Friday, January 15, 2010

Extended Core Curriculum - Week 1

(Treyton is 4 Years 4 1/2 Months old)

I was thinking that we were going to finish up our Explode the Code book this week, it didn't actually happen we have the review pages left, which is fine by me, I think taking next week to review is what I wanted to do anyway. 
We had Qq and Xx left, but after finishing up Qq in our normal 2-day fashion I took a day off. When we started Xx, I realized that instead of doing words that start with Xx, the entire study was on words that ended with Xx. This through Treyton completely for a loop. After trying to show him in every way I could think of for more than 30 minutes, we were both a little spent, so we decided to end the week there. 
However, an hour or so later Treyton came to me and said - can you try to teach me the "hat" thing again? (I was trying to have him identify the sound he heard at the end of hat when we came across all of our struggles). 
Fun Phonics Time

This time, after I had talked to my mom for inspiration, I decided to grab some scrabble tiles and give him 1 of each letter to look at and use them to help him visualize and come up with the letters we were talking about - Treyton pulled out the entire alphabet and put the tiles in order - then I came up with a list of words for him to identify the sounds that he heard --- it was similar to a spelling test of sorts. 
We did: bat, fox, hip, run and hat --- after finishing up hat Treyton jumped up from his chair and said "WAIT a MINUTE!! I have something in my room - close your eyes it's a surprise!" 

He brought out a leap frog word whammer, which I had completely forgot we had. My mother-in-law had picked it up at a rummage sale, I think, this summer and gave it to us. At the time it was over Treyton's head so I had put it in his room in one of his buckets on his shelf. Without me knowing it, he had discovered it during our daily quiet time and has been playing with it. He actually already knew how to work it and what to do so he showed me what to do. We sat there together and spelled several more words. It was neat to see him engaging so much with the hands-on activities after we struggled so much trying to do the workbook stuff. I KNEW he knew the answers to the questions I was asking he was just unable to articulate them to me and almost seemed confused by my questions, but once we changed our approach he did incredibly well. 
Letter Review
One night this week the kids were playing on the white board - just drawing and writing while Tim and I were cleaning up from dinner. One thing led to another and Tim and I ended up doing a "letter quiz" with Treyton. We randomly called out a letter in the alphabet and he would write it on the board. He did great!! And it helped me to see what he knew (just another reason I love homeschooling)

This week for geography we continued on with what we've been doing in the daily binder - we introduced Maine and Idaho this week. 

But we also got in the products I ordered last week to help us which we used in school 
The Melissa and Doug Puzzle which I really liked. I originally thought it was 51 pieces for each state... wrong... but that's okay most of the states are their shape besides the New England states, which is to be expected I guess. I really liked that each shape had a picture on it representing that state. 
My biggest complaint would simply be that our state (Wisconsin) is combined with Michigan (because of the U.P.) which I was a little disappointed by. But all in all I love the puzzle as well as Treyton - he's put it together 3 times already (with help). 

We also got in our Scrambled States game. We played this game as a family (Tim, Treyton and I). There were certainly parts that were over Treyton's head but we obviously slowed it down and simplified what we could to engage him. I like this game particularly because it is not just helping Treyton with his geography of recognizing the states individually, on the map and their names but it also encourages a little bit of phonics (like "Do you have a state card whose capitol starts with the letter "A" - we would have to tell Treyton which words were the capitals but then he was able to look at the words and decide on his own if they started with an "A" or not). The game is intended for 8 year-olds, the only reason I decided to get it is was because several reviews I read mentioned that 4 and 5 year-olds were not only playing but enjoying the game with their older siblings. I think with a little bit of time this will be Treyton as well.


This week for math we worked on writing the number 8 - we have chosen (at Tim's request) to teach the number 8 by writing two circles on top of one another - surprisingly this is how both Tim and I write the number 8 the majority of the time (I do it both ways, but when I am being "neat" I do it with two circles). No workbook teaches this, so Treyton has done most of his practice in his handwriting book and on the whiteboard, which I have discovered is MUCH better for him. When he is taught a letter or number by tracing first, he tends to struggle much more with writing it backwards or incorrectly. When he learns it on normal paper, by imitating me he retains and writes the number/letter correctly and neatly without too much struggle.
In addition to writing a new number (8) we went back and worked on 1-7. Treyton does excellent at writing his 1, 4 and 6s but struggles with 2, 3, 5 and 7 he often writes them backwards. We worked A LOT of just practicing our numbers.
It's interesting to me, he is very good at math concepts - counting, recognizing the numbers, etc. and he has never had a hard time learning to write a new letter, but the numbers for some reason has caused him to struggle. Again, the only difference I can see is that most of his numbers he learned by tracing in a work book whereas most of the letters he learned to write in his handwriting book on blank paper.... interesting.

It was a short Bible week, because Treyton just got his Kid Quest binder from church on Sunday and we finished it for Wednesday night church.
The story he worked on this week was Joseph and His Brothers and his memory verse (which he managed to memorize on the first day!) was "Be Kind and Loving to Each Other" Eph. 4:32. I was so proud of him. The lesson in the kid quest book was great! I enjoyed it - I didn't supplement anything in this week, but I do plan to in the future. I also plan in the future to possibly do a "Raising Rock Stars" post with our Bible lessons, so it probably won't be a part of our weekly school post, as these seem to be getting longer and longer :)


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

It sounds like you had a very good week. It's interesting how hands-on phonics helped Treyton master some concepts. I liked all your geography suggestions, and we will definitely look for geography puzzles and games that you recommend.

Kim said...

I love love love watching lightning strike when their little minds finally figure out something they'd been struggling to understand!

Ticia said...

We just checked out Scrambled States of America. I'm looking forward to reading it with the kids.
I think Handwriting Without Tears teaches 8 as the two circles. I'd have to go back and look at the workbook. If it doesn't that's how I've been teaching my kids, it's a snowman.

Susana said...

Joe is at a stand still right now with phonics. I need to get some more games for him like the Leap Frog in this post.

We moved so fast for a bit, but now it is time to slow down and review, let him catch up so to speak and then move forward.

I really enjoy seeing what you do and getting ideas from you too.

Debbie said...

I love your ideas for phonics! I also liked the map you are using for geography. I am looking for something similar to use here in our geography lessons, and carnival.

Lisa @ Our Country Road said...

Great week! We have the Word Whammer-from a rummage sale-maybe time to get it out. You have also convinced me we need a white board. Thanks for sharing your week!

Michelle said...

Well...I just shot over here this evening. I'm not sure why I've never visited before. I was wandering around Journey of Grace looking at "Preschool" stuff and was led over hear.

We're considering homeschooling. I'm 100% on hubbie is still thinking about it. Anyways...did Treyton start at 3? My Lil will be 3 in September and I really want to start preschool with her. When you have time will you shoot me an email on how you got started and some suggestions?

I had started doing a letter a day just to learn the letters a few months ago. We would draw and cut them out of poster board and then color them. She learned a few but wasn't really interested so I packed it up for now. The baby ate the letters. LOL Nana bought us the Leap Frog Word Builder. She sometimes can pick out letters when ask her what something starts with...I think she's just lucky!

Anyways...I'm ultra organized or try to what I've scanned around on here looks very interesting to me. I like the idea of the lapbook and the binder. Where do you get your ideas from? I'll shush for now. :)