Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kindergarten Weeks: 5-8

This is a 4 week school wrap-up post. As you can imaging we’ve covered a lot in four weeks, these are just some of the highlights.

Phonics

We are going through MFW K and loving it! In the past four weeks we’ve covered S, M, L and B. We’re not going real in depth with the phonics, though he needed some more practice with his phonics, he certainly learned most of his sounds well last year in Pre-K, going through Explode the Code books a, b and c.

The review has been good for him to reinforce what he already knows and create a mastery of such an important subject. I certainly don’t want to run the risk of flying over phonics and for him to spend more effort, or to struggle with his sounds causing a low self-confidence.

We’ve also been able to slow down and focus a little bit more on his speech with some of the more tough sounds, like /l/. Treyton has made some great improvements while working on his phonics on the letter L. I’m really trying to focus more on us taking the time to say the sound correct and to keep at it while he retrains himself to speak the sounds correctly.

Math

We’re still going through Horizon’s Kindergarten. We do three lessons (on average) a week and spend the other days of school doing more hands-on teaching of the new concepts. In the past couple weeks our primary focus has been on addition and money(primarily the value of a penny, nickle and dime).

Money: One of the best supplemental activities that we’ve used to teach coin values is the Money Bingo Game from No Time for Flashcards. Treyton’s loved it – we played it every day for a week, without a single complaint. Go here to find some of the other resources I’ve found.

Counting: Treyton is working on counting to 100. We mostly use our number chart to practice. One time, Treyton counted all the way to 70 with help on only two numbers. We also use our number chart to practice counting by 2s and 10s.

Addition: As part of My Father’s World Kindergarten Deluxe imagePackage we received Cuisenaire Rods. I have just begun to introduce them with our math program. Primarily with our addition concepts. I am currently looking around for more free Cuisenaire Rod printables and activities to implement, I saw an idea book on amazon, but I would really prefer to find my ideas online rather than spend the money on a book.  IMG_0059Reading

Believe it or not, even with a few minor phonics struggles here and there Treyton is becoming a good reader. He is mostly reading CVC words, but his comprehension is increasing and when he is confident in himself he can easily read a beginner level reader. It’s so exciting to watch him get excited about it, and I can tell he really wants to read, which is encouraging. Back in week 5 I could tell that Treyton’s confidence, retention and comprehension wasn’t the greatest but in the past 4-weeks this has GREATLY improved! Treyton will beg to read and even read the bedtime story the other night for dad out of his reader.

Handwriting

We’ve been flip-flopping between/using both Peterson’s Handwriting and Handwriting Without Tears. HWTs is our primary curriculum while using Peterson’s as “extra”. If/when the Peterson Method contradicted the HWTs letter formation we simply skipped using Peterson.

 Typing

Through the TOS Crew I have been given the opportunity to review Talking Fingers online.  So far Treyton is excelling far more than I thought he would. I never even considered trying to teach him how to type properly. After two days he is typing 8 letters properly (f, t, c, s and a on the left hand – j, i, h on the right hand). It takes a lot of concentration but that’s partially because they also focus on teaching phonics as well so instead of saying “type s” they will say “type /s/” so it takes Treyton’s brain a little time to think it all through.

IMG_0057Art

We haven’t been doing much formal art/drawing in the past few weeks, we did spend a week learning to draw dolphins for Treyton’s cousin upcoming birthday. Otherwise, Treyton has preferred to do more “free drawing” in either his nature journal or to illustrate stories. For his cousin’s birthday he also took some special time and attention to paint wrapping paper, he was so creative and made a card for her.  IMG_0061Nature

We’ve done several nature walks around our house and one at a nearby park, where we nearly got stuck. I took the double stroller down an incredibly steep unpaved path and was not able to get back up. We walked around the hill and by getting Lexie out of the stroller and having Treyton “help me” push we managed to get out of there!! We had a good time, none the less, and plan to go back, but this time I will not be using the double stroller!

Treyton has taking a major liking to his nature journal – we decorated the front of it with a picture of him and spider man :) Any time he finds nature, he runs to get his nature journal and draw his finding(s).

For example, one day, he found a slug outside, he couldn’t wait to draw it - he was very taken by it!!

IMG_0065 IMG_0064 IMG_0067 IMG_0071 Language Arts

In the past three weeks we have begun to more narration (where Treyton will retell a story) back to me. He doesn’t always enjoy this, but that is mostly because he isn’t always paying attention. This has been a great exercise for him to motivate good listening skills. I will also occasionally have him illustrate a story instead of tell it, to allow him to picture it for himself, he enjoys this a little more than just simply narrating.

Literature

In the past 4 weeks we’ve rowed: Caps for Sale, Goodnight Moon and If Jesus Came to My House. We’ve kept it pretty simple as I have not had the time to put in as much time beyond just the basic B4FIAR curriculum. Most of our rowing consisted of discussion of our book observations. I managed to implement some simple games but not really enough to make a post for – so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it ;)

image

While our primary literature is coming from our B4FIAR studies, I have been wanting to add in even more good books and stories. The kids do not consider reading to be “school”, this obviously works to my advantage and even on days we’re not doing other school we still like to read together. I got several books from the library recommended by some of the Charlotte Mason sites I’ve been reading and so far the kids and I are really enjoying the stories.

I got “The Children’s Book of Virtues” from the Library and we read a couple of stories from there (which he then retold me or illustrated). Treyton’s favorite so far has been “The Little Hero from Holland”

In addition to this, one of the weeks we actually even took a break from B4FIAR to read Peter Pan. Treyton saw the illustrated Peter Pan chapter book at the library, and I figured it was an okay choice, but after we got through the first few chapters it got a little more gruesome than (the movie) what I was comfortable with so I decided to stop reading it. Despite the fact that this particluar chapter book didn’t work out for us, Treyton LOVED reading a “big book”. So I am looking for some good chapter-living books that I think that Treyton will enjoy, that we can read as imagepart of our literature.  I picked up the Beatrix Potter collection from the library and thought that we might try that.  (though I looked at some of the stories and they seem REALLY long for his attention span, so we will have to see).

It’s exciting to see that Treyton’s getting to the point in his academics where this is an option for us.

 

I’m working hard to get a little more planning done, at the beginning of the year I didn’t want to “overplan” us, and it’s been nice, but the busier we get (and we’re getting busier with little league, our home school co-op, playgroups and church) I want a more set schedule for both Treyton and Lexie.

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