Saturday, August 17, 2013

Weekly Highlights ~ Showing Compassion, Changing our Reading Plan and Lots of Nature

August 5 - 16

I began writing our Weekly Highlights last Sunday and instead it turned into a post about one way we try to be the hands and feet of Jesus - something that is so dear to my heart.

I'm just now getting back to writing our Homeschool Weekly Highlights...please do take a look at the above post, though and share your thoughts.

The Trouble with Reading: 

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Our oldest asked to learn to read at three. By the time she was three and a half, she was sounding out words and reading whole words on her own. Reading came easily to her. She's always read way above grade level. She's also a pretty good speller.

Our middle child is second grade now and he is about on grade level, no where near where his sister was in second grade, though. He's my logical thinker. My engineer minded child. The "inconsistent" rules for English throws him for a loop. It took him forever to read "was" as  /wus/ and not /wahs/.  There are so many examples of where English is troublesome for him.  

I felt like a kindred spirit when I met Denise Eide at her booth at the Southeastern Homeschool Convention in Atlanta a few weeks ago.  She encountered the same reading issues with a couple of her children as I have with Ryan. She was telling our story. I bought one of her lectures on CD before leaving that day. You can actually listen to a similar talk for free on The Logic of English website. I've also been reading her book, Understanding the Logic of English.

So, as I'm teaching our new kindergartner to read, I am pulling my second grader in to "help" me teach.  We are starting from the beginning, and I think this approach will be great for the both of them. It's been two weeks and I can already see an improvement in my second grader.

I'm using a blended sight and sound approach from curriculum I already own (from a review I did last fall) IEW's PAL - Reading and Writing. I am pulling in what I'm learning from Denise Eide's book and her YouTube videos about Orton-Gillingham, (the method also used in All About Spelling which is a part of the PAL-Writing package).

So, when we are reading from my second grader's reading books and we come across a troublesome word, I use the Understanding the Logic of English approach for explaining the phonogram rules. We are also using the Logic of English Phonogram iPad app, too. I want to give this method a few more weeks try; I don't want to have to buying a different curriculum, but we've all been there....Essentials: Logic of English might be on our bookshelf by Christmas.

Our kindergartner's  first spelling test with Primary Arts of  Language. I said the letter sounds and he "spelled" them: short a, c and short o. He made short o into Mr. Potato Head and drew a spiky head, too. I think it's really cute. 

Read Alouds

The Blue Fairy Book (free Kindle download). This is a title that comes up time and time again when searching for quality books to read aloud to your kids. It's also available on the free audio site, LibriVox. We have the LibriVox free app and listened to Rumpelstiltskin, Toads and Diamonds and Prince Darling from The Blue Fairy Book over breakfast this week!

We finished Book I of Tales of the Kingdom trilogy. This is absolutely a family favorite. There's dragons, knights, a princess, a king and so many more wonderful characters. There is danger and characters that struggle doing the right thing... It's a coming-of-age story of personal growth. It's fabulous. We began book two of the series this week. I can't count how many hours the kids have spent pretending they were characters from this book.

We are also reading Adventures of Pinocchio (free Kindle version). This is deep. Don't think of the Disney version. It's sparked many great discussions. All three of our family reading choices are wonderful character building stories.

Caraline (fourth grade) and I began reading Beautiful Girlhood this week. Another book dealing with character development, manners and personal growth.

Math Update:

We've been a Saxon Math family from the start. All three are doing great with it. Ryan, our second grader will even tell you math is his favorite subject. Caraline is independently working on Saxon 5/4. I just check her answers each day. I'm sure that will change in the next few weeks, as she encounters new concepts. For Jonathan, Saxon Math K is just fun. We play with manipulatives in each lesson.

Sandy is Home!
On the ride home from obedience school.

We got our girl, Sandy, back from obedience school. She was there for ten days. She hasn't graduated, yet. We still have some work to do.


For Wordless Wednesday, I posted lots of pictures from a walk through our favorite nature area. Here's a video, too.

We had a few more nature surprises in our own backyard!

Jonathan found a toad! Ryan found the biggest earthworm ever crawling through the mud in our back yard. Our earthworm measured 10 1/2 inches stretched out a bit.

Interesting Art

Daddy traveled to Phoenix, Az. last week and brought back each little one a clay ocarina. Caraline's got accidentally bumped out of her hand, and it shattered on our wood floor. She spent hours piecing it back together and gluing it ever so carefully. I wish I had taken a picture of the mound of tiny fragments.

Our refrigerator bit the dust. Having to buy a new fridge sorta put me in a mood for a little while. That was also the same day I realized Sandy's manners are still lacking.She jumped up on Ryan and scratched his bare chest. My precious aunt's stage four cancer surgery was only a day away and another friend was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, while another friend's husband is having a tough go with melanoma and another dear friend is recovering from colon cancer surgery. I can't imagine what these dear ones are going through. I do know nothing is impossible for our God.

This Friday we basically took the day off. Ryan had his first drum lesson, and then we all went to the movies. We watched Disney's Planes. It was so super cute and fit nicely into our geography study. The rest of the day we enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather.

Big Field Trip to Nashville
We are planning a quick trip to Nashville soon. We've been schooling for six weeks and are in need of a nice break. Any ideas for things to do while we are there - this will be our first trip to Nashville since having kids!


We are linking our Weekly Highlights with our friends at Homegrown Learners' Collage Friday, Weird,Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-Up and Homeschool Mother's Journal.


Homegrown Learners.

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  1. Hope - there are so many hard things going on right now. You are right. Nothing is too much for our God... thank you for the reminder of that in your post. Dealing my sweet father-in-law has shaken me quite a bit these past two weeks, but I know God has got this under control. :-)

    I love your gentle approach to reading. You're such a good teacher.

    We loved The Blue Fairy Book and Beautiful Girlhood, too!

    We need to get together soon, don't we??? Hugs!

  2. Oh, hope, so sorry to hear about all of the hardship surrounding your family. Praying for you peace.

    I honestly had not planned to see Planes because I just couldn't see how it would be an adequate follow-up to Cars (when Cars 2 was so stinky). Glad to hear it's good!

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