Tag Archives: headsprout

Interested in Headsprout?

I was able to purchase Headsprout for 50% off during a special offer a few months and I have not regretted it at all. Madison is at Lesson 66 and she is really turning into a great reader – I would highly recommend it to anyone teaching their children to read.

If you are interested, for a limited time, you can visit the Homeschool Buyers Co-op for a chance to purchase it at up to 50% off! If you have been thinking about the program, now is the time to try it out! If you have any questions about it, please ask and I will share my experience with you 🙂

I am not an affiliate of Headsprout or the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op – I just think Headsprout is a great program and wanted to share the opportunity to purchase it for a great price!

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Week Ten Report

Wow.  We have had a week.  And let me just say I am so glad it is finally over. I have this concept that school should be fun, especially at this age, and between my grumpy moods and Madison’s grumpy moods, we did not really have fun this week…

So, I have come to the conclusion that I will need to build week breaks into our schedule – and this week should have been one of them.  Somehow we did manage to finish all our school except for one math lesson (which is pretty impressive), but it was a loooooooooooooooong week for both of us.

I will start with the positive –

Madison finished Explode the Code Book C this week!  After finishing it yesterday, I gave her the consonant pretest from ETC Book 1, which she, of course, passed with flying colors and we are ready to start with Lesson 1 next week.

We are 6 lessons away from finishing the first half of Headsprout, and Madison is doing so well with her reading!  I checked out some easy reader phonics books from the library last week and had Madison read them to me. For the most part, she has been able to read them, with a little help from me on the sounds she does not know.   I am really excited to see where she will be in the next two weeks.

Math was regular, except that we just ran out of time to do it one day.

Bible is great, although it seems like she is starting to retain less…  not sure how to remedy that, but I will be re-reading my teachers guide this week.  Hopefully I can add in some reinforcement activities.  We also started with the Scripture Memory System on Wednesday, which I love, love, love!  I don’t even think I can say how excited I am to get started on this, not just for Madison, but for me also.  I made up a list of our first 100 verses to memorize (and believe me, this took a LOT more time than I expected) and I am extremely optimistic about it.

Science, once again, we skipped.  I am toying with the idea of having a “Science Week” to make up for the fact that we basically don’t do it.  We can check out science books from the library, do lots of experiments, and culminate with a trip to the Science Museum.  The more I think about it, the more excited about this I am…

And that was about it for our week…

Except for today, and if we had a bad week, today was the worst of all the days.  Madison woke up late, 20 minutes before story time.  I won’t tell you what time story time is, because I was still sleeping too and I don’t think I want to broadcast how late I slept in…  Anyway, we rush around and make it to story time just a few minutes late.  Then Madison (who has been telling me all morning that her stomach hurts and I have been telling her to be tough) throws up in the middle of story time.  And before we make it out of the library, she says she has to go to the bathroom and has an accident in her pants, which I attempt to clean before taking her out to the car, where she throws up again before we get home.  And that was not the end of it.  Needless to say, it was a long day.  I am on my 3rd pair of jeans.  We were planning to head back to Kansas again for the weekend, but Madison and I stayed home and let Dad make the trip by himself.  Bummer.  And to top it all off, I am starting to feel sick – but I keep telling myself to be tough…

Have a great week – I know mine is going to be better!

Week Eight and Nine Reports

I had to look at my calendar to see what we have actually done during the last two weeks – I can barely remember, and since a large part of the purpose of the blog is to chronicle our homeschool journey, I am going to have to try to stay on top of this a little more.

We had two good weeks, and it feels like we have made so much progress not only in homeschooling, but also in life.  It is like a switch in Madison’s brain has turned on and it is amazing – she has started trying new food and taking her medicine without a fight (both of which were HUGE battles in the past), and she has made huge progress with her reading – thank you Headsprout 🙂

So our last two weeks in review:

Language Arts/Reading –

I will start with this first because I am so thrilled with how well she is doing.  We are on Lesson 28 of 80 of Headsprout, and so far, I am LOVING IT!!  The program is so patient with her, reviewing new sounds until they are mastered, and she enjoys it.  In fact, she enjoys it so much, we are two weeks ahead of my schedule.  I had originally planned on four lessons a week, since we homeschool Monday through Thursday, but she asks to do extra in the afternoon during her free time 🙂  Of course, I don’t say no.  The greatest part is from about lesson 20 on, almost every lesson comes with a printable reader, so she is getting lots of “real” practice away from the computer screen.  This week, I picked up some phonics based readers from my library, and we are reading those together.  I know which sounds she has learned through Headsprout, so if she can sound out the word, I let her, and she is doing great.  If she doesn’t know the sound, I read it.  We also starting reading the Bob books again.  She read three new ones this week, sounding out the words almost completely on her own.  And… she has been asking to keep her lamp on later so that she can read in her room.  I am so happy 🙂  While I was hesitant about using a computer based program to teach Madison to read, I am so thrilled that we decided to take the chance.  For the $100 we spent, we are getting such a great return on our investment!  And of course, I will keep you updated as we get closer to completing the program, but as of right now, I recommend it to everyone, especially if you are on the fence about a reading program.

As far as other language arts goes, we have pretty much discarded the “Letter of the Week” program.  We are still watching the videos for each letter as we get to them in our Explode the Code book, and I let her choose a recipe each week for us to fix together.  But we are not working on the quilt (although I still have plans to finish it), and we are going through a letter pretty much every day.  At this point, she knows all the individual letter sounds, so we are just going through the motions with ETC Book C, boosting her confidence.  We only have 5 letters left, so it looks like we will be starting Book 1 soon, which I am excited about because I think it will be a nice change of pace, and maybe challenge her a little more.

Bible –

We are trucking along with this, right on schedule.  This is still the first thing we do each morning, but I think we are going to add in a few things over the next few weeks.  First, I am hoping to introduce a scripture memorization system for the whole family, Charlotte Mason style (more on this later), and second, we are starting to have family Bible time after dinner.  Every night, we plan to have Dad read from the Bible right after dinner.  I think this is really important because right now I am the one teaching Bible, and I think Madison needs to see Dad do it too, as the head of the family.

Math –

Right on schedule with this also, although I am planning to make a few changes in the next few weeks.  I finished reading “The Three R’s,” by Ruth Beechick yesterday, and a lot of what she suggested I agreed with.  So we are changing two things in math as well.  First, I am planning to include a lot more work with manipulatives.  We already do quite a bit of this, but I think we could do more.  Second, I am going to read the teacher’s manual each week before our lessons.  I have kind of gotten into a habit just doing the workbook page together, and I would like to move to having a “teaching time,” followed by her doing the workbook page a little bit more independently.   On a happy note, her counting is much improved, and she can count to 100 by 10’s.  Yeah 🙂

Other-

For right now, these subjects are our core, and everything else I consider electives.  That being said, we haven’t really done any electives in the last two weeks – we skipped Science and Violin completely, the only Art we have had is at her art center on her own.  For Japanese, we have continued to read books about the culture, but haven’t started on vocabulary.

Hopefully we will get back on track with that in the next few weeks, but I think that is unlikely given the amount of traveling we are hoping to do before leaving for Japan.  We have plans to visit my grandparents in Virginia (we have been reading books about Williamsburg and Jamestown too), my grandparents in New Mexico, our friends from Missouri, my brother’s wedding in Kansas, my other brother’s military graduation in San Antonio, as well as bi-weekly weekend trips to see our parents.  (I’m not even sure why we have an apartment 🙂 )

We did have a few field trips, once to the zoo with a homeschool family from church, and to see the ballet “Zorro!”  And despite all that we did not manage to finish, I feel really good about where we are at.  Madison is learning, and I think she is learning to love learning.  And that is what matters, right?

Week Seven Report

Once again, another late report… I did good for a few weeks…

We had a really excellent week. I got quite a bit of planning accomplished. I think I have pretty much mapped out our 12 year plan, and I have made some definite decisions about Kindergarten.

We are going to go with Five in a Row for Reading/Science/Social Studies for K. After reviewing the program, I am really optimistic about this. One thing that has been a problem for me with science this year is that it is not planned out in a logical order for me. I have been picking experiments out of the Mudpies to Magnets book, but it is one of the first things that gets shoved to the side, mostly because there is no long term schedule or goal right now. Another perk for FIAR is the social studies – because this is built into the program, I feel comfortable doing this for a year and starting with Tapestry of Grace the following year. I like the “story discs” also – you order them and place them on a map where the story takes place, so it’s like geography is built in as well. And, most importantly, I love the relaxing, fun, cozy approach, tied together with great books. I am really looking forward to Kindergarten. If you are interested in seeing the rest of our kindergarten curriculum, check it out here.

As far as actual school this week, Madison is blowing me away. It is like something has clicked in her head and now she is moving at lightening speed. She keeps asking for more work and I don’t have any more to give her.

Language Arts:

Our letter of the week was supposed to be P, but Madison was working on her ETC book one night while I was fixing dinner and when I turned around, she had worked ahead to the next lesson; she ended up doing S, N, and part of J as well. We made Nibble Sticks for our recipe and I am just going to continue to let her work at what ever speed she wants (as long as we do one letter a week). We will just watch the United Streaming videos as we get to the letters, and she will have to choose one recipe each week.

Headsprout is also great – she can read three of their books now, and asked to do extra lessons last week. I think she is starting to be a lot more comfortable with her reading, especially the more she reads the books they provide.

Math:

Doing great here as well – we changed to doing one lesson a day, four days a week (we were doing 2 lessons, 2 days a week). We started counting by tens and she has really done well with that, and she can count to thirty correctly now – I want to attribute that to our memory CD.

In other areas, she has memorized her books of the New Testament to Colossians, we actually did do a science experiment this week (tornado in a jar which was not very successful) and we did some Japanese culture study. I got my First Thousand Words in Japanese book in the mail, so I am hoping to start with some vocabulary this week. Another thing we did this past week is implement a schedule – which works really great when we follow it! I will post a copy of it later this week 🙂

And two other non-school-related-but-still-exciting events:

First, Madison had her first sleepover this week. On Wednesday, we went to the mall with some friends, and then on Friday, her friend came over and stayed the night. They had pizza and a movie and made crowns on Friday night,and on Saturday morning we went to the National Cowboy Museum for a puppet/magic show. Madison and her friend got to help with a magic trick, which was pretty neat.

And second, we got a new camera today! So this will hopefully be the last picture-less weekly report 🙂

Have a great week!

Week Six Report

We had a pretty good week 🙂 A lot of things happened this week that I am really happy about, and a few that I am disappointed about.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any pictures this week 😦 Our camera is still broken, so until we make a decision to get it fixed or replace it, I guess I am going to be photoless. We do have another camera that works, but the USB cord for it is extremely tempermental, so we may just replace the cord for that and do without a new camera.

But some good things:

We finished ETC Book A! Our letter for the week was “R” and the recipe was Raisin Apple Muffins. We don’t actually like raisins, so we made the muffins sans raisins and called them Really Good Muffins – and they were really good! I also found out this week that there is a version of ETC online and decided to look into that for the future.

I made a memory cd for Madison. This was not something I originally planned to do, or something that I had even thought of until this week when I read about some other homeschooling families had used this successfully. We have been working on memorizing books of the Bible, days of creation, the alphabet, counting, etc. so I made up a CD with these things (plus some more that we are not working on yet but will be sometime soon) and have been playing it for Madison during her rest time and at bedtime. It seems like it might be working – yesterday she could remember two more books of the bible, so that is a start at least 🙂

We also started using Headsprout this week. If you have been reading this blog, you know that I have really been struggling with how to teach Madison how to read. She claims she wants to learn, but generally complains whenever I try to work with her. For the last couple weeks, she has been spending a lot of time on Starfall, and I remembered hearing about Headsprout before but not being interested because Madison had not mastered using a mouse. So I looked into the program and found three sample lessons online. Madison sat and did them all right in a row (they were about 20 minutes each) and then asked to do more. She said she liked them, so DH and I bought a subscription (which, thankfully, was 1/2 price till February 1) and so far it is working great. She already read one of their “readers” this week, and still likes to do it, so I am extremely optimistic. I have also told her that once she can read, she can stay up a little longer at night and read in bed, so this week, she asked if she could do that and stayed up reading the Bob books she had already learned how to read. That also made me extremely happy, and I finally feel like we are making progress here.

Math and Bible are both still going great… nothing new to report 🙂

Planning wise, I mapped out the rest of preschool work that I want to do with Madison. What I am calling “preschool” is about 33 weeks of work, so without any breaks, that would be finishing the end of July. Completely unrealistic. But, since I have no idea when we are moving, how long we will be homeless, etc, I am just going with it. On one hand, I am going to try to be flexible, and on the other hand, I am going to try to take our school where ever we go – Nana’s, the airport, hotels, etc.

On the disappointing side:

Of course, there is the broken camera…

We didn’t do any science or violin lessons this week… or last week… I just didn’t feel like it. I think this is not a good indicator of the future.

I also started planning out our future plans for homeschooling – a long term K-12 plan, and a more definite Kindergarten plan. I felt rather confident in our K plan at 3 am when I finished the outline, but today I am not so sure. I feel like I need to figure out where I am going to end up before I can start making other plans, and I am terrified that I am going to screw it up somehow. I am waffling between doing Five in a Row for Kindergarten and making up my own similar program. I also considered starting Tapestry of Grace next year at a very slow pace and spending 2 years on year 1, but I just don’t know. I feel like I need to pick a program and stick with it. AHHHHH… I think I am just going to step away for a few days (or longer), pray about it, and then come back with what will hopefully be a clearer mind.

So that was our week. Everything else was just normal…

5 things I am happy about this week:

5.  I found out they have Starbucks in Japan!!

4.  I made the tastiest chocolate cake ever, trans-fat free, thanks to the Pioneer Woman.

3.  My wonderful husband took me out to dinner last night at Texas Roadhouse, where we had great service and even greater steak (plus he took me to Starbucks after dinner 🙂 )

2.  I discovered Headsprout – more about that later

And finally… the number 1 thing I am happy about this week…

1.  We bought a new desk!  Anticlimactic, I know, but we have very very little furniture in our temporary apartment right now and I have not had a place to set up the printer or to organize anything.  So… last night, as I was on the verge of a mental breakdown from the messy pile of stuff in our living room, my dear husband took me to Wal-mart where we bought the cheapest, ugliest desk for $37.  We brought it home and two of the pieces were broken, which I guess were not important because we put it together anyhow, and I spent the rest of the evening reorganizing my homeschool/office stuff, and stayed up till 3 am planning our next year of homeschool.  Ironically, even with virtually no sleep, I feel better now than I have in days.  It was like I was sinking into some kind of depression state and buying an ugly desk was all I needed to snap out of it 🙂

If I could, I would snap a picture of it real quick, but our camera randomly broke while we were at the hockey game, so you will just have to trust me on this one 🙂 Luckily, I will not be allowed to take the desk to Japan…