This was one of the best weeks we’ve had since the craziness that was our Christmas break! I remind the girls frequently to work diligently and Beth has started praying at meals and bed for her and her sisters to work diligently during school. I make sure to take time to praise them when this happens and it’s been neat to see Beth recognize answers to her prayers!
We’ve been busy checking out some great homeschooling products for the Schoolhouse Review Crew and are having so much fun! My daughters are loving all the new areas. This week I posted my review for A+ Tutorsoft math for 1st grade. If you are looking for a computer based math program you really need to check this out! Also don’t forget to check out the other reviews from my Crewmates!
I was trying to figure out why our week went so well. Everyone had good attitudes…the girls worked diligently every day…we completed our work most days before lunch with out a little left after lunch for my oldest daughter to finish a couple of days. I think there were several factors…1. I kept the girls on their chore routines so they started out the day knowing they were going to be held accountable.2. The school room was neat and orderly each day.3. My husband made sure we had family devotions before he left for the church each day.4. My daughters prayed for each other each night (on their own!).5. I spent more time in His Word than I have been.I know the main reasons for our success were the last three. I know centering our family and our day around Christ is going to change the atmosphere in our home and throughout our day. Other things helped of course, but nothing can compare with it. Did my girls still disobey? Yes…Did I still sometimes get frustrated? Yes…Did they bicker with one another? YES…The difference was how quickly our hearts responded to what we were out of step with the Holy Spirit. I’m hoping this lesson will stick with us for a while!Now for the learning of our week!Little Hands to Heaven: Unit 13 (Finally completed!!!!)
Grace had a great time finishing up Unit 13. We started last week, but since I caught their cold from the week before we didn’t quite get through everything like I wanted to. She continues to adore her About 3 books from Rod and Staff. She is about half-way through the B book, although she would happily finish these all up in a week if I let her! I’m still limiting her work to one page a day, but since we’ve always done this she isn’t upset about it like she used to be.We’re also in the process of reviewing one the best preschool math program I have ever seen! I can’t wait to share more about it with you in a few weeks. It has been a perfect addition to my littlest learner who literally cries each day when her lessons are over! It is difficult for her to understand I have to teach her older sisters as well!
The activities in Little Hands really are so much fun for all of us. I love when my older two daughter don’t hesitate to jump right it and play with their younger sister. This has been one of the joys of home learning for our family. It means so much to Grace when her big sisters willingly participate and have fun doing it! I typically have my older girls working independently while I teach Grace first and they often both stop what they are working on the listen in on our stories, say the letter poem, and join in the dramatic play! We read Bible stories last week about the early life of David. We talked about how David and Jonathan were friends and probably shared secrets with one another. The girls really got into this and enjoyed playing Pass the Secret with each other. There was a lot of giggling involved as you can imagine!
These girls are just such sweet sisters!
For our letter play this week Grace learned about K. She is so easy to teach because she tends to be a good listener and rarely defiant. This results in very good direction following! She loves gluing things onto her letter of the week and also working with Do-A-Dot markers. There are a number of websites with free printables and since my little girl is so anxious to keep working I try to give her a variety each week. The only trouble with the gluing was she kept wanting to eat all of the Cheerios. She was sweet and shared her Cheerios with her sisters.
Little Hearts for His Glory: Unit 19 (Finished up!)
Beth has been asking recently, “Do we have to do school today?” I reply simply, “Yes.” And then we move on. She doesn’t complain at all, but she still likes to know! I am blessed that my daughters enjoy learning and work well for me most of the time. I typically schedule a break about 9:00 so they can have a snack, but I’ve been careful to watch for cues they need breaks other times as well. Beth especially seems to need more breaks in between her work. I’ve been giving her active ideas, like bouncing 3 times around the house on her bouncy ball. She gets her energy out, has a great time, and doesn’t mind getting back down to business afterwards! One of Beth’s favorite parts this week was her poetry. Each week she has a rhyme which helps her remember a concept from history, learn things like the days of the week, and spiritual truths. This week she learned about the Trinity, not an easy concept for a Kindergartner! She loved the poem though and went around the house saying it even when we weren’t doing lessons. This is a posed picture because during the action shots of her poem she was so active I couldn’t get a picture not blury!Another reason I love learning at home is my little sweeties are not limited in their learning. They can move forward to stay still for as long as they need to. Beth has mastered addition. She doesn’t mind the practice at all, but allowing her to move forward into the 1st grad math material was a fabulous decision. She never misses an answer and she’s excited to be able to move at her own pace, often doing more than one lesson a day. She continues to excel in spelling as well. She loves spelling and I’m so glad since this is not a subject I enjoyed as a child! All About Spelling has really changed how I view this subject. I have become a better speller as well. Beth is halfway through level 1. She’ll continue at her own pace, which is typically one lesson every 1 or 2 weeks. I want to challenge her, but not so fast she can’t master the concepts.
Bigger Hearts for His Glory: Unit 21One of the benefits of my daughters growing up is a result of the training them from preschool to do some work on their own. Now that Rose is now in 2nd grade she is very used to working independently. If she becomes distracted by her sisters she either joins in their learning or asks to move to another room to work. She sets a fabulous example for her younger sisters and knows I will be working with her individually as well.
Rose moved forward in Level 3 of All About Spelling and was excited to start using her Silent E detective book. As she finds different words which utilize silent E she places them on the page showing the rule it is following. There are way more silent E rules than I ever knew! We still use the dictation from Heart of Dakota. I am really seeing a difference in Rose’s spelling using both of these methods.
We did have one activity last week which we didn’t get to in Bigger Hearts about map coordinates. After we completed the activity she asked if she could make her own map of our school room and include coordinates. Of course! What a great way to see how well she mastered this concept. Rose told me the reason it was so easy was from playing Battle Ship. You have to love when learning happens without even realizing it!
We both loved the poem this week called The Land of Counterpane. I love the beautiful poems chosen so carefully for each unit. Rose has begun writing her own poetry and even was chosen for publication! She told me this morning the reason she loves poetry and knows how to write it now is because of studying poetry for lessons. Wow! Thank you once again Heart of Dakota!
A new aspect of homeschool we started this week was literature study. I have been assigning Rose books at her reading level all year, but have chosen to just let her tell me about the story and discuss the aspects of literature like character, setting, and conflict. I felt now it was time for her to begin literature as units. Heart of Dakota has a great literature program, but I chose not to use this for two reasons. The first is my background is in teaching literature. My husband confidently encouraged me to develop my own units because it’s what I know and love! The second reason was cost. I was able to piece together literature units by genre which I’ll be able to reuse with each of my daughters and after this week I am thrilled with the outcome!
We began with the mystery genre at Rose’s request. She is reading a book she was given for Christmas. I chose her project to be a clue journal where she will record clues from the mystery for each chapter. In addition to the clue journal she is recording vocabulary words she is unfamiliar with and tracking the emotions in each chapter. The last part of her literature study is a page which she will complete for every book she reads which will record all of the basic elements of literature for each novel. We had a really good week. I’m looking forward to next week to be just as much fun!