Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekly Biweekly Monthly Quarterly+ Report

Hi. I'm Tammy. And I'm a "Weekly Reporter" dropout. Big time.

It's time for a LONG overdue update on the happenings here at EEA. I promise to just hit the highlights and not bore you with every little detail of the past 14 weeks (give or take a week), as well as touch on my plans for next year.

LANGUAGE ARTS: Grace has almost finished Spelling Workout B. It has been going well--she seems to be a "workbooky" type gal...just like me. We are still analyzing the words each week using SWR markings. I think we will continue this combination for 3rd grade.

For reading, after almost completing Book 2 of the Elson Readers, we mixed things up a bit by moving to Sonlight Readers-Grade 3 (the name has now been changed back to Sonlight Readers 2-Intermediate, just to confuse you). We are also using the suggested Read Alouds from Core 1. Let me just say--as many others have said before me--that Sonlight knows how to pick great age-appropriate (but challenging) literature. Grace is currently reading The Chalk-Box Kid, and our read-alouds at the moment are Follow My Leader and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Fantastic stuff here! I think we'll continue with SL readers & read-alouds for third grade.

As far as grammar goes...well there isn't much going on in that department these days. We've completely abandoned First Language Lessons. I wanted to like it. I really, really did. I tried to stick with it. I really, really did. But if I had to follow the scripted "repeat this 3 times" or have your kiddo "repeat that 3 times" just one more time...well...let's just say it wouldn't be pretty. Next year I'm hoping to find something that incorporates grammar into a writing program, or at least a stand-alone grammar program that is a little more interesting (if such an animal exists).

This past week I have transitioned Grace into cursive copywork, which has considerably lessened the grumble-factor when that copywork page makes its appearance.

MATH: We are frantically trying to wrap up Horizons 2. I've started doubling-up the pages each day, crossing out repetitious material. We should be finished in another month or so, then we'll focus on getting those multiplication facts down cold before starting 3rd grade in the fall.

HISTORY: There's been a bit of flip-flopping around in this area. We attempted to switch completely to Sonlight Core 1 about 1/3 of the way through SOTW1. It was o.k., but the history core isn't as fabulous (IMHO) as the readers or read-alouds. the interest of finishing Ancient History this year...we've switched back to SOTW1, but I'm paring it down by skipping the extra reading & activities. We basically just read the chapter, then do the review questions, narrations, coloring pages & mapwork and move on to the next chapter. I have no idea what I want to use for next year. Argh...the indecision.

SCIENCE: Well, after long intervals between topics, we have finally made it to the "Plants" portion of our life science studies for the year. Next year I definitely need a well laid out plan as far as science goes. The Well-Trained Mind method of using a spine & supplementing with library books just doesn't git 'er done around these parts.

SPANISH: We are still using Elementary Spanish as our *main* curriculum, then adding in various books, songs & games for fun. The jury's still out on next year's plan though.

CO-OP: It's hard to believe that our first year of co-op has ended. All of the Musical Theatre classes joined together for a production of "OZ!" this past Monday & Tuesday evenings. Grace's class played the roles of the munchkins, the flying monkeys, the poppies (girls), and the fighting trees (boys). It was a hoot! Next year Grace will be taking gymnastics (again), art (again), animal science, and a "Books to Build On" class. They also have some great new additions to the preschool class lineup. Emma will take preschool storytime (again), music, and gymnastics. They are both looking forward to the fall.

Whew. I think that just about covers it. I'm neck-deep in curriculum researching, planning, and shopping for next year. What to keep? What to change? What to add? ¡Ay carumba! I feel my OCD kicking in...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

I've been tagged :)

So I'm checking my StatCounter to see if anyone has read my blog lately, where they linked from, yadda, yadda, yadda...and I click on a unfamiliar link to find out that I'VE BEEN TAGGED! Ack! Normally I never get around to filling these kinds of things out, but this one looks relatively simple. By the way, go & check out the culprit--Amy at Allen Academy--she's got one nifty blog! :)

Book Meme

Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
Open the book to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people.

I located my nearest stack of books, and chose the one from the top. It was a dud. Page 123 contained only a list, no full sentences. On to book #2, it only had 120 pages. I had a little more luck with this one--A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. From page 123:

But she will bear in mind that the child of six [or seven] has begun the serious business of his education, it does not matter much whether he understands this word or that, but it matters a great deal that he should learn to deal directly with books. Whatever a child or grown-up person can tell, that we may be sure he knows, and what he cannot tell, he does not know. Let us give our children a variety books to narrate. challenge to find 5 more previously untagged people to tag. Instead of posting names, I challenge the next 5 people to read this post to leave your book meme answers in the comments. That means YOU!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bi-Weekly Update – Weeks #19 & 20

Here's a brief summary of our last two weeks:

LANGUAGE ARTS: The combination of SWO with SWR markings & rules is really working well. The "Warm-Up Test" from the SWO lesson helps identify particular spelling rules that we need to spend some extra time reviewing. Then we'll mark the words & I'll dictate sentences for any words that Grace missed. In FLL, we're slowly making progress. Some days it's easy to combine lessons, and Grace has finished copying & illustrating "The Months" by Sara's all ready to be bound into a book.

READING: I highly recommend the Elson Readers. Well, at least Book 2 in the series, since that's all we've used so far. Grace reads about 8-10 pages aloud to me each day from it, and then 2-3 times a week I'll have her do one of the McCall-Crabbs readings. This combination has really bolstered her fluency and--most importantly--her reading confidence! She continues to read independently at bedtime and has finished her second Nancy Drew & the Clue Crew book. We finished our read-aloud of Mary Poppins and have started reading Nancy Drew Mysteries #2: The Hidden Staircase. Grace even read the first chapter in the book aloud to me one afternoon, because she wanted to read "something even harder" than her Elson Reader material. It took some extra time...and lots of sounding out words...but she read that entire chapter to me in one sitting!

MATH: Math continues to be one of the high points in our day. And really...shouldn't math be a high point in everyone's day?!?!? Subtraction is getting easier & easier for Grace with more practice, and she's been pretty quick to catch on to multiplication (by 0, 1, 5, & 10 so far). Last week she started adding three 2-digit numbers without even batting one of her long lashes.

HISTORY & SCIENCE: Two more chapters down in SOTW1. Then a brief pause while awaiting the arrival of my Sonlight order. Tomorrow we will pick up at week 17 in SL Core 1, using SOTW as our "spine" instead of CHOW. Although I reserve the right to change my mind on that one. :) In science, we've learned about hair, skin & nails, and Grace has started working on her "Five Senses" lapbook from HOAC. Grace & Emma each filled in the face to add to their body outlines:

OTHER: We're working on Unit 2 from the Elementary Spanish series which, coincidentally, is about mi cuerpo. It'll be nice to label the girlies' body outlines in both English & Español. Also, we've worked through the first 6 units from the Spanish for Children cd & workbook, watched a couple of TOPS! episodes (kind of a game show format), and Grace has almost finished her first letter to her Spanish penpal. I'm really enjoying learning Spanish alongside the girls. It was an especially thrilling moment for me at a restaurant restroom this weekend when I could read the Spanish part of the handwashing poster. Not quite as exciting as math, I know, but still...

AND IN CLOSING: {brag alert} The other morning Emma was busily working with her Fridge Phonics letters and...quite proudly...spelled these gems on her own. These are the little moments that make your heart melt.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008