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Archive for May 13th, 2011

Did I mention we are currently using three separate Grammar programs? Satori’s a bit advanced in Language Arts, and this past year I had as a goal to focus on grammar so we could tackle more sophisticated writing courses.

We are working in Growing with Grammar Level 3, which has us use a separate Student Manual and Student Workbook. I chose to start with GWG last fall to get her up to speed the quickest with grammar, and allow her some hands-on practice. We breezed through Levels 1-2, doing two lessons a day, everyday, and now we’re slowing down just doing one lesson a day. It’s so easy to do that we still do it almost everyday.

She retains what she’s learned and applies it in her own independent writings. The Student Manual is very handy, as she can quickly and easily refer to a concept she’s learned. We cannot do that with First Language Lessons (the second grammar program we use).

It takes about 10-15 minutes to complete a lesson. We start out reading the manual out loud.

Then Satori’s let loose to do the two sides of the worksheet for the lesson. The first page practices the concept learned, and the second page usually has some sort of brief review. I was excited to start diagramming in this program, but so far it’s been pretty simple.

We have come back to First Language Lessons 2 as it has a more thorough approach in which we orally discuss the lesson. I love the memorization of grammar terms. We’re not memorizing their suggested poems this time around though, I’d like to choose my own.

We’ll be finishing up FLL 2 next week and starting Level 3 in June. Level 3 is where we start diagramming. Like GWG, we’ll have a separate student workbook. This is a first for FLL, and I’m kinda looking forward to that. The first two years of FLL specifically do not have the young child do much writing, but we don’t have to worry little hands getting tired in our household. She would write all day long if she could.

FLL has us memorize this entire list of prepositions. Since we’ll be covering it all over again in Level 3 this summer, I just wrote them out on our whiteboard. We both take turns reciting the list, and we’ve said it almost everyday for a few weeks, so I think Satori almost has it all memorized. (I do not.)

We also did start in on MCT Island, the Grammar book. I forget to take pictures of what we’re doing as it’s never at our desk, but I’ll share soon. I introduced this one time at bedtime, so now Satori insists on doing our lessons in bed. She even insists on being the teacher, so she gets the Teacher’s Manual and I get the Student Manual. It’s an expensive program though, especially buying both teacher and student books. Some families just get by with one book, but I’m not sure which one we’d prefer. I purchased the entire Island series already though, so I guess we’ll have time to decide once we get closer to the next level.

I’ve been away from the blog long enough to start getting antsy emails from you all! I apologize for the long time off, we’ve been busy trying to finish up the spring. Next week is our last week before we take off for our Oregon coast vacation, and when we come back, in June we start up once again on a slightly lighter Summer 2011 load.

To catch up on what we’ve been up to the past month, I’ll spam my own blog with updates!


Starting with Reading/Phonics, we started the very last Explode the Code phonics workbook last month. This is book 8, which covers suffixes and endings. We are doing two pages a day and will finish the book and be done with ETC forever sometime this July 2011.

Working on the table together instead of her individual small desk has worked out wonderfully. (We switched to work on a large table this spring.) Yes, as you can see, sometimes she still needs dollies and lollies!


We’ve also started the last book of Beyond the Code, book 4. Not so impressed with this series, but we’ll be finishing it next week. I wouldn’t have made her do BTC if she read on her own everyday.

As for independent reading (not pushed by Mom), Satori sporadically reads, but when she does, nothing can stop her. She’ll lie down on the floor of a Barnes and Noble for an hour to read. A few weeks ago she was reading a Narnia book. This week she’s reading Matilda by Roald Dahl.


Singapore Math has been a total hit in our household. It seems I haven’t posted about it in two months, so here’s a quick catchup on how we’re doing. We spent several weeks on the 1A book that I hadn’t planned on, but I’m glad we got that foundation. You may remember the photos and video I posted in March of her doing addition/subtraction using manipulatives and other unusual methods. That hard work has paid off! She can now do lots of math in her head! She does it just for fun even, like at the grocery store. The past few months she’s been showing off her multiplication skills, her negative number skills, and other things we’ve never tackled officially.

I’m amazed at what a change Singapore math has made in my daughter. The Today Show did a feature on Singapore Math last week. Here’s an article from Singapore Math Source that explains more.

We are now in 1B, and finally covered the introduction to Multiplication and Division. We used manipulatives to demonstrate the concept. I’ll blog more about Singapore math in a future post.

I’ll cover our updates in Spelling, Grammar, Logic and Art in another post.

Handwriting Changes

As for handwriting, Satori got bored with HWT Cursive, so we are trying out Getty-Dubay Italics handwriting. She’s been so excited, but so far, their Book B is pretty simple. We could probably have done just as well using our StartWrite software. We’ll zip through it, and move on to C next month, which also covers italics. The last book covers calligraphy, which I think Satori will love. I also hope to improve my handwriting with this program, they have books for adults as well. I’ll talk more about my reasons for switching in a future post.


We finished Write Source Grade 1 and will be starting grade 2. I just heard that BraveWriter will be offering a program for ages 5-8, so I’ll be sure to check that out soon.


We’re somewhat slacking on History, but plan to focus on it this summer to finish Ancient Times and start SOTW The Middle Ages in the fall.


We’re finishing up our animal studies in RSO Life and will be moving on to the Plant Kingdom this summer. We’ve taken lots of field trips (photos will be shared) to see animals. Our spring vacation should provide ample opportunity to view more life as well!