I love the feeling of continuity we have when school plans are not interrupted by any major bumps in life and we are being intentional about lessons. We've been as busy as ever but I feel like we are at least making good progress with Jefferson's 1st grade year. Of course with my personality, I always feel like I could be doing better and making better choices for him. I often feel like my bloggy pal at Life with My 3 Boybarians when I think about the responsibility I have been given here. But I just have to remind myself that although I have been given responsibility for their education, God is always in control and has a perfect plan for each child He's loaned to us.
Slow week for us. This tends to be one of the first things to go if I can tell we will be having a rough day or if we're all just moving like snails. I think that's because I'm still not sure what kind of progress we're making here. I know that last year in K when we were using Christ Centered Curriculum, I felt like Jefferson was getting the spelling as he learned the phonics rules. The program seemed to train his ear very well.
This year we started with Spelling Workout A before he could read well (my bad) and struggled through it. And even with that I'm not sure what he learned from it. For the past 4 weeks I've been just going over spelling rules that I think need to be reinforced. And just this week I decided to begin again in the middle of SWA (lesson 20 a_e) again since he can now read and likes the format better than just copywork/lists.
We'll see how this goes for another couple of weeks. If he seems to be remembering what he learned the first time or is bored, I may just move him on through. Or I'm even considering using some of the CCC curriculum I have left from last year since it covered a lot of ground and worked so well.
I am just so excited about how well Jefferson is doing with his reading! I have moved him into longer 'I Can Read' books which are divided into small 'chapters.' Anything by Syd Hoff, Dr. Suess, the likes. He is no longer intimidated by too many words on a page and has finally started to use his finger to help keep his eyes on the words. They take him about 20 montues to read and he can get between 2 and 4 read each day. I just have to keep up with him by getting enough from the library! He's already read everything in the house. My favorite is this - Reagan and/or Adam sitting down to listen to him read! And if you know my boy, there is nothing that motivates him more than 'knowing' something that his younger siblings don't! And I'm starting to see how this will make homeschooling easier in the future - he can now read and complete his SWA on his own!
However, I must admit that I have been quite lax in reading TO him for a certain amount each day. I just have been falling asleep recently when reading out loud (uhhhh, too many late nights in the bloggosphere maybe?)! We are starting The Children's Homer next week so that will keep me on task here. He will make sure it gets read since he so enjoyed Jason and the Argonouts a few months ago.
Again, not Jefferson's favorite subject. I have not been doing a good job of reinforceing the rules that he's learning as we go. Which is another reason that I really liked CCC - the phonics rules were reinforced with spelling and worksheets. I'm discovering that he learns like I do - remembering by writing things down or working with something physical. We are almost finished with Phonics Pathways so again, maybe I should just head back to CCC to finish out this year for phonics and spelling? I'll go 2 more weeks and then we'll see.
This is still just penmanship practice mostly - no dictation or writinge his own narration yet. But I have to remind myself that every time Jefferson copies something, he is learning about the subject at hand, grammar, and narration skills as well. This week copywork was from History Scribe and First Language Lessons.
We are working in First Langauge Lessons on understanding the different types of nouns. This week we talked about the months of the year, a new rhyme, and 'ideas.' Next week we move on to pronouns - finally! Will this book ever go anywhere? He liked drawing pictures of nouns and also circling common and proper nouns in a sentence. We'll see how far we get by the end of April before I look for something else.
I am so glad that this is one of Jefferson's favorite subjects! I think AL Right Start was the right choice for him. Using the manipulatives has been very good for teaching him multiple ways of looking at numbers so that he will have a good handle on them when the concepts get harder. We started skip counting this week. Using the abacus helps him to 'see' the numbers in his head. We also worked with calandars this week and almost have all 12 memorized.
However, I found myself frustrated when he at one point wasn't able to understand what I was asking. I didn't know how to rephrase or help him understand the train of thought I was trying to teach. He is doing well because the curriculum fits him but I wonder how I'm going to reach him later since I am not so great at math myself (yeah, yeah my degree was in engineering but that doesn't mean my math skills are great or are still intact or that I know how to teach it). At one point I gave him 5, double digit numbers to add on the abacas which I added myself incorrectly twice before just doing it on the abacas myself! This is only 1st grade people! But I was pleased to hear Reagan's comment after watching us use the abacas that it "looks like fun!"
This week we moved to the traveling ancient Phoenicians. I had Reagan color the Phoenician ship page also (she always adds extra scribbles around the entire page) and they both made 'glass' by melting crayon shavings between wax paper. I think she really likes being involved with the lesson even if she has no comprehension of history yet. We also discussed why the Phoenician ship in SOTW looked like the Ancient Greeks ships that we learned about at the beginning of the year. From the reference book we have which is about Greek warships, I am inclined to think that SOTW used the wrong pic! Good lesson for Jefferson about historical accuracy though. History scribe provided copywork and a little more info also.
This week we studied grasshoppers. These are great little insects for a 1st grader to learn about since he sees so many of them in the warm seasons. Last summer we caught and observed a few and took that time to look up information online about what they ate and how they grew. This was great reinforcement and he liked getting online again. Again, Reagan loves to participate also!
I actually got all the copies and lessons I needed for the week done at the beginning of the week! This really helped me reduce stress and has been my goal even though I haven't yet become consistent with this habit. What a difference it makes! Next year I intend on having lessons planned and copied out by month or more (thanks Koinonia Academy for this idea!). In my life, the more organized, the less stressed I am (ok family members - you can stop snorting with laughter and rolling your eyes! Yes - I am my father's daughter)!
Until next Friday!