Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First two weeks of the new year Wrap-Up

The kids have eased back into school for the year, completing two weeks of their core subjects and starting back into a few extra-curriculars.

Both kids are using an assortment of resources that hit on topics such as grammar, phonics, spelling and math in various ways.  The repetition and diverse approaches seems to be working very well for both of them.


Language Arts

Handwriting: Vicki has finished the Handwriting without Tears: Printing Power book (2nd grade).  She is definitely not ready for cursive writing yet so will continue to practice handwriting using copywork from WWE1, The Wand and other resources she’s using for literature, grammar and/or spelling.

Evan Moor Daily Reading Comprehension Grade 2:  She is up to Week 9 in the second grade book and is doing great.  The passages these weeks worked on Fact and Opinion, Compare and Contrast, and Making Inferences.

Evan Moor Grammar and Punctuation Grade 2:  The Grammar and Punctuation book is set up by rules.   Vicki worked on three rules the past two weeks that dealt with sentences.  Every Grammar curriculum seems to start with sentences, and we’ve switched a few times in the past year, so she should really have that down pretty good by now.  ;-) 

Scholastic Success with Vocabulary Grade 1:  Vicki only has a few more pages to finish up the Scholastic Success with Vocabulary Grade 1 book.  Once she has finished, she will move on to Evan Moor Word-A-Day, Grade 2.    She worked on contractions, adverbs, and adjectives this week.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write, Grade 2:  This spelling is a new thing for Vicki.   Last year she was still concentrating on building up her reading skills.  This is the same program Georgie has been using but at a lower level.  I love the mix of memorization (write 2x and puzzles), phonics rules, grammar and writing.  She has completed unit 1 so far which had the theme of A Good Pet.  She was able to spell all her words correctly – came, mine, name, dog, ride, cat, bone, bird, cute, and pet.


Math Mammoth 1B:  Vicki is finishing up the last couple of chapters of MM1B before starting 2A.
Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math Grade 2:  She has started the second grade book and is up to page 10.  So far it’s covered addition and subtraction through 18, counting to 100, time to the half hour, and graphing.

Scholastic Practice, Practice, Practice: Addition and Subtraction:  This is a nice fun book of practice problems using puzzles, games and butterflies. J She only has a few more pages left and will move on to Scholastic Success with Addition/Subtraction, Grade 2 which uses a similar format.  She has been working on addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Scholastic First Word Problems: Time and Money:  She has finished up the time problems and started the money problems.


Language Arts

Handwriting:  George has almost finished his Scholastic Cursive Writing Practice: Jokes and Riddles book.  He will continue practicing using copywork from WWE, The Arrow and his other programs.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write Gr 5:  He is up to Unit 7 in the 5th grade level and has done great with all the tests.  This weeks’ theme was Great Kid Inventors and included the spelling words: change, though, decided, special, children, example, dangerous, device, chasing, stretches, thought and awhile.   This week concentrated on the digraphs ch, th and wh, and proper use of quotation marks and commas.  The writing passages included making up a simple invention, drawing it and describing how it would work.  George made a cooking robot, the J007 (CookBot or Jerald) who will “act like a basic chef and cook what is wanted”.  He also had to write sentences to describe his favorite invention of the 20th century and no surprise, he picked computers. Because “Computers do fast work.”, “Games on the Computer”, “Fast typing on the keyboard” and “Computers have fun on them”.

No Boring Practice Please! Spelling: he is still alternating this with SS Spell and Write.  This week he worked on the “au” digraph, and punctuation and capitalization.

Evan Moor Daily Reading Comprehension Gr 5:  George has just started the 5th grade level of Reading Comprehension and is doing fine. 

Evan Moor Word-A-Day – Grade 4:  George is up to Week 25.  These weeks have covered the words admonish, foreign, gallery, harass, indulge, destitute, jumble, and lecture.   This level has brief writing assignments included.   He was asked to write about a foreign country he would like to visit and why.  He wrote: “I would like to go to a foreign country, Egypt to get a pet armadillo.”  When asked Do you like having things in your room in a jumble? He answered with “I’m okay with it.”

Writing with Ease:  The weeks’ passages were from The Velveteen Rabbit and How to Eat Fried Worms.  As long as he does okay in the next couple weeks, George will probably move up to WWE2.  He will be alternating WWE with The Arrow and maybe some Literature Pockets.

Reading: George has been reading a variety of books all summer.  The kids would read for an hour during school and for another 30-60 minutes in the evening.


Math Mammoth (4A): George is working on the last chapter of 4A – Time and Measuring and will move on the 4B shortly.  He spent time over the summer working on reinforcing his multiplication and division facts.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math – Grade 4:  George is working on Unit 4.  This is a great spiral review of the various math concepts that are taught in MM.  He worked on constructing and interpreting graphs, multi-step computation, figuring out area, fractions, 3-D shapes, volume, and balancing equations this week.

Evan Moor Daily Word Problems – Grade 4: George is starting to struggle a little bit with these.  He still wants to be able to solve them in his head and most of them are multiple step problems that are impossible to do without writing them out.

For some fun drill and reinforcement of facts, George has also been continuing with the Scholastic Super Sudoku Math: Multiplication & Division Facts and Scholastic Fast Facts: Multiplication and Division.

For even more fun he’s been doing Sudoku puzzles from Easy Sukoku Puzzles by KrazyDad and logic grid puzzles from Mental Floss.
BOTH: Extra-curriculars

Both kids returned to swimming lessons this week. Vicki has moved up to the Guppy level at the Y and will probably move up again fairly quickly.  George is doing great and has made a new friend in his class.

I’ve been looking into 4-H clubs and we’re probably going to be checking out a Herpetology group next month, and maybe a Lego Club.

We are participating in a postcard exchange and will start working on a US Geography study to go along with that once a week.

I’m excited about a new year starting.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A New Year - 2014-2015

Our new year has started and the kids are easing back into the school routine with Jennifer.  Our curriculum hasn't changed too much from last year since it's been working well and both kids are working at or above grade level.

FOR VICKI (7 years old/2nd grade):

Language Arts: 
Evan Moor Reading Comprehension, Grade 2
Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write, Grade 2
Evan Moor Word-A-Day, Grade 2
Evan Moor Grammar and Punctuation, Grade 2
Writing With Ease 1/The Wand/Literature Pockets (alternating)

Math Mammoth 2A and B
Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math, Grade 2
Scholastic Success with Addition and Subtraction, Grade 2
Algebra Readiness Made Easy, Grade 2

FOR GEORGE (9 years old/4th grade):

Language Arts:
Evan Moor Daily Reading Comprehension - Gr.5
Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell & Write - Gr.5
Scholastic More Proofreading Practice - Gr.4
Evan Moor Word-A-Day - Gr.4
Writing with Ease 2 /The Arrow/Literature Pockets (alternating)

Math Mammoth - 4B
Evan Moor Daily Word Problems - Gr.4
Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math - Gr.5


They will continue doing a variety of topics using a little bit of this, a little bit of that, lots of books and other resources.  We are also looking into possibly joining a 4-H group – either reptiles or nature based - and I'm hoping for more weekend family field trips.

They will be continuing with American History using the Complete Book of US History, History Pockets and various other books and resources.  Upcoming units will cover Explorers, Early Settlements and Colonial America.  This is another area that I'm hoping for more weekend family field trips since we have a lot of historical sites in our area.

We are participating in a US Postcard exchange that will form the base for a US Geography study.  While trying to find postcards, I ended up purchasing them at Washington’s Headquarters Historical Site in Morristown, NJ and they gave me a fantastic educational/teachers kit about the Revolutionary War that will be a great resource when the kids get ready to study that time period.

Extra Curriculars/Physical Education/Etc.
The kids are back in swimming lessons for the year.  Vicki had a great summer and has moved up to the Guppy class at the Y.  I expect she’ll continue to progress fairly quickly.

Their other physical activities, including bowling, ice skating, Zumba, and fencing will be starting up over the next few weeks.   

The homeschool classes at the Montclair Art Museum start this week and I’m looking into other art curriculum and activities.

I think it's going to be a great year!