First Day of Third Grade

We started earlier than usual this year, but with the new baby coming it will be good to have a  head start not knowing how all will be after. Neither of us were completely “ready” to start, but we made it a fun and easy first day to kick off our year.

P1290068

We started by taking our First Day of School Picture…

Then, we went to the Carrie James for a special First Day of School Breakfast!

P1290079

When we got home we had to do a written interview…

P1290082

I loved his answer for who his best friends are. But, when it got more specific about what he liked about himself and what he wanted to be when he was older, he couldn’t answer.

After that we went through each subject material to summarize what we will be covering for the year.

P1290085P1290084

To overview our curriculum choices, we are continuing All About Learning Press- All About Reading and All About Spelling. We are LOVING how they are set up and how they teach.

For Math this year we are doing Teaching Textbooks Math 4. At the Teach Them Diligently homeschool convention that we went to in May I got to check out their workbooks/program first hand and loved how independent it was. I had also heard many good things about it. As it turns out, to transition from A Beka and what he did last year, we had to jump a grade in math! Crazy! We are also doing Life of Fred. We LOVE Fred!

For Science we chose Gods Wondrous Machine by Dr. Lainna Callentine, which covers the Nervous, Respiratory, and Circulatory Systems. We also got to see first hand her curriculum at the TTD convention. Even got to meet and talk with her husband! Both very neat people.

For Writing we decided to try Write Shop. I have hear it was great for reluctant writers, and we happen to have one of those! So far it is going great.

We are going to do Fun Day Mondays since last year it was challenging to get back into our school week after the weekend. So Mondays, we can go to the library, we have discovered MelCat Inter Library exchange, all sorts of good stuff to find! We also picked up Todd Friel’s It’s Not Greek to Me. A 10 lesson DVD on how to understand Koine Greek. And we will do Pick and Draw.

For Bible we are continuing the Bible Road Trip, we are doing Grace and Truth a short catechism, and a Spurgeon devotion series by Tony Hutter.

We have been starting after chores around 10 AM and will break for Lunch and then wrap up the rest afterwords. Usually about three hours total.

So far, we are doing well. Wyatt’s favorite is Math so far. We are looking forward to the rest of the year and hoping for a good smooth transition when the new baby arrives!

Advertisements

First Day of Second Grade!

2nd grade
*Yes this is a different day than the rest. The day we started school was not a good day for pictures weather wise so we improvised.

P1260204

PicMonkey Collage2

Well, ready or not, here we go! Our first day of Second Grade!

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, I admit, I was hesitant to get too excited about it. It was wonderful after last year how excited our 2nd Grader was though! He will say he hated First Grade, as would I. But, I think we both can say we learned a lot from last year, despite how awful it was for both of us.

P1260048P1260055

P1260052

We moved our classroom into the basement this year. It isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing space, but it is free of many of the distractions we had last year. It is a change of environment that I am hoping will help with focus. This winter will be chilly since we heat with wood and the fireplace is up stairs, but we’ll get something that will take the chill off. It may actually help with fatigue and motivate better working habits.

Our first day with the new curriculum was super! The All About Reading and All About Spelling complimented each other really well and worked together nicely. Hand Writing Without Tears has a great way of showing how to form letters and was able to fine tune Wyatt’s formation of his “g”.  A Beka Arithmetic went without a hitch as I had figured it would. And Apologia’s Exploring Creation With Astronomy was really interesting, I even learned something new! We will do Science Monday and Wednesdays and Liberty Kids, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since we are still in Vision Therapy we will not be doing much for school if any on Fridays. {We drive an hour one way to get there and usually ends up taking up a good chunk of our day.}

We took a couple quick breaks to do some jumping jacks to refocus. That helped quite a bit. Reading was still a bit challenging, but he persevered. Through out the whole class time he worked consistently and put forth a great effort in each subject. I am very proud of him.

We started class at 1:30 PM when I put Josie down for a nap, and was interrupted a couple of times before 2. After that we were clear sailing. Nick came home a little after 4 and we were able to wrap everything up by a quarter to five. So about three hours  total in our day. I think once I get the flow of the new curriculum it will be less down time and better flow.

Can’t believe we have a Second Grader now. Whew! Where does time go?

Classroom Reading BEGINS!

A few weeks ago we decided to start doing classroom reading. We had got Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH at a garage sale a few weeks before and thought that would be a good place to start. I remember our Librarian Miss Shumaker reading it to my class at some point in elementary school. What a good book! The last couple days of reading this to Wyatt we read probably 3-4 chapters at a time. After all these years I still enjoyed the book.

reading

We finished reading Mrs. Frisby yesterday. Wyatt picked out the next book, Where the Red Fern Grows. I told him when he was looking at it that it was a little sad. He put it back and said that he didn’t like sad books. Then he pulled it out again and wanted to read it.

This is one I read myself when I was younger. Wyatt is too young to do that so we’ll read it together, but I do remember reading this book at least twice before. It was a good book! So, hopefully our little man will like it just as well and will want to read it again for him self in a couple years.

We have readn’t read much over the last year except our devotions, so it has been fun getting back into a more classroom reading routine. Although cuddled up on the couch or chair isn’t quite like I had classroom reading, but important to do all the same.

A couple years ago, we read Charlotte’s Web, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Run Away Ralph, and Stuart Little. All very good books and were enjoyed thoroughly. Looking forward to the rest of the year as I get to relive and reread all the books that enjoyed so many years ago!

Our Curriculum Came!

It always feels like Christmas when our curriculum comes. I wondered if it would feel the same way this time after the year we have had, but it did! Both Wyatt and I were excited to open up the boxes and look everything over. Wyatt couldn’t wait to get it all out of the boxes.

I was super excited about the All About Reading and All About Spelling that was coming. I think they must be a fantastic company to work for. When ordering, if you ask super nice in the additional comment section, the shipping department will draw a picture on the side of your box! So neat! We requested a drawing of our three “girls”!
P1250501
Wyatt wanted to start school immediately! I asked him what happened to taking a break, and he said,”Well, five days. We’ll start again in five days.”

I actually wouldn’t mind starting a little earlier. That would give us more flexibility.

When ordering our curriculum I totally anticipated it being a bit more than buying a complete curriculum like we have been. But, really we saved about $100. We did a complete transformation and cut and pasted from several sources. Which in a way is funny, because if you would have asked me just over two years ago when we were first looking into curriculum if I would ever customize I would have laughed and said, “NO WAY! There is way too many options and that would make things too complicated!”

And here we are!

2nd grade

P1250519

We have:

Handwriting Without Tears 
All About Reading Level 2
All About Spelling Level 1
A Beka Arithmetic 2
Liberty Kids DVD 
Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Grapevine Studies Level 1 Creation to Jacob for Bible hasn’t arrived yet, but that looks like it will be fun. It is stick figuring through the bible.

Can’t wait to prep and organize for the coming school year! I am hoping and praying that this will be a tremendous help to Wyatt. We are still working on completing our Vision Therapy program and are finally starting to get back on track after a falling off the wagon a bit. We are in our 9th month and the program is supposed to be a 6-9 months. Needless to say, we are looking at a few more months at the rate we are going.

We have had progress, but progress is slow. I think he is on the younger side of things so we are trying our best to work out the wiggles and goofiness that seems to take hold more than it should during our therapy sessions. We have recently tried a weighted vest, which seemed to help keep him still.

 AAR and AAS are Orton Gillingham programs which are highly acclaimed by both parents and teachers for their approach on teaching reading and spelling. They are a great multi sensory program for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities and are even great for children without struggles at all. They have a great website full of ideas and suggestions to help struggling learners and ways to make learning fun and enjoyable for both parents and students.

Apologia is a wonderful curriculum for science and teaches with a creationist perspective. Wyatt is super excited about this in particular. He LOVES science.

Handwriting Without Tears we started briefly and already Wyatt had a changed attitude with writing.

We are sticking with A Beka for Arithmetic. He did really well with it this last year so we will stick with it.

Liberty Kids will be a fun way to learn about our founding fathers and how our country came to be.

P1250511

I have heard fantastic things about all the above and am looking forward to conquering Second Grade with Wyatt! I would recommend homeschooling to anyone. School isn’t cookie cutter for every kid. Which is what you get at public school. While I know some pretty fabulous teachers, one size does not fit all with children and the way they learn.

Challenges We Face

I think I have mentioned before that we have been struggling in our homeschooling. More like battling. It has gotten a little better. We have switched to doing school only three times a week by doing every other day. The breaks in between have seemed to help.

We have experienced a change in Wyatt since last year. He went from loving school, really liking all areas in addition to those he loved. This year, not so much.

He was giving up, quitting, throwing huge fits, getting angry, extremely frustrated, and didn’t even want to sit to begin. His feelings started with reading and writing, then soon blanketed everything. I noticed that he wasn’t reading or writing as well as he had last year and couldn’t figure out why. I felt he was being lazy, and  blowing it off because he just simply didn’t  want to do the work.

One day I saw an article pop up in my newsfeed on facebook about the signs of dyslexia. After reading each with affirmation I felt like maybe he isn’t being lazy, he is struggling and showing real frustration! I talked to a teacher friend about it and she recommended going to see an eye doctor.

Of course I had to mark the occasion of his first eye doctor visit with some pictures!

Turns out his eye sight is fine! Yay! No glasses! But, the downside, his eyes aren’t working together and processing what he sees right. So, onto a series of standardized testing with a vision therapist.

Yesterday I had a consult with our eye doctor and vision therapist. Wyatt scored below age level on most and some he scored so low they couldn’t actually score him. After seeing the results and what they meant, I realize now how much he must be struggling! No wonder he hates reading and writing. He has been concentrating all his energy on trying to decipher what he is seeing that he isn’t retaining the information he gathers. To put it more plainly, he is dyslexic. But, that can be overcome and corrected with vision therapy.

We go again next Friday and will continue, God willing, each week for six to nine months. We will know today what or if our insurance will cover this. My hope is God will provide this for him.

Yesterday, after I got back from the consult I looked up what it is like to have dyslexia. I was humbled to the point of tears. I watched these two videos {here}, and after, felt the worst mom in the entire world. Especially after the last video where the “teacher” is telling his “students”, “Come on! This is easy!”

I was that teacher! “Come on Wyatt! That word is easy! You did it last year, you can do it again!” “I can’t! I can’t do it! It’s too hard!”  “You aren’t giving me your best. You’re not trying! Don’t quit!”

Yeah. I cried.

While I can’t take it back. I hugged my son with all I had after watching that and told him how sorry I was that I pushed him while he was struggling. He was so gracious and said, “It’s okay mom.” Love that  boy! Sometimes I think there is much we can learn from our children, they handle life better than us!

If your child is struggling in school. Get their eyes checked and don’t wait! It may not be their eye sight that is the problem. There are 22 total processes that your eyes do to see and comprehend. If one of those are not working then you will experience problems “seeing”.

School House Rock

We are in our second week. I feel good about our layout. The new house has a perfect set up and it is working out great.

Now if we can only get our young student in the groove. Whew… This was a rough week. Today we may have had a break through. All week I have felt like a broken record: ” The more you practice the easier it will be.” Today I think it may have clicked! Yay!

Earlier today this is how we started. This is Wyatt’s cursive “A”.

After a big battle and a talk…a long talk… He came back to the table with a whole new attitude. And this is what his “A” looked like then.

So, tomorrow we will review his writing then Monday, back to business. Hopefully the ground we broke will stick.

First Day of 1st Grade

We started school finally on Monday. I was hoping to stay as close to the local schools schedule as possible. I have this goal this year to not take advantage of our flexibility with homeschooling like I did last year. We went into July until I finally said enough. We only had a couple weeks left to do anyway.

This year will be easier with Nicks new job. He works M-F 7-4. None of that open/close business anymore! And with him not having his days off during the school week we will have less distractions. When daddy is home, kids want to play.

So far we are doing a lot of review. Which is good, because I can tell we are a little rusty in some areas. One thing I am not sure about is everything is done in cursive this year. I didn’t know it was going to be that way when I bought his curriculum, but he actually is doing well with it.

Today he is full of funnies. I guess it started off that way when he got dressed: Blue plaid shorts, long-john shirt, green TMNT hoodie, and of course a blue striped tie. During school today he says to me, “Did you know 5’s are girls. So are 6’s. They look like they are having babies.”

Then he asks me later, “Can we go running today?” Like we run? “Because I’m an experienced runner.” Ohhhh. Got it!

I’m hoping this year we will keep a good momentum and routine. I’m hoping!

                                                    Favorite Things:

  • Science
  • Red and Black
  • Spaghetti
  • Soccer and Baseball
  • Monkies
Wyatt wants to be a scientist!
 

Little Schoolhouse on the Hill

So, recently school has been, how do you say it… Challenging? Yes. He is doing very well. He can read two vowel words now. His penmanship is much neater, and he is now coloring inside the lines.

What is challenging is his hardheadedness. If he isn’t “in the mood” then he is perfectly content sitting there talking to his pencils and erasers. I can’t motivate him to finish. And he purposefully answers incorrectly if he doesn’t want to do it.

I have found that we have been struggling most with math. He has a hard time for some reason remembering the names of the coins we have gone over, Penny, Dime, and Nickle and their worth. So we have started our school time with his favorite Social Studies {no surprise really} and then writing and phonics, finishing with Math.

That way we start on a positive note, and I have noticed that has helped tremendously.

Some of where we are:

Progress Continues on the Homeschool Front

We are about 60 days into our lessons so far. We were going to continue through Christmas, but as good as our intentions were, we had too much going on to be consistent, so we ended up with a break.

It is starting to get pretty exciting! Wyatt is now learning to read! I wish I could relay the feeling of satisfaction that I have to you better because there is nothing else like it! To be the one to teach him how to read is just awesome!

We still have days that aren’t as productive. Days when his heart isn’t into it. Those kind of days are hit and miss anymore. Not as frequent as they used to be. I think it has been getting better because he is finally seeing results. He is realizing that what we have been working on is paying off with something better.
These are his cursive Y,y’s we just started working on. I decided we would still do the cursive lessons, but we’re not going to spend a lot of time on it. They can be frustrating, and he is a boy, so I’m not going to push it. He does do a great job when he’s into it.

He is reading sentences like this one below. We have only worked on short vowels and have had sight words “the” and “a” so far. He loves the word “the” because in our lesson it is called a rule breaker. For a boy, that is just so cool.

I even learned something new today. K goes with i and e, c goes with the other three, a o u. Hmmm… Don’t think I ever knew that!

I can’t wait to see what the end of the year brings. It is so rewarding to be a part of this process. I would do it again in a heart beat!