03-23-2017

Preschool with Zachary

ย Well, I’ve since talked about Audrey. I guess it’s time to talk about everyone else’s curriculum choices in depth. So next up is my youngest homeschooler, Mr. Zachary! Zachary went to a fabulous preforming arts preschool last year, so when I started trying to do our Letter of the Week curriculum I realized that he was getting bored very quickly, often asking for more work to do, and whizzing through it very quickly. So, again, we changed midyear.Zachary

 

Zachary is currently working his way through The Good and the Beautiful‘s Pre-K course book. We are also using some of our favorite supplements from Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s LOTW curriculum, along with using worksheets from Preschool Mom. I absolutely love the silly worksheets! They trace the letter, write the letter, circle the letters, color a coordinating animal, and then try to draw their own! Zachary LOVES these worksheets and has so much fun trying to draw the animals. The suppliments we are using from LOTW are the Do a Dot worksheets, Zachary loves the dot markers and is so excited to work on those. He actually asks daily to do them, but he only gets to do them every other day. He also does all cut and paste worksheets and coloring pages from LOTW. We do them as we learn the letter with Pre-K from The Good and the Beautiful. He should be finished with Pre-K in a few more weeks, and when he’s done we will move on to All About Reading‘s Pre-Reading to prepare him for Kindergarten next year. We are also using the Coconut Tree from previous years, putting up the letters are we pass them off. This spring he is also participating in t-ball, which will be a new adventure for our family.

PicMonkey Collage

05-21-2015

When You Think You’re Failing

Since I’ve spent this entire school year pregnant, and then with a newborn it’s had it’s challenges.

Especially since this is Audrey’s first year doing school with us.

And unfortunately she’s gotten the short end of the stick.

ย Preschool hasn’t gotten done.

And not because she isn’t cooperative. Unfortunately it’s just the opposite, she’s been begging to do school.

The cute assignments have gotten done. Eventually.

Reading took a back burner and we just worked on flash cards.

The stories I was suppose to read to her just didn’t happen.

And our coconut tree? Yeah, it’s got the letters A and B on it. :(

In short, I was failing Audrey.

First step? Realizing it.

Second step? Make a plan.

Luckily I’m great at making a plan.

So one Sunday night I opened up that weeks folder for school, grabbed the four books for the week. I made four piles, one for each day of the school week. I stacked them on top of each other (the books being the divider) and I left it on the table. With our All About Reading book on top.

I also realized that piano practice had slipped through the cracks. So when it’s time to do school I sit down with Audrey first, while Sydney plays the piano. When it’s time to switch Audrey to reading out loud I have Sydney start her math worksheet.

Audrey and I work through her pile of things to do, finishing with a book being read her to. Often I do this while I’m feeding Ruby, but the point is that we do not leave the table. We stay right there, because if we get up it won’t get finished. After I read her book to her, she reads to me from All About Reading.

We are going back over the first book and making sure she can read each of the stories fluidly with little time spent sounding out each. and. every. word. We are going slowly to make sure the concepts are reinforced.

After a few months of using this method I can say that our school work goes a lot smoother, Audrey is happier and her reading has improved drastically!

So what do you do when you’re failing your child? Stop. Fix it. Make a plan. Start again. Make it work.

makeit

01-20-2015

Preschool Day by Day | Day 4

Did you think I forgot about this challenge?

Well, I didn’t :)

Last Thursday (1/15) we went to a play group that was at the same time as school, and then we had lunch, nap and did chores until it was time to go to my grandparent’s house to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday. In other words; school didn’t happen.

Which was fine, because we can make it up on Friday, right? Unless Sydney wakes up throwing up and you spend the day tending to a sick child. And then school doesn’t happen again.

That’s okay, we’ll make it up on Monday.

Unless it’s a holiday in which your husband is home and you have maternity pictures, decide to have a family swim day and then take Audrey to gymnastics.

So TODAY (Tuesday) is the first day we’ve had school in almost a week. Time for some serious catch-up! No worries though, seriously. We’ve got this.

First things first, finish up our N packet. We did this by starting with our magnet page. This is one of my kid’s favorite activities, they have a ton of fun with this one.

DSC_0934

Following this we did some tracing practice. I tried to do formal handwriting practice with Audrey during preschool and it was AWFUL. Poor thing was so frustrated and it often resulted in tears. So we nixed that and we just do a handwriting tracing page once a week, it goes much smoother and Audrey loves it. Most of it is shapes and different lines, with only two letters, but I figure it’s helping her with those fine motor skills required to have nice penmanship later. :)

DSC_0936

Next we did a Do A Dot activity, which is another favorite. Audrey loves to play with the markers. In fact she spent about 10 minutes having the markers chase each other around the table in a very exciting battle. I had to remind her to get back on task. When Sydney was in preschool I had to make the rule that it was required that they use each color at least once. Because otherwise we’d have 26 pink only letters. The other colors get jealous. ๐Ÿ˜‰

DSC_0937

And lastly we did a cut and paste activity. Audrey cut out a nest and 3 eggs and glued them to the paper. I’m really amazed at her scissor skills and how much she enjoys these projects! She had it all planned out on how she wanted her nest to go.

DSC_0938

DSC_0941

And with that we finished off the last of the N activities. Thursdays and Fridays are typically our light days, they are kind of built in catch-up days for when we need them. Tomorrow we will have to get done several activities for the letter O to catch completely up, but with preschool this is fairly simple. It’s a little harder in say 2nd grade, just ask Sydney ๐Ÿ˜‰

After she finished up the Letter N, Audrey read a Bob Book. I’ve said it a few times but I’m so grateful when I have good ideas to help my children learn and grow. Taking a step back and working on reading skills that are considered “easy” has been a huge help to Audrey. Next week when we go back to All About Reading I feel like it will go a lot smoother.

01-15-2015

Preschool Day by Day | Day 3

Wednesday was even shorter than normal as this is the day that Sydney has her piano lessons and dance class along with Zachary’s dance class. So basically we live at the dance studio on Wednesdays.

So Audrey gets to tag along and while she complains about how long it takes we remind her that everyone waits for her on gymnastics day.

This post will also be shorter because Audrey requested I put down my camera and pay attention to her. I gladly obliged. ๐Ÿ˜€

DSC_0929

Preschool, for me, is just a giant juggling act between easy and difficult (or time consuming) tasks. We always try to pair an easier task with a harder one. Today we sorted our nests by size, Audrey pretty much as this one finished before I get it all the way out of the bag. She’s good at it, and it’s a favorite!

DSC_0930

I paired this one with a scissor activity. These usually take a little longer, and Audrey is usually frustrated half way because cutting paper is HARD. Especially since school is pretty much the only time we let the kids use scissors and making them do what you want is hard work. Lately she’s been doing great with the curved lines and is excited to try.

After this picture was taken she requested that I stop taking pictures of her. We continued with out Bob Books review today. Unlike Monday (where we read 3) and Tuesday (where we read 2) today we only read one of the Bob Books, they are getting more difficult and she’s no longer breezing through, rather she’s taking her time and becoming frustrated again. But she’s still making excellent progress and becoming a more confident reader.

One thing we often do with school work is that we make Monday and Tuesday our heavy days. Wednesday is lighter, and Thursday and Friday are short. We do this to make catch-up days easier and to make our weeks less stressful on the days we have things planned. Which is why today’s activities only took about 10 minutes total. :)

01-14-2015

Preschool Day by Day | Day 2

Ready for our Tuesday?

DSC_0918

We started off with the lacing activity. This is great for those fine motor skills and hand eye cordination. It’s also good at testing Audrey’s patience. ๐Ÿ˜‰

DSC_0919

Letter sorting is probably one of Audrey’s favorite activites each week! She loves sorting through the pile of capital and lower case letters and then putting them where they belong.

DSC_0920

DSC_0922

I love this cute face of befuddlement when she was looking over her pattern exercise. It was a little trickier this week, but she made it through and figured it out. But initially she wasn’t thrilled with it. Usually the patterns are things like yellow, blue, yellow, blue or yellow, yellow, blue, blue, yellow, etc. This week it was yellow, green, blue, yellow, green blue.

DSC_0926

And lastly we read two Bob Books, which she did awesome at! I’m really glad we are taking this week to go over the Bob Books and help build her confidence. The reading part usually takes up the most time as the other activities are short, sweet, and a lot of fun! Rarely are they challenging, which is exactly how I feel preschool should be. The main learning goal of preschool is for them to get use to sitting down at the table and doing work, as well helping them learn to be patient and it helps me to figure out what it’s going to be like next year when I have two kids I’m teaching!

Also, she asked to pose this way. Promise.

10-06-2014

Combining All About Reading and Bob Books

AARBob copy

Bob Books hold a special place in my heart. They truly do. As a four-year-old I learned to read using these books. I thought it was super cool that there was a character named after me. Everyone whose name is Sam is short for Samantha, don’t you know?

I also taught Sydney how to read using these books. But we picked my brain along with an awesome blog called Teaching Reading with Bob Books. While this was a great success with Sydney I didn’t think it would go over well with Audrey.

Audrey doesn’t like to sit still. She likes to play games. She likes to be entertained.

She also gets frustrated very easily.

We use All About Spelling as part of our curriculum with Sydney and I love the methods and style. Shortly after we started using the spelling program they came out with a reading program, and it has lots of fun games and exercises to teach kids to read. Which is right up Audrey’s alley.

My only complaint against All About Reading so far is just that it takes until the 5th lesson for them to start reading out of a book. I loved that (almost) instant gratification children get when they read a WHOLE book by themselves for the first time. Especially since each lesson takes more than one day for Audrey to complete. As I looked through the sequence of AAR I realized pretty quickly that I could supplement Bob Books in where they fit best. So far this is just a tentative list, as it’s based on the sequence provided by AAR in their level 1 manual. But here’s the list:

Mat can be read after AAR lesson 2
Sam can be read after AAR lesson 3
Dot can be read after AAR lesson 8
Mac can be read after AAR lesson 8
Dot & Mit can be read after AAR lesson 8
Dot & the Dog can be read after AAR lesson 8
Jig & Mag can be read after AAR lesson 8
Muff & Ruff can be read after AAR lesson 10
10 Cut Ups can be read after AAR lesson 10
Peg & Ted can be read after AAR lesson 12
Lad and the Fat Cat can be read after AAR lesson 14
The Vet can be read after AAR lesson 14

As you can see the 10 books from the first set of Bob Books fit in with the first 14 lessons of All About Reading level 1. Most after lesson 8. You might want to split them up as you see fit. By lesson 15 they have read 11 short stories from the readers, so my plan is to slip the Bob Books in when there is a lull or as something to read to Daddy when he gets home. Audrey has done this with the first two Bob Books and it is so exciting to her to sit on daddy’s lap and read him a story. I will probably continue to do this with the other sets of Bob Books I own.

Have you used Bob Books to supplement All About Reading?

09-07-2014

School for Two

I have to admit I was really nervous about adding Audrey to our school, I had previously been able to devote all my time to Sydney’s education and was worried about how it would change with Audrey in the mix.

I often compare it to adding another baby to the family. The emotions are exactly the same.

Audrey has surprised me a lot! We’ve only completed two weeks of school but she’s doing really well! I think it’s the only time I’ve seen her sit still, and she’s listening so well!

What’s surprising me as well this year is how I’ve changed things a bit. I thought I knew what I was doing, as this is our fourth year. I should probably just realize that like all parenting related things; I know VERY little. Last year we implemented a binder system. A binder for every subject. This worked okay, but I didn’t really have space to put all the binders while they were being used. I like everything needed for the day on the table, ready to be used.

To start with I bought a planner. This probably isn’t necessary but it helps keep my disorganized brain organized. I can see everything that both Sydney and Audrey are suppose to be doing at a glance. Key words; at a glance. This is NOT a detailed lesson plan. Just the gist of what needs to be accomplished. As we go through our subjects for the day I check each thing off. I really like checking things off!

I bought The Well Planned Day planner and am pretty happy with it. It’s the only one I’ve ever tried. I found another that I think I’ll use next year, but for now this will work great.

wpd1415

I am also using a box shelf that I got from Target to hold all of our homeschool books and supplies that are needed for both girls.ย  The self below their blue bin holds their parent manuals that I need as well as their textbooks. The black bins hold Audrey’s file folder games and Sydney’s books that she will be reading this school year.

DSC_0203

My mother bought each of the children a Washington State license plate with their name on it. As soon as I figure out how to attach it to the bin, that’s where it’s going!

As I said, each box has their needed supplies. In Sydney’s I have her Math-U-See manipulatives, her DVDs for science, math, and art. Her clipboard stays in the box when it’s all ready to go, along with her book she’s currently reading, her super cool bookmark, All About Spelling box, and her purple sticky notes.

DSC_0205

I also have an Ikea bookshelf that holds our miscellaneous homeschooling supplies. Calendar parts, history books, yearbooks, Sydney’s kindergarten hand print, pens, ect. But it also holds 4 binders containing Sydney’s detailed lesson plans for science and reading (as well as the worksheets for science), and her math and writing worksheets. Science experiment supplies are also on that shelf.

DSC_0204

I got a small binder to put all of this weeks work in. I already owned the binder so this was not an extra expense. On Friday (or Sunday) I pull out the math, handwriting, writing, history, reading and science binders and take out the things that are needed for the week. Then I put the larger binders back on the shelf. At the end of each day I pull out the next days work and have it ready.

The final thing I added this year were clipboards. Both girls have their own, and when I take the work from the weekly binder I put them on the clipboard. I add sticky notes that say things like “Come Get Me” and “Stop” where they are needed. The science worksheet is for the whole week, but you only do a few problems a day, so I show her where to stop. Work like math and handwriting (sometimes writing) can be done independently. Sydney knows that if I’m not at a place where I can come help her (because I’m teaching Audrey or fighting with Zachary) she can move on to the next independent worksheet or read her reading assignment for the day. She’s really good at this.

DSC_0206

I had always planned on “color coding” my children to help me easily identify whose books/papers/school stuff is theirs. But this is the first year I’ve implemented it! All of Sydney’s binders are purple, along with her sticky notes. Audrey’s binders are (mostly) pink with a pink sticky notes. I might have to buy colored high lighters too, just for fun.

I always wanted a workbox station for my kids, but the method never seemed like it would work in our space. I love this method I seem to have made for us, it helps keep everything organized and ready to go!

08-25-2014

First Day of School!

Today was our first day of school for the 2014-2015 year!

And what a year it will be, not only is Sydney now in the 2nd grade but AUDREY is joining us at the table for preschool!

Lets take a moment to reminiscence about my babies, shell we?

Baby Pictures

Aren’t they cute? Well, they grew up into these beautiful young ladies!First DayToday went extremely well! I’ve always had great luck when it comes to the first day of school, they leave me feeling excited and ready for the new school year! Unfortunately, there are days which make me doubt my decisions, my abilities, and my sanity. So it’s good to blog about those days that are awesome, and try to forget about the bad ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been worried, nervous, excited, and very anxious about how school was going to work this year. Not only this Audrey’s first year in “official” school, but in February I’ll be nursing a baby while I teach math (and other subjects, of course!) While this was a breeze with master-champion-nurser Zachary, I was only teaching Sydney and preschool only took 30 minutes.

Oh, and Sydney is very good at sitting still. She’s extremely patient.

I love it when I pass down traits that I do not actually posses. It’s a great thing.

This year we have preschool with the girl who shares more than just my nose and my name. She also shares my lack of patience, and my inability to sit still. Maybe not inability, but she and I share a mutual disinterest when it comes to sitting still.

But much to my surprise and delight the first day went really smoothly! Audrey sat still (mostly), she was thrilled to do her Letter of the Week curriculum, she even sat still during the prayer and scripture study. When her school time was over, she played nicely by herself until Sydney was ready to join her. What a blessing!

Zachary on the other hand….well let’s just say he got banished to naptime when he decided to draw on the wall.

As my Gramma would say, “We made it!”DSC_0161

08-06-2014

2014-2015 Curriculum

curriculum2014

This year is going to shake things up a bit in the Sherman household. This year I’ll be adding a new student, AND adding a new baby! This is something that I’ve spent a good deal of time and energy worrying about. How am I going to juggle both girls’ educations and the demands of a newborn? Will one of them not get enough attention or time? Of course these emotions, worries, and thoughts are very similar to the ones I had when I was pregnant with Audrey. So I’m hoping the answer will be exactly the same. Everything will be great, nothing will be the same, find the new normal.

sydneyI still can’t believe that Sydney is already in 2nd Grade! What?

Gospel: Studying the Doctrine and Covenants and Baptism Prep (more about this later.)
Art: Home Art Studio 2nd Grade
Math: Math-U-See Beta
Spelling: All About Spelling Level 2 and up
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Level B*
History: Story of the World Volume 2: Medieval
Writing: Writing With Ease Level 2
Grammar: First Language Lessons Level 2
Science: Sonlight Science C (Geology, Meteorology, and Mechanical Technology)*
Read Alouds: See here. *
Readers: Sonlight Readers Level 4/5

audrey

Audrey will be doing preschool this year! She will be doing Letter of the Week curriculum by Confessions of a Homeschooler. She will also be doing bits and pieces of Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten and All About Reading Level 1 and up.

*Personally when I’m reading someone’s blog and they’ve switched curriculums I always wonder why. So here are the answers to the whys:

From Handwriting Without Tears to A Reason For Handwriting: Sydney really enjoyed HWT and had no problems with it. It’s a great handwriting curriculum. My only problem with it is simply that they teach writing on a different set of lines, this didn’t confuse Sydney at all but Audrey was VERY confused by the paper. How tall do you make that letter A? I had also noticed that when Sydney was doing her copywork or narrative exercises for Writing With Ease she didn’t know how to form her letters because WWE uses traditional lines, which differ from HWT. So to help keep things all uniform, we are switching.

From Apologia BACK to Sonlight Science: We used Sonlight’s science curriculum for Kindergarten and we really enjoyed it. I planned on using it with Audrey when she was in Kindergarten. My reason for switching last year was because I wanted a curriculum I could easily do with all the children at once. Apologia fulfilled that. However, there were many theories they discuss that I don’t agree with, some paragraphs that I wondered why they were included those were things I could ignore, and censor out. However, what I couldn’t ignore was when Apologia came out with an anti-Mormon statement. It was uncalled for and I refuse to support such a company. I was really sad about this because I did love Apologia, I loved the rich pictures it provided and the easy experiments. But I feel like going back to Sonlight is a good fit for us!

From Sonlight Read Alouds to my own choices: This is simply because there are SO many good books! I poured over a few lists (including Sonlight’s) when choosing our readers, and added a few childhood favorites!

nbts-blog-hop-calendar-2014I’m participating in the Not Back to School Blog Hop!

02-27-2014

All About Learning

Yup, here’s an update for you!

web2

Sydney passed off All About Spelling Level 1! I think she already spells better than I do ๐Ÿ˜‰ She was so excited to pass off the last of her lessons and then help me get prepared for Level 2, her favorite is the Word Jail for those pesky rule breakers. After her first lesson in Level 2 she complained that our jail didn’t have anyone in it.

Jordan told me I’ll need to devote a whole room to all the rule breakers in the English language. He’s very supportive that way.

web3

This year Miss Audrey has been working her way though All About Reading Pre-Level 1. They have it divided into 3 sections, capital letters, lower case letters, and then the sounds. She just passed off all the capital letters, so we were getting ready to change our chart, and start reading a new book! She was very excited to be 1/3 of the way done. She can’t stop talking about how she can’t wait to learn to read next year. <3