Friday, April 1, 2016

February/March Review

At the end of February, the girls and I took an impromptu trip to west Texas. My youngest sister was about to leave to go on a mission for a year and a half and asked if I could be there to go with her to the temple. It turned out, ALL my siblings were able to go. In fact, it was an entire family reunion (minus Tyler who couldn't get off). It was a 2 day drive, one way, and the girls were champs. I love going on road trips with them, even though it is exhausting. We have lots of fun, and even Clara was really good.

Fun with their cousins
More cousin fun
Making cookies with Grandpa
As a result of our impromptu trip, we aren't as far along with school as I would have hoped, but this is one of the perks of homeschooling. If Lydia was in school, there's no way we would have been able to have this trip, and it was a unique chance for the girls to see so much family.

Now that the weather is getting nicer (and I have a fitbit and am trying to hit my daily goals!), we've been spending a lot of time outside lately. We even got a zoo pass in order to have more active fun outside.

Flamingos are their favorite
We've also been hiking a lot. It has been such beautiful weather, that most days we have tried to spend the day outside either hiking or playing in the backyard.

Standing in front of the grave of 2 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence at Guilford Courthouse Battlefield.

Playing on some rocks during a break from hiking next to the Yadkin River
School is going well and I'm feeling pretty optimistic about our choices right now. Minus some attitude problems, things couldn't be going better. I also did Lydia's legally required standardized test this week. I went into it with no pre-conception with how she would do. Standardized testing isn't super important to me at this age, and we use many non-standard scope and sequence curricula. But she did amazing! She was at grade level or higher in every subject! It was very validating, even if it wasn't important.

Making an AM radio with Daddy

Lydia is doing well as she transitions to reading "real" books. I've decided to work harder on the Mensa reading list in hopes to get her that t-shirt in the next year or so. She read Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Frederick, Make Way for Ducklings, and a "free choice" book, which was Charlotte's Web. She's really into Charlotte's Web lately and has been making all sorts of little books based on it. She has also been enjoying reading on my old Kindle lately. If she keeps it up, I'll probably get her a Kindle of her own so she doesn't keep hogging "the family" one, or more accurately, Tyler's.

Eleanor is doing better and getting faster all the time. She has started checking out books like Clifford from the library and is able to read most of them. She even started the first Boxcar Children book on the Kindle. She's on lesson 156 in OPGTR

Adelaide is blowing me away with how well she is doing. She is done with the cvc section in OPGTR and is easily my best-prepared reading student yet. I often skip the word practice part of the lesson and go straight to the story part because she just doesn't need the extra instruction. She is picking it up so quickly. And because of her bubbly personality, teaching her is really a joy. "That's the end of my lesson? OK!" and off she goes. She is on lesson 41 in OPGTR

This month we discovered Prodigy Math. It is an online video game in the format of Final Fantasy that requires math problems to be solved in order to fight the monsters. My girls are loving it! They are using all their daily screen time playing it, even math-phobic Lydia. Gamification really motivates them, and it is great at working on sections the girls struggle with.

Lydia fininished 203 and is on 204 now (lesson 8). She's doing really well with math. In fact, her latest quiz was a 99%, her best ever quiz score. I was so proud of her.

Eleanor continues to do really well in math as well. So much so that I've decided to go ahead and get her Beast Academy, a 3rd grade math curricula that is reputed as being incredibly difficult but also very fun. It has always been my goal to get her to the Art of Problem Solving's curricula, of which Beast Academy is the youngest level available. It arrived today and even though she had already completed her math for the day, she still wanted to read the first section with me and do a practice page. I think she will be able to do it, but if not, we'll put it off for a little bit and try again later. In the meantime, she will continue on with Miquon and MEP. She is almost done with Miquon's 3rd book (78/103) and is about to start the 4th. She should also finish MEP1 soon (lesson 105/140). MEP is the most "normal" math she has, even though it isn't very traditional either. I often mark out sections and try to only have her do ones that help solidify her math thinking. They also have brain teasers that I try to have her do because it is good for her. We do use it behind where she is in her other math by about a 1/2 year to a year, so she usually flies through it, but it is good practice for her.
ETA 3/3/16: I've been thinking a lot about it, and have decided to skip the rest of MEP level 1 and move on to lesson 25 in MEP level 2. It was mostly going to be busy work for her. She was zooming through the pages (5 or 10 minutes to do an entire lesson). I want her to have a solid foundation, but not be bored and do busy work. After looking at it, lesson 25 is about when they start place value and pre-multiplication skills and I think she could benefit from more practice in that, although those skills are pretty decent already. Still, I think the different perspective and extra practice could help. I'm also going to be a bit more judicious with which parts of each lesson I give her. Doing 3 complete math programs at once is a bit much, so since I have to choose, I'm just going to go with the problem sets that I think will specifically benefit or challenge her from MEP. This will probably equal about half of each lesson rather than the whole thing.

Adelaide is still working on Miquon Orange. Since she's still only 3, I only "require" one page a day, if we feel like it. She really enjoys it and is doing a good job. She likes to make up little math problems for me all day or tell me little math problems she's figured out. Lately she has taken to counting to 100 for fun while she looks at our hundred chart. She has completed 30/126 in the Orange book.

Language Arts:
Lydia finished AAS2 and is in the first lesson in AAS3. She chose Adele's "Hello" as her dance party song when she finished. She also started FLL3 and is on lesson 16. It has started her diagramming sentences and even I'm learning some things about adjectives. My grammar instruction was not the best, so I'm looking forward to learning with her. She is doing a fairly good job in WWE2 as well. She is on week 9, day 2.

Eleanor just finished lesson 18 in AAS1 and is on week 8, day 3 in WWE1

Both of the older girls are enjoying Hoffman Academy and I'm fairly committed to stay with it for the long haul (next several years). We supported their Kickstarter last month and are excited about the expansion they are doing. Taking piano lessons from Mr. Hoffman is like taking piano lessons from Mr. Rogers, and the girls really respond to him. They are almost done with Unit 1 and we should be picking up our pace soon. I want to do at least 2 video lessons a week regularly.

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