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.