Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Master List of Books Read Outloud: 2013

I've decided I'd like to create a post that lists all the books we've read out loud or audio books that Lydia has listened to so that I can remember them all.  For the sake of simplicity, I'm only going to list "real" books rather than picture books, unless the picture book is substantial.  I'll update this list as she finishes books.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (librivox)
The Burgess Animal Book for Children (librivox)
The Wind in the Willows (audible)
The Story of the World: Ancient Times (cd)
Black Beauty (audible)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (audible)
Little House in the Big Woods (read aloud, cd)
The Wizard of Oz (audible)
Peter Pan (audible)
Pollyanna (audible)
Heidi (audible)

List of books I want to read aloud during Kindergarten:

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie (current read aloud)
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Stuart Little
Wizard of Oz
Mary Poppins
My Father's Dragon

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 29

This week we bought a family pass to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, primarily so we can participate in the Little Sprouts program this summer.  We spent a few days playing at the garden, but I failed to get any pictures.  The Little Sprouts program is an under-5 nature program that they do weekly from May-October and we plan to try to attend most weeks this summer.  I'm sure I'll be talking more about it as time goes on.

This week Lydia finished "th," "wh," and "ph."  Right now she is finishing lesson 62 in OPGTR, which is the last lesson in section 5!  She only has two more lessons to go until she reaches the end of her goal for PreK!  We'll keep going, though.  I'm just excited at how well she is doing.

She finished through page 86 in Essential Math B.  Right now she is doing pages with both addition and subtraction on them.

She wrote "ABA" for fun and then "CAt" and "tHE" when I asked her if she could spell them.

Lydia only has 7 more capital letters to go until she is done with learning capital letters.  She is zooming through the book now that she is spending so much time practicing with our LetterSchool app on the iPad.  She has even started writing a little on her own during coloring time!  I am so excited that she is enjoying handwriting so much.

Lydia finished Mosiah 2:17 and memorized the colors in a rainbow in order.  She has now started memorizing "A Dragon-fly."

2013/2014 School Year Plans!

It's the time of year when homeschooling moms are getting bored with what they are currently using (and finishing) and are busy planning and getting excited about next year.  Planning homeschooling is one of my favorite pastimes.  I've been planning on homeschooling since Lydia was about 8 months old, well before we knew she was autistic, and I just thoroughly enjoy learning about all the methods available for teaching different subjects.  This is probably a good thing, because Lydia is a very unique learner and I imagine teaching her sisters will be very different from her.  Because I am aware of what is available, I can tailor-fit their resources. 

Doing PreK with her this year has been very encouraging for me.  I've seen what kind of teacher I am and am even starting to get an idea as to what sort of curricula works well with my (and Lydia's) personality type.  Next year I plan on doing Kindergarten with her.  Now, because we live in Arkansas, she actually misses the Kindergarten cutoff by less than a week.  So technically and legally, she'll still be in PreK next year.  None of that really matters, because everything I'm doing is going to be at her level, but after thinking about it, I still think we'll call next year Kindergarten.

At her age and ability level, I plan on having a very heavy focus on the three Rs and memorization.  Everything else will be gravy, but the three Rs and memorization are what I'm most interested in for her at this point.

I will also probably be doing some formalish things with Eleanor too, but I will save that for a later time.

So, without further ado:

Our 2013/2014 School Year Plan!

Assigned Reading daily

LetterSchool iPad app



Little Sprouts program at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Nature Study
The Core (Continent Blobs)
Various map iPad apps

A list of my own making

So there you have it.  I'm pretty excited about my choices and will be writing up a post on them all in more detail later, but for now, this is my plan!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 28

We were gone the first half of the week because I took the girls to Texas for my dad's 50th birthday.  They had a lot of fun playing with their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for a few days.  Because Tyler's schedule isn't very flexible, I took them on the 10+ hour drive myself.  My girls are such good travelers, though, so it wasn't any problem ...except when I ran out of gas in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Texas.  But that was even not too bad thanks to a friendly local sheriff who came from 20 miles away to help!  Gotta love Texas.  All told, it was a pretty good trip.

We did manage to fit a week's worth of school in after we got home, though.  I focused on reading and Lydia is almost through with the "th" sections in OPGTR.  There are a few sections about it, and they have a lot of practice reading, which is why it is taking us so long.  Also, I noticed that Lydia pronounces unvoiced "th" with a slight "s" at the beginning.  So, for example, the word "with" sounds like "wisth."  I probably should talk to her speech therapist about that, as it was impeding her reading a little.

After reading, our next biggest focus was probably handwriting.  I discovered a new app that I am totally loving called LetterSchool.  It is great because it is simple enough for Lydia to enjoy (she doesn't like apps that are too flashy or fluffy), but it also teaches handwriting in a stroke-by-stroke way with lots of practice.  And the best part is it even has the Handwriting Without Tears font and strokes!  Lydia spent a few hours playing this game last week, and the whole time she practiced fine motor control and correct letter construction.  It was great.

Math was more on the back burner last week.  Lydia's attention span wasn't that great, so I had to pick and choose, and I chose reading and handwriting over math for the time being.  I think we did math one day.  We are still focusing on subtraction, so nothing new or revolutionary.  Although, I am encountering a problem.  I can't get Lydia to grasp the concept of adding or subtracting using a number line.  She does great with cuisenaire rods or counters, but not number lines.  She also has trouble adding or subtracting by "counting on" or "counting back" and I think the two are related.  Any ideas?

Lydia also finished listening to The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle and is now listening to The Burgess Animal Book for Children.  She is really enjoying animals a lot right now, so I'm sticking with books that have animals as a central part.  She seems to be enjoying it a lot and most days she can tell me a few sentences about what she heard in her "naptime story."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 27

I'm posting our weekly report a day early because tomorrow is going to be a busy, school-free day.

Lydia continues to do great with reading.  We are now on Lesson 59 in OPGTR, and this week she's learned all about voiced (as in 'them') and unvoiced (as in 'thing') "th".  We continue to do lessons on the white board for now and it is going well.

Handwriting is also going well.  This week she got through the capital "G" in Handwriting Without Tears.  I wish this preK book had more practice with each letter, but for now I just make her do each page with two or three different crayon colors, starting with lighter colors and ending with darker colors.

HWT "G" PreK page, completed.

Eleanor has been enjoying her "handwriting" lessons too.  We've been working on correct pencil grip and just general control.  I printed off several copies of a Scholastic fine motor skills ebook I own. She does about three or four of these pages every day and she is definitely getting better at staying in the lines.

We are continuing with subtraction, and will be doing so for a while.  This week, Lydia finished through page 81 in Essential Math B.

Lydia finished John 14:15.  It was a very short one and took her only a few days to have down solid.  She then started Mosiah 2:17, which is much longer and should take us a week or two.  I am amazed that she is almost done with my memorization list!  She's retaining it all so well, too.

While re-reading The Well-Trained Mind, I was inspired to start having the girls listen to more audio books and watch less television.  I try to not have them watch too much television, but it so easy to use it as an electronic babysitter.  So lately, during Lydia's quiet time, she's been listening to The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle through the Librivox app on our Roku.  She seems to be enjoying it and has almost completed it.  I've also been having the girls listen to the Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book on Librivox and we're about halfway through.  I have especially been enjoying the Blue Fairy Book and hearing versions of fairy tales that I barely remember from my childhood.  East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one that particularly struck a chord with me.  It was like deja vu hearing that story and I'm sure at some point when I was very young, I must have heard it before.

I thought I'd finish my Weekly Report with my favorite picture that Lydia ever drew:

She told me that it is a picture of her eating a pickle.  I don't know what I love most, the pickle itself, the expression on her face, or her unique pigtails.  Anyways, I was totally charmed by it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Report: Week 26

All three girls playing with their Duplos happily
 School as normal happened here this week.  We're chugging along nicely in all subjects.  I don't even think I'm going to do a subject-by-subject breakdown this week, because it was all pretty standard.  I did notice that Lydia is only 1 poem, 2 scriptures, and 1 fact away from being done with her memorization list, which is amazing to me.  I made that list at the beginning of the year as a sort of shooting for the stars kind of thing.  And since then, I've actually added to it!  Lydia (and even Eleanor) is amazing me with her capacity for memorization.  We are definitely going to finish all her memorization items by the end of July, which is our "official" end of our school year as my plan is to go year round.  I've been working on coming up with a memorization plan for next year, and I think it will be a good year.

Eleanor and Adelaide having fun outside on one of our nice days!
 The weather has been either really nice here or really rainy.  On the really nice days, we've been spending several hours a day outside.  This morning we spent 3 hours at a park and going on a "hike."  We'll need to do that more, because after about 15 minutes into it, Ellie and Lydia started asking me to carry them (I already had Adelaide strapped onto my back).  So we need to work up their stamina!  It was really nice to be out in the fresh air all morning, and we'll probably spend all afternoon outside too.  I better go look for the sunblock