Friday, March 22, 2013

March 17-23, 2013

We got quite a bit done this week.  Thank goodness.

  •  Saxon Math 1: Lessons 112-115 (writing the number 101, identifying fractional parts of a whole; writing the number 102, graphing tags on a bar graph; writing the number 103, counting dimes, nickels, and pennies; written assessment 22)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 161-167 ( r-changed vowels: WAR as /wôr/; review /ôr/ words; ARE as /âr/; AIR as /âr/; EAR as /âr/; review /âr/ words )
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 88-95 (Uu, Ss, Bb, Pp)
Oliver is doing fantastic.  He had three BCBAs sit in on one of his sessions this week and they said he is making great progress.  He's moved up a whole level with matching, his eye contact is great, he's sleeping well...  I'm really happy with how he's doing.  We've been playing on Starfall a lot during his eye patch time and he's enjoying the little games where he has to match capital letters and lowercase letters.

Jane is trying to write!  She actually wrote a legible "a" and "r" on her own during a coloring session.  She knew what she did too, because she brought the paper to Matt afterwards and pointed out the letters to him.  I can see maybe a "B," "C," and "V" in there too, but she didn't point those out.  I guess she is paying attention. 

Poor, poor Peter has bulging gums and chapped lips.  We're going through teething tablets like... well, like teething tablets.  He's miserable.  I feel like he's been teething forever.

I think I have our first grade schedule decided upon.  It will look something like this:

Sunday: Cathechism via

Monday - Thursday:
  • Morning session (1 hour): Grammar, writing, and math
  • Lunch: Listen to our read-aloud audiobook
  • Afternoon session (45 minutes): History, science
  • Morning session (1 hour): Grammar, living math books and games
  • Lunch: Listen to our read-aloud audiobook
  • Afternoon session (45 minutes): Geography, science
Saturday: Art and music (combination of creating art, picture/artist study, and listening to music)

I talked about the upcoming schedule with Henry and he was pretty excited, especially about the Friday math games.  I'm putting together more detailed lesson plans for the first month and it looks like first grade is going to be pretty fun.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 10-16, 2013

Oh, here's the spinning week.  It's the week in which I caught what everyone else had.  At least Matt was home when I had the worst of it.  That helped a lot.

What we did last week:

  •  Saxon Math 1: Lessons 110-111 (Written assessment #21, oral assessment #11; writing the number 100, identifying one dollar)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 159-160 ( r-changed vowels: OUR as /ôr/; OAR and OOR as /ôr/)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 85-87 (writing words, writing a letter)
It's strange to say this in March, but our year is coming to a close.  We have 19 lessons left in math, or about five weeks.  We'll start going through Math Made Easy as soon as we're done with Saxon.  Henry sneaked a peek at it this week and wanted to start it now, but we're going to wait.  We have 71 lessons left in OPGTR.  That's about 18 weeks at our current pace of one lesson per day, but once we're done with Saxon I'm going to increase to two or three lessons per day (depending on mastery).  Saxon takes up a big chunk of our school hour, so we'll have more time to work on reading once we're done.  We also have about six more weeks of handwriting left to do.

Based on all of this, I think we'll easily be ready to start first grade in July.  I've been slowly accumulating all of our materials and should have everything we need by then.  My biggest task is going to be working out what our schedule will look like for the week.  I also need to start some lesson planning.  While I'm a big proponent of "just do the next thing," there's quite a bit of overlap with the courses.  For example, there is copywork in grammar, writing, history, and science.  That's a little over the top.  I want to go through the materials and pare back the assignments so that we have a sharper focus in each subject.  I want grammar to be about grammar, writing to be about writing, etc.

Over the next few months, I'll be paging through The Well-Trained Mind, taking notes, drawing up sample plans for the first month or two of lessons and seeing what form our school is going to take.  I am just crazy enough to be excited about this.  Lesson planning: living the dream!

Oh, remember about two years ago when I posted about making my way through the Great Books?  And I thought that ten years seemed like a long time for it?  Yeah, I'm almost done with the first year's reading assignments.  Two years later.  I did have a baby in there, so that's my excuse.  Personal goal for me: finish the first year's readings so that I can start the second year in July.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 3 - 9, 2013

This week was pretty much a bust.  Matt came down with a bad cold early in and, despite our best efforts, every one of the kids caught it too.  At least it all hit them on the same day.  I'd rather run a mini hospital ward than have each get it one by one.

What we managed to do last week:

  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 107-109 (writing the number 97, identifying one half, one third, and one sixth; writing the number 98, addition facts - adding nine to a number; writing the number 99, estimating and measuring capacity)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 156-158 ( r-changed vowels: AR as /är/, sight word: are; OR and ORE as /ôr/; OUR as /ôr/)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 82-84 (Qq, G/J/Q review)
Hmm. I guess we did a little more than I thought.  I suppose it just felt like we were spinning our wheels.

Oliver's tolerating his eye patches.  He does really well as long as he's sitting on my lap and focused on Starfall.  He's made quite a bit of progress on the program.  He easily matches colors, remembers which letters have the games he likes to play, and is doing very well with matching capital and lower case letters.  I can tell he's trying to figure out how to play the memory games.  He knows that he's supposed to turn over the cards and find a match, but I think there are too many cards for him to really catch on.  We'll keep at it.

Both Jane and Oliver are diving back into Hooked on Phonics.  I actually think Oliver is a little bored with the alphabet lessons from the pre-K discs, so I may pop in the kindergarten disc this week and see if it holds his interest.

We're all really excited about the start of the conclave on Tuesday.  Matt is going to be off and Oliver doesn't have therapy, so we'll be able to watch the coverage together!

Monday, March 4, 2013

February 24 - March 2, 2013

What we did last week:

  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 103-106 (writing the number 93, dividing a set of objects by sharing; writing the number 94, identifying a dozen and a half dozen; written assessment #20, writing the number 95, subtraction facts - subtracting a number from ten; writing the number 96, measuring using feet)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 153-155 (silent letter review; r-changed vowels: AR as /är/)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 78-81 (Gg, Jj)
Dividing a set of objects by sharing
Identifying a dozen and half dozen

 Henry's favorite math lessons all involve candy.


Poor Ollie.  If something is going to happen, it seems to always happen to him.  We've noticed his eyes wandering a bit, so we took him to the ophthalmologist last week.  She saw it too, so we're doing alternate eye patching for two hours a day, six days a week.  Hopefully, this will be enough to strengthen his eye muscles and correct the issue.  We take him back in three months to see if it worked.
He's doing surprisingly well with the patching.  It helps that it's only for two hours.  We're using that time to do plenty of one-on-one work work with him.  Starfall keeps him distracted, so we're doing plenty of that.

Jane and Peter

Carrying on.

How about this Sede Vacante?  We've been trying to keep Henry abreast of the situation and explain things as we go along.  We watched the coverage of Pope Emeritus Benedict's final day on EWTN.  We also "adopted" a Cardinal via Our Cardinal is Archbishop Antonio Varela of Spain.  Each night, after our Family Way of the Cross, we say a prayer for Cardinal Varela and for the upcoming conclave.

Easter is fast approaching and I am, thankfully, just about done with the Easter baskets.  Or bags.  We're doing bags this year instead of baskets.  Have you heard of Happy Saints?  They are so cute.  I wound up customizing canvas tote bags from their store on Zazzle.  I would have loved to have each kids' name saint, but they're a little obscure.  Instead, I tried to pick a saint who had some meaning for each child.

Now, how cute are those?  They cost less than a nice basket, too.  Now, what to put inside of them?  Well, we're trying to keep the Easter baskets a lot more religious and a lot less secular.  I found these neat pewter mini-statues from The Catholic Company:

St. Henry-Pewter StatueSt. Lucy-Pewter StatueSt. Jane-Pewter StatueSt. Peter-Pewter Figurine

They don't have St. Oliver Plunkett, sadly.  So, I picked St. Lucy for Oliver since he's having his eye issues.  Then, I looked up the patron saint for people who can't speak and found St. Drogo.  Unfortunately, they didn't have him either.  However, St. Anthony of Padua is also known as the restorer of speech.  So, I added one of those to the order.  Both St. Lucy and St. Anthony are on back order.  I hope at least one of them gets here before Easter.

We also ordered some Catholic coloring books, chocolate bunnies and carrots, and a small toy for each kid.  I'll pick up some holy cards from our parish gift shop this month, too.