25 September 2009

Weekly Report - Week #2-3

First of all, I must apologize for getting a bit behind on the blog. We had 1-1/2 weeks of illness and another week to get back on track with life. But, we have now completed our third full week.

The girls have both been doing wonderful. The workboxes are really making all the difference. We do them in order, but the girls like to look in all of them ahead of time so they know when the fun stuff is coming up. Usually I try to include a snack in one of them and at least one fun activity, like a drawer full of craft items or a puzzle.

Math: K has been working on telling time. The last couple weeks we have been working on 5-minute increments. Before yesterday she didn't quite get that at the 12 it went to the next hour. Yesterday it finally clicked. H has been working on patterns, greater than and less than, sorting, and one-to-one correspondence.

Language arts: K got 92% on her spelling test. The only word she missed was these, which she spelled theese. Other words included third, mother, clothes, throat, and thick.
Her reading has been outstanding, as usual. We're still using the readers from 1st-grade McRuffy, but instead of taking all week on them, I have her read the book and then I ask her all of the comprehension questions. The next day we move on to the next book. She'll be done with them in a few weeks, and then we will be moving on to Anne of Green Gables.
Writing is hit and miss. One day we did a narration from Peter Pan. I read the passage and asked her to give me a sentence about something that she remembered. She gave me the sentence and I wrote it down. When I was putting the paper away she said, "I'm not really learning anything from this." At that point, I had to explain to her why the copywork and narration are important and how they were going to help her be a great writer in the future.
H has been doing fantastic on her McRuffy Phonics and Reading. She can read sentences like Pat has a bat. She is finally starting to show more confidence in her reading. Her sister likes to spell out words like hat and can and have her guess what they are. Outside of school, she is also starting to break words down into sounds. She is also very fond of changing beginning sounds of words we say to her. If we say "Do you want some Cheerios?" she will answer "Do you want some Meerios?" and then giggle at herself. I'm sure this has some sort of educational use.

Bible: Yesterday, K said this was her favorite class. (It does change often, though. A few days before, it had been writing.) For the most part, she does this on her own. We are using a worktext, so she will usually read the passages and do the worksheets on her own. Most of the information is pretty basic at this point, so she doesn't have a problem understanding what's being taught. She has been learning about God, how He teaches and how He listens.

Science and history have been on the back burner, but next week we plan to get back into them.

Hopefully, illness will now stay far away from our house so we can stay in our routine. I have been so proud of both of my girls. Not only are they doing great at school, but they also really look forward to it! That's all I can ask for, right?

02 September 2009

Homeschooling Qualifications

Someone was put down by a friend of a friend on Facebook when she asked publicly for advice for her first day of homeschooling. This person happens to be a teacher and stated that he/she "spend[s] every waking moment trying to think of ways to get the exceptional ones to reach a little higher and look a little deeper, it's not a part-time pursuit. Teaching is a calling." Why is it that people who are opposed to homeschooling seem to think that those of us who do it are incompetent? These are our own children. They don't think that we spend more than every waking moment trying to think of ways to encourage our children to become great thinkers and respectable people? They don't think that it is our "calling" as well?

We may not have the many hours of sitting in a college classroom learning all of the different methods to teach a subject or how to manage 20+ children in a large-group setting or how to make an effective bulletin board, but that does not mean that we are not qualified to teach our own children. We know our own children better than anyone. We know how they learn best. We know what they need to know. And if we hit a wall along the way, we know how to research ways around it. If they need us to slow down on a concept, we can do that without letting them fall through the cracks. If they are gifted or advanced, we can expand or accelerate as needed so that they do not get bored.

I am not opposed to those parents who decide that public school is the best option for their children. But that is not the choice that we have made for our own children. Every child, every family, and every situation is different. It is time that people need to look at things on an individual basis and stop making blanket accusations.

* The above mentioned quote is a quote of a quote, so may not be entirely accurate. I do not know who it came from either.

01 September 2009

What a terrific day!

H had such a productive day today! She was sick all day yesterday, and was still pretty stuffed up this morning, so I thought for sure she would take a sick day. But she insisted that she attend school. Apparently all of the rest she got yesterday did wonders for her focus and her stamina. First of all, she was able to read the word bass on the chalkboard, and then told me how to change it to pass, without hardly any thought. (I used to have to walk her through this, and it has been a while, so I was very impressed by this.) Then, as you can see in the above picture, she cut and glued the s's into the appropriate places and then proceeded to draw the lines connecting the words to the pictures.

This is a page for her letter book that we're starting. I found her the baseball to get her started, but she found the book, butterfly, and bear all by herself. She also wrote book and bear on the page.

This is her math worksheet. I was hesitant to use this free MEP math program while waiting to order Math-U-See, but so far it's not so bad. It's different, but she seems to like it. I guess when you're fairly new to something it is going to be different anyway, right? So, this required very minimal help on my part, except for reading the directions and explaining how to do #4, which is a bit tricky. I also helped her figure out how to color the sailboats so that no two were alike, but once she saw what I was doing, she pretty much did the last few on her own.

So, like I said, it was a very productive day in H's world today. She even read me a short book tonight before bed. I think she is finally gaining some reading confidence, and she seems to really like the McRuffy. We had to shelve it for a year, but so far we have not had any problems with it since starting it again. I'm confident that this will be her year to really shine and learn a lot.