Week in Review: August 12-16

This week was a little smoother than last week, but we’re still trying to find our groove! We’ll get there eventually. Last year I stagger started as was suggested by other experienced Heart of Dakota moms. I should have done that again and plan to next year. Ah, the wisdom of experience. I would encourage you to connect with moms using the same curriculum, no matter what that curriculum is. There are message boards and facebook pages for just about everything you can imagine. Utilizing these as well as personal friends who use the same materials as you helps you have good collaboration. I also like bouncing ideas off of other moms who may have more experience and know if what I am thinking is wise.

Little Hands to Heaven: Unit 20

We did a handful of activities we missed in Unit 20 of Little Hands from last week. She was also very excited to finish Bigger Steps, the “B” book from Rod and Staff’s About 3 series. Last year I limited her to one page a day, much to her chagrin. She really needed to move slowly to give her motor skills time to develop. I’m so glad I forced her to stick to this as her fine-motor abilities have very much improved since last fall. Now I allow her to do 2-4 pages a day.

The “C” book, Coloring and Cutting, uses shapes to help teach the colors. Every color has an assigned shape so they can begin to do more on their own. It has mostly been coloring, but there is some handwriting and I’m assuming there will eventually be cutting!

Grace is not yet reading, but she is very observant! This activity wants the kids to coloring the pain cans the colors written on them. Down the side are the various shapes with the color words in them. I helped her remember which shape was which color and then told her to look for the matching words to color the paint cans. She completed this perfectly and was so very proud of herself!

Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory: Unit 2

Beth loves this guide so far. She is thoroughly enjoying the history readings and math. The only part she is reluctant to do is the emerging readers set. I have a strong suspicion this is because the first book is a Bible we have read over and over. I’m seriously considering skipping to the next book in the schedule because of this. Most of the emerging readers are on a 1st or 2nd grade level. She is actually reading on a higher level than this, but because I want to work more on comprehension I want her to finish them.

This is the “I” book of Rod and Staff’s ABC series called Inside and Outside. We are sad to be at the end of this series as she loves it so much, but after checking out the “J” book online I really think she has surpassed the levels intended. I may end up getting it for her because she just loves them so much.

In math Beth completed the speed drill in one minute for the first time! She was so excited about this! She is farther in the workbook than the speed drill indicate because when the speed drills were initially scheduled her handwriting speed was holding her back, causing a great amount of frustration. I decided to wait a bit and now she is doing quite well. It is exciting for me to see her feeling so accomplished with her math.

For spelling Beth is still using All About Spelling, but I use the Heart of Dakota spelling as well. On Friday or Monday morning she takes a “pretest” of 20 words found for each unit in the back of the guide. The words she misses or has to think about a while become her spelling list. This week’s list included next and when which she originally spelled neckst and wen. On Monday Beth writes each word 5 times. On Wednesday she writes a sentence with each word. For now she is dictating a sentence to me and then copies it in her spelling composition book. We’re also working on word spacing which is why she’s using her pinky as she writes. She takes the test on Friday and got both words correct!

Working on a timeline has been great fun for Beth. She’s watched her older sister do this for two years now so she feels very grown up. I typically write down the entry for her to copy and give her some guidance on how to draw the symbol.

Preparing Hearts for His Glory: Unit 1 (week 2)

After a rough start last week we’re now going half speed through preparing until the point at which I feel Rose is ready to handle full-speed. I’m so thankful for the great HOD moms who helped me work through this decision. I’m prepared for this guide to last 2 years if it needs to, but also happy to move up to full-speed if she is ready at some point this year. I originally intended Bigger Hearts for His Glory to stretch out over two years. After 4 units at half-speed, however, she was only taking about 1 1/2 hours for school. That was the point we moved into full-speed mode!

I do not add a lot to our HOD guides, but vocabulary is one area we supplement with. It isn’t so much that I feel HOD is lacking in this area as I want her to be fully ready for the SAT when the time comes. I use Wordly Wise because I feel it solidly prepares kids from the first books to think the way the SAT test encourages thinking. Right now Rose is doing a lesson a week with a test on Fridays which she is completing quite well. I plan to finish these books faster than in a year as they are written.

Diagramming!!!!!!!! I love diagramming sentences, and no it isn’t because my background is in English! To be honest, I was only taught diagramming by my father, never once in school that I recall. Rose is only in 3rd grade, but she is already starting to learn the basics which I just love about Rod and Staff grammar. I know this is one of those things many grumble about from school-days, but honestly, understanding how words fit together properly really does help you build a correct and understandable sentence. Not to mention in the future Rose will understand direct and indirect objects more easily because of their placement in the sentence. So yahoo for diagramming!

And then there is math…this is Rose’s least favorite subject. It isn’t that she struggles, she just gets bored with it. Singapore was a struggle in 1st grade and Rod and Staff was an excellent switch for us in 2nd. I think the problem is she much prefers words over numbers. For example, word problems are a much more enjoyable portion of the work for her than just rote practice. I still strongly believe in Rod and Staff and I am really not one to switch up curriculum unless there are major issues. Still I’m starting to consider some different options.

Rose’s first timeline entry of the year! I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t really feel like the year has started until we begin our timeline. I just love this concept for learning history and I love how Heart of Dakota is so consistent with their timelines.

This year’s timeline is written on index cards and will be a lot of fun for her to complete!

Rose and Beth are too old for naps, but they still do best when they have quiet time either reading or working on a craft. Quite often they hang out on their bean-bag chairs with me and we all read. On this day they sat on the couch and read while I read in one of their chairs. I realized my girls rarely actually see me read and I thought this was something I should remedy. While Grace naps in the afternoons we now all ready for 30-60 minutes. This has been a lot of fun! Our kitty-cat Zoe quite often joins us as well.

Well that was our week! I’ve also been posting some really great reviews from the TOS Review Crew, Mom of Masterbooks, and a handful of other companies. You can see some of my recent postings below.

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