Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 32-38

This has been a busy few weeks, and I have a feeling that the next several months are going to be that way.  Tyler has started interviewing with internal medicine residencies and whenever possible, we are traveling with him.  Luckily, the girls are good travelers.  This last weekend we went to Dayton, OH.  It would have been lots of fun except that on the drive there I felt myself getting sicker and sicker.  I powered through it enough to be able to go see the things we wanted to see, but 5 days later I'm still feeling poorly.  So, we haven't done school at all this week.


In Dayton, OH, we went to the National Air Force Museum.  It was really neat and the girls loved seeing all the airplanes and helicopters.  If you ever get a chance, I suggest that you take the time. We only spent a few hours, but could have spent so much longer if the girls would have let us read the plaques.  My favorite was that we saw the actual airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.  For some reason that made it very real for me.

Eleanor the Astronaut
Lydia is on Lesson 106 in OPGTR and is starting on all the ways to read the "oo."  She continues to improve in speed and pick up other stuff from all the non OPGTR practice reading she's been doing.  It is an exciting time for me to see her making this kind of good progress after working so hard with her.
Eleanor has been begging me for reading lessons and we are doing the McGuffey app on the iPad for the moment (I got it for free).  The app is really neat as it basically just takes the old McGuffey speller that all the pioneers learned to read with and turns it into iPad lessons.  I doubt we'll use it all the way through, but as a place holder, Eleanor's enjoying it well enough and it requires no prep for me. I think with a lot of work she could probably start OPGTR right now, but I don't want to put in that work yet, so I'm mostly holding off and working on solidifying her letter sounds and starting on some phonetic awareness activities informally ("what letter starts the word cat?").

Lydia in front of part of Apollo 15
Math continues as normal.  I see her making some number sense connections, which is great.  We continue to do a page of Math Mammoth and a page of Miquon daily right now.

Adelaide eating the dirt at the park.

The big news on this front is that Lydia finished the first 1/4 of her timeline, "Ancient Times."  Today she learned "John the Baptist" and that was the last one for the first group.  She has learned 42 items on the timeline and I think she just might make it through the entire thing this year.  She also finished the 5th Article of Faith, "Autumn" by Emily Dickinson, and has started the 6th Article of Faith.  It is amazing how quickly she picks up poems and I'm already wondering if I picked enough for her to do this year.

I haven't been great about spelling lately because Eleanor and Adelaide got into our magnet letter tiles for AAS one day and now 8 of them are missing, likely never to be seen again.  It really bummed me out.  Since then, I've been using spelling as sort of an extra handwriting practice for Lydia, but that meant we were only getting through maybe 4 words a day and her frustration level with spelling was much higher.  So last week I bit the bullet and bought the Sound Literacy app for our iPad, which is basically just a virtual version of the letter tiles.  It is the most expensive app I ever bought, but I knew that once I had it, I would be 10 times more likely to do spelling and that Lydia would probably do spelling more happily as she likes anything iPad related.  So far so good.  It hasn't been optimized for OS7 yet, so it crashes a lot which bothers me, but I'm going to hold off and hope that it will get better soon.  As a result, Lydia finished Lesson 10 in All About Spelling last week.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 28-31

We had a good week again.  We finished it off by visiting a pumpkin patch place nearby with the grandparents.  It was a really fun day.  Other than that, our week was pretty uneventful and normal.

Adelaide made this grumpy face the whole time she sat in the corn pit.

Lydia is through lesson 98 in OPGTR which is the beginning of section 11.  She is easily getting through a lesson a day right now, although I have been adding a little bit of extra practice occasionally from Phonics Pathways when I don't think OPGTR has enough.  Her reading continues to take off, and this week we read another story from Little Bear ("Little Bear Goes to the Moon").  I've learned that Lydia will happily read large quantities of material if she is promised a candy for her efforts.
Eleanor also asked for me to do reading with her a few days this week, so we are working on the letter sounds.  She wants a candy too. 

Eleanor loved riding the ponies.
Lydia did a page of both Math Mammoth and Miquon most days this week.  She is doing great with both of them.  We are going at a slower pace than required in both to finish them in a year, but as they are both first grade programs and we are doing two programs simultaneously, I'm not too worried about it.  I just want her to get a solid foundation.

We are not doing formal science this year, but I am sort of unschooling it and we had some good science discussions this week.  We had a long discussion about lightning and thunder.  It was storming outside and Lydia didn't understand how they were related.  We ended up watching an episode of Magic School Bus about rainstorms to help her.
She has also developed a sudden fascination with anatomy and doctors.  She keeps doing examinations on her animals and has spent several hours playing with a few new human body apps I got for her.  The two main ones are Toca Doctor and The Human Body by Tinybop.  I love almost every Toca app we have, but this one is not incredibly scientific.  It is more of preschool level app to teach broad principles rather than actual anatomy.  The Human Body, however, is a very impressive app.  It is relatively new and I am happy to find it.  Several months ago I spent a lot of time looking for an app like it and it didn't exist yet.  My medical student husband was even impressed by it.  Anyways, I might talk more about these apps later, but we've had a lot of fun discussions about aspects of them, especially the various systems of the body and what they do.

Lydia conquered the hay tower.
Lydia is still working on the 5th Article of Faith, although I expect her to get it down this week.  She also got to "Roman Republic" in her timeline and both girls continue to love practicing their timeline daily.  

The girls have the 8 art selections for this semester down as well as their countries of origin.  I realized that all except one of them are landmarks in our Barefoot World Atlas app, so I've been having Lydia try to find them there as part of her practice.  It is a good way to combine geography and art!  Plus, she needs more practice with a globe-style map as we do most of our practicing on a wall map.
I ordered the first book in the Draw Write Now series for Lydia.  She loves drawing and I'd love for her to learn to draw passably.  She really loved it and drew several pictures using the instructions.  I'll share one some time.

Although she got stuck in every hole there was, Adelaide still enjoyed climbing on the straw pyramid.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Weekly Report: Days 18-27

The last few weeks have been busy and eventful for us.  First, Daddy was out of town for the whole month except two days for Ellie's birthday.  He was doing a rotation for school three hours away and had to work every day. While he was gone, I had full reign of the girls, including an ER trip for Adelaide for nursemaid's elbow.  She decided to throw a little tantrum and make her legs to limp while I was holding her hand at the Botanical Garden and her little arm bone got dislocated.  I've never had to take all three girls to the ER by myself, and it isn't really an experience I hope to repeat anytime soon.  Luckily it wasn't a super pressing emergency, so I didn't have to deal with panic or too much worry.

Also, I've been crazy busy with medical residency interviews for Tyler.  The application opened up 2 weeks ago and he has already received enough interviews that we are culling them.  But I'm busy researching each program in depth, figuring out when I should schedule them, and trying to figure out traveling arrangements. It is a busy, stressful time and taking way more effort than I eventually thought it would require

On the bright side, while Daddy was out of town, we got a lot of schoolwork done. A few weeks ago I mentioned that we were already a ways behind where I wanted to be, but now we are only 1 day behind!  We've been working hard and things have been coming along quite nicely.

Lydia continues to do wonderfully with reading.  She finished Lesson 94 today of OPGTR (out of  231 which is a 4th grade reading level).  She is about at a 2nd. grade reading level at this point, although it is hard to say for sure because most of the graded readers use a lot of sight words and Lydia's reading program is pretty strict phonics. We had a major breakthrough this week though.  I signed Lydia up for Pizza Hut's Book-It program, which started this month.  I had been giving her goals a lot of thought and decided that I would make her read a Little Bear story ("Birthday Soup"), which was 13 pages long.  She loves Little Bear, but I estimated this would take her a week or two.  Well, she sat down and read the entire story with me in one sitting because she didn't want to stop, and did a wonderful job of it!  She stayed up past bedtime because she was doing so well and then we went and got her pizza that night.  She was so proud of herself and so incredibly focused.  I guess I'll have to make a more ambitious goal for next month.  Maybe three Little Bear stories.

Math Time
Lydia is about 30 pages into Math Mammoth and is doing well.  She's also finished several pages of Miquon.  She really enjoys math, but there's not much to say about it at this point.  Oh, Eleanor has been joining us for math time and playing with the c-rods.  Lydia was about three years old when she started getting familiar with the rods, and Eleanor really likes them.  The difference in how they play with them cracks me up.  Lydia made trains out of them.  Eleanor makes them be a family or princesses and a castle.  Funny kiddos.

We just keep doing the next thing with these and there isn't much to report at the moment.

Lydia finished "Knight-in-Armour" followed by "Dora Diller" and has just started the 5th Article of Faith.  We are also up to 30 items on our timeline.  The girls love the timeline and try to get me to add a new one every day.  They are both keeping up and love telling me all the ones they've learned during mealtimes.  The girls also continue to make connections because of it too.  This week, Daddy read them Gilgamesh the King and the story started by saying he was king of Mesopotamia and both girls got very excited because they recognize Mesopotamia.  They now can tell you that Gilgamesh was king of Mesopotamia. That fact would have gone right over them if they weren't already familiar with Mesopotamia.  Yay, for mental pegs!