Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 25

I love seeing Lydia progress.  She's doing even better than I had hoped she would with reading, and her math is coming along well too.  It is crazy how much satisfaction I get from my daughter reading the word "crash" to me, but it makes me excited and happy.  I've been working on planning her Kindergarten year that will start in the Fall, making us official homeschoolers!  As part of my planning, I'm re-reading The Well-Trained Mind, which is the book the first made me believe I could homeschool and the homeschooling philosophy I connect with the most.  It is always good for a little inspiration.  I have most of next year planned out, although I'll be doing a separate post on those plans.

Practicing handwriting in rice.
We finished pages 71-75 in Essential Math and a few pages of Miquon.  She's really catching on with subtractions.  I was a little worried that she might have difficulty transitioning from addition to subtraction, especially with the c-rods, but it was amazing. She understood how to do subtraction with the cuisenaire rods without me even having to show her.  More than anything, that shows me that she is starting to internalize these concepts.  C-rods are seriously a magic math manipulative!

Lydia has mastered the "ch" sound digraph and is mostly through lesson 58 in OPGTR.  We're still doing all our reading on the whiteboard and she has started having me draw her things whenever she finishes sentences as a motivator.  Her favorites right now are question marks, the word "much", and "train."  I don't really know why that is motivating, but it makes her happy, so whatever.  She cracks me up.

Oh, and Lydia tried to spell her first word by sounding it out this week!  She was playing with sidewalk chalk on the driveway, and she wrote a barely legible, "cor" for car (I know because I heard her sounding it out).  I plan on starting spelling once her handwriting gets better, but I might start looking into oral spelling programs.  We'll see.

Handwriting is now our most time-consuming subject, mostly because we always do the "wooden"
shapes, chalkboard, and book.  Also Eleanor usually does her pages and tags along with the "wooden" shapes and chalkboard.  Both girls love it, though, so that's just how it goes sometimes.

We're still working on "The Rainbow", although Lydia almost has it down and we'll probably move to the next thing soon. We are finally getting to the point where her memorization is getting too cumbersome to repeat every day, so I started using a notebook I made a while back based on this model at Simply Charlotte Mason.

So that was our week!  Pretty decent, I'd say.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 24

This week was Spring Break for Daddy, so we only did one day of school, but I didn't blog about last week, so this post will just combine them both.

This week, Grandma took the girls to Turpentine Creek, a big cat refuge about an hour from where we live.  Grandma was watching the girls while Tyler and I were in Houston so Tyler could take the Step II medical exam.  The girls had a lot of fun seeing all the animals and told me several of the ones they saw.  I don't have any pictures, although I'll have to see if Grandma took some and maybe I'll share them later.

This week included the first day of Spring!  The girls have been very interested in the seasons the last few months and we talk about the seasons every day as part of calendar time.  They knew Spring was coming up and were looking forward to it.  We decided that to celebrate Spring, we'd put a bird feeder up in our backyard.  The girls really enjoyed that, although we haven't seen any birds at it yet.

We started subtraction in Essential Math.  So far, so good.  Lately Lydia has wanted to color every page we do, so school has been lasting a lot longer, but it is fun and she enjoys it more.  She seems to be understanding the idea that "minus" means "take away," which is definitely an important concept to start with.

We will finish up "sh" words tomorrow.  There were two "sh" lessons in OPGTR and a lot of sentences to get through, but she seems to have a pretty solid grasp on it.  We'll be starting "ch" this week.  Oh, and we've been doing almost all our work on the whiteboard the last while, instead of the iPad.  For some reason it is working better right now.   I'm all for whatever works, though.

Lydia is still working on "The Rainbow."  She is also learning even more geography.  The countries that she can identify on the map number in the 30s to 40s now.  She is almost to the point of being able to identify more than me, which is both sad for me and awesome for her.  It is amazing what a geography puzzle app will do.  I also bought her the Barefoot World Atlas App in an effort to help her learn more about the different countries than just their locations.  It is probably a little advanced for her, but she enjoys playing with it and it is a very well-done little app and I look forward to using it in the future.  Now if only I could find a good children's anatomy app...

We're working through HWT every day we do school now.  So far, Lydia has learned E, L, and F.  We also practice the letters of her name every day in capital letters.  Eleanor has been doing handwriting most days with us, although instead of the HWT workbook or letters, she is doing pre-writing pages from ebooks I own that I print off for her.  Oh, and she plays with Lydia's HWT chalkboard a lot too.

Now that Eleanor wants to be included, school is lasting almost two hours between the two of them.  They have fun, but I'm starting to see what it will be like to juggle my teaching between my girls.  It is going to be an interesting challenge that will keep me on my toes, I have no doubt.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 23

We have some pretty major changes coming up in our routine.  Lydia recently qualified for a program that will provide fairly intense therapy for her at home.  Between this new therapy, the ones she's already doing, and what the program will require me to do with her, she will be doing about 52 hours of therapy a week.  I'm not sure how this will affect her academic studies, although I'd like to keep them going if possible.  We were told that her program will start sometime in April, so we still have a few weeks before things go crazy.

As for this week, we did a solid three days of work.  She is coming along well in all her subjects.  Her new geography app is really teaching her a lot of countries.  Last I counted, she can identify at least 20 different countries on the map by name and is learning more every day.  It is really fun walking down the grocery store aisle and having your 4 year old point to Italy on the spaghetti sauce jar and tell you that Italy is in Europe.

We finished up addition in Essential Math!  We'll start subtraction this up coming week.

We finished lesson 54 in OPGTR and started on "sh" words.  She seems to be catching on pretty quickly, so we'll probably move on some time this week.

Lydia finished Amos 3:7 and has started on "The Rainbow."

We're moving along nicely, but lately Eleanor has felt the need to "do hanwhiting" and "math" too, so I think I might start printing off some simple worksheets for her to do so she feels like she's not left behind.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 22

We took this week off because I was busy working on consignment sale stuff, but we had a busy week last week (that I forgot to report on).  We're still working on "ng" endings in reading and we've started back up with addition in math.

This week has been fun, though.  We've spent a quite a bit of time "unschooling" and I think the girls have learned a lot.

A while back (like 2 years ago), I bought a birdhouse kit in a dollar store.  I thought the girls might enjoy "decorating" it and putting it in the tree.  And boy, was I right.  I let them color all over it before I assembled it a few days ago and they've talked about it daily.  I sure hope a little bird makes it his home, because my girls would be so happy.

I also mentioned recently that I've been working with Lydia to teach her countries.  I had the idea to get her an app to help with this and it is working incredibly well!  The app I found is call Map Puzzles for Kids.  It is basically just several puzzles of different regions of the world.  In the few days we've had the app, Lydia has learned about 15 new countries (and their locations).  Her favorite is probably Italy, which she told me "looks like a foot.  It is walking."  Some of the countries she has learned are Japan, South Africa, Argentina, Greenland, Ireland, and United Kingdom.

We got another new app by Logic of English.  It is basically a phonograms app and I've decided to use it with Eleanor.  It teaches all the sounds of each letter instead of just one, like most children's phonics apps.  When playing it with Ellie, I discovered that she knows her letters much better than I thought she did.  She passed the first two levels of the game on her first try!  It is a very well-thought out program and I'm excited to use it more in the future.

I'm going to end with a silly conversation I had with Ellie today.  Eleanor and I were looking at old Ranger Rick magazines and talking about the animals in the pictures.  There was a picture of a bat, and I asked her what it was called.  She said it was an owl, so I corrected her.  Then she very matter-of-factly told me, "Not a bat.  It looks like an owl to me."  She wouldn't believe me even after we talked about it for quite a while and she got fairly indignant with me about it.  We started the whole conversation over again a few pages later with a rhino that she declared to be a dinosaur.  I guess she already thinks she knows better than her mama at the age of two years old.  She's a funny kid.