This was our first full week of school and if every week is as good as this week we will have a good year. Dare I hope? I feel much more together this year than I have at this time any other year. We seem to be nicely falling into a grove. I really hope it continues.
I think one of the reasons for our success so far this year is the Homeschool Helper app. I am loving it! I can see room for some improvement in the app but it is definitely a help in keeping me focused. I love checking the completed lesson box as we complete each lesson.
Another reason for our success so far is the method I've come up with to keep us on track. Besides the Homeschool Helper app, where I input our lesson plans before we do them, Anna and I also both have our own clip board to hold papers for us to journal about the lessons after the fact and our own binders to hold completed papers.
Anna does daily journaling pages. Every day she puts the date at the top of a new page and then as we do the subject throughout the day she writes the subject name on the page and writes at least one sentence about the lesson for that subject when we complete it for the day. Once both sides of a journaling page have been filled in, so after two days, the page gets taken out of the clipboard and placed into Anna's binder.
I do subject journaling pages. I have a page in my clipboard for each subject and I write the date and a summary of what we've done each day on each subject after we have completed it. Once both sides of a sheet have been filled in it gets transferred from my clipboard to my binder.
One other thing that helps us stay on track and feel accomplished is Anna's subject list on her ipad. We made the list in the reminders app and she gets to choose what order she wants to do the subjects in and to check them off when they are complete. She really enjoys that. Every morning we just uncheck the list and start again.
I tend to start school slow each year and gradually introduce the subjects into our schedule, but we're further ahead this year than past years. So far the subjects that we are doing are Bible, language arts (reading, writing, spelling, and grammar), math, social studies (history and current events), art, and music.
We start each day with what we call calendar time. Basically this is just a time when we write today's day and date on our white board and Anna writes it on her journaling page. We also discuss how many days are left in the month and if there is anything special about the day.
Next comes Bible time. Anna has been watching me do my bible reading using the YouVersion app on my iPad for some time now and she asked if she could do the same, so I set up an account for her and we checked out the reading plans to see which ones would be good for her. We were excited to find they had some Bible reading plans from Phil Vischer, creator of the What's in the Bible DVDs which Anna loves. She decided she wanted to do the Walk With Jesus: 21 Days Through Matthew plan. Each day there's a video, a devotional reading and scripture passage to read, and many days there is a colouring sheet to print. She has been working through it all week and loving it.
Scripture memory is also a part of our Bible time. We are working our way through the list of scriptures in the Parent Handbook for Scripture Memory. Although the list is grouped by age we are ignoring the age indicators and simply working our way through the list. We are using the Scripture Typer app to learn the verses. I've been using the app for a while now myself and thought Anna would enjoy it so I set her up on it. I loaded the first lot of verses into the app for her and she has mastered 5 verses this week. Every day she reviews the verses that need reviewing and starts a new one if she feels ready. She has been enjoying it so far.
Once the calendar time and Bible time are done Anna is free to do the rest in whatever order she wants, and everyday was different this week so in no particular order here is a summary of what we did in each subject this week.
For grammar we are using First Language Lessons. I love how simple, yet thorough the lessons are in this program. We started Level two this year and this week we did the first five lessons. We talked about common and proper nouns, pronouns, action verbs and state of being verbs. All but the state of being verb lesson was a review of last year's work. Poem memorization is also part of the program and this week we reviewed the poems we learned last year and started work on a new poem - The Goops. We don't quite have the poem memorized yet but Anna does read it with great expression.
We started using Writing With Ease for writing last year. We enjoyed it, so we are continuing with it this year and have started Level two. We did the lessons for week one this week which involved narrating Aseop's The Grasshopper and the Owl and The Fox and the Stork. Anna had her first dictation exercise this week and was excited to do her second dictation exercise also. Hopefully the excitement keeps up.
Spelling Power is a program I used with my other children and I decided it was time to start spelling with Anna. I love the way this program is set up for short lessons and you can move along at the pace appropriate for your child. Each day you give the child a pretest/teaching test of about 5 minutes and then you spend about 5 minutes studying the words the child got wrong. You're also supposed to spend about 5 minutes doing skill exercises but so far our pretest and studying has been taking up more than the suggested time so we've skipped the skill exercises. We're getting faster though so maybe we'll fit some skill exercises in next week. Anna has really been enjoying spelling so far. This week we got through the first four word lists, learning the rules for four of the short vowels (a,e,i,o). Anna did a great job! She misspelled just one or two words each day and needed only one extra day to study a word before mastering it. She loves that one of the studying steps is to write the word in the box of sugar we made just for that purpose. The words have been very simple so far and I'm hoping she can keep up the good attitude as the words get harder.
I am not using a set program for reading. My plan is that we always have a read aloud we are working on together and that we have a time of silent reading every day when Anna can read whatever she wants to herself.
Presently for our read aloud we are listening to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the Books Should Be Free site. I also downloaded the book from that site into IBooks so we are following along in IBooks with the audio. We actually started this about a week or so ago and by the end of this week we made it to chapter 13. In a notebook we have been keeping a list of characters as they appear in the book and writing a short summary of each chapter after we listen to it. Anna is really enjoying it and asks to listen to a couple of chapters most days.
At the beginning of the week Anna started a new Magic Kitten book. She has read a few books in this series lately. Moonlight Mischief is the book she is working on at the moment and she's made it to chapter seven so far. She enjoys silent reading time and is quick to grab her book and set in to reading.
Last year we started using Story of the World for history. We worked our way through Volume One: Ancient Times last year and enjoyed it, so we started Volume Two: The Middle Ages this year. This week we finished chapter one, about the fall of Rome, and started chapter two, about the early days of Britian. We read a section for the book each day doing shared reading - Anna and I taking turns reading paragraphs. Then we do the review questions and write a sentence or two narration about what we read. We did pretty good with this most of the week but Friday was a disaster. Anna had left history for last and she was tired and her attention was gone. She couldn't recall any of the information when we did the review questions so we will be repeating that reading on Monday, hopefully with better results.
Along with our history, we also covered a couple of current events in social studies this week. On September 11th we spent some time discussing what happened on September 11, 2001. We googled for pictures of New York before and after the destruction of the twin towers. We looked up New York and Washington, D.C. on our map. Friday we spent some time learning about Jonathan Trappe and his attempted crossing of the Atlantic powered by 370 hellium balloons. He failed in his attempt and landed on the west coast of Newfoundland not too far from where we live. We had some fun exploring Jonathan Trappe's sight and watching the videos on it earlier in the day and then Anna was quite interested in watching the news reports about his landing in Newfoundland later.
Anna has been struggling with Math. We've tried a number of different approaches and programs but it just does not seem to be clicking and sticking. Last month I downloaded and read Let's Play Math and I've decided to take the author's advice and put the textbooks and teachers manuals aside for a while and work on cultivating the aha! factor in math. This week I realized that I had tried too quickly to move Anna from concrete to abstract in math and that she needs me to slow down a bit and have some fun with her, so that's what we've been doing. And we really have had fun. And she really is learning. I intend to write more about this in another blog post later in the week so suffice it to say that this past week we touched on the concepts of measuring, money recognition and value, counting by tens, and adding and subtracting to ten. We did this by playing games such as race to ten, coin trade in (which we have retitled capture the looney), race to 100, add/equal, and measure me. I will add links to explanations of these games as I blog about them.
For music this year we are going to pick a song to learn each week. This week we decided to learn Chris Tomlin's Jesus Messiah. We found a YouTube video of Jesus Messiah and we listened to that and sang along with it each day. We printed off the lyrics so we could practice without the video when we got confident as the week progressed. Friday I taped Anna singing the song accapella.
For art this year I have decided that we will work on a least one art project each week. I have a blog post all ready to post about that with pictures of our projects from this week so suffice it to say here that Anna did two great sketches this week.
And that's our report for this week. It is a lot longer than I intended it to be. I promise next week won't be as long - maybe. :-)
So how was your week?