Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

We had a great week of school this week.  Both kids were (mostly) cooperative and accomplished almost everything I had planned for the week.


Vicki has loved our Unifix cubes for a long time.  She loves playing with them together with our balance scale.  Not to do any actual measuring, of course.  She fills the buckets of the scale with cubes then places it behind a chair to “cook” and brings George and I snacks as we work.   Great pretend play and it keeps her busy for a really long time, so win-win.

She did use the Unifix cubes to do some patterns this week.


We worked on a few more math worksheets from Evan Moor Teacher File Box.  This week we did Big/Small and Sets of 1,2 or 3.  The Sets worksheet she had to color the set of 1 green, the set of 2 blue and the set of 3 orange.  She did one of her neatest (and most thorough) jobs yet coloring the one frog green. 


She did 6 pages from Get Ready for the Code this week.  We’re still working on the letters b and f but she is getting much more cooperative about following the actual directions.   She’s been walking around talking about letters sounds for the past couple of weeks.  “Mommy, mommy starts with mmmmm, M.  Zappa starts with /z/ /z/, Z.”    Things definitely seem to be clicking for her more these days.

We built Mat Man this week in our Handwriting Without Tears program.  (I forgot to cut hands out of paper so we used small curves for hands).  Vicki had a lot of fun doing this and thought he looked like a monkey so called him Monkey Man.IMG_6959

She had so much fun with it that later on (after asking for a pair of scissors) she made a girl wearing a dress.


George also was very interested in Mat Man (maybe he remembers a little from when he did this program in Early Intervention) and after he finished his work, I let him use the pieces.  He didn’t want to do boring old Mat Man.  Instead he made a bull….


a camel (with a tiny Unifix cube person riding one hump)….


a snake….


and a hippo with a boo-boo on his knee.


I’ve been having George do independent work while I work with Vicki first each day.  She seems to do much better keeping herself amused later if I give her some one-on-one time before trying to concentrate on George.   She did some work with her wipe-off books and cards while I was working with George this week and evidently we were being too loud since she yelled at us “Quiet guys, I’m working here!”.



HANDWRITING:  We start each day with handwriting since this is the hardest for him.   We completed 8 pages from Handwriting without Tears this week.  A couple days took extra long since he had to draw in pictures where they were missing.  Other than the side trips, he’s doing very well with handwriting.


PHONICS/READING:  We are up to Lesson 63 in OPGTR.  He still hasn’t had any problem reading any of the lessons but he rushes through these as quickly as possible. 

He did about 20 pages of Explode the Code this week (4-6 pages a day).  He  finds the sentences very silly and giggles at the pictures.  So far he’s had very little trouble with any of this and we are almost done with Book 2. 

We are in completely different places with OPGTR and ETC but the combination seems to be working very well for George so I’m going to continue with both. 

MATH:  George is continuing to love Math Mammoth.  I did cut down his daily work from 3 pages to 2 pages.    Money is definitely his favorite topic (especially when he can use real coins) but nothing has been particularly hard for him.  He loves the puzzles that come up every few pages.


GRAMMAR/WRITING:  We are continuing with the Scholastic GUM program for now.  Once we finish the 1st grade book, I may switch to some Spectrum 2nd Grade workbooks that I picked up at a used bookstore last weekend.   I was able to get 3 books for $1 each – Reading, Writing and Language Arts

He really enjoys the Reading Comprehension pages from the Scholastic 1st Grade Basic Skills:  Reading Comprehension and Reading Skills book I picked up at one of the dollar sales.  He often flips ahead in his binder to do those first.    We only have a few more of these pages left so, at the most recent sale, I bought the 2nd Grade Basic Skills book so we can continue.

SPELLING:  We continued on in All About Spelling this week.  I allocated the entire week for Step 16 – learning the different sounds of C and deciding whether to use C or K for the /k/ sound.  This ended up coming much easier to George than I thought it would, so we moved on to Step 17 which was spelling words beginning with the /k/ sound.  

He remembered the two sounds of C without a problem.   As I explained that C made the /s/ sound before the letters e, i or y (which means in those situations, you would use k for the /k/ sound) he decided to set up “battle stations” where K had e, i and y on “her” side and C had a, o and u on “his” side.


As I would give him a word to spell, they would go to battle.  To make sure he understood that it wouldn’t always be a vowel after the c, we had words like craft, crop, clam and crab.  He had no trouble spelling any of the words on the list but, I did think the list was light on K words so I added a few to really check his understanding (king, key, kite, kelp, kin, keg, kilt, kind, kiss).  We will move on to Step 18 next week and I just realized there are only 6 more lessons to go in Level One.   We will continue on with Level Two since I think this is a great program and it really reinforces the phonics rules (which I think he may be rushing through somewhat in ETC and OPGTR). 

We didn’t get to any of our Prehistory study this week but the kids did play outside with some dinosaurs.


We had beautiful Fall weather and after seeing an idea on Pinterest, I set up a balance beam for the kids.  I used a bungee cord to attached a wood board to two plastic crates.  The kids decorated it with sidewalk chalk and played a variety of games using it.




Simple, easy and fun.

Next week I hope to continue this new productivity in our core subjects and continue on with our Prehistory/Dinosaur study.  I want to finish Prehistory in the next couple of weeks and either return to our Continents study (which we may need to start over since it’s been so long) or do unit studies using Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus chapter books.


  1. Looks like a great week. Be quiet guys, I'm working--made me LOL! Sounds like quite a girl you have there. And the balance beam looks like a great idea.

  2. Love it! Our HWOT pieces got used in much the same way this past week, LOL!