Friday, September 1, 2006

This Week in Our Homeschool

This week in our homeschool, A &
R were studying the Ancient Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations in the
Americas.  It was their 12th week of Tapestry of Grace, Year 1 ...
but our 6th week of this 2006-2007 school year.  We did the first
6 weeks of Tapestry of Grace Year 1 at the end of the last school year.

The girls really enjoy learning about the different places, times, and
events in history.  Studying the new countries excites them
most.  They are thrilled when they get to change
countries/civilizations.  They are already looking forward to
studying Ancient Greece next week.

This week, R did a better
job of managing her reading and did not put off any long books until
the end of the week.  Her reading is supposed to be done by
Wednesday, but there have been some "heavy reading" weeks where she
didn't finish until Friday.  I think I need to take into account
that she is younger than A, and not such a quick reader, and assign
less reading for her on those heavy weeks. 

The final
analysis from the girls is that those civilizations were gross due to
their practice of human sacrifice.  They both handle reading about
the other beliefs of these countries well.  They see the
difference between them and our Christian faith, and do not become
confused.  We make sure to discuss the differences, though. 
The past two weeks, their worksheets have had them look to the Bible to
find Scripture to refute the false beliefs of the civilization they
were studying.  I had to help them with some of the Scriptures,
but it was a good exercise.  They both learned how to use the
Concordance to find Scriptures applying to certain topics.

Meanwhile, C & J were studying The Story of Ping for their Five In
A Row unit study this week.  They were glad to get back to Five In
A Row.  At first they had to re-adjust to reading the same book
each day, but I tried to spice up the reading so it stayed
interesting.  I used my voice inflections to keep their interest
the first two days.  The third day I would pause occasionally and
have them fill in the next word.  It amazed me how well they
remembered the words after only two previous readings.  The fourth
day, I purposely said the wrong word (like pizza instead of duck) 
occasionally to see if they were listening.  They caught me every
time and were quick to correct me.  The older girls used to like
this game, too.

J & C love taking turns putting the story
disk onto our wall map and locating the country.  I have to keep
track of whose turn it is or they will fight over it.  2 yo M
listened into the story several days this week as well.  We also
use our Children's Atlas and a book called Children Just Like Me to
learn about the cultures of the countries we study.

Today, for
our science lesson, we read The Little Duck by Judy Dunn as a go-along
book.  I learned some things about ducks, myself.  For
instance, the male duck has a curled-up feather on his tail, but the
female duck does not.  Also, ducks can't float without an oil
coating on their feathers.  They usually get this oil from their
mother's feathers in the nest ... but if they are born in an incubator
instead of a nest, they have to wait for their oil glands to make
enough oil to coat their feathers before they can float.   Of
course, we also discussed how birds differ from mammals.

Today, we also filled our bathroom sink with water and tested the
bouyancy of many different types of toys and household items.  We
discovered that many wood things would float, even their heavy wooden
toy hammer.  But the matchbox cars would not float.  We
discovered that some plastic things would float, but not my kitchen
spatula.  We discovered that a clam shell will float if it's
placed on its back (inside up) like a bowl, but not if it's placed on
the water with its back up and its inside down.  J and M continued
to test the bouyancy of items until Mommy said that was enough
mess-making in the bathroom sink!

Everyone is doing well with
their math.  Since I began giving A an actual grade for her math,
she has begun to be more careful about the little details.  She is
remembering to label her answers more often.  Seeing that not
labelling took her possible A or B grade to a C or D was
motivating.  This is progress for her, as she has been very
careless about that over the last few years.

As always, I
will grade their week's math work this weekend, and on Monday they will
begin the week with correcting last week's work.  If they need
help we'll discuss where they went wrong.  It would be better if I
graded their math daily and had them correct daily, but I just have
never been able to maintain that for long.  Sometimes the same
lesson gets corrected twice before it's perfect, but I want them to
understand what they did wrong and how it should have been done,
instead of just moving on with a grade.

J & C are enjoying
having their italics workbooks.  I'm planning on incorporating
some copywork for them each week instead of just using the workbooks,
but I didn't do it this week.  I don't feel too badly about that,
considering I just had hernia surgery last week and Steve went back to
work this week.  I've been surprised at how tired I have been each
evening this week.  I'm not too achy, but more tired than usual.

C is makign slow progress on her reading.  She still seems to draw
a blank when she needs to blend sounds together into a word.  She
knows the sounds and will sound them out for me, but can't seem to push
them together into a word yet.  Each of the girls has gotten
"stuck" on this, but she has been stuck the longest.  I read
somewhere last week to try having her sing the letter sounds since that
might blend together better.  I am planning to have her try that
now.  I showed her how once this week, but it was the end of our
lesson and she didn't get to try it herself. 

She can
tell me the sounds in a word, though.  She wanted to know how to
spell MOP yesterday, and so I had her tell me what sounds she heard in
it.  She identified M as the starting letter, P as the ending
letter, and O as the middle sound.  That really impressed
me.  I know she has many of the skills she needs to read.  We
just have to find the key to connect them all together for her. 
It may just be practice on her part and patience on mine.  I do
think learning a few sight words would help build her confidence, so I
plan to add sight word flash cards to our reading lessons.  She
has an amazing ability to memorize.  I can not use the same
"readers" with her for her lessons because she memorizes them and then
stops trying to actually read them.

Her sisters just needed to
reach the right age before the lessons I'd been giving since they were
4 finally clicked into place ... at age 6.5 yo.  C is past that
age, but I didn't work with her as much when she was younger, since I
figured she would not be ready until 6.5 anyway.  I didn't want to
unnecessarily frustrate her. 

But I think I will change
my strategy with J.  I need to be sure the pre-reading skills are
in place without pushing him.  I may have been too hands-off with
C.  We did try several times to work through Reading Made Easy,
but we kept hitting the same "blending sounds" roadblock and taking a
break.  Then we'd pick it up a month or two later and try again.

I don't want to do that with J.  I think I'll work with him using
flashcards, the Leap Frog reading DVDs, and some phonics games to get
the pre-reading skills in place.  Then we'll try Reading Made Easy
when I think he's ready instead of trying it over and over before he is

I'm trying to decide if it's time to start Reading Made
Easy with C again or not.  J is asking me to teach him to read,
but I can't help feeling like I need to get C over that hump before I
turn my focus to J.  Perhaps that isn't correct, but it's still
how I feel.  I will include him more into some of our phonics
activities, though.

As you can see, I'm not in the "push
your child to read early" crowd.  I did try that with my oldest
two daughters, but it only resulted in tears of frustration from them
and me. 

Anyway, that was our week of homeschool.


  1. Sounds like a great week! I'm impressed you did so much right after surgery. :)

    I'm glad you all are enjoying Tapestry of Grace. :)

  2. This sounds like a wonderful week! I really enjoyed reading about it. We also love FIAR. I still do a unit of it here and there in between Konos units sometimes. Sometimes I combine them, too.

    I can't wait to do Before FIAR with my toddler when she's ready.

    I also was in the don't push the child to read early camp. My oldest dd learned to read at 4 yrs, so when my son wasn't into it be 5, I was a wreck. I read that book, "Better Late than Early" by the Moores and that really helped me calm down!

    He finally got into it towards the end of 7 yrs of age (he's 8 now).

    I'm so glad I waited because he picked it up and can read just about anything now. It really is true-they DO learn fast when they're ready for it. Instead of me pushing it for the last 3 years and then him being burned out and not liking to read.

    He still doesn't just sit down with a book and read it right thru, but I think that will come.

    He likes to take turns reading pages with me-I read some, then he reads some.

    I'm sorry your kids had croup-I hope they are all better now! Loved the pics of the kids reading books together-very sweet. Holly


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