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!