Wednesday, March 19, 2008

what we've been up to

It feels so good to be getting school stuff accomplished for once   It has been such a tiring year.  I already know we're going to be going through July or August.  But that's ok.  Learning happens all the time, right?  7 yo dd is in 1st, 5 yo ds is in K, and then 2 yo ds is a busy busy busy boy, and 1 yo dd is getting to be a cute stinker    And I'm due with #5 (should be the final one!) in 2 months.  So I've been sufficiently tired with being pregnant and chasing after the 2 little ones.  But the biggest problem was 2 yo ds who I couldn't leave alone for even 30 seconds for months.  I'd be drinking my coffee at the computer in the morning, and go to the bathroom, and come back and he'd have dumped it all over   Fun stuff like that.  So that made school very difficult. 

So I dropped history and science for the time being, realizing I was just way overwhelmed and burning out in October, LOL!  That was really disappointing b/c I really really like the WTM adaptated plan we've come up with, but I'm realizing that if dd doesn't learn about every little bit of ancient history in 1st grade, it's not the end of the world

So, for the past couple of months we've been concentrating on reading, writing, and math.  And, now that ds is 2, he's become much more of a boy and not so much of a toddler, so I can finally leave him alone to play and he doesn't destroy everything.  And he'll sit and color now, and play in his room by himself, or just sit and watch a movie.  So that's a relief.

We are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons, and that has been working fairly well.   DD is taking longer to get it than ds is - ds 5  is just flying through it.   So I stopped and worked on phonics with dd using flash cards and working on trouble words, and that has really helped her, so they are still both on the same lessons, which helps.     They are not terribly fond of doing reading lessons, so I came up with an incentive for them, since apparently learning to read isn't a big enough one :P  We have a nice set of fake money, and for every lesson they do with a good attitude, do without crying, and finish in a reasonable amount of time, they get 15 cents - a nickel for each one.    And then every 10 lessons, they can take their money to my 'store' and buy things - sticker books, coloring books, stuff I've gotten from Dover.      And when they hit 100 lessons, they get to rent a movie and have ice cream sundaes - a HUGE treat since we rarely eat ice cream.    So that has really motivated them to do their lessons without whining and arguing.

Math was hit and miss and I realized that she really needs a consistent program to follow, especially to get the basics down really solid. I really don't like following a set curriculum, but I did get some workbooks for them for Math.   I got the Alpha Omega Horizon workbooks, and that has been amazing.   They sit down right after breakfast and do math for a half hour.  They've only been doing it for a couple of weeks, but there has been so much improvement in dd, especially.  She is finally really understanding all the stuff she's been trying to learn for a couple months.  I never thought I'd find so much satisfaction in seeing a child learn to count by 2's and 5's

I'm finding that I'm able to slowly build a bigger schedule with the kids now that I got a short schedule to work.  After breakfast, they do math for a half hour, and then dd usually does writing while ds takes a break.  And then we do a reading lesson or work on phonics flashcards, and the kids play a few different games, do Geosafari, and play with flashcards for awhile while I clean up, rest, and take care of the baby.  Then we eat lunch and after lunch the two younger ones take a nap, and the kids do a Bible coloring page - this week we're doing Easter stuff, but I'm going to start doing a chapter of Proverbs a day with them and picking out one verse to talk about.   Then, for their rest time, they 'll sit down and listen to audiobooks.  I've found two awesome sites that I love.    I hate reading out loud and I kept trying to make myself do it, but usually we'd just end up not doing it at all, and I was getting so discouraged that the kids weren't listening to good literature like I want them to.   So I found these and realized it's ok if I don't do the reading.  That has been such a nice relief.  These are just fantastic sites. 


So that's what we've been doing the last few months.   Now that we're doing more, I'm hoping to get more science and history in this spring and summer.  I think we'll start reading through Story of the World, even if we don't do all the activities like we were doing. 


  1. Thanks for posting on my blog. We sure did have fun making those string eggs. You can find me over at now. Come visit soon!

  2. Thank you for posting about the game and all the info. on the Easter story. I really enjoyed these and might come back and use them! :) I also enjoyed "peeking" and getting to know you and your sweet family. My HS blog has been neglected as I did not have full internet for a year! That is my excuse...I recently got full internet access again, so we will see how I do....Take care...I look forward to seeing you later...

  3. Hi! I just found you through Julie Nott...a dear friend of mine.

    I enjoyed reading about your 'routine' (tho w/ 5 kids, I'm totally impressed that you can keep it! -- I struggle keeping it together w/ just 2 at home now!)

    Anyway, my 1st grade DS is struggling w/ math and I'm interested in knowing more about this math wkbk you are using. Would you 'find' me and give me some more detail? I'd be so grateful. I'm looking for every angle in the world to make it fun and interesting for him. right now its, "I hate math" -- and I KNOW he'd be really good at it. I'm just pretty sure its because I'm a lousy teacher with it...thus the drive to find great resources we can work on together.

    Thanks! And all the best with the coming addition to your brood! I do rise up and call you BLESSED!

    Kim Thomas



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