Friday, September 16, 2011

Pictographs, Tractors, and Jane Turns One

What a week!  It's times like this when the flexibility of homeschooling truly shines.  We had a birthday, four doctor appointments, and one trip to base for new ID cards.  It's been busy, but everyone is healthy and we're all having fun.

This week, we finished up the first book in the Explode the Code series, Get Ready for the Code.  Starting next week, Henry will work from the second book, Get Set for the Code.  The second book covers the consonants p, j, h, s, n, and d.  I'm really pleased with the series.  It's been a great fit for Henry and the progression is wonderful.  All day long, all we hear is "Bed. Buh. Bed starts with b!" and so forth.  It's become a favorite game for Henry to figure out the beginning letters of just about everything he spots.

At this point, if I had to choose between Explode the Code and Hooked on Phonics,  we would definitely pick the Code.  For Henry, at least.  The workbook and penmanship aspects are perfect for his style of learning.  Hooked on Phonics is still a great program and all of the kids, including Jane, love watching the letter videos and playing the games.  I'm starting to look at it as more of a supplement, though, instead of a primary course.

Saxon Math K is rocking.  Henry loves playing with the teddy bear counters and pattern blocks.  This week, we made a pictograph of our family members, which Henry really enjoyed.

Personally, I love the Saxon format.  It's reassuring to have a scripted lesson when it comes to math.  I never liked math in school.  It was always my Waterloo.  Consequently, this is the aspect of homeschooling that has made me the most nervous.  However, if the rest of the Saxon series is like this, I think we'll make it through.  At Henry's checkup, his pediatrician said her kids' school has been using Saxon for a few years now and she and her children love it.

If anyone out there has experience with the later years of the program, I would love to hear about it!

Our condensation/evaporation unit is going well, although I'm starting to understand what The Well-Trained Mind was referring to when it said "formal science study isn't necessary at this age."  We're having fun with the demonstrations and Henry is enjoying the literature selections, but he really just doesn't grasp a lot of the cause and effect aspects of what we're doing.  Hey, he's four!  We'll continue with Science is Simple, but I'm going to keep it purposely superficial.

In art, today was Henry's last "On the Farm" lesson.  It culminated with a tractor.  The Draw*Write*Now series is a lot of fun so far and I think it's helping Henry to notice the shapes of things around us.  The next portion of Book 1 is "Kids and Critters" and I think he'll like it as much as the first part.

And last, but certainly not least, this week marked Jane's first birthday.  I'm feeling a twinge of maternal guilt over the fact that we did not have a big party for her.  We've just had a hectic couple of months and wanted to keep it low-key.  I don't think she minded much, though.

We followed what is fast becoming a family tradition and took the kids out for Japanese.  They all love it; it's really the only restaurant we can take the whole family to.  They are entertained by the chef's antics at the table and they love the food.  Soup, fried rice, steak, and vegetables make three happy kids in our family.

After dinner, we went home and had strawberry shortcake and watched Jane play with her Toddler Music Band.  It's a good thing it came with five instruments because Henry and Oliver couldn't resist joining in.

Any more kids and we're going to end up like the Partridge Family.

Reuben Kincaid!

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