Monday, July 30, 2012

Today was one of those days.....

Today was one of those days where the thought of putting my oldest on the bus and sending him off to school sounds WONDERFUL!  He was whiny, complaining, crying, throwing fits, and not listening all day.

These are the days that I remind myself why I homeschool...

- I love that we can work at his pace - We are ahead in many areas, but behind in a few.  His development is so uneven that he would be bored sometimes in a classroom but struggle at other times.

- I love getting to see him learn new things.  I love seeing his mind working to find the answer.  I love the way that he does things his own way.  His brain figures out math problems in ways that I never thought would work.

- I love that the rest of my kids can stay on their own schedule and not have to live there life based on the school schedule.

- I love that I can curl up on the couch reading books and playing board games with my kids and call it school.

- I love that I can teach him things that interest him.  Watching him read about something and then go searching the internet for more information makes my heart sing.

- I love that my kids ask questions constantly.  They know that if I don't have the answer I will help them find  the answer.

- I love that on days like today when everybody needed more sleep, patience and understanding that we can call our day done and just enjoy some quiet time.

- I love that I get the best hours of the day with my son.  He is the happiest and most cooperative mid morning.  The afternoons are rough.  I would miss so many fun times with my son if we only had the afternoons together.

- I love that we can work our schedule around my husbands work schedule.  If my son was in public school (and it was in session right now) my son would go 9 days without seeing his Daddy because of his work hours this week.

- There are so many things that I love about homeschooling.... but after a long trying day it helps to remember why I am doing this.

This biggest reason of all is that I love my kids with all my heart and I will do anything to give them what is best for them... even if it means that I end the night questioning my decisions while drinking a glass of wine.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekly Update - July 23-27

Wow - We had a productive week this week!

Both kids were in great moods this week and we got all our work done everyday without a ton of complaining!

Some highlights of our week

S has finally decided she wants to learn how to write  - She found this HWOT sheet and did it herself while I was working with D.  Not bad for very little instruction on how to form her letters.  She is my child that I have to wait for her to be ready.  If you try to get her to do something before it is her idea`she will resist, but once she decides it's time to learn something she picks it up quickly. (Bolded this to remind myself of this daily!)

She also worked in her Explode the Code book a lot this week

We also did a lot of work with making tens and counting numbers to 20.

D had fun learning his Latin vocab words with a race to find his words taped around the house.  I called out either the latin or english word and he had to find to other taped to the wall in the house

He also had a great time getting to make lunch for all the kids one day

R and Little E had fun running around the house like wild men - R enjoyed watching all the birds at our feeder and waiting for hummingbirds to come to our feeder that is attached to one of our living room windows. I also started pulling out our toy bins each day.  In the spring I packed up most of our toys into 5 rubbermaid bins. The little boys get a new bin each day of the week. It helps to keep them busy while I do school with the older two.

Little E has been keeping busy by emptying out the dishwasher for me! Too bad occasionally I come back into the kitchen to a counter full of dirty dishes

Other things about our week

I further reduced the writing D has to do in a day and he was much happier.  By giving him the EXACT amount of writing that he is going to have to do for page before we start helps stop the complaining.  So for math I circle about 6 problems that he has to do on his own and then I will write for him after that.  I also made him only write the first 6 words of his narration for day 4 of WWE1.  He had been giving me bad narrations on day 4 because he didn't want to write it all down.  Now his day 4 narrations are better and he is giving me longer sentences with more detail.

D managed to read 4 books this week - 3 Magic Tree House books and one MTH research guide.

S continues to take the time to "read" chapter books.  She goes line by line reading the words that she knows and guessing at a few that she has no idea.  She is happy to do lessons in OPGTR since she knows that she will eventually be able to read MTH books when she works her way through the lessons.  I'm just thrilled that she has the patience and tracking ability to go line by line, page by page picking out the words that she can read.  I have a feeling that once she can read fluently I will be constantly saying that she has her nose in a book.

We also started a morning circle time.  I never did it with D since he had been in a Pre-K program so they had already taught him things like the calendar, days of the week, months of the year etc.  I figured that Sarah needed to start  I still haven't gotten a calendar up yet, but we have been working on nursery rhymes (I realized that my kids never learned many of them) singing the days of the week song, reading some poems from Shel Silverstein, and a bible story.  D practices his prayers that he is supposed to know for Religious Ed classes and  we also read some story selections from the "What your ____ grader needs to know"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekly Update - July 20th

This is the first week that I'm joining in on the Weekly Wrap up on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I know this week is the Curriculum Edition and if you would like to see what we are using for 2nd grade or Pre-K look here for a post from a few weeks ago when we started our new school year - I Puffy Heart New School Books

Otherwise it was another odd week in our house.

E continues to work odd shifts (mainly being gone 12:30pm - 11:00pm) so our schooling is happening at all hours of the day to work around his schedule.

The kids have been spending many hours playing with their playmobil in the afternoon when it is just too hot to be outside.

I have been working with D and S first thing in the morning while E is here to play with the little boys and then later in the afternoon when little E is napping we finish up our work and play some games.

Highlights of the week -

D finished 4 books this week - 2 Magic Tree house books, one Magic Tree House Research Guide, and a Geronimo Stilton book.

Many nights you will find the two big kids trying to get in a little more reading time before I turn the lights out for the night.

S continues to impress me with how well she taught herself to read. We blasted our way through 8 lessons in OPGTR getting up to the first lesson on blends. I'm still making sure to hit every lesson so I don't worry about her missing something. She is also working through Explode the Code 1.

R has randomly started singing his ABC's - Most of the time I hear him singing them to himself in the bathroom!

In the past month S has gone from not being able to recognize any number over 15 to recognizing and reading any number up to 100.

Low points of the week -

D continues to whine and complain about the amount of writing I am making him do. I don't feel that it is too much for a boy of his age (and he used to do at least this much writing last year without complaint) I've been trying to find ways to reduce his writing or split it up as much as I can but there is only so much I can do to reduce the writing. If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with a pencil phobic 7 year old boy I'd love to hear them!!!

D working on a Dinosaur puzzle/model

Friday, July 13, 2012

2 weeks done!

It's been 2 weeks since we've started our new school year.
Days completed - 9

Good things

D is finally doing well with WWE1 - We have stopped and started this program several times due to his difficulty and frustration with answering the comprehension questions. He has finally matured to the point where he can listen and remember the story even if it isn't something he liked. We are on week 20 so hopefully half way through the year we can make the switch over to WWE 2

We are making progress in Science and History despite the horrible library we have here. Using programs the rely on a large number of living books is very hard when you have a poorly stocked library. I am looking forward to being back home in a few months and back to our wonderful library system.

We started Latin with a few tears, but now he is looking forward to it and we have a goal of surprising his Sunday school teacher with him saying the Our Father in Latin one day.

Everything else is moving right along.

The Bad Things

It's nearly impossible to keep a 7 y.o attention on his work while his siblings are running around the house!

The little boys have decided that anytime I sit down at the kitchen table with D is a perfect time to find trouble. This generally means that Little E is putting things in the toilet and R is flooding the bathroom playing in the sink. It doesn't seem to matter what activities I pull out they won't play with it unless I'm right there with them. On good days they will play with a new bin of toys for about 30 minutes alone before they start trying to destroy the house.

Oh the whining and meltdowns about writing! D thinks that having to write more than a few words at any given time is the end of the world. I scribe for him a lot but he was writing more at the beginning of the year last year than he is now. Working on using those hand muscles and writing more on his own. I think we are going to have to go back to having daily handwriting practice on top of the 3 days of copying in WWE.

Highlights of the weeks
- D started riding his bike without training wheels!

- S took a reading test with Daddy (she won't read for me) and tested at an upper 1st grade level. She has some beginning chapter books that she "reads" to herself in bed at night. I'm starting to think that she reads a lot more of them than we realized. She has the patience to go word by word, line by line reading what she can. She comes out of her room every morning happy that she read one more chapter. We are going to push hard on OPGTR with her until we get to a lesson that she starts to have trouble.

- S likes to come up to me and tell me random math facts that she has figured out. We are working our way through Singapore Essentials B and I think I will have to add in Miquon Orange here soon.

- I managed to bribe the kids with fireworks and ice cream on the 4th of July to get a picture of all 4 of them together

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Puffy Heart New School Books!

It's the start of a new school year around our house and I'm loving the smell/feel of new books. I was always the kid at school who loved the years that we got new textbooks and I didn't have to carry around a grubby book that many other kids had touched.

This year D is in 2nd Grade and S is doing Pre-K/K She misses the cutoff for K but is ready for K materials so we are calling it Pre-K and working at her level.

I need to remember to take our start of the school year pictures over the 4th while E is home to help me keep the little ones busy while I do pictures of the big kids.

D - 2nd

Language Arts
Phonics - Finish Explode the Code Series (Books 7 and 8)
Writing - Finish Writing with Ease 1 and move into 2
Spelling - Finish All About Spelling 2 and start 3
Reading - Continue to Read - Aloud with me books above his level and read independently books At/Below his level (4th- 5th grade level)

Singapore Math - Standards ed 3A/3B along with Intensive Practice and Creative Word Problems 2
He also plays a lot on

Continue to work our way through History Odyssey Ancients and eventually move into Middle Ages
(History was the thing we put off the most last year)

Real Science Odyssey - Finish Life and start Earth and Space.

Working on memorizing - States and their locations, then will learn the state capitals.

Prima Latina - May put this off until later in the year. Tried it today and it was met with tears and frustration. Going to give it another try next week when he is not so tired.

Critical Thinking
Primarily Logic Boo
Lots of Logic puzzles and games
Logic Links

Going to try to complete one lapbook a month on the topic of his choice. Currently finishing one on Meerkats and getting ready to start on Desert Animals

S - PreK

Singapore Essential Math B and then moving into 1A
Handwriting without tears - Kindergarten
Explode the Code 1
Reading Bob Books
Going to try several units from B4FIAR and FIAR vol 1