Tomorrow is Spring Day and L is very excited that she will soon be turning 5 years old. She came into the house recently with her hands behind her back and told me she had a surprise and could I guess what it was – she had picked a flower from our first flowering bush and brought it to show me.
A few weeks back however we had some snow – it has not snowed where we live since 2007 when I was pregnant with L and it even snowed at my work where apparently it has not snowed since 1968. I tried to get some pictures of my daughters running around in the snow but there was so little snow you cannot see it in the photos and none lasted more than a second after it hit the ground. Still L was very excited and had a wonderful time running around in the freezing air and looking at individual snowflakes that landed on our dogs.
We started Bedtime Math recently and have had a lot of fun with it. One of the sums involved ten pin bowling so we spent some time setting up cups in the kitchen and bowling them down with a big ball. K even got involved in setting up the cups and we did some counting with her while doing addition sums with L (she rolled the ball twice and then added the two values) We have also used Bedtime Math to draw pictures on the bathroom wall in whiteboard marker to explain how salmon swim upstream, to discuss people falling asleep on aeroplanes and trains and to draw possums and rabbits and night vision goggles all in the name of maths.
We found a homeschool group recently so L gets to play with a good number of children close to her age on Friday afternoons now and she is making new friends. I also took her to visit friends of ours during their school holidays and she had fun jumping on a trampoline and lying in a hammock.
L has clearly been learning and taking in all sorts of things during homeschooling – recently she drew a picture of our family, putting her baby sister on Daddy’s shoulders. And then she went on to place us all on the grass before adding the soil under it and then the underground rock and water underneath that. After that she drew a borehole so we could water our grass.
Tonight when she was tired and I was running the girls a bath she said: Mom, you can’t go and get that now, you are too busy downloading the bath! She definitely comes out of a technologically based family!
K is growing bigger and bigger. In the last week I night weaned her and also got her to stay in her own bed all night – I was exhausted as she has been waking up every two hours every night and since she is now 18 months old, I am feeling like I need more sleep and so does she.
I started some sight word flashcards with her, but she seems to say everything is “Mum” We are still using Little Reader with her and the vicabulary she understands is huge and she will point to whatever I ask in a different books we read her, but she is not speaking much – I am picking up new words often though it is only really Mum and hello where she says the full words – the rest is usually the first part of the word (“dar” for dark, “ba” for balloon etc)
I do try to make individual time for K everyday when we play with blocks, read books or play outside. She is developing quite a personality and will fight with L for anything she has. She also knows how to explain what she wants even without words and can get quite demanding. However it is also becoming possible to tell her she must do something and actually get her to do it.
As far as homeschooling goes, L is continuing with Horizons K for Math and we are nearly finished Singapore 1a – I decided to do the measurement chapter before addition and subtraction to 20 as there are a few concepts I wanted to make sure L got before we dive into that chapter. MEP we are not doing very often, but this seems to be how it goes here and I am sure we will be back to it sometime in the future. She is getting better and better at addition and the facts are starting to stick though we still have some way to go with them. She can now count in 10s, 5s and 2s to 100 and is solving the word problems in bedtime math with ease (we are still using the wee ones section although occassionally I ask her the little kids questions when she is not too tired)
I have started a grammar programme with her – today she was analysing sentences for subjects (who?) and predicates (telling part of the sentence) and had to draw a picture of The fat cat sits on a mat. This was clearly not interesting enough and I got a picture of the cat on the mat and then got told that the house had gone up in fire and that the cat had to escape through one of multiple flaps that she drew. The firemen then arrived, but they couldn’t get to the cat and finally the cat escaped through a trapdoor below the mat to be rescued by L and her mother waiting outside – and all this was drawn with great glee while telling me the story. Needless to say grammar was interesting and fun, but took longer than I had expected.
I am also working a little on spelling with L and she is starting to write and label her pictures now when I am not around with more than just her name. Basically for spelling she dictates a sentence to me that she wants to write – sometimes that is exactly what we write and sometimes I adjust it a little as long as she is happy in the end and then I get her to try to spell the words unless they are sight words in which case I just spell them for her. I do also explain any spelling rules to her as they come up and if we have covered the rule before then I ask her to name the rule herself so that she can figure out the word for herself. Occassionally I will give her a choice of different sound spellings (eg if spelling “rush” – sh, th, wh, ch – which one says Shhh – ok that is the what you must write)
Her reading continues to develop. We have worked on a few things in the past 3 weeks – she read book 11c of Ladybird Key Words where I taught her the -tion phonetic sound and also worked on sounding out multi syllable words. We also spoke about a few prefixes while reading this book and since the book is about multiple topics we got to discuss all sorts of other things too. I then gave her “Owl at Home” to read which is a much easier book, but now I told her she had to read a whole page at a time and hold the book herself which is not something we have done up til now – I have usually kept her place for her while she jumps on the bed and she has been reading one sentence and me the next sentence. She actually managed very well and we read the whole book in 2 days. She is now reading East of the sun, west of the moon which is more difficult in its vocabulary but has the correct amount of writing per page for her to again manage to read it by herself (we are still doing one page each though and reading one chapter per night)
We are doing more of Story of the World now and L has been enjoying it – she does sometimes complain when I bring the book out but after we have read it and especially after we have dug in the dirt outside of acted out the scenes she tells me she wants to read more of it. We did a bit of map work and history review this morning when we made the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the garden, plotted Babylon and Assur with toy blocks and discussed Kings of the areas (we had a sad dolly to act as the abused people in Northern Mesopotamia) and of course water, sand and mud always goes down well.
We have been using http://www.mailboxclubonline.org/ for our devotional time though L has already finished all the sections that are age appropriate for her – the activities now are getting a bit too difficult. She does however enjoy the stories and asks to do it. K likes it too and yells “ba, ba” (for balloons) every time L finishes one of the activities. I am considering buying a new devotional book for her soon and in the meantime we will probably go back to reading through a children’s Bible.
K gets to scribble on paper while L does either her spelling or grammar. She builds with blocks or does a number puzzle while L is doing Math (or she tries to scribble in L’s Math book) and after L does her reading I show K Little Reader. During their play and snack time they both swing on the swings, ride their motorbikes/cars and run around the garden.