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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Homeschooling Update

H and I finished up our Kindergarten homeschooling year last week! Yay! We're very happy about all she has learned over the year. Good job, H! G, M, and F have also made progress throughout the year. We're proud of all of you, girls!

We used Rod & Staff for our core subjects this year, and H also took piano lessons and we read a lot of books on various topics. Her reading has really taken off! She can read just about anything now, and does so on a frequent basis. She can spell pretty well and can write just fine when she takes the time (she is usually rushing, though. . . it's hard to find a balance between "good enough" and "do your best"--any ideas?). Math wasn't particularly fun until I stopped making her do the drill worksheets and started quizzing her orally with or without flashcards.

I'm VERY completion-oriented, but after talking with some friends I learned that it's okay not to do every page in every workbook. I loosened up a little bit and crossed out some areas in her workbooks where she had mastered that skill, which helped us reach the end of the year with a better attitude (not as much busy-work!). It's so nice to have other homeschoolers to talk to and learn from! Thanks, friends! :-)

H's excitement about being able to read has started rubbing off on her sisters, who also have been wanting to read. G can read simple books and has a lot of sight words memorized already. It's been interesting to see her learn to read differently than H since her thought processes are not the same. G isn't as patient, so she will sound out the beginning of the word and then make an educated guess, which often is correct! She is learning to slow down and is getting many more words right and is very pleased with herself. :-) G is also learning some basic math problems from hearing us drill with flashcards (she knows the 0+ and 1+ facts, some of the doubles (like 2+2 and 100+100), and can count past 100! Kindergarten will probably be a breeze for her, and she doesn't even start yet this year since she has a December birthday! H has also taken it upon herself to teach G piano, and G actually listens and practices (when she's in the mood, of course!).

M wants to read, too, but right now we are still working on her letters and speech. Considering she only spoke about 5 words when she turned 2, she has made FANTASTIC progress this year! We worked with a speech therapist throughout the school year and M is now talking in long sentences. Her intelligibility has improved, but she still needs more work. The plan is to send her to a speech-focused preschool in the fall. She has been working on her alphabet and on counting up to 30 and beyond!

F has made great strides this year, as well! She learned to walk and is practically running now! She's got 8 teeth and is 17 pounds, exactly where H was at 1 year. It's not surprising that she is on the tiny side, considering all the running around she does to keep up with her sisters! She says "Mamamama" and "Dada", but not on command, so I'm not sure they are specific yet. She also says something like a very high-pitched "hi!" sometimes while waving, but again, she won't do it on command, so it could be a fluke. :-) Here is a picture of her playing dress-up with her sisters. Too cute!

I am making a few changes to our curriculum, just to shake things up a bit and make them more interesting. I've started with the Math-U-See Alpha curriculum, hoping that would make math more interesting for H. So far she and G love to watch Mr. Demme and work with the Math-U-See magnets I made for them. I'd been looking to buy the manipulatives, but they are expensive, even on Ebay, so one day during naptime I came up with this! I printed the colored blocks onto magnet paper on our printer, then cut them and covered them with mailing tape (H even helped!). The girls each have a set that they use on a cookie sheet while they watch Mr. Demme on the DVD. This way we aren't losing manipulatives, and it didn't cost me anything since I used materials we already had! If you want to make a set, the magnet paper is about $10 for 5 sheets (which is all you need). Leave a comment or email me and I'd be happy to email you the files I created. One hour and about $10 later you'd have a set of magnetic manipulatives!

So we made it through our first "official" year of homeschooling with flying colors! Things went well and we are slowly inching into first grade by continuing to do a little bit of school here and there throughout the summer. We are doing a revised year-round schedule, but we need a little bit of a break. We'll focus a little more on science, spend lots of time reading, and hopefully log some school hours in a different way so we still feel like we are getting a break. We also have a list of other goals to focus on over the summer, things like tying shoes, riding a two-wheeler, and practicing more with our address and phone number.

On a side note, the pictures of the girls in their purple froggy shirts were all taken on different days, believe it or not! They got matching shirts and they LOVE to wear them whenever they are clean. And since I do laundry SO often in this house, it seems like they are clean almost all the time!


AJ King said...

Thanks for the homeschooling update! We will be starting with Micah in the fall and it is so encouraging to me to hear how things are going for others and to hear what you are doing with your kids! I'm a bit overwhelmed with the thought of it, but am really excited as well. Would you be willing to email the Math U See files you made? I have been looking into that program and it has been recommended by others, but I was trying to figure out a way around buying the manipulatives. Thanks for the great idea!

Busy Mama said...

Hi Jessica,

Well, I am NOT planning to homeschool Eden formally ;), but she loves to do "school stuff" here at home. Can you send me the files too? She would love to learn math stuff and using a cookie sheet sounds so fun! Thanks!

Cap said...

Hey Jess!

One way to help your kids learn things like your address and phone number would be to set it to music or just to set it to a beat. My mom did this with our address when Kelli and I were kids, and to this day I can still recite it.

An example: clap your hands while reciting, one clap at the beginning of every two syllables (more or less) or word, if you like.




avenue north


Yes, this was our address back when I was five. I've heard teachers setting multiplication tables to Yankee Doodle too, like 'two times one is two-ooo-ooo, two times two is fo-our, two times three is si-i-ix and two times four is e-eight'. Not that any song would've helped me learn them.

Great job on surviving your first year!


Jessica Morris said...

congrats on finishing your first year! sounds like it was a fun year - it is so exciting watching little ones learn new things!

For His Glory said...

Thanks for sharing! I am interested in the file for the magnets. I'm a little slow though ~ I've never purchased magnet paper before. Where do you buy it? Was it colored already, or is that what you printed on it? My email is Thanks!

For His Glory said...

Thanks for sharing! I am interested in the file for the magnets. I'm a little slow though ~ I've never purchased magnet paper before. Where do you buy it? Was it colored already, or is that what you printed on it? My email is Thanks!

Saph @ Walk With Me said...

What did you use to teach your little girl to read? I just recently became a stay/work at home mom (due to being laid off -God's blessing in disguise I say) and am starting to homeschool my soon to be 5 yr old. I'm doing research on what curriculum to get.

Jessica-MomForHim said...

I have listed my favorite resources for teaching reading here:

Starting with Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons (though with 2 kids, we still haven't had to go all the way thru the book, about 1/2 way gets them to easy reader level). Try your library to see if they have it.

They like and it fits well with the 100 lessons book. Good luck and let me know if you have more questions!

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