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Archive for March 7th, 2010

We’ve just finished our 9th week this semester. Looking back on my handy online tracker (Homeschool Skedtrack), I see we only skipped two days. We’re due for a vacation! We will be trekking to Wisconsin the week of Easter, that might end up being a two week vacation.

Almost everything we planned for our Kindergarten semester is going quite well. I would hardly call our stuff kindy stuff anymore, so next fall we’ll call it First Grade year.

Reading – going swimmingly, I love Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. I firmly believe in phonics and very few sight words so this is perfect. We cover about 1-2 lessons a day, 5x a week. Satori is trying to read things she hasn’t learned the phonics rules yet, but I’m only giving her beginner reader books until we get a little further. We haven’t covered R-Changed words yet, nor multi-syllable ones, so I can’t wait to reach those lessons, then I’ll feel a little better having her read bigger books. Right now we’re on lesson 134, just starting Silent Letters. Here’s a sample in case you were curious about this book, it covers sample lessons and shows an index to all 231 lessons.

This lesson is from last week and shows a sample of what she can read now.

We gave up on Explode the Code, it was just redundant. I don’t miss it. She is still barreling through ReadingEggs, she needs virtually no assistance from me, and everytime she sits down she gets through 3-5 lessons. One day she went through an entire map, but that was probably a mistake giving her that much computer time. I love that it teaches her to “save up” her eggs. For every lesson she gets several eggs, and she can use those to buy things for her virtual house and garden. She understands the concept of saving up, much better than Mama does!

Handwriting is closely being watched now, I mentioned her bad grip in the previous post. We’re rectifying this now, but it will take some time to get used to using a correct grip, slowing down, and trying to write neatly. We cover handwriting via copywork in a few other lessons as well.

Spelling is going well. We started Level 2, and zoomed through the first few lessons, as they were things she already knew (a review, beginning and ending blends, and Y-ending words). We’ll now take it more slowly I’m not afraid to take 2 weeks to finish a lesson, rather than the 3 days we usually take (we do Spelling 3 times a week).

Math – we just learned our hundreds, it is going well. For some reason I don’t get to this subject 4x a week as planned, but we both do really enjoy our RightStart math lessons. We’ve gotten addicted to logic games.

Vocabulary – we started Wordly Wise First Grade, which is still the colorful, fun program. She still absolutely loves this program. Is it too easy? Perhaps a bit so, but now I’ve got a daughter who loves words and I can’t say no to that!

History just rocks. So glad we started this. We’re averaging a SOTW lesson per week, which I didn’t expect to go through so fast at age 5. The next month we’ll be studying the ancient cultures of India, China and Africa, and SOTW dedicates only one lesson per region, so I think we can slow down and take our time on these cultures.

Science – Eek, totally slacking! I am working on fixing this. I’ve been working non-stop on how to make my favorite science curriculum work for us. More to come in the next few days.

Art – Bah, we haven’t done our art program at all this spring. Not too important, as we do artistic things all the time. If I can get more organized, we’ll start this again.

Writing – Just started Writing With Ease, and it is so easy. We learn about great children’s literature while working on narration and copywork. Answering in complete sentences is throwing Satori off a bit though, I can’t wait to cover more grammar so she understands what that means. She’ll reword my question and stick in her answer instead of giving me a natural complete sentence.

Grammar – First Language Lessons is going very well, also easy. Going over proper and common nouns. This program has given her a love for poetry already, or at least memorizing it and reciting it. 🙂

You know, looking back, all of the books written by Well-Trained Mind ladies are some of the easiest and most effective programs of the day.

Second half of spring plans

I am planning on adding Geography and Nature Studies as separate subjects. I am so, so psyched about adding these, even if we already have quite a full schedule! I have all materials here ready to go, just have to narrow down what to use and how to use it.

We’ve taken a step back in our handwriting progress, but it should help out in the long run. This year I’ve noticed that Satori doesn’t have extremely neat handwriting, especially at a point where I thought she’d be improving. This became apparent to me after having local girls her age over, who demonstrated very neat and in control handwriting. Then I saw in one of the photos I took that Satori’s grip was all wonky.

I then discovered that I myself had an incorrect grip! Actually I have two different grips, both not good. I’m not too worried about myself, as I mostly use the keyboard now and the little handwriting I do is still neat and legible. But this is an opportunity to correct Satori’s grip. She is really working hard at it now. We used all of Handwriting Without Tears tips on using a correct grip. It got a little frustrating trying to get everything right. Poor girl might get turned off of writing at this stage if I push too hard though.

A few months ago I believed that pencil grips were unnecessary, but we need some kind of help! So I found these colorful pencil grips and got a bag of 6 – The Pencil Grip Crossover Grip Ergonomic Writing Aid. They have little flaps so your thumb and index finger stay in the right place. There’s a comfy spot for your middle finger to rest, and together, it all promotes a proper tripod grip. It is ergonomically correct for both right- or left-handed people.

Both Satori and I are using them. For me, my fingers just fall right into perfect place. My thumb won’t cross over anymore. For Satori, all I have to remind her is to keep her middle finger tucked under, as she used to keep it up on top. We’ve been using them for just over a week now, and they are fun and feel good! Time will tell if Satori can get this new grip ingrained in her head and use a correct tripod grip from now on.

We’re also working on tilting our paper up on the right side while writing. Here she is doing some copywork for Writing With Ease, a program we are growing to love.