Saturday, March 30, 2013

Quarterly Evaluations - Third Quarter

We have just finished up week 31 of school, which means we have 5 weeks of school left!! Next week is our spring break and in May we are taking two weeks off for a family vacation. Which means we will finish our school year at the end of May. It also means, that I am about 4 weeks late on our "quarterly evaluations" - luckily for me, I keep lesson plans and document what we do every day so I can go back and record it more accurately on our blog. 

Treyton - 2nd Grade, 3rd Quarter 

Language Arts - Treyton is working his way through explode the code 7. He does 1 lesson a week, I personally think that he should just stop doing ETC, but he loves the books, and wants to finish it - so who am I to stop him? :) He is a very fluent reader at the second grade level.

He has finally hit a place where he enjoys reading and it's AWESOME!! He is allowed to read at night for 30 minutes after being tucked in (which is later than anyone else) and he really enjoys that. At the beginning of the year (January) he set reading goals for himself. He wanted to read the book of John and four other books (from his bookshelf) we decided to read John together so that we could go over it with him, but his other books he reads at night. He has already far exceeded his goal and it's only February!! He is keeping a book reading log which I will share at the end of his school year. I believe at this point he has 8 books read (and not small ones - they are actually collections - which are books of smaller books). We are very proud of his progress in this area and all the hard work he had to put in to get here!! IMG 6422

We are continuing to work our way through FLL (Level 2) I was hoping to finish it by the end of the year, but the more we progress, the more I think we could slow down and take some more time with it, and I think he will master it better (which is ultimately the goal, right?). He has memorized what a noun, verb, pronoun, adverb, adjective, conjunction, interjection, sentence and the 4 types of sentences up to this part. Obviously, with his recall issues, on any given day he may or may not recite them back to you correctly, but I assure you, they are all in there and in there well.

However, I am realizing that although he has them memorized, he is not always able to identify the parts in the sentence, so now we are working on actually writing out sentences and trying to identify the parts together. This is what I mean by starting to slow down a bit to master more than just the techniques but to actually be able to use the info. he's gaining. 

Also, this past semester in FLL we worked on writing a proper thank you letter. We wrote a letter to his grandma (a.k.a Mommer) to thank her for taking him to a theatre show and lunch. 

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In Spelling, Treyton is cruising right now. I think that some of the work he's done in his ETC books is some what repeating in our All About Spelling, making the list a little easier. Even in his writing, again we're finally seeing a breaking point as far as what he "knows" and what he is being able to recall while writing/typing. 

Handwriting: Treyton has made it through all of the cursive letters and we are now starting to put words together. This is very exciting for him. Though I do have to watch him carefully while he does his handwriting, because he has the tendency to make his words LOOK write, without forming the letters correctly. But as long as I'm watching and catch any mistakes he begins to make, he can easily correct them. It's a crucial time in his cursive writing, and I find it worth the extra effort to make sure the letters/words are being formed correctly. 


We are going through Singapore 2B and are near the end. I'll be honest, we've had some rough days recently. After reflecting on it a little more and discussing it with a few other mom's that are teaching similar students, I think our biggest problem is review. Again, because of our recall issues, Treyton needs to be reviewing more than what the book has in there. There are days that I KNOW that he knows something, but he has a hard time finding it in his head, and cannot recall the information he needs. Then the next day, it's there no problem! He needs to practice recalling what he knows more often to help develop those reflexes and "brain highways". It crushed me a few weeks ago as we were going through a review lesson to see him struggle so much - below is a picture of his math page, tear stained! He wanted so bad to be right, and he tried three separate times, and came up with the same (wrong) answer. IMG 6646

I pray that God will use this to strengthen him and that he will continue to give me wisdom and patience to get through some of those tough days. We've been here before, and we've pulled through it before, and in the end, I know what needs to be done. And I know it's worth the time to make more review for him. 

IMG 6426In addition to some review, Treyton also worked on fractions this past semester. We had a lot of fun using our big dice to make random fractions with our legos. He would roll two of our dice, put the bigger number on the bottom and then create that fraction from legos. 

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Piano Treyton recently finished his first lesson book and has moved on to book 2. Music does not come naturally to Treyton, but he is doing very well with persevering through it and is proud of what he has accomplished. He continues to read and say his notes solfege (rather than note letters) but his piano teacher thinks that this is completely fine with where he is at. 

Alexa - Preschool 3rd Quarter 

Phonics Alexa has finished ETC 2 and is now on ETC 3. I did not expect her to get through her phonics books so quickly so she actually had to wait (gasp) for her next book to come in. She is now working on reading and sounding out silent e words, open syllables and short words with -y endings. And that's just in her ETC in 

All About Reading - she is working on compound words, and she's doing great!! She also recently covered -ink, -ank, -ing and -ang words, as well as -ck words and the rules that go with them.

She LOVES reading and any day she gets to read in her reader she asks to read two stories!! She does have a limit though, but she has not quite learned to recognize it in herself so IF she is allowed to read two stories, they have to be two small stories, or one that doesn't have too many new words. 
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Alexa is able to take in LOTS of information at a time, and process it naturally and efficiently. This is a true blessing and gift she has, one I pray the Lord will use in her life. She is almost finished with Level 1, I'm thinking I will wait to start Level 2 next year, but will have to see if she lets me get away with that!! :) IMG 6431

All About Spelling - we have correlated AAS and AAR, so that she is learning her spelling list at the same time as her reading/phonics rules. This has worked very well and has made her a strong speller as well. IMG 6430

Alexa is working in the Kindergarten A Reason for Handwriting and is enjoying it. This is a transition from the larger handwriting lines to smaller, which she struggles with a bit. Alexa struggles with keeping her letters on the lines they are supposed to go on, but with lots of repetition and reminders she is beginning to get it. 

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After reading a book about ants in her reader, she wanted to know more about ants. I worked on putting her together a little ant unit, which she really enjoyed. I don't think I've posted on it yet, but I do have some pictures so hopefully I will get that posted soon. 

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Audrey - Tot School 

Audrey's biggest issue is clearly her speech. I recently re-contacted her speech therapist from last summer to identify her exact diagnosis. Which is Childhood Apraxia of Speech. I have been doing LOTS of research on this, and after talking to her Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and reading everything I can find on the internet and in books, I'm feeling more confident in moving forward at home with her therapy. I plan on blogging about this more at some point (if I ever get the time to put all of my thoughts and information in a post), but for now I'll just say:

What Audrey needs most is lots of intense, frequent therapy, which basically means - the best thing we can do for her, is work with her as much as we can, getting her to practice sounds over-and-over-and-over again until she can form the sound second nature.

At this point, Audrey has the ability to make words/sentences/thoughts in her head, as well as the muscular/facial/tongue ability to make all the sounds she needs to, but somewhere between her brain and her mouth there seems to be a misfire - a disconnect. It is considered a neurological issues, and in time I really believe it can be (and will be, Lord willing) corrected with no long term issues for her. 

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Moving on, as far as "school" with Audrey goes - she loves playing games on her kindle, and watching her PBS kids videos. Her favorite song is the A-B-Cs and although you can't understand what she's saying, I am fairly sure she knows most of the song, which is encouraging. 

She counts to 3 rote and can hold the first 3 numbers up on her finger and recognize the numbers when shown. She can count to 10 fairly well but not completely on her own, and again, I don't know if other people would be able to understand what she is saying. 

All in all, Audrey is still progressing, even if it is slowly, and that in itself is encouraging and worth saying something about!! 



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TOG Weeks 25-27 Ancient Greece & Alexander the Great

We just got through an exciting couple of weeks studying Ancient Greece. We really had a lot of fun with this unit. 



We studied mosaics and how it was common for the Greeks to use mosaics on the flooring of their homes. Treyton worked for several days to complete a mosaic of his own using the magnetic squares. 

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He has technically done this one before, but I guess that just means he really likes this design. Can't argue with that, can I? 

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Greek Culture 

Of course we talked about what the Greeks commonly ate, drank and wore. Ever since learning that Ancient Egyptians commonly went around naked, one of Treyton's first questions is "Do they wear clothes? I mean, do they walk around naked? Like it's just not a big deal to them to see each other?" :) This unit we tried to replicate the typical greek clothing as best as we could. 

I've already posted about the Greek Soldier Helmet & Olympic Olive Wreath head ware we made (and are still loving!) 

This was probably the highlight for the kids. 

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So once we got him dressed he insisted to adding his shield, sword and helmet! 

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He went ahead and colored a page for his history notebook as well of a greek soldier. 

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 Lapjournal Pages 

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Geography & Maps 

We labeled a Greek map, but the picture didn't turn out (so you'll have to use your imagination). 

We also colored and labeled Alexander the Great's empire after his death. 

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The Greek Alphabet 

We learned that our alphabet stems from the Greek Alphabet, so we took some time completing the TOG lap book piece. Treyton wrote his name using the greek alphabet. 

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We have made our way through the Old Testament studies and as we are heading into the Roman Empire we will now be reading the book of Matthew. 
I cut up the books of the Bible lap book pieces and had Treyton put the books of the Bible (OT only) in order. Treyton knows a song from AWANA for the books of the Bible so the biggest challenge was reading the names of the books :) but he did really well. IMG 6647
We had a lot of fun with this unit and are really looking forward to the Ancient Roman unit coming up!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Science: Solar System

The most influential activity we did during our Solar System studies, was to make a solar system model on our school room wall. I used this website to make it as much as we could to scale - while we couldn't put them to scale as far as distance goes - it was really eye opening to see the size scale. 

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This really helped the kids to grasp how much bigger the sun is than the earth (I mean as much as our human minds really can) and this lead to some awesome discussions on how much bigger and powerful God is who created the sun.

The kids helped paint our 48 inch sun, and Treyton and I colored the planets with colored pencils. To give you a sense of the sizes, mars was the size of a hole punch (and it's too big to be accurate!) and earth was less than 1/2 an inch (.4 actually).  

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 Both of the older kids colored a Solar System page showing the asteroid belt and the planets. 

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Treyton made a sun page to include in his science notebook - I cut out the sun for him, he glued it on. :) 

He wrote 4 facts that he learned about the sun that he wanted to remember. 

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Alexa did a worksheet for her notebook (from Homeschool Creations, I think) seperating planets from things that were not planets.   

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I found this idea on pinterest to show the relationship between the sun, earth and moons orbits - obviously it's not anywhere near to scale, but that wasn't the big lesson on this one. This really helped Treyton to grasp the concept of the eclipses, and the difference between rotating and revolving. (Which reminds me, for Alexa, it helped her to spin and walk in a circle to understand rotating and revolving ---- fun times, but too much of it may be dangerous for your health :)) 

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We are thoroughly enjoying Our Universe by Answers in Genesis. We are currently going through the planets and the kids are loving it!!