I am so blessed to have some of the friends that I do. But I am mostly blessed to have the direction of the Lord! He leads me when I ask him and I am so thankful to Him for that.
This time, my request was to please help me find the right program to use for Kyle to teach him Phonics. As most of you know from my other entries, the A Beka program that we are currently using is not working for him. He is not grasping the identification of letters, the sounds of letters, the blends of letters and writing the letters all at the same time. I know that the program I used with Amanda, that I can't use with Kyle because I don't have the lessons, taught first the letters, then the sounds, then the writing, then the blending of sounds.
So a girlfriend of mine that I went to school with told me that she was soon coming into town and would bring me the Hooked on Phonics program that she had. So in them meantime I had printed out worksheets for Kyle to learn the letter I. Saturday my friend came over with the said program, and yesterday I got to sit down and really check it out. I am so excited about it!
I am going to basically start Kyle at the very beginning. Because A Beka mixed everything up while learning it, he hasn't even learned recognition of all of the letters yet. So today we started with that. He knows a lot more than I thought, but not all of them. He knows more capital letters than small letters. So every day we will work a little bit on recognizing the letters until he knows them all. And I will also find some other ways to mix-up and enhance this exercise.
Since I do not even care for A Beka's phonics for 1st grade, we are currently trying to figure out where to place Amanda in the program. I figured that each set kinda ran for each grade. It tells you how to place your child in the program, and the first step is to read through the book at Level 1. Well, I'm not going to waste time, so we flipped to the last page and she read all of the words with not problem. Good. On to level 2. We started reading book 2 and was seeing how easy it was. We read 2 of the books that it says to read along with the work book and she was still reading it with plenty of ease. Once again, we skipped to the last book that it suggests to read and read that and decided that tomorrow we will start Level 3 and see how far we get.
Amanda decided against reading Charlotte's Web right now. I am not sure why, but didn't push the subject because I think that she needs to wait a bit before trying to read this book with me. Instead she decided to try a book that I think she will be able to read much easier with me. It is still a chapter book so that is fine with me. It is Barbie as The Island Princess. Amanda has this movie and it is a cute one. I actually enjoy most of the Barbie movies that she has or that we've seen. We did start this book today but we only read the introduction as we had a long day of school. She read one page and did a really good job with the words. I don't know how she learned so many words all of a sudden. She is sounding out words that are hard and she is also just looking at some words that are long but pronouncing them correctly without any hesitation. It is amazing to me because I know these are not words that we have covered during school! lol
I have decided that since we are going to do school during the Summer and it doesn't appear that the Hooked on Phonics program goes by grades, that I am going to stop stressing when I don't do school 5 days a week. Actually, do you want to know the truth? Shhhh! You can't tell anybody......I think I have only done a full 5 day week of school maybe 10 times since I've been homeschooling! But I don't think it's even been that many. It might even be more like 5 times. We are almost done with our Science for the year, Amanda has finished everything but Math and Phonics but her Math is almost done. We have just about 2 months left of Math. Kyle is about half way through his math program but I didn't work him as hard considering he started Kindergarten a year early.
What will we focus on that 5th day you may ask me? Well, I figure that is a great day for the kids to learn "life lessons" as my homeschooling friend Kristy calls them. Included in these lessons may be housecleaning, gardening, errand running, financial learning, volunteer work, cooking, or it may even be a well needed day of rest and free time.
The bird pictured on the elk antlers here is the male bird that is nesting here this year I believe. Every year we have a couple of violet-green swallows that build a nest in a bird house that my husband built me one year that hangs off our front porch. We are out in this area all of the time, but they don't seem to mind. When we sit on our front porch, they will come swoop in front of us to check us out, but they have never attacked any of us. We always have company over, and many of them sit out there also. Our porch is covered, but it is only about 4 feet wide. So when you are sitting at the table, the bird house is hanging just over your head about a foot away. It also spins, so sometimes the birds have to fly under the porch to get into the bird house. We really love having these birds visit us every year. They are fantastic to watch! I have taken pictures of them some of the years that I have had a camera. The best pictures are ones that I can get of the babies. I will share the photos that I get this year for sure!
Anyways the point to this story was our bird project that we are doing in school. Today we started the Bird Watching for Beginners ebook. The kids didn't enjoy the introduction to this ebook, but we're going to read it anyways. I don't read it word for word, I read the parts that I think they should know or would like to know. But they only have 6 more lessons that we read out of it and starting tomorrow they will be able to work on lapbooks while I read. That is God willing I have enough ink to print stuff out for them to use for lapbooks. I am just about out of ink an will not have money for about 3 or 4 weeks to buy more ink. :-(
I am also watching the calendar for the weather reports so that I can try and have a day where we take a bird watching trip. I am not going to plan it far away, we can go right down the hill to the river or something. I even think that is a field trip that Greg will definitely want to join in. It's also one that I don't want to forget to bring my camera!
Today we learned about how they could attract the birds to our yard that the kids chose to do their lapbook on. Amanda chose an American Goldfinch and Kyle chose the Violet-Green Swallow. When we have enough money, which unfortunately will be about the same time as I can buy ink, we will buy the bird seed needed to draw in the American Goldfinch. Unless Amanda can drop a few heavy hints to her Grandpa Jim. lol
For the rest of the week they will be learning about bird watching each day and work on the lapbook pages for anatomy, migration, nests and babies if we do a 5 day school week. I'm totally not going to stress that though! Next week will be our last week of doing the bird study.
Our Obedience Study is going good. We only have one story left to read. Because I have had so much to do lately, our Bible lessons have not included very much memorizing. So the kids aren't ready to do the oral part of the test yet. Because we only have one story left to read, I really should write that test up tonight! Eeek! I should also start writing our next Bible studies. I haven't decided what that will be yet. If I want to move on in our Bible stories to Moses, or find a topic to study like we did with obedience. I liked that. Oh, that makes me think of a really good idea for some reason. I want to find a worksheet for the kids to write the word obedience out. I'll have to do some searching for that when I have time.
The rest of our week will consist of moving along in Math, and Kyle and I will keep reading War of the Worlds for young readers. He likes it so far.