Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Curious Letter C

Last week, we focused on C themed books. After several weeks of active homeschool days, C Week was a more low-key. Lounging in the late afternoons, we read books about crocodiles, cats, and creepy castles. Through Tomie DePaola's book, Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile, we not only met a crocodile but learned about Egyptians-their monuments, beliefs, and ancient rituals. In City Cat, Country Cat, we found that cats can lead double lives! Of particular interest to Aidyn was the book about creepy castles. Lately, he has been fascinated with "spooky" stories, a curiosity I believe to be a normal part of growing up in what may seem like a terrifying world for a little guy. Because of his request to hear more "spooky" stories, we'll be reading more chilling tales to satisfy his curiosity.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Brilliant Letter B

Themes: bats, balloons, bears, butterflies

Social Studies: read about what builders do

Music: Hector Berlioz

Songs: "B-I-N-G-O"

Foods: bananas, blueberries, blackberries, bread and butter

Foreign language: learn the ASL sign for letter B

Books: Stellaluna, The Big Balloon Race

Math: the concept of "before"

Blue pocket chart:
Upper- and Lowercase B, sight words such as big, bed, but, box, bear, picture of Big Ben

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Amazing Letter A

In an effort to teach phonics, whole words, and reading, I decided to take a slower, more enjoyable approach. This week we have focused on the letter A and have gathered topics starting with A. Through reading these books and being exposed to these sounds, he'll inevitably soak in the phonics. Here is what we have been doing since Monday and plan on continuing until next week.

Letter A

Reading topics:ants, alligators, albatrosses

Social Studies:
reading about astronauts, discussion about what astronauts do

reading stories about children who make art

"The Ants Go Marching," and "Alouette"

Foreign Language:
Learning the ASL sign for A

Practicing addition

applesauce, almond milk, alphabet soup, apple bars

The Apples in Stereo

Blue Pocket Chart:
sight words starting with A, pictures of the Alamo Mission and Angkor Wat, uppercase and lowercase A, picture of our friend Aurora

Field Trip:
perusal of pet store aquariums

Monday, April 5, 2010

Applying the Nuts and Bolts

I started out this week teaching Aidyn phonics on an audio program. Though Aidyn followed along, grasped most of what sounds were being said, he lacked enthusiasm and slumped in his chair like it was a dreaded chore. I didn't have fun either. Reaffirming my love for whole-word approach, it is admittedly difficult learning about the "nuts and bolts" when we have nothing to apply them to.

Instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts, I am going back to whole-word approach and will point out phonetic sounds as need be. To help him naturally learn phonics, we will continue to:

-read living books
-read road maps, signs, billboards, etc.
-watch The Letter People videos
-play with letters, physically and through verbal games, rhymes, etc.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Busy Break

With Mama home on Spring Break, Aidyn and I have been busy people. This week, we did our quarterly assessments (which Aidyn strangely loved). It had been a full three months since our beginning of the year assessment, so I reviewed the same "test" to mark his improvement. Within only three months of time, he has learned so much more. For example, in January, he could identify approximately 15 letters (whether they were uppercase or lowercase) and now he can identify 22+ with confidence. Additionally, three months ago, he was a little shaky with his shape recognition, but now he can correctly identify all the major shapes. Before he could rote count to 5 and now he counts to 12. Similarly, in rational counting he made it to 8 and now makes it to 12.

I also took into account his marked gains in self-confidence and ability as shown in our recent Disneyland trip where he confronted old fears and faced new challenges. These things would probably not be measured in say, public school's standardized tests, but to me they are just as valid at showing intellectual growth.

We also revisited our large curriculum goal list and happily checked off close to 50% of our original goals such as: keep a small pet (our geck0), watch the cycle of caterpillar-to-butterfly again, go hiking, etc.

In all, I know where he stands and where we're headed. He's thriving and I am proud!

During this week, we've also read stacks of books at Aidyn's enthusiastic requests. We've reread a favorite of his: The Ghost-Eye Tree as well as Alligators All Around, The Beasty Story, Go Away Montsers Lickety-Split, The Art Lesson, The Knight and the Dragon, Oh, The Places You'll Go, and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

We've been crafty as well, making an assortment of fans using handprints, footprints, headprints (!), and the creation of animals using hand poses.

Today we plan on doing our annual egg-dyeing and Easter-themed storytime as we wait for the Easter Bunny to come our way!