Sunday, August 31, 2014

Month 3 Review

August...didn't go very well school-wise.  I just really wasn't on the ball and fell short of most of my goals for the month.  The good news is, I had built in enough extra so that I had a buffer.  The bad news is that I no longer have a buffer.  But I'm feeling a renewed sense of dedication and I think that September will be awesome.  August just had a lot of little things happen that got the better of me.  First was Lydia's birthday!

Sorry the picture is a bit blurry.  My phone has been doing that lately and I don't know how to fix it.  And yes, she was wearing her favorite Thomas PJ's and yes, she got a Jake and the Neverland Pirates Lego set.  She has played with it daily since and really enjoys it.  Our family rule is that birthdays are school holidays, so we didn't do any school that day.  We had to open her presents first thing in the morning so that Daddy could be there.

We also dealt with Tyler's Jeep breaking down beyond what was worth repairing, and we decided to buy on of my in-law's cars to replace it.  I had to fly to Arkansas and drive it back, all in a 36 hour period so that Tyler could go to work.  My flight was delayed by several hours and I ended up driving mostly through the night (it is a 16 hour drive).  I slept for a few hours in the car at a rest stop, but mostly relied on caffeine to get me home.  I made it home with one hour to spare.  It took a few days for me to recover from that experience.

This month was also the first day back to school for the local schools and the first day of what would have been Lydia's very first day of school if we were sending her.  It was sort of weird for me, and it in a way, it has helped me take school more seriously because I think about the fact that she would be in school if I wasn't doing this, so I should make sure to do a good job.

I took this during what would have been her first day of school ever.
Lydia finished through lesson 38 in Saxon, which is 29% of the way through.  Not as far ahead as I would like, but still on track.  She is still excelling at it.  We've started doing addition facts and the ones we've done so far she really has down pat (doubles and +1).  She's also doing well with her worksheets and tests, almost always getting 100%.  Saxon takes FOREVER to complete (I'm talking an hour and 15 minutes or so a day), which is a lot for a 1st grader, but the variation within it keeps her interested.  We do a homework page, then review her math facts, then do calendar, counting, pattern, and money jar, then the day's lesson, then a math facts sheet, then the worksheet for the day.  So it isn't the same thing the whole time.  Math isn't her most favorite thing ever, but she doesn't really whine about it and it really seems to be working for her.

Eleanor really likes when we do math.  She really wants to keep working through Essential Math A, so we've been doing that.  I think she likes the pictures.  We also do a page of Miquon each day we do math and she really seems to be getting it.  We started on some of the addition pages, specifically the ones where she has to figure out all the ways to "make" 5 or 7 or whatever number.  She really likes these.  She's almost done with Essential Math A, so we'll probably move to B as soon as that happens, but we'll continue with Miquon.

Lydia has finished through Lesson 208 in OPGTR.  She is working on three-syllable words now and is doing pretty well with it.  I've also started being more consistent in having assigned reading time.  I'm still working out how to best do that.  I tried just setting a timer, but she just played with the book.  Now I'm sitting with her while she reads to me.  I'd like to wean her off that though and be able to have her read by herself for a set amount of time, but she is still young and we'll get there.  Currently she is reading the first Boxcar Children book to me, a favorite of mine from when I was little.

Eleanor has been doing ok.  She still gets frustrated with reading very easily and since she's three, I'm letting her veto when we do school.  When she's 4 she doesn't get that choice, but everything right now is informal.  Her birthday is in a few weeks, so she better live it up while she can.  She is through lesson 34 in OPGTR.  She's still working on basic cvc words and just read her first BOB book, which she was very proud of.

Language Arts:
Writing With Ease is still going well and Lydia completed through Week 9, Day 3, which is the same as 39 days.  She enjoys it and I can see some improvement in her ability to answer my questions and give a narration.  She also likes the variety of stories.

Lydia also completed through lesson 35 in First Language Lessons, which has mostly covered proper vs. common nouns so far.  She has the definition of a noun down pat, but she still struggles to identify common or proper nouns.  I'm not sure how much of that is lack of understanding and how much is carelessness in answering, but we'll probably take a little break before FLL moves on to something else to solidify it a little better.

Lesson 23 of All About Spelling has been tricky for Lydia.  The lesson itself wasn't that hard and she actually understood it well (s or es to make a word plural).  But the fact that some of the other rules are starting to be used in her new words is tripping her up.  She has to remember that in a one syllable, short vowel word that ends in f, l, or s, they are doubled.  She knows this rule but almost always forgets it until I point it out.  This is just an example, but one of her more common mistakes.  That, combined with the fact that we can only do about 10 words a day before she gets frustrated means that Lesson 23 has been slow going.  But I think it has also been very good for her.  I want her to learn to spell, not finish the curriculum quickly, so we are taking our time.

Eleanor has been enjoying handwriting a lot lately.  She writes her own name all the time and tries to write her family's name as well.  She has only formally learned a few letters so far, but that hasn't stopped her.  I think I need to speed her up in handwriting, if only because she really wants to write letters.

We added a uterus and muscles to their bodies.  The girls were fascinated by the uterus and the fact that only girls have them.  They both talk about that a lot.  We'll work on the digestive system soon, which I think will be another favorite.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Month 2 Review

Watching a video of the CC timeline while I get lunch ready.

This month was a little more productive than last month, although not a bunch more.  Eleanor has started doing more official schooly things, although I still give her power to overrule me until she is 4, which isn't for a few more months.  She wants to do school almost every time I ask, though, so she's doing pretty well too.

Lydia completed 15 lessons in Saxon, which puts her at 22% of the way through, which is still ahead of where we need to be right now.  She's building a nice little cushion for later if she struggles with a concept or if we take a break.  Saxon is still going wonderfully for her.

Eleanor started Miquon.  She completed 16 pages of Miquon Orange and did math on 9 days.  Since Miquon Orange and Red together are a first grade math program, I have no particularly strong goals for her to finish at any time soon.  I guess a tentative goal would be to finish Orange by next year, which is 126 pages, but I won't push it.  So far she really likes it but I see us mixing it up with other sources as well in the future.

Lydia did formal reading lessons and formal extra reading 9 days last month.  I would like to do better with it this next month, but she's still fine.  She spends a lot of her own time reading too, so she is still getting practice. (As I'm typing this I can hear her reading the Frozen golden book to herself, for example)

Eleanor started OPGTR!  All that time with the HOP app really helped and her blending is much improved and she was definitely ready to start.  She finished through Lesson 33 and did formal reading lessons 8 days in July.

I did read alouds 6 days last month, including reading the entire first Bone book, which they enjoyed a lot, especially Eleanor.  I picked up the whole set on a whim at a consignment sale a while back and haven't red them, although Tyler had.  I thought they might enjoy a graphic novel format, although I will say it is sort of tricky as a read aloud.  They are begging me to start the next one.  We also continue to do daily family scripture study and the girls listen to an audio book for 2 hours or so every night in bed.  Lately we've been rotating Story of the World 1&2, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, How to Train Your Dragon, The Complete Winnie the Pooh, the Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter, The Wizard of Oz, Little House in the Big Woods, and Paddington Bear.  Can you tell we love audio books?

Lydia's most recent narration.  She insisted on copying it herself.
As I planned, I tried to kick up writing this month.  Lydia completed 14 days of writing putting her in the middle of Week 7 in Writing With Ease.  She is enjoying it a lot and even does extra copywork for it by her own insistence.  She is getting better at answering the comprehension questions and she is starting to write a little quicker as well.  This puts us at 18% of the way through the program which is a little bit ahead of where we need to be.

We did 12 days of grammar and Lydia has finished through lesson 26 in First Language Lessons.  I am almost certain we'll start doing level 2 this year because there are only 100 lessons total in level 1.  We are definitely ahead.  I think Lydia likes it too because it is the first language arts that she always picks to do, although this may have to do with the fact that there is almost no writing.

We did science 4 days this month, so better than last month but still not great.  Maybe upping this should be my goal, although one of those 4 days was a "science" day where we only watched science shows, went to the science museum, watched a planetarium show, and worked on their MyBodies.  The girls have also watched the first season of Zula Patrol one and a half times while in the car.  They are enjoying it and we have been having lots of impromptu science discussions as a result.