Sunday, October 4, 2015

September Report

We had a super busy September. 2 oceans, 2 birthdays, several doctor appointments, 2 weeks of school. The girls and I spent a week in Myrtle Beach with Grandma, Grandpa, 3 aunts, and all their cousins on my side of the family. They enjoyed swimming at the resort, playing on the beach, playing with family, and going on the Skywheel (Ferris wheel).

It was a great time to be there. The weather wasn't too hot, the beach wasn't crowded, and we had most of the pools to ourselves. It was quite leisurely and nice.
Adelaide and Eleanor playing with cousin Sam
On the Ferris Wheel with Aunt Hannah and cousin Sam
Lydia swimming in the "pirate ship" pool
Lydia reading to her sisters and cousin Belen
Adelaide being silly at the beach
Straight from Myrtle Beach, we flew to San Francisco to attend the wedding of Tyler's sister. Tyler was able to join us for the weekend, although the girls and I stayed a few extra days to visit with a friend who lives in Oakland and also tour around a bit. The girls looked adorable in their matching dresses and we were really happy to be there for Tyler's last sister to get married (the third one this year!). I didn't get any pictures though, and the official ones aren't out there for me to take yet.

Later that week the girls and I went on a hike in Muir Woods National Monument and saw the redwoods. It was a really great day. Besides an unfortunate incident where we were a mile away from a bathroom when the need was there (we made it!), the girls worked really hard and completed the Junior Ranger requirements to get their first ever Junior Ranger badges. The program was perfect for them and they paid a lot more attention to details about our unique surroundings than they would have otherwise. We will definitely be doing more in the future.

Starting out on our hike
Working on our scavenger hunt for the Junior Ranger program

Lydia looking up at the tall redwood
They got their Junior Ranger badges, made out of redwood!
By the end of our almost two weeks away (with only 2 of those days with Daddy, so Mommy was on her own), we were ready to be back. Luckily, the girls are champs when it comes to travelling and aren't too tricky to take on my own. Regardless, we are always glad to be home.

2 of the 3 asleep on the plane home.
Other fun things we did in September included taking advantage of our various museum memberships. The day we went to the children's museum, they had this funny tent set up outside full of things to help kids learn early learning skills or something, I'm not sure. However, they did let them dress up in a "profession" and take a picture against a green screen. Eleanor was the only one who wanted to do this, and I thought it turned out really cute.

Daddy also took the girls a Lowe's Build-and-grow workshop. Basically they have little wooden kits for the kids to do for free. They love these and this was the second one they did, but the first one in a while.

Their finished firetrucks.
We finished reading the Book of Mormon as a family, for what I think was the third time. Last time we started the tradition of going out for ice cream to celebrate, so of course we had to go out again!

So yeah, a busy and fun but not super scholastic month. Speaking of academics, here's what we accomplished when we were home.

Lydia read a few chapter books and some books to go along with our history. Book-it starts up again in, so we'll be working on that for the next few months.

Eleanor continues to do well with OPGTR. She's in lesson 101 and is getting more and more comfortable with it all while slowly picking up speed.  A lesson nowadays takes us 10-15 minutes for the whole thing. Here pretty soon, I might start her on some early readers like Little Bear.

Lydia just started the last light-unit (workbook) for the first grade level of CLE. We already have level two sitting here and she is very excited to start. I am too. The flashcards are getting to be a bit cumbersome to do on a daily basis and the 2nd grade math totally re-arranges them and it looks like there will be fewer to review every day. She should finish by the end of this month or the beginning of next month.

Eleanor has finished 93/120 pages of Miquon Red and is doing a great job. She should also finish it by the end of this month or beginning of next month. It still continues to be her favorite math, but that may be because she gets to pick a page every day. She likes the control over what she's going to do. In MEP math, she's on lesson 54. I'm amazed at some of the problems she's able to do, and what they are asking in a first grade math program. A few days ago, for example, she had to find all the answers 0 to 8 given problems like this: x+2>8-1. And she could do it! I'm finding that I am really loving MEP, which is funny because I totally planned on going a different direction before Eleanor came along. But it really is a great program that she is thriving with.

Adelaide officially started Miquon Orange a few days ago. She learned the c-rods in record time although I have to be careful with her because she doesn't seem to have the attention span of her older sisters at that age. Right now I make math completely optional, just asking her if she wants to come do math with me. She seems to like it so far, although she turns me down as often as not.

Language Arts:
Lydia is on step 15 in AAS 2 and continues to do fairly well.  In writing, she is on Week 35, Day 1, so she will likely finish the first level of WWE in the next 2 weeks or so. We'll start up on level 2 when that happens. In grammar, she is on 154 of 200. We do just the grammar exercises in the book and skip the copywork and poetry, so it goes pretty quickly. She continues to love grammar.

Eleanor is still working through her HWT Kindergarten book and learn her lowercase letters. She loves to do two pages and then color the illustrations on the pages. She is on Step 11 in AAS 1, but I think she will soon start slowing down. So far the words have been almost completely cvc words with almost no dictation or even that many extra words. And I let her do the majority of it on the iPad since writing is still tricky for her. As we move towards her writing more and more difficult content, I imagine she will slow down considerably.

We are on chapter 12 of Story of the World. This month we read about ancient India, China, and Africa (non-Egypt). Obviously we didn't go into detail, but the girls really enjoy it so far and I absolutely consider this an introduction to all of these things. They love drawing or doing a coloring sheet while I read, and then I have them tell me what they learned. I also started keeping a notebook for Lydia of her narrations for each day we do history and then she draws a (usually) relevant picture to go with it.

We started piano for Lydia and Eleanor. I plan on keeping them at the same place for a while, although I'm open to speeding one up if needed. We are using Hoffman Academy which has free videos of lessons we watch on the iPad while sitting at the piano and I also bought the materials to go with it. The girls are LOVING it. They think Mr. Hoffman is funny and he is going slowly enough for them to not get overwhelmed. Although I play the piano, I don't feel comfortable enough to teach them beyond the first year or two, and even that I wanted to be solid with plenty of theory, which I am horrible at. Doing it this way looks like the perfect combination because I watch the lesson with the girls (individually), and make sure they are following and learning what they should, but the content of the lesson is up to Mr. Hoffman. So I'm more a piano tutor than anything. I'm also trying really hard to not get annoyed at hearing Hot Cross Buns played over, and over, and over again. I'm choosing to believe that it is joy to my ears to hear them play. His lessons should take about a year or two to get through, at which point I will probably have to find the girls a teacher. We'll cross that bridge when we get there, though.