Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Update--catch up...Week 20

Oh...the neglected blog! I've been delinquent with my blog recently because we've been so BUSY. Between Airrosti treatment (my shoulder feels so much better), minor illness, and dr. appts (it was only a mosquito bite!), we've been on the go. However, school goes on. We've had some great school days in the last few weeks. It really is fun for this mom to watch her son's brain figure things out. So here's what's been going on...

LA: SWR has been a big focus for us lately. The words have gotten a bit harder so D-Man needs to practice them more during the week. I've had to add in some extra review. He really knows his phonograms and is good at applying them to the words, but when there are phonogram options for a word, he needs to practice that word to remember which phonogram to use. An example of this is the word "read." He knows that both 'ea' and 'ee' make the long e sound so he could use either in this word, but only one is correct. So, we've started dictation once/week trying to use as many of his spelling words as possible. He usually writes three sentences as I dictate to him and we'll get about 6-7 of the 10 words for that week in the sentences. I've also been giving him quizzes on Wednesday and Thursday to reinforce his words, but there is a big difference between the quizzes and a test. He's allowed to ask me questions on the quiz and I stop him if I see he's writing a word wrong. We do the quizzes on his little white board which is quick and easy. They take about 5 minutes. I also solved my problem of D-Man not reading the words out of his log book by assigning 2-3 lists/day. I wrote down our list assignments on my schedule so it gets done. Now, he's getting into me timing him reading the lists and is proud of how fast he can read many of the earlier lists. All of this practicing has been paying off as he's gotten a 100% on his last two tests.

The other exciting LA development is that he now knows all 70 phonograms. We finished the last four this week. He has about 60 of them mastered. A few will take some time for mastery (ie, ei, and ough), but we have plenty of time for that. He really likes my blue/yellow/red method of sorting his phonogram cards as it shows him his progress and motivates him to get more cards in the blue pile (he's a strong visual learner!). Now that he's learned all of the phonograms, I'm assigning him reading. It's pretty exciting to see him tackle a book and read it with minimal help from me. Right now, we're working our way through our rather large (thanks Grandma) library of level 1 readers. He could probably handle harder books, but I don't want it to be "torture reading" (Wanda Sanseri's phrase). These books are easy, but do allow him to practice his decoding skills. I'm seeing the beauty of the WISE guide words lists in action. They are designed around frequently used words. Because of this, he can read several words in his readers fluently (his spelling words) and only have to work at reading the few that he hasn't encountered yet. This way, he gets plenty of practice and the satisfaction of reading a book all by himself, but doesn't get frustrated sounding out each word. He's been reading about 2 readers/day. We'll keep cycling through these and SL Readers 1 until March when I order our next SL core. This will come with Readers 2 which will be a step up in difficulty. After that, I think we'll be able to follow the SL readers schedule and include library books when he needs some extra reading. He is really getting into reading books on his own. Thursday night, he read a knock-knock joke book and Curious George's ABCs to C-Monster as bedtime stories. He did it on his own accord and really enjoyed it.

Math: D-Man has finished Singapore 1A and is now working on 1B. He's done 21 lessons in a week. I thought we'd slow down when we got to 1B, but the material is still easy for him. He understands regrouping and now automatically uses it when needed. We will start multiplication in a couple of weeks and I plan on slowing down to make sure he really understands it. We also need to work on his addition/subtraction math facts a bit. They come naturally for him and he automatically recalls most of them just from completing Horizons K, but I want him to have them down cold because he's advancing in math so quickly. We're still doing 1 lesson of Horizons 1 every day as well. Horizons includes a lot of problems and gives him good practice of what he's learning in Singapore. Horizons 1 includes tests every 10 lessons and I've been administering them as tests. D-Man doesn't have any problem with this...he thinks tests are fun. In fact, he likes to see how well he knows the material. It helps that he's received a 100% on both tests. Horizons is primarily review for him so I don't expect that to change anytime soon.

Sonlight: Wow, we're on week 28 already. Milly Molly Mandy is still a big favorite. I think we'd all like to go visit her in her little village and meet her friends. I really love the innocence of the book and am enjoying watching the boys become friends with Milly Molly Mandy. It is fun seeing the boys getting lost in and enjoying literature as much as I do. D-Man also loves the book Then and Now. It's scheduled to read 2 pages/week, but I think we'll be reading the whole book about once/week instead. It's a cute book showing how ordinary things (like a market or a kitchen) have changed over the years. I think it's a great intro to history. Next week will be our last week of formal SL reading for awhile. We'll be taking time off between Thanksgiving and Christmas to do "Christmas School."

Art: I know I've raved over The Way They See It before, but I just can't say enough good things about this book. It is a perfect introduction to Art History and learning about creative expression. It's giving me an opportunity to teach the boys about the benefits of being individuals and how it's okay to express ourselves uniquely. That's a lesson that will be replayed over the years since D-Man and C-Monster are so different in every way and I don't want them to get in the habit of comparing. Last week, we studied a painting about a stormy sky. I'd been waiting for our sky to have something interesting to color (we have a lot of clear, blue sky days). One night, I noticed how beautiful the sunset was. We actually had a few clouds and the sky was filled with red, orange, and purple. I told the boys to look at it and D-Man exclaimed, "Mom, can we go draw it? I'll get the crayons...don't forget the book!" It was a fabulous idea so we doused ourselved in bug spray and spent the next hour coloring the sunset. Okay, C-Monster drew his version of a helicopter racing an airplane through the sky...all with a yellow crayon, but the intent was there. I'm not in a hurry to finish the book or get through all of the projects, so we might spend the next month or so just coloring the sky.

Well, that's the jist of the last 4 weeks or so. I'll definitely be posting more as we get closer to Christmas. I'm eager to share how Christmas school goes for us.

6 comments:

mommygirl @ HCA said...

What a wonderful week! Your report was both informative and inspiring! You guys are doing great!!!

Dinsfamily said...

Thanks! Whenever I read your blog I'm inspired too!

MissKNG said...

Hi! When did D-man start adding and subtracting in his head? I noticed mine doing it last week. She is exactly 3.5.

And I looked at SM 1a Standards Edition and wasn't impressed (except for the activity book). I know you use US Edition, you really like it then? I can't wait to try Horizons K and see which is the better fit for us...

Dinsfamily said...

Wow, I really don't remember when D-Man started adding and subtracting in his head. I do know that it's been quite awhile. I'll ask my husband if he remembers. I do remember that he became fascinated with adding and subtracting at 4.5 and asked for flashcards for Christmas, but he'd been doing mental math before that.

I do really like PM. We didn't really use the textbook for 1A though just the workbook, he didn't need it because none of the concepts were new. It was a good intro into the Singapore way of doing math. I anticipate that we'll need to use both as topics get more challenging for him.

MissKNG said...

Today we settled on doing Horizons as our core! We had a nice conversation and based on what dd said, I think the spiral approach will keep her interest more. And I can easily skip the easy stuff. I am still interested in PM activity books though.

She said doing the same stuff was boring because it's easy! LOL! But on a serious note, the speed in which she "gets" stuff bothers me...how do you get used to it?

Dinsfamily said...

You don't get used to it. You often think that you're going too fast and that it's going to come back and bite you...however, they understand it and don't have any problems applying the concepts, so you just keep going.

I was planning on Horizons as my core, but I found that ds really got bored by the end of K. Now, it could have been because it was way too easy for him. He's liking 1 a lot better. Horizons repeats the same activity over and over which isn't a problem if you're doing it at normal pace, but is a problem when you're finishing a whole level in 2 months. Don't be afraid to cross out whole activities that she has down. We switched to Singapore as our core because it has a lot less practice. We are still doing all of Horizons, but 1 lesson/day as a supplement (I'm not using it to teach, just practice).