Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 20 - 26, 2013

Another week in the books and another short post.  My dear husband has been putting in some long hours lately, which doesn't leave me with too much free time around here.  Or maybe it's the four children.  Either way...

  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 87-89 (writing the number 79, telling time to the half hour; writing the number 80, dividing a square into fourths, coloring halves and fourths; writing the number 81, adding ten to a number)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 137-139 (review the silent letter pair GH, review the vowel pair OU, the silent letter pair GH: OUGH as /oo/ or /ou/)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 62-64 (Aa, Dd)
  • Spelling Workout A: Lessons 25-27 (lessons 20-24 review, blends with r, blends with l)
I'm getting a little disillusioned with Spelling Workout.  I find it odd that each of the lessons focuses so much on finding misspelled words.  It seems kind of confusing to me.  Henry reads and writes phonetically, so if a word's spelling is phonetically correct, he assumes the spelling is correct also.  He reads a lot better than he spells, too.  So he can see a word like "though" and say it correctly, but if you asked him how to spell it, he'd write down "foe."  Enunciation issues don't help here.  For now, we'll stick with Spelling Workout and hope it improves, but I'm going to add in some spelling games and see if that helps.


Oliver continues to progress.  His independent mands increase each week.  He's doing a lot more echoic sounds, also.  We're still working on joint attention, though.


LeapFrog Letter Factory, plenty of coloring, and looking at books = one happy girl.


Rolling over both ways now, chewing on anything and everything, and still waking up once a night.

We're in the midst of a great reorganization of the house.  Oliver has been sleeping in our room for the past year because of his sleep disturbances, but he's been doing really well since his meds got changed and we think it's time to try him out in his own room.  So, we're bringing the schoolroom downstairs, moving Peter and Henry into the schoolroom, and putting the old boys' room as Oliver's room.  Henry likes having Peter in the room with him and Oliver needs quiet, so it should work out well.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 13 - 19, 2013

Very (very) short update:

  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 84-86 (writing the number 76, counting large collections, grouping by 10s and 1s; writing the number 77, trading pennies for dimes; writing the number 78, adding two-digit numbers using dimes and pennies (with regrouping))
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 134-136 (the silent letter pair GH: IGH, EIGH, AIGH, AUGH)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 59-61 (writing sentences, Oo)
  • Spelling Workout A: Lessons 22-24 (long vowel o, long vowel e, words with ou and ow)
Back to wrangling children!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 6 - 12, 2013 (Midpoint)

Back to work...

  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 80-83 (Written assessment 15, oral assessment 8; writing the number 73, identifying how many more; writing the number 74, identifying how many more; writing the number 75, making congruent shapes)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lessons 130-133 (review OU as long-oo and /ou/, the vowel pair OU as short-u; sight words: build, built, review sight words; Y alone as long-i; review of vowel pairs and patterns for short-vowel words)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 54-58 (Tt, ?, !, writing sentences, review)
  • Spelling Workout A: Lessons 18-21 (short vowel e, lesson 14-18 review, long vowel a, long vowel i)
We've reached the halfway point of our year, so I've been doing some thinking about what the rest of kindergarten is going to look like.  Here's what I've (tentatively) come up with:

Math - Saxon Math 1 has only 130 lessons.  Here at our midpoint, we've actually completed almost two-thirds of the book.  So, what are we going to do when we finish?  Well, we could just go right into Saxon Math 2.  Or, we could do a little trust-but-verify and use a different math curriculum to make sure Henry actually understands grade 1 math and hasn't just figured out grade 1 Saxon math.

Because I am paranoid, we'll be doing the latter with this Math Made Easy workbook. $10.19 is pretty cheap for peace of mind.  I'll probably just skim through it a bit; there's no need to do every single page.  If Henry is able to complete each easily, we'll go ahead and begin Saxon Math 2.

Phonics - We're a little over halfway through The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  Henry has picked up each lesson fairly quickly, so I think we're moving at an appropriate pace.  According to the book's authors, we could begin First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level 1 and Writing with Ease Level 1, but I just don't see it happening at this point.  I know Henry would understand them (the first lessons are an introduction to common nouns and a simple copywork exercise), but I think we would be pushing the limits on his deskwork time when you factor in the amount of writing he's doing already in penmanship and spelling.  I'm a lot more comfortable with continuing phonics until the end of the book and starting the grammar and writing lessons in his official first grade year.

Spelling - There are only 15 lessons left in the first workbook.  We're easily completing a lesson a day, so Henry should be done with the book in another three weeks or so.  I am fine with him continuing straight into Spelling Workout B. (I probably should order that one soon.)

Handwriting - Again, we're almost halfway done with the first grade book.  I have, however, slowed Henry down from two pages per day to one page per day.  The amount of writing on each page is increasing and I'm trying to keep his penmanship time to ten minutes.  We'll finish this level at a leisurely pace and then I think we'll just reinforce over the next year.  The second grade level of Zaner-Bloser progresses into cursive writing pretty swiftly and I'm not in any rush to start that.

We'll continue with our catechism, of course, although Henry is getting a little bored with Who Am I?.  I don't really blame him, as the nursery, preschool, and kindergarten lessons are all pretty much the same.  We'll start up with Faith and Life next year and start hitting that a bit harder so he's ready for sacramental preparation in second grade.


Oliver continues to progress in therapy.  He's doing a lot more independent mands now and he's really starting to differentiate his signs and use them more accurately.  He's used the potty a few times now at the center and is beginning to show some more signs of potty-training readiness at home (such as removing his Pull-up and shorts whenever he needs to be changed and trying to flush the toilet whenever he has the chance).  I'm hearing more imitative sounds from him, too.  The big focus this week has been on eye contact and joint attention.  We're reinforcing that at home.


Little Miss has just about learned all of her letters and the sounds that they make.  We're still using the LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD in the car and I have to give it a lot of credit for what she has learned so far.  I have to chuckle a bit and wonder how much time I could have saved with Henry's early learning stage.  Jane is certainly doing a lot of organic and environmental learning, although she does enjoy her "wuk" at the table also.


Little man is just a big, smiley boy, despite the teeth that are definitely coming in now.  He's sleeping much better at night, has a good nap schedule during the day, and is slowly trying out some solids.  He's not too interested, but we're taking it slowly.  He's had some green beans, some hard-boiled egg yolk, and a frozen banana in one of those mesh feeders.  I think I'm going to start using the mesh feeder exclusively.  Peter doesn't seem to really like the purees much, not that I blame him, and I like that the mesh feeder can keep him occupied and happy when we're all eating at the table.

And speaking of tables, we're going to need a bigger one in the kitchen soon.  Jane's wanting to sit in a regular chair now and Peter is big enough to use the high chair.  There's just not enough space!  Matt's solution is to eat in the dining room, but I'm looking at those fabric seat cushions and shuddering in horror.  We need something sturdy and rustic that can withstand the four-child assault that will be unleashed upon it the moment it's set up.  And easy to clean.  Please.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

December 16, 2012 - January 6, 2013

Oh, that's right... we have a blog.

As you may have guessed, we decided (rather abruptly) to begin Christmas break a couple of weeks ago.  Lessons were taking longer and longer to get through and all a certain young boy wanted to discuss was December 25th.  So, here's what Henry did before we gave up on 2012:
  • Saxon Math 1: Lessons 78-79 (writing the number 71, addition facts - doubles plus one; writing the number 72, addition facts - doubles plus one)
  • The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading: Lesson 129 (O alone as /ŭ/, sight words: one and once)
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 1: Pages 50-53 (L, I)
  • Spelling Workout A: Lessons 16-17 (short u sound, short o sound)
And here's what we've done since then:

Tomorrow, it's back to work.  Today, we're enjoying the Epiphany and savoring Matt's final days of leave.

Merry Christmas!