while.  We'll come back to Essential Math in a few weeks.  She also read some.  And Lydia is coming along well with "At the Seaside."  Another week or so and she'll have it down.

I've read most of the instructor manual for Handwriting Without Tears and I'm busy acquiring all the little odds and ends needed to get going on it (chalk, etc.)  We'll officially start it next week.

And that's it for this week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekly Report: Week 12

This was a shorter than usual school week.  We only did 3 days of actual school.  I've been feeling unwell all and that combined with Halloween and my brother-in-law's wedding reception, it just didn't happen as much as I'd like.  Halloween was great, though.  Lydia and Eleanor did very well.  This time last year, there was no way that I would have thought Lydia would be able to go trick-or-treating.  But she did!  I was so proud of her.  She was very nervous and done with the experience after about 10 houses, but she still did it.  At the end, when she said, "You want to go home and go to bed...but no shower!" I decided that we could call it quits.  Eleanor kept going with Daddy for a little while longer, though.

Lydia did pages 15-24 of Essential Math B.  She seems to be catching on, but I'm sort of getting the feeling that we are going too fast for her right now.  She has a long attention span for math, but I think the concepts are moving quicker than she is capable of.  So I think starting this week I'm going to back off EM for a little while and work primarily with Miquon, which has been sitting more on the back burner for a little while.  Considering the fact that she has already finished Essential Math A, which was my goal for the whole year, I feel very comfortable with this decision.  More than anything I want her to get a strong foundation and I just need to keep telling myself that there is no hurry.

Lydia's attention span for reading is improving.  Where before, it was all I could do to get her to read 2 pages of my homemade readers (approximately 2 sentences per page), now she's reading 4-5 pages per sitting.  It helps that she's getting faster and starting to recognize words.  She finished lessons 41-44 and we'll start on lesson 45 tomorrow.  I've found a good motivator for her.  She likes for me to tickle her whenever she gets at the end of a sentence.

Lyddie loves memorization time.  She always tells me, "Don't forget memorization!"  So we do this more often than normal school.  Lydia started "At the Seaside" by Robert Louis Stevenson.  She is reacting more to this poem than most.  She recognized Robert Louis Stevenson from a previous poem she memorized, but I think she likes that it is about a beach and digging with a shovel.

I'll be figuring out and starting Handwriting Without Tears once I feel better.  I've skimmed the manual and I'm excited to start some of the activities with Lydia.