Sunday, September 6, 2015

August Report

An elephant Lydia made in her Stories and Art class. She was the envy of all her sisters.
It was a good August. Dad was on night-shift all month long, so that was tricky and we saw him less than usual, but other than that, things went pretty smoothly. One of our big things was that all three girls started their homeschooling co-op this month. They've never participated in outside classes before, so I only signed them up for 2 hours worth of classes and I tried to pick ones they would see as fun. Eleanor and Adelaide are together in a pre-school class (poor Eleanor missed the cutoff for the bigger kid classes by a week or two), and Lydia is taking two. One is called Stories and Art, where they read a story and do a craft. The other is Five In a Row, which is an actual curriculum that is similar to Stories and Art, where they read a story and have a lesson loosely based on it. All three girls are enjoying themselves and so far the co-op experiment has been a success.

Wearing their backpacks for Co-op. This picture was taken so they could show Grandma in Japan.

We also had a birthday and for the first time, the girls have big-kid Legos. I've been really hesitant to get them before because I REALLY didn't want them all over my house, so we have some pretty strict rules about them, but so far, they've been a hit. All three girls have been enjoying them and have spent many hours playing together.

Lydia made this Dinosaur Train board game that they played for a while.
The girls doing a puppet show for me for fun one afternoon.

Last Saturday we went to a local "Big Toy" show where they brought in large vehicles from the area for kids to see. We saw airplanes, helicopters, fire-engines, tractors, armored cars, etc. The girls enjoyed it a lot and were able to climb on a bunch of them.

And Eleanor, ever the "princess," bought this dress with her own money after accompanying me to a consignment sale in search of baby clothes for new little sister. It was adorable and will be part of her Halloween Costume.

So while our August was fun, it wasn't super eventful. We had fewer doctor appointments this month, which was nice, so we stayed home a lot more and got a lot more school done. Since I'm a little late with the report and I can't remember where we started at the actual beginning of September, I'm just going to report from where we are now in the girls' various subjects. 

Lydia is on lesson 149 in CLE math. She's doing pretty well with it all and continues to pass all her quizzes and tests. Lately I've had Lydia and Eleanor at the table, one on either side of me, working on math at the same time. This has worked really well for Lydia and seems to keep her more focused and happier. I think she hated working on it while her sisters were playing, so I'll keep it up. Not to mention, it is more efficient for me to do them both at the same time. 

Eleanor playing Dragon Box
Eleanor is still doing a great job with math. She is zooming through both of her math curricula. She's on lesson 47 in MEP and has finished 76/120 pages in Miquon Red. She really seems to be understanding it and is getting to where she knows most of her +/- facts within 10 (and often 20) without ever having drilled them. The other day, one of her problems asked for 3+9. I told her to use the rods, but then she said "12." I asked how she knew that and she said because 9 is almost 10, so if you take one from 3, it makes it be 12. I love this!  She's also been adoring DragonBox and the associated apps. They are math apps that teach Algebra and Geometry without the kids knowing until is slowly becomes straight up math problems. She beat the one for ages 5+ and is well into the geometry one and the 12+ Algebra one. They have been great for her because they are challenging and she doesn't always solve them her first try. She has always struggled with not getting things on her first try, but she is determined to beat these games, so it is teaching her some patience.

Adelaide's first "official" math lesson
Adelaide has started some very beginning math with me. Really it is more pre-math, but still. I decided that I was sick of Singapore Essentials. It was fine, but I don't want to do it again. So this time I'm just going to do Miquon and some other informal math for pre-school. Adelaide has a one-up on her sisters in that she has listened and sat in on many math lessons and discussions, so she's had a rich pre-math experience. Thanks to listening to math songs and her sisters, she can count pretty well, read her letters, and even knows some skip-counting and basic mathematical concepts. So right now, I'm working on getting her familiar with the c-rods (with activities I've learned from Education Unboxed and experience) so we can start Miquon Orange. She's been building stairs and looking at equivalencies, and once, Eleanor even sat in and "translated" the math problems we were doing with the rods into equations on paper for fun. We've also done some "more and less" as well as learning the values of the various colors of the rods. Adelaide is loving having her own math time with me so far, and despite being silly sometimes, is doing pretty well. I also just found out about Gattegno Math. He used c-rods extensively, and while looking through his Textbook 1, I see a lot of overlap with Miquon. I might look into it more to see if there is anything I can take away from his methods, especially at this early level. Here's an old-school video of him teaching a class with the rods, and here's his Textbook 1.

Lydia's preferred reading method and spot.
I upped Lydia's silent reading to 25 minutes a day, partially because she gets distracted a lot and wastes a lot of time, and partially because I want to slowly build her stamina. She read several books relating to our history this month as well as a few more Cam Jensen mysteries and a Magic Treehouse book. It looks like I am slowly getting her over her fear of chapter books. She continues to read a lot of picture books in her own time as well and she's a favorite of her younger sisters because she will often read them books if they ask.

Eleanor doing her reading lesson. I love that you can see Lydia reading on the beanbag in the background and Adelaid on the floor looking at a book too.

Eleanor is on Lesson 94 in OPGTR and still progressing nicely. She's learning about all sorts of vowel teams and it is opening up a lot of the world around her. Today at church, she saw the first Hymn number on the wall before the meeting, found the page in the Hymnal and told me it was called "Did You Think to Pray?" She was so proud of herself.

Adelaide isn't doing formal reading with me yet, but I am being more deliberate about pointing out letters and talking about letter sounds with her in preparation for teaching her to read. I think I'll start formal lessons after the baby is born, but for now her sisters play a lot of rhyming games with her and we talk a lot about sounds that begin words and things like that. She also does some phonics apps on the iPad during school time, so that's helping her too.

Language Arts:
Lydia is on Step 14 in All About Spelling 2 and doing well. She is learning about vowel teams and "er" words. In writing she is on Week 33 Day 3 and in grammar she is on lesson 143. It was fun this week because Daddy just started reading the girls a book at bedtime that he got through Kickstarter called Augie and the Green Knight. In her writing, Lydia did excerpts from King Arthur with one specifically about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She really likes the story where they chop each other's heads off and even drew blood dripping from the illustrated head on her writing page. Gorey, but she loved hearing the same story in different places and I got a more positive reaction from it than most of the stories she's read.

Eleanor started All About Spelling level 1 because she was showing interest and I knew that she was capable of spelling the words in level 1. Because the first few lessons are mostly phonetic awareness, she has been zooming through them and is on Step 9. I also don't make her write all the words for now, only a few of them because her handwriting needs to catch up. So she is mostly using the tiles to spell while she continues to work the Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten.

History is going well and we are on Chapter 9 in Story of the World. The girls have been doing coloring sheets along with what we read and building Legos based on our reading too. I also get lots of books from the library about the various subjects that Lydia either reads or I read to the girls. Eleanor, especially, is loving history.

Lydia is well into her geography and will finish long before the year is up. I don't know what I'm going to use to replace it, but she likes it and seems to be doing pretty well with it. 

This next month isn't going to be nearly as productive because we'll be traveling the country from coast to coast and seeing lots of family for two weeks. I'm hoping to do some informal science and history as it comes up, but mostly we will have fun

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