We had a great week! Lots of visible progress with both kids.
First for the fun stuff. I lied when I said we’d be starting our new Science, History and Geography this week. I decided to hold off for a few weeks since Steph, Daddy and I are going to visit friends in Mississippi and take in a few Mardi Gras festivities in neighboring New Orleans, while the little guys enjoy some time with their grandparents.
We decided to have some Valentine’s Day fun instead. We participated in a Valentine exchange through the Secular Homeschool forums. The kids were very excited as their Valentines came in the mail and eagerly looked for the right state (and one from Canada) to mark on our map.
Georgie made Valentine cards for his special cousin Jade and some other friends, while Vicki just made decorations to put up all over the house.
Vicki had a real break-through this week. I’ve been periodically trying different phonics reading programs with her including Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, the sample pages from All About Reading Level 1 and Progressive Phonics. But she just hasn’t been ready for blending. She knows all her letter sounds (thanks to Leap Frog videos) but she’s been working on the pre-level book Get Ready for the Code for extra reinforcement (and because she wanted to “do school”). We are almost ready to move on to Get Set for the Code and she’s been doing very well and enjoys the work. This past week I pulled out an old copy of The Reading Lesson which was the first thing I bought for Georgie to homeschool with when he was 4. He hated it but Vicki loves it and it worked! She was able to do the blends in one of the initial lessons (a t, c a, c o, t a, s a) without any problems.
She has been continuing along with Handwriting without Tears and has shown more willingness to carefully trace the letters and taking her time coloring the pictures. She hasn’t wanted to do the name tracing pages I prepared for her but I continue to bring it out everyday and just put it away if she doesn’t want to do it.
Georgie spent a lot of time this week reading a couple of the encyclopedias we have. He says he likes reading the books with “lots of different little informations in them”. His favorite was A Scholastic Kid’s Encyclopedia: Science but he also enjoyed the Little Kid’s First Big Book of Why. He had no trouble with the vocabulary in either of these and just started at the beginning and read them through in order.
I’m continuing to alternate Georgie’s Handwriting without Tears with some short copywork. I made the mistake one day of putting his HWT workbook out at the same time as his binder. He ended up writing a word in HWT, then doing a problem in the binder, then back to his HWT workbook, then back to his binder. Probably not the most efficient way for him to be working.
He has almost completed Explode the Code Book 3. Many people recommend postponing Book 4 since it is a big jump in difficulty. We will probably start with Book 4 and if it proves too difficult, switch to Book 5.
Georgie is also almost finished with Math Mammoth 1st grade. We will be working completely within 2A and 2B by the end of next week. He still enjoys being able to mix up topics.
He’s continuing with the free Scholastic GUM and McMillian/McGraw Treasures Grammar. We are currently working on adjectives and Georgie loves making things more complicated than they need to be. He had to pick an adjective for the sentence “The sheep ran down the _________ hill.” He had to think about this for a few minutes and then stated “well, sheep aren’t very good climbers so I’m going to go with small for the hill”. He also had to write other answers to fit the word – “red” was written in red, “pink” in pink, “big” was written BIG and “pretty” had to be written in pink and purple because “they are pretty colors even though I don’t like them”. Once we finish the first grade level of these we will be switching to Spectrum Grade 2 workbooks.
He is also almost finished with Level 1 All About Spelling. I’m taking some time to review all the past lessons to make sure everything has been mastered up to this point before we move to Level 2.
Next week we have 4-H Cloverbuds on Tuesday (topic for the day is Weather), Homeschool Bowling on Wednesday and Homeschool Gymnastics on Friday so we’re going to concentrate on our core subjects along with some more Valentine’s Day activities.