Friday, November 20, 2009

Homeschooling Pics

Enjoying some new birthday paints we bought for Jeremiah to replenish our waning stash. Their paintings will end up as wrapping paper for Christmas gifts!
A reading treasure hunt game I made for Ali since she enjoys reading words, but gets frustrated with the length of books at this point in time.

Her exuberance upon reading the clues!

Looking under the rug. The last clue led her to some Hershey's kisses in our pink library bag.

Ali showing Justus how to color

Homeschooling is a lot of fun! I must admit I was surprised that Ali learned to read in mid-October, just by playing with some alphabet blocks. Learning the letters at age 2 from Leap frog toys and songs and books, taking pre-school from Miss Jenny last year, and doing lots of letter worksheets and phonics practice so far this year was the foundation for quickly learning to read! She doesn't enjoy reading books very much although I've started her on the Bob books and some easy readers some friends gave us. She prefers to make words with blocks or magnetic letters, spell out words on her own as she hears them, read words in games or on reading flashcards, etc. I was stunned that she started reading so quickly, almost without any help on my part! Here I had been saving the book How To Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons for January, thinking that we would review letters and sounds until then! I didn't want to rush her or push her into it too soon. I guess I may not even need the book, at least until Jer is ready for it!
Because Ali is reading now our schooling day now includes more reading activities and 5 spelling words per week, including an informal spelling test at the end of the week. We're still doing hands-on activities, lots of art and crafts, and reading lots of books. I've discovered that I love the Explode the Code books a veteran homeschooling mom recommended to us. Ali finished the first book in just 6 weeks. She begged to do more and more pages each day even though I would have been happy with 2 or 3. We ordered the next 4 workbooks in the series so those should keep her busy for a while.
I've found that as we push towards the end of this "semester" it is definitely hard to be self-disciplined every single day. We've taken some break days just to break up the routine and so that I could do bulk cooking or so that they could rest more to prevent colds. At the beginning I was more formal and stern about hours, but now I feel that as long as we have covered about 1-2 hours a week for 4 days out of the week we're totally good. Following the recommendation of the excellent book "A Well-Trained Mind" I am letting the kids listen to books on CD at night in bed and also during nap/quiet time in the afternoon. The kids are delighted with this and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it a few years ago when I was having major naptime struggles wtih Ali. It keeps them quiet and gives me a little break in the afternoons even though Jer is joining his sister these days in the I've-Outgrown-Naps-Club. Instead of being pestered by the kids for endless requests at bedtime, after we do their prayer/snuggle/Bible story bedtime routine, they are excited to listen to their audio books while drifting off. So far, they've listened to these books from the local libary, several times each: Pippi Longstocking, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Boxcar Children, Hank the Cowdog (a few different books in this series), and the Bible (we own this one).


Melissa said...

I love the idea of painted pictures as wrapping paper. I am going to do this with my son for his grandma's Christmas present. Thanks!

Lea said...

Did you do the whole Boxcar Children series or just the first book? There's a whole seriies - I read them several times as a kid and loved them. Don't remember them in too much detail now, but that might be worth looking into!


Thia said...

Love Libre Vox for online books!

I find myself enjoying our homeschool time, for the most part. One source of frustration is the baby. She is not content to be given crayons and paper. I haven't found what will keep her happy at this point. But when she starts her whining and crying, lately, I've finished what we are doing and just quit for the day. We've had a lot of stress here and things come up...we need to get back on track!
We're using "What Your Kindergartener Should Know," "100 Easy Lessons," a couple of workbooks, and a few other things I catch here and there. Oh and Starfall.

LS said...

So far Lea, we have only done the first book. But we do own the entire series in books thanks to my husband's parents handing that down to us. I enjoyed them as a kid too and hope my kids do as well. I like how the kids have been pretending to be the characters from the book and helping one another and doing nice things for one another. Poor Justus-they always say that he gets to be Violet when they play!

Always fun to hear what others are doing Thia!
Usually Justus is asleep for morning nap when we do homeschooling. But if not, I pull down toys that are normally put up and he has fun with those.

Anonymous said...

Though "100 Easy Lessons" is a homeschool classic, my eldest daughter loved "The Reading Lesson." It doesn't have the interesting letter forms, etc., of the former is straightforward in presenting sounds, then words, then 20 lessons of several pages each. I felt it was an excellent "basics" supplement for a child who essentially learned to read without much assistance.

Rachel said...

I love the idea of listening to audio books at nap/bedtime. Especially the Bible!

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

your blog is adorable! found you through ... we homeschool, also! nice to meet you!

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