Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 43-50

Well, we are all feeling better, but we've had a fairly busy month.  Lydia has started her new therapy that is taking up a lot of our time and we are having a tricky time getting into a new groove, but we will get there.  I've also been trying to figure out where I'm going with Lydia's math and haven't quite settled on something yet.  Hopefully we'll get it all figured out by the next year.

Adelaide working hard on the computer
Lydia keeps getting better and better with reading.  We are getting to the point now where I think I'm going to need to start having Lydia read "real" books on occasion.  She is already reading some that we get from the library, but I think I am going to have her working on it more deliberately.  She is on lesson 122 in OPGTR.

Snow Day

I think she's been reading to herself a little too.  I got her a Thomas the Train book from the library and she spent a few days looking at it.  Today, when she read it to me, she did it almost flawlessly and very quickly, suggesting that she had read it before.  I am so excited that reading is becoming a bigger part of her life.
It was funny, the other day I was talking to her speech therapist and she mentioned that they just discovered she could read when they were doing flashcards with her and she was reading the answers.  Good for her.

Lydia: Learning addition facts while making an "Eiffel Tower."  Win/win!
Like I said, we are sort of trying to figure out where to go from here.  I'm not ready for Lydia to memorize math facts.  I'm not sure why, but I just don't think she should yet.  So I'm trying to figure out how to slow her down while helping her get really solid on her number sense.  Right now I think I'm going to work on a combination Kitchen Table Math and Education Unboxed videos.

Eleanor maybe had a little bit of help with this one.
Lydia finished Step 13 in AAS.  She has also been writing when she draws.  I love to go through her pictures and read the captions and little things she writes.  So far she seems to have a knack for remembering how words are spelled.  She is by nowhere near perfect, but she does a pretty good job at least trying.

"Ounch apon a time a bus wint to school"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 39-42

At the Houston Arboretum, waiting for Daddy to finish his interview.
Well, I mentioned in my last weekly report that I was sick.  I still am. This is the cold that never ends.  Luckily, I'm at least functional and have done a little school.  Unfortunately, Tyler isn't as lucky.  He had another medical school interview last weekend, so we all took another car trip, this time to Houston, TX.  On the drive down, he progressively lost his voice more and more until it was completely gone, just in time for his interview.  Poor guy.  His voice is just now coming back, a week later.  He really missed being able to read the girls their bedtime story like he always does.  As a result of his cold, he was home most of last week and I never get as much school done with Daddy home.

Lydia finished Lesson 113 in OPGTR.  She's zooming through it at a pretty fast pace now.  I'm actually starting to combine some of the shorter lessons into one day.  That is a far cry from where she was only 3 or 4 months ago where a lesson might take 3 or 4 days to complete.  At the rate she's going, I'm anticipating that we may actually finish the book by the end of Kindergarten, which would be amazing.

Since it is now November, Lydia has been working toward her new Pizza Hut Book-It goal for the month.  Last month, I vastly underestimated her and her goal was to read one story, which she did in one day.  This month, she has to read 5 stories to earn her pizza.  She has been really on top of it, asking me all the time if we "can work on my goal."  She has read four of her five required stories, so she'll probably be hitting that goal today.  The stories she read were Going to Town, Hop on Pop, and two Little Bear stories.  She is averaging a middle 2nd grade reading level, which is very exciting to me.

Eleanor continues to ask for a reading lesson every day I do reading with Lydia.  How can I say no to that?  We are slowly working through the McGuffey app I mentioned last week and watching a few of the Reading Bear videos where they sound out words for her.  Blending is holding her back a little.  That, and I'm really not feeling inspired to start teaching her read yet.  I think now that Lydia is starting to really catch on, the idea of starting over at the beginning isn't appealing to me.  That's my own issue, and I'm trying not to let my own inclinations affect Eleanor.  She's so young (newly three), that I don't think I can hurt her at this point, regardless of what we do. Thus all the reading apps and videos.  They are the happy medium for now.  I've promised myself that if she figures out blending with any sort of reliability, I will buckle down and start doing reading with her in earnest.

Adelaide loves reading too!

I'm trying to figure out what to do with math.  I feel like Lydia is sort of floating along and not really learning anything new or grasping any of the extra number-sense concepts that Math Mammoth is trying to teach her.  I'm also trying to figure out if I should start teaching her math facts.  Right now, I'm leaning towards stepping back from Math Mammoth for a bit and focusing on Miquon and math games.  We'll see what we do, but I do think I need to pause a bit at the moment and make sure she gets some of these concepts down solid.

"Winie the Pooh and Piglit (and Eeyore)"

I'm doing so much better with spelling now that we have the Sound Literacy app.  Lydia likes it too and is much happier to do spelling.  We finished through Lesson 11.  She has also been writing a lot in her free time.  Usually, she writes words that describe the pictures she draws.  I just love to see her using the things she's learning.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 32-38

This has been a busy few weeks, and I have a feeling that the next several months are going to be that way.  Tyler has started interviewing with internal medicine residencies and whenever possible, we are traveling with him.  Luckily, the girls are good travelers.  This last weekend we went to Dayton, OH.  It would have been lots of fun except that on the drive there I felt myself getting sicker and sicker.  I powered through it enough to be able to go see the things we wanted to see, but 5 days later I'm still feeling poorly.  So, we haven't done school at all this week.


In Dayton, OH, we went to the National Air Force Museum.  It was really neat and the girls loved seeing all the airplanes and helicopters.  If you ever get a chance, I suggest that you take the time. We only spent a few hours, but could have spent so much longer if the girls would have let us read the plaques.  My favorite was that we saw the actual airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.  For some reason that made it very real for me.

Eleanor the Astronaut
Lydia is on Lesson 106 in OPGTR and is starting on all the ways to read the "oo."  She continues to improve in speed and pick up other stuff from all the non OPGTR practice reading she's been doing.  It is an exciting time for me to see her making this kind of good progress after working so hard with her.
Eleanor has been begging me for reading lessons and we are doing the McGuffey app on the iPad for the moment (I got it for free).  The app is really neat as it basically just takes the old McGuffey speller that all the pioneers learned to read with and turns it into iPad lessons.  I doubt we'll use it all the way through, but as a place holder, Eleanor's enjoying it well enough and it requires no prep for me. I think with a lot of work she could probably start OPGTR right now, but I don't want to put in that work yet, so I'm mostly holding off and working on solidifying her letter sounds and starting on some phonetic awareness activities informally ("what letter starts the word cat?").

Lydia in front of part of Apollo 15
Math continues as normal.  I see her making some number sense connections, which is great.  We continue to do a page of Math Mammoth and a page of Miquon daily right now.

Adelaide eating the dirt at the park.

The big news on this front is that Lydia finished the first 1/4 of her timeline, "Ancient Times."  Today she learned "John the Baptist" and that was the last one for the first group.  She has learned 42 items on the timeline and I think she just might make it through the entire thing this year.  She also finished the 5th Article of Faith, "Autumn" by Emily Dickinson, and has started the 6th Article of Faith.  It is amazing how quickly she picks up poems and I'm already wondering if I picked enough for her to do this year.

I haven't been great about spelling lately because Eleanor and Adelaide got into our magnet letter tiles for AAS one day and now 8 of them are missing, likely never to be seen again.  It really bummed me out.  Since then, I've been using spelling as sort of an extra handwriting practice for Lydia, but that meant we were only getting through maybe 4 words a day and her frustration level with spelling was much higher.  So last week I bit the bullet and bought the Sound Literacy app for our iPad, which is basically just a virtual version of the letter tiles.  It is the most expensive app I ever bought, but I knew that once I had it, I would be 10 times more likely to do spelling and that Lydia would probably do spelling more happily as she likes anything iPad related.  So far so good.  It hasn't been optimized for OS7 yet, so it crashes a lot which bothers me, but I'm going to hold off and hope that it will get better soon.  As a result, Lydia finished Lesson 10 in All About Spelling last week.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 28-31

We had a good week again.  We finished it off by visiting a pumpkin patch place nearby with the grandparents.  It was a really fun day.  Other than that, our week was pretty uneventful and normal.

Adelaide made this grumpy face the whole time she sat in the corn pit.

Lydia is through lesson 98 in OPGTR which is the beginning of section 11.  She is easily getting through a lesson a day right now, although I have been adding a little bit of extra practice occasionally from Phonics Pathways when I don't think OPGTR has enough.  Her reading continues to take off, and this week we read another story from Little Bear ("Little Bear Goes to the Moon").  I've learned that Lydia will happily read large quantities of material if she is promised a candy for her efforts.
Eleanor also asked for me to do reading with her a few days this week, so we are working on the letter sounds.  She wants a candy too. 

Eleanor loved riding the ponies.
Lydia did a page of both Math Mammoth and Miquon most days this week.  She is doing great with both of them.  We are going at a slower pace than required in both to finish them in a year, but as they are both first grade programs and we are doing two programs simultaneously, I'm not too worried about it.  I just want her to get a solid foundation.

We are not doing formal science this year, but I am sort of unschooling it and we had some good science discussions this week.  We had a long discussion about lightning and thunder.  It was storming outside and Lydia didn't understand how they were related.  We ended up watching an episode of Magic School Bus about rainstorms to help her.
She has also developed a sudden fascination with anatomy and doctors.  She keeps doing examinations on her animals and has spent several hours playing with a few new human body apps I got for her.  The two main ones are Toca Doctor and The Human Body by Tinybop.  I love almost every Toca app we have, but this one is not incredibly scientific.  It is more of preschool level app to teach broad principles rather than actual anatomy.  The Human Body, however, is a very impressive app.  It is relatively new and I am happy to find it.  Several months ago I spent a lot of time looking for an app like it and it didn't exist yet.  My medical student husband was even impressed by it.  Anyways, I might talk more about these apps later, but we've had a lot of fun discussions about aspects of them, especially the various systems of the body and what they do.

Lydia conquered the hay tower.
Lydia is still working on the 5th Article of Faith, although I expect her to get it down this week.  She also got to "Roman Republic" in her timeline and both girls continue to love practicing their timeline daily.  

The girls have the 8 art selections for this semester down as well as their countries of origin.  I realized that all except one of them are landmarks in our Barefoot World Atlas app, so I've been having Lydia try to find them there as part of her practice.  It is a good way to combine geography and art!  Plus, she needs more practice with a globe-style map as we do most of our practicing on a wall map.
I ordered the first book in the Draw Write Now series for Lydia.  She loves drawing and I'd love for her to learn to draw passably.  She really loved it and drew several pictures using the instructions.  I'll share one some time.

Although she got stuck in every hole there was, Adelaide still enjoyed climbing on the straw pyramid.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 18-27

The last few weeks have been busy and eventful for us.  First, Daddy was out of town for the whole month except two days for Ellie's birthday.  He was doing a rotation for school three hours away and had to work every day. While he was gone, I had full reign of the girls, including an ER trip for Adelaide for nursemaid's elbow.  She decided to throw a little tantrum and make her legs to limp while I was holding her hand at the Botanical Garden and her little arm bone got dislocated.  I've never had to take all three girls to the ER by myself, and it isn't really an experience I hope to repeat anytime soon.  Luckily it wasn't a super pressing emergency, so I didn't have to deal with panic or too much worry.

Also, I've been crazy busy with medical residency interviews for Tyler.  The application opened up 2 weeks ago and he has already received enough interviews that we are culling them.  But I'm busy researching each program in depth, figuring out when I should schedule them, and trying to figure out traveling arrangements. It is a busy, stressful time and taking way more effort than I eventually thought it would require

On the bright side, while Daddy was out of town, we got a lot of schoolwork done. A few weeks ago I mentioned that we were already a ways behind where I wanted to be, but now we are only 1 day behind!  We've been working hard and things have been coming along quite nicely.

Lydia continues to do wonderfully with reading.  She finished Lesson 94 today of OPGTR (out of  231 which is a 4th grade reading level).  She is about at a 2nd. grade reading level at this point, although it is hard to say for sure because most of the graded readers use a lot of sight words and Lydia's reading program is pretty strict phonics. We had a major breakthrough this week though.  I signed Lydia up for Pizza Hut's Book-It program, which started this month.  I had been giving her goals a lot of thought and decided that I would make her read a Little Bear story ("Birthday Soup"), which was 13 pages long.  She loves Little Bear, but I estimated this would take her a week or two.  Well, she sat down and read the entire story with me in one sitting because she didn't want to stop, and did a wonderful job of it!  She stayed up past bedtime because she was doing so well and then we went and got her pizza that night.  She was so proud of herself and so incredibly focused.  I guess I'll have to make a more ambitious goal for next month.  Maybe three Little Bear stories.

Math Time
Lydia is about 30 pages into Math Mammoth and is doing well.  She's also finished several pages of Miquon.  She really enjoys math, but there's not much to say about it at this point.  Oh, Eleanor has been joining us for math time and playing with the c-rods.  Lydia was about three years old when she started getting familiar with the rods, and Eleanor really likes them.  The difference in how they play with them cracks me up.  Lydia made trains out of them.  Eleanor makes them be a family or princesses and a castle.  Funny kiddos.

We just keep doing the next thing with these and there isn't much to report at the moment.

Lydia finished "Knight-in-Armour" followed by "Dora Diller" and has just started the 5th Article of Faith.  We are also up to 30 items on our timeline.  The girls love the timeline and try to get me to add a new one every day.  They are both keeping up and love telling me all the ones they've learned during mealtimes.  The girls also continue to make connections because of it too.  This week, Daddy read them Gilgamesh the King and the story started by saying he was king of Mesopotamia and both girls got very excited because they recognize Mesopotamia.  They now can tell you that Gilgamesh was king of Mesopotamia. That fact would have gone right over them if they weren't already familiar with Mesopotamia.  Yay, for mental pegs!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 13-17

This week was Eleanor's birthday!  She was so excited and ate it up.  She picked a pink cake with pink frosting and pink candles and wanted all "princess."  It is so funny, I don't know where her princess thing came from.  It certainly wasn't from me.  I always swore that I wouldn't be one of those moms, but Ellie came by it as if it was in her DNA or something.  She is so cute, though, that I am trying my best to let her be happy while not buying her lots of junk.  Her favorite presents were a princess costume and some My First Little House books.  She ended up having her princess dress taken away yesterday because she unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet, which is not how princesses behave (she got it back today).  It is hard being three.

Lydia continues to be able to do a full lesson most days.  She finished Section 7 in OPGTR and started section 8, which is all the different ways to do long vowel "a".  So far, she has covered "ai" and "ay" with no problem at all!  This week was also a milestone for her because she has started using reading in her daily life to help her get information about the world around her.  I got a book from the library about Merlin and she brought it to me and asked me what "Merlin" was!  A few other times I've noticed that she will try to read a word or two to help her know what she's looking at.  I'm excited to see the beginnings of this transition for her.  Oh, and OPGTR discussed homonyms and now she is totally fascinated by homonyms.  She will say verbatim, "[word] and [word] sound the same, but they don't mean the same thing.  They must be a homonyms!"

We are mostly focusing on Math Mammoth.  It was neat because for the last day or two we've been doing a unit on using number lines to help us do addition.  A few months ago, Lydia's Essential Math B book talked about this and it was very difficult for her to grasp.  Today she did several problems all by herself without any help from me!  It is nice to see things sink in now that we are revisiting them.

One of my favorite of Lydia's pictures to date. "I'm swimming at the lake [Powell] and I build a sandcastle!"

We are in Lesson 9 in AAS.  The words seem pretty easy for her, so mostly we are focusing on handwriting while she goes through the lists, although we do continue to review phonograms, concepts, and troublesome words.

In her HWT Kindergarten book, Lydia has started having full sentences to copy.  She is struggling to translate her written letters into the confines of lines and words.  It is really good for her to have this practice, because it is obvious that she is going to need quite a bit of direct instruction in it.  Luckily, I plan to just do copywork for the rest of the year after she finishes her handwriting book, which will probably be in the next few months.

Adelaide worked so hard to storm the castle, but didn't know what to do once she got there.

Lydia finally finished the 4th Article of Faith, although we continue to review it daily.  She started "Knight-in-Armour" by A.A. Milne because she is really into dragons lately and I love the rhythm of it.  She seems to as well, and I think she might finish this one in record time.

The timeline continues to go well.  Both girls really enjoy it and we are up to 20 events now.  When we added "Olmecs of Mesoamerica" to our timeline, Lydia commented that the picture "looks like Daddy! He is sad because he is sitting in time out."  Here is the picture she was referring to:

I thought her observation was hilarious and immediately let Tyler know that he must be an Olmec.

A few weeks ago I printed out copies of several famous landmarks and am using them for art study for the next few months. We talk about the name of the landmark and then what country it is in.  The girls love it and have already started noticing some of these famous landmarks in their daily lives.  One thing that is funny, though, is that Eleanor has really taken to the Arc de Triomphe.  Not the picture, but just the name of it.  She walks around the house all day saying "Arc de Triomphe!" to herself over and over.  She thinks it is great fun.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 7-12

Well, we are only 12 days into school and are already way behind.  Like 2 weeks behind.  Oh well.  Daddy's rotation last month didn't require much of him and he was home almost all day every day, which really threw off our school plans.  I have already learned that I find it very difficult to school when Dad's home.  This month, however, the girls are hardly going to see him he's going to be gone so much, so I'm hoping we'll make up for lost time.

Lydia is able to complete a full lesson of OPGTR most days, which is awesome.  A few weeks ago we were only doing about half a lesson a day.  Her speed and attention span are both increasing.  She hasn't really had any problem picking up all the new material I've been throwing at her.  She has finished through Lesson 80 and is on the review lessons for Section 7 right now!  One word in particular I was impressed with because it required so much of her and she got it right away: "strange."  It has a 3 consonant blend, long "a", silent "e", and alternate "g" sound, but she didn't bat an eye at it. 

We also finished Little House in the Big Woods as a read aloud.  I started Stuart Little and a few chapters in the girls were begging for more Little House, ("Stuart Little is not my favorite!") so I decided to ditch Stuart Little for now and do Little House on the Prairie instead.  I think Lydia and Eleanor like it because it is about three sisters, just like them.  Regardless, I'm glad that they are excited about listening to a book.  They are also in love with the My First Little House books. We owned one already that I got from Goodwill, but I've ordered more for Eleanor's birthday coming up.  In the meantime, we've been checking out as many as I can find at the library. 

Lydia and Adelaide "reading" on the couch in the playroom.  I took the picture through the glass door so I wouldn't disturb them, thus the glare.  Adelaide has recently started really enjoying looking at books.

Math is going as well as always.  We are doing about a page or two of math every day.  We did have a big win with one of the games in Math Mammoth called "Some Went Hiding."  It is a very simple game, but Lydia and Eleanor loved it.  Basically I took 5 objects (because we were practicing addition facts for 5) and told Lydia to close her eyes.  Then I took away a few.  When she opened her eyes, she had to tell me how many I stole.  That's all there is to it, but Lydia and Ellie played it for a good half hour and Lydia almost has her facts within 5 down.  I let Ellie play by helping me "steal" the objects while Lydia closed her eyes.  It was lots of fun all around!

Lydia is almost done with Lesson 8 in All About Spelling.  She's doing really well, but for some reason always struggles with "an" and "am" words.  She always wants to make the "a" an "i".  I think this may because of how we pronounce them, although we definitely pronounce words like "jim" and "jam" differently.  Oh well, it will just take practice, I guess.

The 4th Article of Faith is proving difficult for her, but she's starting to get it.  Another few days and she'll have it down.  In the meantime, we continue to add to our timeline of the world and now she is up to the Phoenicians, which means that she has 16 items on it already!  The girls really like doing the timeline and it has already proven valuable.  I try to make connections for them as much as possible when things come up that match the timeline.  So far that mostly means we talked about religious/Old Testament things like Joseph's dad in "Joseph: King of Dreams" as a "Patriarch of Israel" or things like that.  As we progress farther through time, I imagine we'll be able to make even more connections.

I'm not really doing history as a subject, exactly, this year, but we do have some history resources that we are using (besides the timeline of the world):  The Story of the World: Volume One audio cd and Liberty's Kids dvds.  Story of the World covers from prehistory to the fall of Rome and Liberty's Kids is a cartoon that covers the American Revolution in 40 episodes.  I've been really impressed with it so far and even I've learned things.  We mostly watch it as we drive around town (we spend about an hour in the car every day).  The girls have watched the entire series one and a half times now, and "Doctor Franklin" (Benjamin Franklin) is one of Eleanor's favorite characters.  I'm not sure they get much out of it yet, but Eleanor, especially, loves it a lot.  I expect we'll use it quite a bit in the future.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beginning of New Year and first Weekly Report: Days 1-6

We officially started our new school year last week.  Lydia recently turned five and will now be considered a kindergardener for our homeschooling purposes.  I'm so excited to be able to consider myself a "real" homeschooler now instead of a poser who does some worksheets with her 4 year old.  I've looked forward to homeschooling Lydia since she was 8 months old and now we're doing it.  And she's doing great!

But first, I thought I'd share some pictures.  I did have a cute picture that I took of her on the first day of school in front of our height-measuring ruler we have, but Daddy accidentally deleted them... so that's that.  We did go to the zoo a few days previously, so here are some cute pictures from the zoo.  Lydia loves animals and we spent the entire day there:

Looking at the elephants.
Brown bear
Touching a goat
Lydia's surprise favorite of the day: The Otter.  She looked at it for about 20 minutes and laughed every time it stood up straight.
This week she also drew a cute little picture of a duck.  I love that her pictures are getting more and more recognizable.

We have continued going to Little Sprouts almost every week. The girls enjoy the program and they enjoy exploring the Botanical Garden afterwards.  This week's theme was "birds" and we read some stories about birds, sang some songs, and then made little bird feeders out of pipe cleaners with cheerioes strung on them.  It was simple, but both girls had a lot of fun making them:

Eleanor making her bird feeder
As for school stuff, we've completed 6 days of school, so I guess we are 3.5% of the way done with our new year!  Lydia has really taken off in the last few days, but I'll go into that more in each subject:

We started Math Mammoth 1a a little bit ago and so far she has been able to complete and understand everything we've done.  And we're going at a good pace, too!  I am really liking Math Mammoth.  It really breaks down all the different steps and ways of looking at a problem.  Lydia also did some pages in Miquon.  Overall, I think my math plan this year is going to work out well.

Eleanor started MEP Reception level and has completed 3 lessons.  She is really enjoying having her own math and the style works much better for her than it ever did for Lydia.

Lydia is almost done with lesson 75 in OPGTR.  Today was a huge milestone for her, though.  It is the first time she hasn't sounded out more than half the words!  She would look at them, think for a minute, and then just say the word!  I am so proud of her and excited for this step.  She's really coming along well.

Since I have decided to be better about read alouds this year, I came up with a list of the minimum books that I want to have read to the girls by the end of the year. It is only 7 chapter books, and this week we have done pretty well.  The girls are almost done listening to me read Little House in the Big Woods.  We were already halfway through it, so it is cheating a little, but they love Laura.  We've been getting the illustrated My First Little House books from the library and they adore them, so it was an easy switch to the chapter book.

Lydia finished capitol letters and has started lowercase.  She is now officially halfway through the Kindergarten book.

Lydia finished Lesson 6 (short vowel "a") in All About Spelling and has started Lesson 7 (short vowel "i").  I discovered that if I let her write on the whiteboard instead of using the tiles, she goes much quicker and is much more excited about it.  I'm not giving the tiles up for good or anything, but for all the extra practice words at least, I'm going to let her hand-write her words.

Lydia finished John 7:17 and is working on the 4th Article of Faith.  She is also doing very well with our timeline of the world.  So far, she can list the first 13 items on it (up to "Assyrians").  We have cards on the wall and she is allowed to look at the pictures when reciting the timeline.  Almost every day we do school, we are able to add a new card for her to learn at the end.  She and Eleanor are both loving it.  Eleanor is doing pretty well too and helps Lydia if she gets stuck sometimes.

So that is our first bit of school.  Everything is going well and both girls continue to learn!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Goals for 2013/2014 School Year

This is another post that is mostly for me, but like usual, if you are interested, go ahead and read it.  As Monday will be the first day of our new school year, I thought it would be helpful for me to write down some goals that I have for the year.  Lydia will be starting Kindergarten and Eleanor will be doing K3.  This year, I will consider the year complete when Lydia completes 170 "days" of school.  I don't have any particular number of days that I want Ellie to finish; school will be completely optional and mostly-child led for her this year.

Lydia- At a minimum, I'd like to get through Math Mammoth 1A and Miquon Orange, although if we can get through Math Mammoth 1B and Miquon Red, that would be ideal.  Like last year, it will be difficult to predict where she might hit walls with concepts, so it is hard what sort of pace she will be able to set, and completing both of those programs is a lot of work.  I'd also like to have her skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.

Eleanor- If I can have her accurately counting to 20, or 50 as a higher goal, that would be great.  I'd also like to get through MEP Reception which is only 60 lessons, so we'll see how that goes.

Lydia- I'm not really sure how far she will get, but my biggest goal for this year is fluency.  I want her to be able to read the words she knows quicker than right now.  A lot of that will be training.  Currently she reads a word and then looks around and I have to get her attention all over again for another word.  I guess as a big goal, I'd like for her to be able to mostly read books like Little Bear or other beginner readers books on her own.  I also really want to be better about doing read alouds with her, so I'm going to try to read her seven books this year.

Eleanor- I'd like her to know all the sounds of the letters and possibly begin some pre-reading towards the end of the year (e.g. "what letter starts the word, bat?").  Depending on how she does, I might start cvc words later, but that's a ways off right now.

Lydia- I'd like her to finish All About Spelling 1, which means she could confidently spell all cvc words and some others.

Eleanor- I have no aspirations for spelling this year.  Except I might teach her how to spell her name?

Lydia- I want her to finish HWT Kindergarten and hopefully start doing copywork.  With that, she'll learn lowercase letters, which she still needs to work on.

Eleanor- I want her to work on pre-writing activities and focus on control and correct pencil grip.

End of Lydia's PreK Year Review

We start a new school year on Monday, so I thought that I would review how far Lydia has come this year.  This is mostly for myself, so I don't intend for many other people to all be interested in this information.  However, if you are or if you think it would help you, read on!

Lydia completed 40 weeks of school, counting 3 days of work as a week, so approximately 120 days of school.  In that time, I really saw her progress a lot.  For example, she went from not grasping the concept of bigger/smaller to using it to describe things to me.

All the books she finished completely this year

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."

January: "She can read most short vowel 5 letter words as well as most two-letter blends, like "bl" or "st".  She still needs some practice with these to solidify them, though."

July: She can read all the blends and digraphs that have been brought up in OPGTR so far, including "th," "sh," among others and she can blend very confidently.  She can also read simple silent "e" words and words that only have e at the end (like he and she).  She has completed through Lesson 73 of OPGTR.  For Spelling, she has started All About Spelling Level 1 and has completed the first 6 steps, which means that she can spell most cvc words, although she is still practicing with them.

Pages she completed in Miquon
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."

January: She can count to 100 with help.  She has a basic grasp on more/less and can do some simple addition with help or c-rods.

July: She can do all addition/subtraction within 10 with manipulatives and can usually do it within 20 with manipulatives.  She understands the concept of "0".  She knows all the important shapes, colors, etc.  She understands place value through 10s and can tell you that 15 is made up of 10 and 5.  She finished all of Essential Math A, 2/3 of Essential Math B, about 40 pages of Miquon Orange/Red, and is on Lesson 2 of Math Mammoth 1A.

She finished Handwriting Without Tears PreK and is halfway through HWT Kindergarten.  She can form all of her uppercase letters with ease and legibility, although writing on a line is still difficult and she often writes the letters with incorrect strokes. 

Lydia blew me away with her memorization abilities this year.  She memorized 10 religious selections, 7 poems, and 7 facts and lists.  She also started memorizing her timeline of the world.

All told, it was a very successful year!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Weekly Report: Weeks 35-36

This is going to be a long post mostly for myself, so please bear with me.  It is going to have a ton of pictures because we've had a very busy and memorable few weeks.  Somehow I managed to squeeze in two weeks of school into that time, but that was definitely not the focus of our month.

The biggest highlight was definitely our trip to Lake Powell and then northern Utah to a family reunion at our old family farm.  I took the three girls by myself and drove the entire trip (over 3000 miles!) without Tyler because he was busy taking finals.  It was daunting and exhausting, but well worth the effort. 
On the houseboat at Lake Powell
In our private cove at Lake Powell
Lydia helping Uncle Ken drive the boat
Adelaide sitting in her own camp chair, very pleased with herself.
Lydia in her element on an old fashioned train
Lydia and Ellie on the train
Eleanor helping Grandpa pick peas at the family farm
Lydia and Eleanor enjoying the hammock at the family farm
Then when we got back home, we went to the splash park and a few days later enjoyed a lot of Independence Day festivities.

Ellie at the splash park
Lydia and Adelaide at the splash park
Swimming at Grandma's house on the 4th of July
Elenaor helping Grandpa blow up fireworks
Lydia and Ellie swinging on a tire swing at the house Daddy grew up in on the 4th of July
Swimming at Daddy's old house on the 4th of July.  They wouldn't leave the stairs, but still had lots of fun!
Now, for actual school-related stuff, we officially reached my goal for Pre-K!  36 weeks of at least 3 days per week was my initial goal.  I've done it!  Going into homeschooling, I was most afraid that I wouldn't have the discipline to do all the work and that I liked it more in theory than in practice.  I've proven to myself this year that I do have the discipline to do what is needed.  We're not starting Kindergarten officially until August 6th, so we'll actually get a few more weeks of school in for PreK.  Right now I'm focusing on revving us up and getting more into the habit of doing school every day.  In Kindergarten, my goal is 170 days of school minimum (this year we did approximately 115 days).

We've started back into our curricula rather than just mommy-inspired lessons.  Lydia is definitely understanding 10s place value much better now, which is a big deal for her.  C-rods are so brilliant for this and really helped.  I've also learned the value of promising M&Ms for every 2 problems she completes.  Her productivity has gone up exponentially.

We continue to slowly go through OPGTR.  Lydia is still working on silent-e words.  Right now our speed is mostly determined by her lack of focus during practice than by her decoding ability.  She just needs to work on fluency, but we'll keep on trucking.  I've also started requiring that we read at least a page out of Little Bear every day too.  Right now she can read about 60% of the words (I help with the rest), and the fact that she has almost all of the episodes of the Little Bear tv show memorized is helping with some familiarity too.

Lydia officially recited "Sweet and Low" today without help or reminders.  It is the longest poem she's memorized yet (16 lines).  I think I will just let her review it for a few more days before she starts something else.  I'm not sure what we'll start next because I sort of want to wait until she officially starts Kindergarten before I take anything new off her list, but we'll see.

Lydia's still doing well with this.  She's doing about 2-3 pages in her HWT Kindergarten workbook.  I really don't expect it to last us for too long into Kindergarten, but it is still good for her.

We're still doing AAS.  Lydia just finished Step 5 and started Step 6 today.  We're still loving it.

And that's our last few weeks.  Before we start Kindergarten, I'll write up my end of year review, but as a spoiler, I'll just say that I am so proud of Lydia and how well she's doing!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Memorization Plan for Kindergarten 2013/14

For PreK, I created what I thought was an ambitious memorization plan for Lydia.  She blew me away with her ability to memorize and I ended up needing to add a lot of content.  This year I have created another ambitious plan for Kindergarten.  I have about the same amount of religious content on this list.  Inspiration for them comes mostly from the Articles of Faith (of which there are 13) and the LDS Scripture Mastery list.  The poems I found are longer and more challenging than last year, but they are fun and appeal to her interests.  Last year, poems seemed to be her favorite thing to memorize, so I may even be adding more to that list as the year goes on.

For facts this year, Lydia will be attempting to memorize a 161 point timeline of the world using the Classical Conversations Classical Acts & Facts cards as our list.  I feel like this is especially ambitious, but I am also OK if it takes us more than one year to complete as I feel like having a timeline memorized will prove incredibly valuable for her.  The CC cards are broken into 4 sets by time period, and we'll be working on one set at a time.  For reference, here is a link to our list for last year, here is a link to how and why we do memorization, and here is a link to the CC Cards we'll be using.

We've completed the ones that are crossed out.  The ones that are italicized are being worked on currently.

  • Article of Faith 4:  We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • Article of Faith 5:  We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
  • Article of Faith 6:  We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
  • Job 19:25–26: For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.    
  • Isaiah 55:8–9: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  • John 7:17: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.       
  • Alma 32:21: And now as I said concerning faith — faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.       
  • D&C 25:12: For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.       

"Autumn" by Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.              

“Dora Diller” by Jack Prelutsky
My stomach's full of butterflies!
lamented Dora Diller.
Her mother sighed. "That's no surprise,
you ate a caterpillar!"

“Knight-in-Armour“ by A. A. Milne
Whenever I’m a shining Knight,
I buckle on my armour tight;
And then I look about for things,
Like Rushings-Out, and Rescuings,
And Savings from the Dragon’s Lair,
And fighting all the Dragons there.
And sometimes when our fights begin,
I think I’ll let the Dragons win...
And then I think perhaps I won’t,
Because they’re Dragons, and I don’t.                                      
"Hope is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers                                
That perches in the soul,                                             
And sings the tune without the words,                                 
And never stops at all,                                  
And sweetest in the gale is heard;                                          
And sore must be the storm                                      
That could abash the little bird                                  
That kept so many warm.                                            
I've heard it in the chillest land,                                
And on the strangest sea;                                           
Yet, never, in extremity,                                              
It asked a crumb of me.                                               
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.                                                
His house is in the village though;                                            
He will not see me stopping here                                            
To watch his woods fill up with snow.                                    
My little horse must think it queer                                          
To stop without a farmhouse near                                          
Between the woods and frozen lake                                     
The darkest evening of the year.                                             
He gives his harness bells a shake                                            
To ask if there is some mistake.                                                
The only other sound’s the sweep                                          
Of easy wind and downy flake.                                                 
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.                                   
But I have promises to keep,                                     
And miles to go before I sleep,                                                 
And miles to go before I sleep.                                 
“The arrow and the song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow                                        
I shot an arrow into the air,                                        
It fell to earth, I knew not where;                                            
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight                                 
Could not follow it in its flight.                                   
I breathed a song into the air,                                   
It fell to earth, I knew not where;                                            
For who has sight so keen and strong,                                   
That it can follow the flight of song?                                       
Long, long afterward, in an oak                                 
I found the arrow, still unbroke;                                               
And the song, from beginning to end,                                   
I found again in the heart of a friend.                                     
“The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!                                                 
“The Fisherman” by Abbie Farwell Brown (started 1-16-14)f
The fisherman goes out at dawn                                              
When every one's abed,                                             
And from the bottom of the sea                                              
Draws up his daily bread.                                             
His life is strange; half on the shore                                       
And half upon the sea —                                             
Not quite a fish, and yet not quite                                           
The same as you and me.                                            
The fisherman has curious eyes;                                             
They make you feel so queer,                                   
As if they had seen many things                                               
Of wonder and of fear.                                
They're like the sea on foggy days, —                                    
Not gray, nor yet quite blue;                                     
They 're like the wondrous tales he tells                                               
Not quite — yet maybe — true.                                               
He knows so much of boats and tides,                                  
Of winds and clouds and sky!                                   
But when I tell of city things, 
He sniffs and shuts one eye!      

Facts and Lists: 
  • Classical Conversations Timeline: Ancient World
  • Classical Conversations Timeline: Medieval World (started 10-31-13)
  • Classical Conversations Timeline: New World
  • Classical Conversations Timeline: Modern World