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Archive for January, 2010

SOTW Chapter 2 introduces us to the Egyptians, and the first reading covers the Nile River. We made the Nile River last week and it has started sprouting its “river reeds” yesterday! Here is how they are coming along today:

The “reeds” are actually from Cat Grass seeds, which is the only type of grass I could find the other day. Maybe it will be a treat for our 3 cats when we’re done! They are all reaching one way towards the sun.

Last week we covered our second chapter using Story of the World (the first week was Chapter 0), and we got our first mapwork assignment. To be honest, I didn’t think Satori would take any interest in the map, so I didn’t really have her do the mapwork assignment. (I should have learned by now not to underestimate her.) We read our stories, I quickly showed her a map of the lesson, and then I turned away to work on my computer. I distractedly heard something along the lines of “I’m drawing maps!” but I gave some lame response like “That’s nice dear.”

Ten minutes later, Satori ran up to me excitedly and showed me a piece of paper. It was the map of Egypt and the Nile! She pointed out her delta, the Nile, the Red Sea, and the compass rose (which wasn’t even on the map I showed her).

Satori Says: Look Mom, I even wrote the Mediterranean Sea, but I ran out of space, so just wrote Medi! Ha ha!

As I sat there with my jaw open, she ran down to Daddy’s office and told him all about King Narmer and the Red and White Crown Kings and their battle and that King Narmer won. Daddy was pretty impressed and came upstairs to the Learning Loft to hang out with us then.

I then glanced at the floor and saw several other maps.

As I’m posting this to my blog tonight, I asked Satori what the two dots on these maps were, as I couldn’t see any cities on our map.

Satori Says: That’s where the Red and White Crown Kings lived, and only the White King has a crown now because he defeated the Red Crown King and he pronounced that he was the King of all Egypt!

She said ” pronounced”. She loves to use big words now, and I wonder if that was the word SOTW used. Coincidentally, that was part of the SOWT mapwork lesson, to add the crowns on the map, but she did it without even knowing…

Here is the SOTW Activity Guide pages that were part of this lesson. We are seeing shadufs everywhere now. Granted, we are watching videos on Egypt this week.

I also have the History Odyssey eBook for Ancients. I am going to attempt to mesh together History Odyssey and SOTW to get the best experience out of both. (And maybe Myths, Maps, and Marvels.) They are very similar, but cover topics in a different chronological order. History Odyssey covers the SOTW chapters, so hopefully it won’t be too much of a challenge to combine the best of both… We have the History Odyssey (I may now refer to this as HO) recommended spines and resources ready to go. Browsing through the eBook, they have some wonderful activity suggestions, some of which we already have lined up, such as books, videos, and other activities.

History Odyssey (HO) offers a map too:

And for anyone curious about the Knowledge Quest maps, we got their new Map Trek: Ancient World. When they first launched this new product, we got a deal, but it is now only $14.95 and I love the beautifully colored maps. There are also blank outline maps for the student. Included are lesson plans, glossary, and more – 89 pages in all. We got the download, so I can print these out anytime and can use with future children. This is not a secular product, there are some maps some people may not be able to use, but I think it’s worth it anyway. Here’s a sample:

And the blank outline student map:

So now you will understand why I vote that it is okay to start SOTW with a kindergartner if they are ready for history. 🙂 The majority of homeschoolers will wait for this until first grade. Every day and night she tells me she loves studying history. She says she is “eager” to learn more and more! She can’t wait to learn more about the Egyptians, China, India, and the Medieval Times. I hope she has fun learning everything in between as well.

We finished Step 21 today (out of 24) in our All About Spelling program. In about 3-4 weeks, we’ll be on to Level 2! Here is what the AAS board looks like at the end of Level 1. You’ll have two sets of letters (vowels are in red, and you’ll notice “y” has one red tile). You’ll see a blank consonant (blue) tile and a blank red tile to assist with spelling words when we need to apply a rule first. The Consonant Teams we’ve learned so far in spelling are: th, ch, sh, ck, ng, and nk.

Today we finished up nk words. At the beginning of this lesson you’ll line up all the vowels EXCEPT e, as e never goes before -nk. (Maybe it does in very rare words…)  Same as the -ng rule, where e rarely goes before -ng.

Each Step takes us about 3-4 lessons, usually 3. Since we strive to do three spelling lessons a week, each Step takes us a week to finish.

The first day we review, and All About Spelling has a pretty great system for review. We tackle the review cards in our AAS file box. Then we learn the current step’s lesson. We use the tile board for spelling out the first 10 words. These are the same words that we store in our Index file box, and we’ll put them in the “Review” section. The next day we’ll spell those 10 words on paper. Usually this doesn’t take too long, so we’ll also spell a few “More Words”. The final day we’ll spell the rest of the “More Words”, and a list of Phrases. Usually the phrases has the  original 10 words in the phrases, so if Satori gets them right, I can move them into the “Mastered” section. Only in a great while will we take out our Mastered cards and review them.

Then, once a lesson is done, we put up a sticker on our chart! (Stickers don’t come with the program, we chose the most happy stickers we had at the time.) Our hopping frogs are very happy looking, so we do our Happy Hoppy Frog Dance!

I promised someone I would get the word list up for the Wordly Wise Kindergarten book. Here it is! (Click on the photo to see it full-size.)

The words seem pretty easy to me, but I mentioned before that Satori loves this program. We did our vocabulary this morning, due to her request. This evening she begged to do another lesson! She doesn’t exactly beg for lessons normally like this. It shouldn’t be long before we finish this Kindergarten book, and are in the First Grade book, which might be more appropriate with more challenging words.

UPDATE 2/4: On our last lesson, each time I showed a new Word Card to Satori, she pretty much said each word before we  “learned” it. That means these words are way too simple for her. We’re going to finish this book in the next few days and move on to First Grade.

Thank you to those who went out of their way to email me this week about the message they are getting when trying to comment on my blog. I wonder if this is due to recent updates I made to all my blog plugins. I have looked at the settings for my spam protector and saw this:

However, I now wonder how many valid people weren’t able to leave valid comments! I’ll try checking the above setting and see how it goes…

So comment away!!!

I spent the entire day organizing this blog, fixing links, updating categories, adding a favicon, etc… When I first started this blog, it was mostly about Five in a Row program, but we’ve added so much since then. I still want to row some more FIAR books now and then too. 🙂

I updated our Curriculum main page, and added sub-pages for each semester. I think it will be interesting to go back and see how things were going from year one.

And I can’t leave without posting one of Satori’s Smiles. 🙂

Chugging away at our reading program, Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (OPG), I have gotten a few emails asking how we’re using it. Do we read all the sentences? Does Satori still sound out the words? I also find myself writing the same things over and over in the homeschooling forums I frequent. So here’s just a little update on our reading!

We just finished all the sections on the most Common Spellings for Long vowel sounds, like AI, EA, EI, EY, EE, EA, IE, OA, OW, UE, OO as some examples. Silent-E words are easy to figure out (Section 7), but all these vowel pairs (Sections 8-12) could get confusing! Here’s an OPG game we played this week as a review for all the different long vowel pair words we’ve learned so far. Coincidentally, it was about “Cross the River”, so we made that river the Nile (tying in with our Egypt lessons), and used a crocodile to hop across the stones. Here, her crocodile is hopping on all the long-U words to get to the other side of the river.

Our lessons are only taking 8-10 minutes.  This includes the 2 review, where I’ll write down sample words from the previous 2 lessons. I have said in the past we didn’t do all the sentences in each lesson, but since the lessons are going faster, we’re starting to read more of the sentences, and will probably start reading them all.

Lately we’ve also taking 10 minutes to do thorough reviews of lessons we’ve done long ago. So, in addition to our main lesson, we are doing 2-3 lessons way back in lessons 58-60. We’ll continue to do this to make sure that she doesn’t forget how to read any words. This intense review and thoroughly doing each lesson will take up the 20 minutes a day we’re allocating for Reading lessons.

Satori looks at a word, sounds it out quickly in her mind, and then says it. The above photo of words she does not have fluently memorized, she’ll take a moment to say each word. Some like “break”, she might pronounce “breek”, as normally “ea” has a long-e sound. It’s challenging to keep them all straight! By including all the sentences in each lesson (which is a review in itself), and intense review of past lessons, and having her read books every night, hopefully this is a good start to reading fluency.