Tag Archives: Pre-K

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!

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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?

Adjusting our schedule…

I should probably say establishing our schedule, because prior to this, we didn’t really have one. And while that was not really a problem, setting up a schedule has really helped our household run smoother, for a few reasons:

1. We (almost) always finish school before lunch now, which leaves the afternoon free for us to do whatever we want.

2. Madison helped me set up the schedule, like the order of subjects, so she no longer complains about what she wants to do next. I think she feels like she has some control over her day now.

3. We added some free computer time to our day when she is allowed to play at Starfall or PBS Kids. This is definitely her favorite time of the day, and my favorite too, since it gives me a chance to do my household chores uninterrupted.

    One thing that I am still working on is getting up when I feel like I need to. I rarely manage to get up that early, but when I do, I feel so much better and the day runs smoother.

    So here is our schedule, at least for now:

    From when ever Madison wakes up until 8:30, she watches PBS. She normally wakes up between 7:45 and 8:15, so she watches Super Why while I shower and get dressed.

    8:30 – Eat Breakfast, Make Beds, Get Dressed, Walk Spencer

    9:00 – Start homeschool:

    • Bible Lesson (15-20 minutes)
    • Headsprout Reading Lesson (15-20 minutes)
    • Read books together on the couch (30 minutes)
    • Math (15-20 minutes)
    • Explode the Code/Letter of the Day (15-20 minutes)
    • Japanese (10 minutes)
    • Art/Science/Violin (1 each day, about 20 minutes)

    12:00 – Lunch

    12:30 – Free computer time if homeschool is done (30 minutes)

    1:00 – Rest time in bedroom; listen to memory CD or watch Leap Frog Video

    2:00 – Free time

    5:30 – Dinner

    7:00 – Bedtime Reading

    7:30 – Lights out with memory CD, violin CD or audio book

    Of course the schedule does not always work out perfectly since we have Ladies Bible Study on Tuesday afternoon, Storytime on Fridays, etc… but overall it is a big success (when we stick to it). The time we are spending on “school” right now is really only about 2 hours, which seems to be the perfect amount of time for us, and I am really happy with the material we are covering.