Archive for September, 2011

Our Routines

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2011 by depechemom

We have a few things we do each day.  One of them, of course, is to update our calendar with the current positioning of “Today is”, “Yesterday was”, and “Tomorrow will be” markers.  We review the month and day of the week at this time also.  Another part of our routine comes from our beloved Kindergarten teachers in Virginia.  We have a big chart with 100 pockets, three medium sized pockets which I made from paper to hold straws, and a tally sheet.  Each day we add a number to our chart (alternating colors to reinforce odd/even numbers), add a straw to the ones pocket, and add a tally mark to our sheet.  After ten days, we bundle the straws and move them to the tens pocket.  Eventually we will move the ten bundles to the hundreds pocket.  I am quite certain my paper pockets won’t last that long, but they fill the need for now.  We also do some counting each day-either counting the number of days we’ve been in school so far, or how many days until something important.

[Aside: I have to wonder why in the world we had to make the numbers 11-19 so whacky compared to the 20’s, 30’s, etc.  The kids think it’s crazy when the Math U See guys says stuff like one-ty one, one-ty two.  However, they think it’s hilarious when he says two-ty, two-ty one, two-ty two, etc.  Please tell mine are not the only kids to laugh at this!]

Here is a picture of our sweet Little Lady, mastering the art of drawing hearts in her journal.  Journals aren’t something that is stressed in the homeschooling materials I’ve read, but all my kids have had them in school.  We don’t use them everyday, but it is a good way to allow free writing and drawing.  LL isn’t writing in hers yet, but I will start having her sound out simple words very soon.  Behind The Boy, you will see our calendar and chart.

(Ignore the whacky black rectangle above LL’s head.  Just me trying to cover up sensitive information…)

Here are some shots of our morning outside.

And just one more of our big girl, Belle.  It’s impossible for me to believe that she will be 10 years old in less than two weeks!!

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Chug, chug, chug

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 by depechemom

We’re in our 4th week of school now, and I couldn’t be more pleased with our progress.  The kids are having a great time and so am I!  As far as I can tell, they are learning quite a bit too…but I suppose only time will tell.  We’re wrapping up our unit on TX History this week with a creative writing project.  I knew Belle would like the assignment, but wasn’t sure how well The Boy and Little Lady would do.  As is turns out, The Boy did very well!  First, I asked them to draw a picture of what they thought Texas might look like 150-200 years ago.  I kept the instructions fairly loose, waiting to see what they would create.  Belle took inspiration from a combination of some books we read (The Picture Book of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston Standing Firm) as well as The Little House books and drew a covered wagon heading up a trail, passing a house.  The Boy went for the typical male approach and drew a battle scene-the Alamo-where he was the lone survivor.  🙂  Little Lady, on the other hand, is still too immersed in her ego-centric world to imagine herself 150 years ago.  Ultimately, she drew our house as it is now as that is the only Texas she can really imagine.  I didn’t push the issue with her, after all it was meant to be a fun activity!
After the drawings were complete, I had the kids write a story from their picture.  Belle came up with three ideas and set about writing Chapter 1.  She was losing focus after that, so we’ll continue her story another day.  The Boy put together 6 or so sentences to describe his picture.  He isn’t the elaborate writer that Belle was at his age, but he does a good job putting together sentences.  Most of them begin with the word “and”, but we’ll sort that out as the year goes along.  Little Lady wasn’t interested in coming up with a story to go with her picture.  I was willing to write it down for her, but she chose to draw in her journal instead.
Little Lady loves learning her letters and the sounds they make.  Our text book gives a new letter with a line to a poem for each lesson.  For instance, our lesson today was on the letter N.  We learned about the sound /n/, a few words that begin or end with /n/, and then learn the next line to our poem.  Today’s was: n stands for /n/ in /n/ /n/ net.  Each day we review the lines from all previous days.  Tomorrow we will play a little game to make sure she is really remembering her letters and the sounds, and probably play with our picture sort magnets.  I’m hoping she is ready to really start reading once we get through the rest of the letters, but I’m not interested in pushing her.  Had we not moved, I can’t say for certain if she’d even be in Kindergarten this year.  We’re keeping it fun and as stress free as possible.  Honestly, though, it’s amazing how much of The Boy’s stuff she is learning.  She piped up with the definition of a noun today when The Boy stumbled.  🙂
Well, I’m off to bed now.  We are enjoying our FINALLY cooler mornings with lessons on the back porch.  The kids even put on sweaters this morning, though they didn’t last long.