Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lydia's First Time Writing Her Name

I didn't know Lydia knew how to spell her name on her own.  Today, while we were outside enjoying our beautiful high 60s weather, Lydia was playing with sidewalk chalk, drawing things like sailboats and cassette players (thanks, Blue's Clues).  Then I heard her spelling her name to herself, so I walked over, and this is what I saw:

Yes, the "y" looks like a cherry, and the "d" is backwards and the "a" is a balloon, but not only does she know how to spell her name, but she was using that knowledge in her play!  It makes me happy.  I guess I better be more consistent with our handwriting lessons.

Weekly Review: Week 18

We had a good school week.  School got done in its entirety 4 days and a few extras other than that as well.  The weather got nice enough that we even had a play date at the park for a few hours on Thursday.  Lydia, especially, had a lot of fun at it and wouldn't stop telling me about all the things she did with her friends all the way home.

Yesterday, I spent a good amount of time cleaning the house deeper than I usually do.  And for the whole three hours, Eleanor was by my side "helping" me with everything.  She washed windows and counters, put away toys, and helped do laundry.  Lydia never went through the "my do it" phase and I'm enjoying it most of the time.  I'm trying my best not to push her aside because it is easier and faster to do it myself.

Lydia did pages 52-58 in Essential Math B.  This week was slow going because several pages had more problems than average.  This week we focused on "counting on" as a way of doing addition.  Lydia is almost grasping that concept, but we have a little way to go on it.  We also did several pages of Miquon, focusing mostly on patterns like ABABA and figuring out what comes next.

We finished reviewing and are back to doing the lessons in Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  Lydia is now in lesson 51.  I am noticing that she is decoding the words quicker than she was before.  She is still struggling a bit with words that have several blends in them like "smells."  But I think that will mostly come with practice.

We also kept reading Winnie the Pooh, which the girls are loving.  Both Ellie and Lydia have been good about reminding me when it is time to read the next chapter

Well, Lydia has already memorized "Who Has Seen the Wind."  That's the fastest she's ever memorized a piece, so I'm impressed.  This week we'll start on Amos 3:7.  As always, we continue to review all the memorization she's done this year every day during lunch, which is becoming a longer and longer process.  I'm very impressed with how much information she's retaining.

We started back on Handwriting Without Tears today.  I let both Ellie and Lydia play with our "wooden" letter pieces.  I even made them both mats to place them on for correct formation.  They had so much fun that they didn't want me to put them away when it was time for lunch.  Ellie has been watching LeapFrog's Letter Factory dvd in the car after we drop Lydia off at therapy most mornings, so she has begun to learn many of her letters.  She made an "O" and when I asked her what "o" says, she told me and was right!  She also got "X" correct after Lydia made one.  It makes me happy to see her learning too.

Finally, I don't know if I mentioned it, but for Christmas I got the girls Story of the World: Ancient Times on CD.  It is seven disks long, so I thought it might be possible for them to listen to them several times over the next year or two while we drive around town.  Well, the girls really enjoy them and Lydia asks to listen to them most times we're in the car.  Last time we were in the car, we listened to the story about Romulus and Remus (disk 5).  I've even been learning some things!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekly Review: Week 17

As this was our first week back after our long Christmas break, it took us a bit to get back into the swing of things.  We ended up doing three days of good school work.  For some reason, Lydia didn't want to do school the other days, which is unusual for her, but I decided before we started this year that I wouldn't push her past what she wanted to do.  At her age, I still consider school optional.  I think she'll be excited to work this week though.

Doing a dinosaur puzzle they got for Christmas

Lydia did 3 pages in Essential Math B and a page of Miquon.  The pages in EM-B were focused on "making" numbers.  Lydia had to try to find several combinations that all equaled 7, for example.  The Miquon page was just a page of simple addition problems. 

Lydia continued to review using ReadingBear.  I think we are about ready to start back up and move on to some new material, but we'll spend just a few more days working on consonant blends that come at the beginning of words.  These continue to trip her up, although she is getting better.

We also did several days with read alouds.  Lydia chose to begin with Winnie the Pooh, which is also a favorite of Ellie.  Both girls are big fans of the movies, so they enjoyed listening to the books.

Lydia finished Proverbs 3:5-6.  This week she'll start "Who Has Seen the Wind."  She tends to enjoy memorizing poetry more than other subjects.

Eating lunch while doing memorization and wearing her favorite hat.
I discovered something funny this week.  Apparently, Eleanor has been learning most of Lydia's memorization too.  We usually go over it as I'm getting lunch ready, and on our first day back after a few weeks, Lydia needed a bit of promting.  Ellie was able to fill in all the parts when I promted Lydia.  So although she can't recite any of it, if you ask her who wrote "Falling Star," she'll tell you Sara Teasdale. When doing "At the Seaside," if you say, "My wholes were empty..." she'll tell you, "like a cup!"  I tried asking her pieces from all of our memorization things and she could answer them all.  Little scamp.

We started learning the names for our new art this week.  These are tricky because they are Dutch and I'm having a hard time pronouncing them for the girls, but the paintings are fun.  They have all sorts of things that the girls like in them, like boats and waterfalls and little girls with their moms.  Ellie decided that one of the paintings is Lydia and me, and the other is Ellie and me. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New ideas for the New Year

I've decided it is time to do a little more school-wise, and although I touched on this in my latest Quarterly Review, I wanted to be more specific so I can have a reference for myself and a little accountability as well.

So far, we've been great about doing math, reading, art study, and memorization almost every day.  The major reason for this is because we do them either during, or immediately after lunch when the younger two girls are down for naps.  However, these subjects about max out that time and I want to do handwriting, read alouds, and exercise daily as well.  Mornings are mostly out because we either have therapy appointments or social obligations most mornings of the week.  So that leaves afternoons and evening.  Knowing this, here's my new plan:

Continue to do math, reading, art study, and memorization during and right after lunch.  As it is a new "semester," We're doing a new art study along with Ambleside Online's schedule focusing on Jacob van Ruisdael and Pieter de Hooch.  We're also listening to a new composer, Bach.  I've also added a few more memorization selections to our list.  Lydia seems to pick up poems faster than scriptures, so she still has tons of religious selections left but only one poem and fact.  So I've added "The Rainbow" by Walter de la Mare and "A Dragon-fly" by E. Farjeon to our poems list.  I've also added Lydia's, Mommy's, and Daddy's full names and Mommy's cell-phone number to her facts/lists memorization section.

After naptime (which is now quiet time for Lydia and Ellie because they almost never sleep anymore) I think I'm going to try to be consistent about doing a chapter book read aloud.  I'd love to work our way up to half hour at at ime.  Daddy does picture books every night before bed time and we do family scripture study before bed as well.  The girls and I have just really gotten out of the habit of doing a chapter book together.  It is tricky to pick books for them, though, because they still don't really follow the stories very well.  So basically I need to pick books that I would enjoy reading aloud that they might get some enjoyment out of.  It is especially helpful if there are at least a few pictures.  So here's my book list.  Some of these I've read to Lydia before, but she was very, very little and didn't get at thing out of it other than some cuddle time:

Little House on the Prairie, starting with Farmer Boy
The Hobbit, illustrated by Alan Lee
Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner

I think I'm going to try to do handwriting right after read alouds.

And I mentioned exercise.  I found some awesome children's yoga videos on YouTube called Cosmic Kids Yoga. They are adorable and the girls have enjoyed them the few times I've turned them on.  I'm thinking I'll try to make it something that we do in the morning around 9 or so.  If Lydia is at therapy, she just misses those days, but at least Ellie and I will get in the habit.

So that's it.  That's my new plan.  Here's hoping I can stick to it. 

End of Calendar Year Review

So although it hasn't been 9 weeks more of school, I thought now would be a good time to review what Lydia has accomplished and come up with new goals for moving forward.  We've had a fairly long break and it is a new year and these types of things are on my mind right now. 

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 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.

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.

January: My goals haven't really changed from October for math and reading.  She even looks as thought she might finish Essential Math B around the end of February as I predicted unless she hits a wall. As for memorization, I've added a few poems and facts/lists for her.  My main new goals are to work consistently on Handwriting Without Tears and to be more consistent with read alouds.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 16ish

So I'm counting all we've done since my last weekly report as about one week's worth.  After about the 12th of December, I pretty much checked out and didn't want to do schooly stuff.  Hubby was studying very, very hard for finals and I was getting ready for Christmas and it just didn't really happen.  We did enough between then and now that I'm happy to call it another weeks worth.  We even finished reading A Christmas Carol together as a family.  Here's some pictures of our Christmas:

Lydia and Ellie in their Christmas Eve PJs
Adelaide sitting on Santa's lap.
Lydia playing Rock Band with Grandma
Adelaide and Eleanor watching it snow

Lydia and Ellie playing in the snow

Making Christmas candies with Grandma and Aunt Hannah
And that's only one side of the family.  We spent quite a bit of time with the other side too, I just don't have pictures of those yet.  We even took family pictures that I might be sharing later, depending on how they turn out.

I'm getting excited about the upcoming year.  I'm going to make a few little changes here and there, but I'll talk more about that later.  In the meantime, we're going to enjoy the rest of our week with Daddy home before we get back in the swing of things.