We jumped back into school this week with some fun and challenging additions to our workload.
I signed up for Reading Eggs using some discount codes that were circulating a few weeks ago. Vicki has continued to struggle with blending but insists she wants to learn to read. She’s not as into the computer as Georgie is but she did enjoy Reading Eggs and completed the first 4 lessons this week. She played at the table wearing headphones while I worked with Georgie on his work.
Georgie, on the other hand, LOVES the computer and really enjoyed Reading Eggs. He started at Lesson 70, which seemed to be slightly lower than his true reading level but there were still some things that were new to him. In three days, he played enough to move up to Lesson 107. He did this completely in his free time after we finished the rest of school. As long as he continues to enjoy Reading Eggs and progresses well, I’m going to stop OPGTR but continue Explode the Code. He should be starting ETC 4 next week.
As part of school this week, I did the San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability with Georgie. I didn’t present is as a test, I just replaced the sheet we would normally do for OPGTR with the list of words from the Assessment. One error indicates Independent level, two errors Instructional level. Reading level is the highest level where 8 or more were read correctly. Georgie read all the words through the 1st grade level, had one wrong each in 2nd grade and 3rd grade. In 4th grade, he had only 4 correct but on the 5th grade list he had 6 correct. Which appears to place him at a 3rd grade reading level.
Georgie seems to prefer reading non-fiction encyclopedia-type books when picking his own selections. This week he spent a lot of time looking through our First Field Guide to Mammals. We have four or five similar field guides and probably a couple dozen encyclopedias, so he has lots to keep his interest if he continues to prefer reading these.
Vicki didn’t do much else in the way of school this week. We did another two pages in The Reading Lesson but are still working at the beginning of Lesson 1. She did two pages in HWT, a couple pages from Get Ready for the Code, which she insisted in doing with a pen, and a decent tracing of her name for the first time. The rest of the time she played with her wipe-off boards, the unifix blocks or the Tag maps. She will be finished with GRC and moving on to Get Set for the Code in the next couple of weeks.
Georgie did Lesson 20 of All About Spelling this week. I let him do the words on the Magna Doodle and after the first couple of words, he realized they all ended with –ng, so he began erasing only the beginning of the word and leaving the –ng. At that point, I switched to having him write some of the phrases so he would have to actually think about how to spell the words. We will be starting AAS 2 shortly.
I’m continuing to have him alternate copywork with pages in his Handwriting without Tears book in order to give him more practice before trying the 2nd grade book with smaller lines. This week he did '”Look before you leap” and “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. I’m picking the quotes from the kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade levels of What your x grader needs to know books. Whenever he does this copywork, I also have him write his full name and the date.
We are continuing with Math Mammoth 2 doing 3 to 4 pages each day. Georgie likes math so at the last Scholastic Dollar Days I picked up some books with various math puzzles in them. We added in some from Algebra Readiness Made Easy: Grade 2 this week. These were logic puzzles where clues are given to determine the ages of 4 different animals. I was planning to go through the first one with him but he found it while I was still working with Vicki so I waited to see what he would do. He had no problem figuring out the solution and enjoyed doing it so I will continue to add them to his independent work each day.
Through Pinterest I found a link to an addition game that I thought Georgie would like and would serve as a way to drill on math facts. The original was set up to use with a regular 6-sided die. Since Georgie is past that point in addition, I made up my own board that had addition and subtraction problems with answers up to 12, and used a 12-sided die to play. Each player rolls the die and then moves forward to the next equation that has that number as a solution. Georgie basically had to solve every problem on the board to find the correct ones. I uploaded my file to Google Docs here if anyone is interested in trying it out.
Georgie is still working out of his binder with a few things that can be done independently coming first (usually HWT or copywork, ETC, Reading Comprehension and his Algebra readiness) which he does while I work with Vicki. Previously, If he finished before Vicki and I did, I felt like he wound up wasting time and if he slipped away to the computer it was very hard to get him back. So, a new addition this week was this page:
Next to him on the kitchen nook bench were a few books for him to chose from -a few Level 2 or 3 readers and one harder chapter book he can try if he wants to, his Draw Write Now books with paper, and a small white board with a set of magnetic words that I printed off months ago. This gives him something productive to do while keeping him close by. This week he mostly played around with the magnetic words. He took them off the board and played with them on the table. At least he did until Vicki joined him while I made lunch and put a bunch of them in the cracks between the nook benches.
Even though I didn’t put it on his list, I did have his Mad Libs Jr. book available as well and that was his second choice this week. (You can see the magnetic words in the background. They are color coded by part of speech.)
Thursday was a gorgeous Spring-like day. Very unusual for NJ in March, so the kids and I took a walk to the mailboxes. In order to convince Georgie that a walk was a good idea, I printed off a Nature Scavenger Hunt list for them to check-off. Since it was early in the year and I knew they wouldn’t find some things (no dandelions or butterflies right now) I only made one sheet and told them we would just do it for fun. Each of them had their own crayon and my insistence that it wasn’t contest didn’t stop Georgie from periodically announcing that he was winning. I taped the list to a clipboard since it was very windy outside and we started right in our backyard where we found a purple flower (crocuses that are confused by the weather), tree bark, pine needles and pine cones.
Other things that were on our list that we found were acorns, a y-shaped stick, smooth and jagged edged leaves, round and triangular shaped rocks and birds. We weren’t able to find clovers, dandelions or a spider web. I was also very surprised that we saw no squirrels or chipmunks – both of which are usually very prolific around here.
There are many versions of nature hunts around the web. I made up my own to make it more relevant to what is around here but it looks like I may need to make them seasonal as well.
Next week we have a 4-H Cloverbud meeting with the topic of discussion being pets. We will also start US History with a study of Native Americans and/or Science with Rocks and Minerals. We have out of the house activities four afternoons next week (YIKES!!) so it may be a light week otherwise.