Friday, August 14, 2009

Week 1: Starting out a NEW Year!!! ;)

After a long summer break, we're finally starting back to school and trying to get back into a routine. I'm sure it will take us several weeks to settle back into a rhythm, but it feels great to be taking off. Although I would have preferred to just jump right back in and get going on everything, I have learned enough in the last 5 years of homeschooling to know that my kids will do better if they start off slowly. Subjects started this week include language arts, math, and logic/critical thinking. Here's a look at what we accomplished.


Jessie's had an easy take off in Singapore 5A this week. She had a quick refresher in place value and learned the places for millions and ten millions. Exercises included taking a number and writing it in words and vice versa, comparing numbers, and some estimating. She did great! Now if I can just convince her to use commas so that it's easier for me to check...

Violet has done well with Singapore 3A. The work is basically the same as Jessie's, but with numbers only up to 10,000. Starting back into the Miquon Yellow book has been quite another story. We jumped back into the middle where we left off last year, and she's been working on division. The problems are along the lines of 84/6 = 60/6 + 24/6 = 14 and 96/4 = 80/4 + 16/4 = 24. On Monday when she could solve the problems using the rods it took a long time but she did very well. Yesterday and today, however, were definitely a struggle. After telling me numerous times that the problems were just too hard even after I coached her through a couple, she finally completed the work correctly on her own. Note to self: Never start the year in that part of the Miquon book again.

Benny has really loved starting Kindergarten this year. He's very excited about having his own box of books and so far is eager to go every time we start a lesson. For math this year, he is alternating between a day of Singapore 1A and a day of Miquon Orange. My plan is to take it slow and build up his confidence while our main emphasis for the year will be phonics and handwriting. In Singapore, he's been counting up to 10 and comparing sets of objects to determine which is more or less. Since he can't read yet, we're doing the Singapore together. Monday I helped him with the number words. Wednesday, I wrote a few numbers for him to copy after he counted the sets so that he wouldn't write them backwards. Friday, he was able to do the comparing sets all on his own (although he still chose to sit on my lap for the work.) In Miquon, the focus was getting familiar with the different rods. Both days, he counted the number in the set and placed the corresponding rod on top.


Jessie began R&S 5 and CW Homer this week and picked up in the middle of SWO G. We'll start assigned reading next week with history since I tried to match up a few of the selections with our history studies. She received a 95 on her first spelling test. Grammar has all been review so far: complete sentences, dividing sentences into subjects and predicates, and identifying simple subjects and predicates. CW Homer has gone extremely well this week despite the fact that I tried to cram the reading of the skill we were covering each day into the 5 minutes just before I was supposed to be working with Jessie. Still we managed to discuss the model (Hercules and the Waggoner), write it from dictation, and discuss the difference between phrases and clauses (though I'm not sure how much she understood). Day 4 was supposed to be copying from the model, but since we did the entire model on Tuesday, I just had her copy one of the examples from the core book instead.

Violet started off very well in SWO E and spelled all of the words correctly in lesson 1. She had a harder time with grammar. Alphabetizing went well but slowly as did using the dictionary. The concepts of complete sentences and subjects and predicates confused her at first, but I think she's starting to understand. With CW Aesop, we're starting off with The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing as our model. After reading and discussing on day 1, I picked some words for her to alphabetize on day 2 (in red). Day 3 she drew a line between sentences, counted the number of sentences in the model, underlined the capital letters beginning each sentences, and circle the end punctuation. We didn't get to dictation on day 4, but overall it all went very well.

For phonics, we're working through the Pyramid book (I think it's called Reading Pathways now) that goes along with Phonics Pathways for further CVC word review. Benny was most excited about handwriting. This week we cover A, a, B, b, C, c, and 1, 2, 3. First he traced over what I wrote in highlighter. Then I gave him a few starting dots to try on his own. On the right is his work from Friday.


For Logic this year, Jessie is finishing the second half of Building Thinking Skills 2. She also started Mind Benders B1 and Think-a-Grams A1 this week. On Tuesday, I helped her with the first puzzle by showing her how to match up two of the clues to mark off another box so she could finish the puzzle. Thursday, she was very proud to figure out how to match two of the clues up on her own. The Think-a-Grams are a little hard because she hasn't always heard the expression, but I think she'll catch on over the next few weeks.

Violet and Benny also have critical thinking books this year. Violet is completing Building Thinking Skill 1 and Visual Perceptual Skills 2 from last year in addition to a Mind Benders and DooRiddles book. Benny loves his critical thinking books as well. In Building Thinking Skills Primary, he matched pattern blocks and attribute blocks to the pictures on the page. In Visual Perceptual Skills 1, he's starting with mazes. (He actually insisted on doing extra pages because he was having so much fun.) He also doing the first DooRiddles book just for fun.

Baby Henry... well he's trying to be just like the big kids. When the girls leave their chairs, he climbs up and gets to work. Wednesday, he decided to help Jessie with her grammar worksheet while she was doing something in the kitchen. Violet, Benny, and I sat and giggled to each other while he made several light scribble marks with the pencil before she came back. He would look at the page, nod his head, and make a few marks. Then shake his head and make a few more marks. It's a shame Benny was on my lap doing his handwriting, and I couldn't get to the camera.


Mom said...

Looks like you had a great first week. I like reading about the Singapore math, we started with book 1B this year. It is nice to see what the next books look like. We are doing the Mind Benders warm up book. Have a great week.

Paige said...

Looks like a good first week. Thanks for sharing!

jonnia said...

Busy and productive week! I love starting a new school year! Sounds like your littlest has good role models, too!