Reading

I absolutely love, love, love hearing my son read.  He just keeps getting better and better.  And as he does, his little brothers have more and more interest in learning also (one is decoding and the other recently learned all his letter sounds). He is picking up books reading here and there and everywhere.

SAY!
I like to read books Mom!
I do! I like them, it’s the bomb!

And I would read them in a boat.
And I would read them with a goat…
And I would read them in the rain.
And in the car. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!

So I will read them in a box.
And I will read them with a fox.
And I will read them in a house.
And I will read them with a mouse.
And I will read them here and there.
Say!  I will read them ANYWHERE!

I do so like to read them, Mom!
Thank you!
Thank you!
Reading’s the bomb!

(Thanks Dr. Seuss! 🙂 ).

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Neato :)

So schooling is still not going the way I want it to.  Sometimes, though, I think that is just as much of a blessing as it is a problem!  

In the past week, Professor (age 3) has learned almost every letter sound.  As of yesterday, he had a little trouble with e, i, u, and l.  Those make sense to me really.  First, vowels for Texan children just *are* harder. We simply say them strangely.   And L can be a challenge, especially if you don’t use the “la-la” version.  But in a week to get 20+ is just so cool!   

So I decided to try a few simple words.  I ran up against the same thing with him that I had with T-lo.  Letter sounds all day long; but /c/ /a/ /t/ never turned into cat.  

BUT!!!!

But T-lo got it!  I decided to use more easily blendable sounds like M and F and S rather than C, B, and P.  And now T-lo can do them all.  Once he got the idea, he just took off!  I figure we may still have a few issues. This morning he was writing words like pig and hug (though we started with just /at/ words).  YAY!

So other topics of interest:  

  • counting by fives and telling time (obviously the latter is a little harder than the former)
  • multiplying small numbers
  • multiplying with zeros (3000 * 200)
  • place value (where *does* that comma go?)
  • adding for the boys
  • ocean animals
  • dinosaurs
  • geography (you’ll notice this is always a fave.  BTW, Professor is doing great catching up with the others on that also!)
  • writing letters (though Tumbler likes to write stories, lists, etc)
  • Swimmer is reading well but still working on confidence and speed

Obviously we touch on a number of things in a day.  

So part of me says that is a fairly full course of study over the week.  The other of me says I still wish we sat down more/longer and “did school” a little more formally and systematically.  I don’t think it is absolutely necessary at these ages (2-7), just how I would prefer to homeschool.

Then there is Heidi. She’s a superstar too!  Her heel is beautiful once she gets going.  She is doing her job around the house a bit more.  She loves playing outside with the kids.  SHe’s jumping and mouthing a LOT less.  She’s 8½ months old and all puppy, but a good puppy 🙂  

Lots of learning in the H household.  Actually, I think I may be learning the most.  Professor and Doc are giving me a run for it.  They have some real issues going on.  They’ll come along, but I think it is going to take them a little longer than average, maybe, to trust they are safe here and they aren’t going anywhere.  I’m going to learn some patience as well as how to reach these individual kiddos.

 

3 Rs

So, many of our materials are staying very similar.  We’ll enjoy some Song School Latin and I really like Elemental Science. There are so many options, really; but we feel good about our choices.

But since my children are so young, outside of spiritual things, we really focus on 3 main areas of instruction, commonly known as The 3 Rs: reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Just saying it is very odd that they are called the 3 Rs when two out of three don’t even START with the letter R.  I guess they all have R in them.

Okay, I tend to “overdo” a lot of things.  WHen I say overdo, I don’t mean that I do some extreme amount.  My kids aren’t strapped to desks by any means.  Instead, I mean that I present things in various ways and have them play with them in many other ways.  I want my kids to have a LOT of exposure.

So here are some materials we’re using for each subject:

Maths –

  • Stanford University’s EPGY K-8 math (currently mid-2nd grade, will likely get to 4th this year)
  • MathMammoth (grades 1-3) – review next month!
  • DreamBox Learning (K-2)
  • Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool math (GR1, GR2, 1st , 2nd grades)
  • Various videos, online educational games, ipad, manipulatives

Reading (I have one strong reader, one good reader lacking confidence, one ready to put things together, one barely beginning)-

  • AlphaPhonics 
  • BlendPhonics – only for 1st grader at this time though all will sit in
  • Reading Eggs (kid is on map 11 of 12 though he hasn’t done most sight words or spelling exercises)
  • Considering a different reading program for T-Lo
  • Bob Books and Now I’m Reading Books
  • Various videos, online educational games, ipad, etc – review coming at the end of the month!
  • Phoneme connectable blocks
  • Read together and independently A LOT.

Spelling, Writing, Grammar –

  • All About Spelling
  • National Spelling Bee Study Words (starts at 1st grade)
  • Reading Eggs
  • Various websites, ipad and other tablets
  • Correcting words in writing
  • Writing With Ease
  • Cursive writing (mommy made mostly, semi following loops and other groups)
  • Journaling a few times per week (pencil and paper!)
  • I will also have each child capable write down at least one answer per Christian Meeting.

Public Speaking will mostly fall under other subjects, primarily spiritual, at this time.  I’m sure I’ll blog about some of those things as they come up.  In fact, my children have been working on some Bible readings I may add video of soon and one child already did a first “talk” in front of the congregation!

So many things to blog.  Now to find time to do so!

Did I tell you?

So several weeks ago, we were at gymnastics, where we send way too much time (the hazards of having a competitive gymnast).  My son was playing with a few other kids.  Towards the end of class, one of the little girls (age 9) comes up to her mom and whispers in her ear.  The mom says something that suggests to me that T-lo may have done something.  I ask.  The mom tries to minimize it but says that T-lo bit her daughter.

SAY WHAT?!?!!  My almost FIVE year old bit someone?  What on earth????

I called T-lo over to me.  He knew, right away he was in trouble.  He admits he bit her.  In a quite exasperated voice, I ask, “WHY on earth would you bite B?”  1 mess of a kid

“I really like pink.”

I had a slight giggle as B’s mom turns away from T-lo cracking up.  I compose myself quickly.

“Look!  You made A cry because you bit B!”

A was *not* making it easy for me not to laugh too.  Seriously, what kind of reason is that?

I had T-lo apologize and sent him on his way.

A turns and says, “he was just so sincere.”

Now it is a little joke that T-lo may bite you if you’re wearing pink.

Crazy!

In other news, he’s picking up his phonics and sight words.  Yes, we homeschool AND learn high frequency words though we don’t consider some of them sight words like schools do.  For example, “am” is not a sight word.  Other high frequency words that aren’t sight words include that, but, make, first, and down, to name a few.  For words like those, we simply discuss the rule.  They’ll eventually get them from exposure, discussion, or phonics.  I’m fine with that.  I’d rather them become stronger readers than doing it earlier.  I noticed working in the public school that the kindergartners seemed more capable than I’d expect, but that that 3rd graders (and especially 11th graders) were significantly less capable of reading well than I’d expect.  I really believe that is because kids aren’t getting a firm foundation.   So we focus on phonics.

Reading or Teasing?

Okay, so my four year old is incredibly bright.  He is one of the most asynchronous people I have met in my life.  He is so more capable in some areas than most kids his age; yet he’s so incredibly young-seeming (speech articulation issues galore, he’s tiny, toddlerish flitting between naughty choices, etc). It’s wild.

Anyway, so one area he’s also asynchronous in is cognitive and academic development.  In this post, I’m going to speak mostly of his reading development.  He has known his letter sounds for over a year now.  Occasionally, he seems to have some weird hiccup where he says something off the wall (like the short /O/ sound for F or whatever).  I wonder if what I learned this week was relevant then.

So here is what happened.  I, like most parents, run my fingers under the text I want my child to sound out or that I’m reading.  So we start doing it. I’ll just use a word family as an example:T-lo

/a/ /t/, say it fast, /at/

/b/ /a/ /t/, say it fast, /bat/

/f/ /a/ /t/, say it fast, /fat/

Easy, right?

Except T-lo…(goodness, I can barely contain my laughter) thought I was teasing or tricking him!  He thinks that when you are running your finger across, you are really HIDING the letter you want him to say the sound of (not pointing to the line of letters above your finger)!  So as I point to *b*, he says /f/!!!!  I was so incredibly confused! Why was he saying the b said /f/???  Finally I figured it out.

After figuring it out, I thought about all the time I’ve thought it so odd that he runs his finger ON words like in the song book at the hall or on the behavior chart.  I just figured he was clueless that the words were actually there and that we are reading certain words for certain ideas.  I mean, he *is* only four.  It would be perfectly reasonable to think he doesn’t get that letters make words yet, especially considering he has been in eight other homes, the majority of which I doubt ever read to him.

But now that I think of it.  He *did* have the idea.  He’s just been *very* confused.  I wonder WHY he thinks we hide letters/words from ourselves to read it.  Does he think there may be a reason?  Has he pondered what it is?  Wouldn’t it be awesome if he could articulate it so we could know?!?!

Anyway, so I have come up with a few ideas to remedy the situation.  I just thought the “problem” is pretty cute 🙂