Back at it again…
It is good to be back at routine, isn’t it? I enjoyed our break very much, but the girls were long overdue for some structure. Everything started back up this week, which made for a really busy start, but it was quite smoothe actually. You can read about our Christmas to see all we did!
While I was busy undecorating and redecorating Grace helped Daddy put together a rolling cart storage for me. I’ve always thought these looked great for crafting. My girls love to be given a bunch of supplies and creating whatever they are in the mood to do at the time. The school room isn’t set up for this type of creativity because of space issues and now they can roll their supplies to the kitchen table with ease.
Little Hands to Heaven: Off Week
I only have 2 more weeks to complete in this guide and I planned on squishing them into this week, but wouldn’t you know it, Grace came down with a cold and really wasn’t up to a lot of formal work. She really wasn’t all that sick, but she was incredibly tired and not in the mood to focus a whole lot until the end of the week.
On Thursday she finally asked to do some work. Her first request was the animal activity cards from our Fundanoodle sets. She loves these and so do I! They are really fun and I’ve seen firsthand how much they help her focus if we do them first.
I have quite a few file folder games I have put together for the girls to play alone or together from the dollar sales at Scholastic. Grace is now at the point where she can do a handful on her own and actually enjoy them. This one matches letters which are randomly placed on the board. While it isn’t anything fancy she really likes the activity and is good practice for letter recognition.
(You have to love a 4-year-old’s sense of style!)
After being away from our reading lessons for almost a month I wasn’t sure how our first one back would go. I love how well young minds retain information because she recalled most of the letter sounds on her own. She struggled with the one she learned most recently and after concentrating on it for a few seconds said in her chirpy little voice, “Mama, I don’t bemember that one.” After I reminded her she said, “Oh yeah…I actually did bemember that!” I have so enjoyed teaching reading this time around.
Here she is all ready to go out into the snow…of which we had none! We did experience a lot of cold, but no snow in our neck of the woods. I thought it was very cute how she bundled up in one sister’s hat, another sister’s scarf, and my boots to go play in the snow. Then I saw what “snow” she meant. She had taken Styrofoam out of my decoration boxes and crumbled it everywhere in the living room while I was teaching her sisters! Oy…
Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory: Unit 12
Beth has begun asking me, “Do we have to do school again today?” I’m grateful when I affirm that we do her answer is most always a cheerful, “Oh, okay Mommy! I just wondered.” Even though she asks she rarely complains about any of her work. We studied about Thanksgiving this week and she has really loved reading so in depth about the Pilgrims. I read how some families feel their children tire of the amount of time spent on this particular period of history, but neither of my daughter’s have expressed this. Rose frequently pipes up during our history readings with comments about what she remembers or a particular part she liked the first time around.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain has been as much fun for Beth as it always is for me. I love this story and I’m really glad she does too. She does a great job at narrating what she reads although I don’t even ask her to very often! She just really enjoys telling me about her reading for the day. I’m sad we are done with this one, but I know her next book will be a lot of fun too! Just like her sister it seemed to be Christmas break which was the magical moment when she felt grown up to read other chapter books on her own. She’s been picking up just about everything she can get her hands on for her afternoon quiet time and voraciously reading it! Of course it did help for her Sunday School teacher to give her a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas. Each of the girls’ received one. It was such an incredibly thoughtful gift for our family!
She struggled a little bit more with her spelling words for this unit than she has, but they were much harder words. Since we use both All About Spelling and the Heart of Dakota spelling I’m not at all concerned. I know she will cover these words again and so we will move on and revisit them again later.
There are two areas which I add a little extra which isn’t included in the Heart of Dakota guide. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly feel the guides are full programs without any additions needed. My personal feeling, probably because of my background as an English teacher, is I like a bit more focus on creative writing and vocabulary. I have books from Scholastic for both areas which I do really like for these areas of language arts. She especially enjoys the word laddre vocabulary activities because they have a lot of riddles.
Preparing Hearts for His Glory: Unit 8 (1st half)
After some evaluation of how things were going for the 3 weeks of this guide we moved forward at full-speed I decided to go back to half-speed for the rest of this year. I think this slower pace fits where Rose is at the moment and is allowing both of us to enjoy the guide more fully. We are continuing with math and language arts at a full-pace speed, but all else is slowed down to half speed. Rose seemed to greatly enjoy history this week and it is good to see her excited rather than overwhelmed. Being at the young end of this guide I don’t mind at all as I am trying to learn to follow the needs of my children and not push forward simply because I want to get done.
Rose is incredibly mature when it comes to her understanding of the Word of God. I think many people think it is innately in her simply because she is a pastor’s daughter, but this simply isn’t true. Although we have always made Bible reading as a family a priority I believe Heart of Dakota has prepared her heart to be more tender towards understanding Scripture. It is so gentle, but so clear and guides children to become more spiritually mature. I’ve seen it before my own eyes and this one reason is why I can’t imagine using any other curriculum.
I informed her before our break that I would expect all of her work except spelling to be in cursive. She’s met the new standard without much complaint and I’m very pleased that after two years of cursive instruction her handwriting is quite lovely. She sometimes has to check how to write a letter, but this is becoming less frequent. We’ve also moved to doing all 5 vocabulary words for each unit instead of only 3.
Her creative writing is progressing well and I’m pleased with how well her thoughts are translating into writing. She does very well for her age and grade-level. This is an area I add in addition to what we do with Heart of Dakota as well. I have a harder time teaching her writing because I am used to working with older students so teaching the writing process from the beginning is a bit of a challenge at times. We’re working through it and I am learning as we move forward. I appreciate having experienced homeschool moms who are kind enough to help me through this process as well. I am looking at other writing programs but haven’t found anything I’m completely sold on yet.
Our first week back was full-force, but still a lot of fun! We ended the week with a fun day of play with a family of girls still on break from year-round school. Fun times!