This was my first week attempting to do “real” work with two kids. Vicki has played around with some stuff in the past but it was usually completely independent “play” or done without Georgie around. Even though Vicki’s is still completely optional, she now has some actual curriculum to work with.
My first hurdle was to find each of them a work area that would keep them from bothering each other. Vicki loves to grab Georgie’s stuff and Georgie loves giving the answers for Vicki’s. I went with setting up our two tables so they would be sitting back-to-back. Someone suggested this to me on one of my forums and I think it will work well. This way they aren’t too focused on each other and I can sit on the couch in between to help whoever needs it. Vicki’s table is not ideal since it has a (slightly ripped) padded top which is difficult to write or color on but it should do for now. Eventually we will get her a table like George's which is height adjustable.
When Vicki didn’t feel like “doing school” she played with the Tag map or on the computer.
Georgie is continuing along in Explode the Code. I think we are actually somewhere in Book 2 but I’m not sure since I separated all the pages in order to file them at the beginning of our year and match them up to AAS. He likes the silly pictures and continues to have absolutely no problem finding the correct answers.
For Grammer, we have moved on to simple sentences in our Scholastic GUM program. We’ve never covered this type of thing before but Georgie had no problem telling what was a sentence and what wasn’t.
We started our Handwriting without Tears. Georgie is working in the First Grade book since his primary problem is lowercase letters. It does start with a review of uppercase, which we will go through a little slowly to get him used to their method and to make sure he’s making the letters correctly. We started with Frog Jump Capitals – those that start with a straight line and then return to the top. I had printed off some gray block paper with starting dots for him to practice on.
Georgie also enjoyed reading his new issue of Highlights High Five and doing the puzzles. He used to get Your Big Backyard and when he’s a little older I hope to get him National Geographic Kids or Zoobooks. I think magazine subscription are a great way to encourage reading and an interest in new topics.
Vicki has expressed interest in learning to read (thanks to Georgie’s book worm) so I pulled out our Get Ready for the Code book again. She did really well the first day. I didn’t have her do any of the letter tracing pages but she liked circling the pictures that started with the correct letter sound. She knows her letter sounds from watching Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD.
I have the Pre-K level of Handwriting without Tears for Vicki. I bought the Teacher’s Manual but none of the other manipulatives. I made my own set of Capital Letter pieces out of thick black foam. The hardest part of preparing them was getting the price and brand stickers off. Next time I buy foam I’m going to try and get pieces that attach the UPC with a little staple because no matter what I tried (vinegar, alcohol) I couldn’t get the residue completely off. Vicki did enjoy playing with the pieces. I made my own set of Letter cards but have not introduced them yet. She also did a pre-writing page where she traced and then copied horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, and circles.
We are continuing along with MEP and Addition/Subtraction worksheets until the end of the month when the Co-op sale ends and we can get our Math Mammoth. We do still need to work on sitting without correct posture while doing written work.
Vicki did some counting cards I downloaded from Confessions of a Homeschooler. She doesn’t like using clothespins but was able to use a dry-erase marker on the laminated cards.
She also did a counting worksheet from tlsbooks. In the past she would point to the correct number and I would circle it for her. This time she wanted to do it herself.
One unexpected effect of having Vicki join us for school was Georgie asked why he didn’t get to do “fun school” anymore. It made me realize that I had been very lax in adding games into our school day. So, we pulled out one of our word building games – Tri Words. It gave Georgie practice in reading, spelling and writing since he wanted to keep track of the words we came up with.
We continued to use the Wii Fit for some physical education. Georgie’s favorite is still the Basic Run where he gets to follow the kitten around.
We also got some fresh air and exercise enjoying the first week of Spring.
We finished up our study of Japan, which can be seen here.
I am going to be deviating from our scheduled program for the next month. We are scheduled to continue along in our study of the countries of Asia, followed by Desert habitats. But, our local museum is having a month of hands-on activities and science experiments to celebrate the opening of the newly expanded Dinosaur Den. In order to best incorporate all this fun into our schooling, we are going to play paleontologists for the next month.