Sunday, October 18, 2015

This Week in Homeschooling: Week 5-6 Theme: Mail Carriers

So the circumstances in our house have changed, which has caused our plans for the year to change quite a bit. On September 29th I was diagnosed with cancer and over the next few months I will be getting chemotherapy every two weeks. If you're interested in following my cancer treatment journey you can do that here.

The great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility. So now I'm just not putting a lot of pressure on myself, or on Elanor, to finish a certain number of lessons a week. I'm probably also throwing out the theme idea, at least for a while.

All that being said, we did get a few things done in the last couple of weeks. So here they are!


We have moved on from rhyming and on to other things. This is kind of a blessing in that she totally wasn't getting the rhymes, but I also worry about just going on and not focusing on rhyming anymore since she never actually learned it. For now I'm just kind of talking about rhyming whenever I think of it, and she's watching a lot of YouTube videos about rhyming. 

Now, in addition to doing the capital letter of the day, there are games about counting words and syllables. Elanor loves counting, so she is really into it and she's getting pretty good at it. It's nice to do something she's good at. She's also still having a lot of fun decorating the letters. We did M, N, O, and P. 


The first week we were continuing to do the color/shape theme. It was getting old for me, but Elanor was really enjoying it. She actually got really good at coloring in the lines and at some point she started giving all the shapes faces, which was really cute. 

This week we actually started to do some handwriting. Two different pictures required her to trace horizontal and vertical lines, and she did a pretty good job. The second picture she did without any instruction from me whatsoever. Then she worked on drawing crosses. I thought she did amazingly considering this is something the OT says she is having trouble with. Next week we will start with the letter "L." First letter! It's very exciting! I think I will have her practice making it with the wooden letter blocks first, and we can try drawing it on the little chalkboard that came with out Handwriting Without Tears Kit. 


Things got a little difficult because we started actually writing numbers. I don't think this is something Elanor is ready for, but we went ahead and did it anyway. I think her fine motor isn't quite as far along as some of her other skills, so I'm thinking we will be practicing this for a long time before I actually require her to do it on her own. Still, we managed to do 1, 2, and 3. 

Theme: Mail Carriers


We read A Letter for Leo by Sergio Ruzzier. It was about an animal mail carrier who is very sad that he has never gotten a letter. He befriends a bird who he finds in a mailbox. Later, the bird goes south for the winter and sends Leo his very first letter. It was very cute and it talked about mail carriers. It seems to have made an impression because Elanor has been walking around pretending to wear a hat and saying she's a mailman. So that's something. 


"A Day in the Life of a Mail Carrier" 

I actually learned a lot from this video and I totally suggest you watch it if you are at all interested in what it's like to carry the mail. I don't think Elanor really cared about it much though. 


Elanor's and her grandmother got together and wrote some letters to her other grandparents and then went to the post office and mailed them. They also bought Batman stamps, which she was all over. It was a very cute idea and she was really excited about it. Plus, I think she learned a lot about the mail. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This Week in Homeschooling: Week 4: Ants

So this week's theme was supposed to be mail carriers, but as I said last week I couldn't get a book on them in time so instead we did something I could get a book on: ants. It ended up being a pretty good school week in the midst of a pretty terrible week in general.


We moved right along this week to J, K, and L. 

As you can see they had cute little craft ideas for all of them, like the hair on the llama, and drawing the ears on the jack rabbits. Elanor got a bit carried away with the glitter paint on the K there, but in the end who can blame her. Nothing beats glitter paint. 

In addition to learning about letters, we had a couple more lessons about rhyme. Elanor did so-so. She still can't make up a rhyming word on her own. However, we played a game where Ziggy the Puppet kept getting the words wrong in her favorite book (Let's Go Lobstering) and she was able to provide the correct rhyming word. However, I think that tells us more about how much she loves the book than how good she is or isn't at rhyming. The final lesson this week was not about rhyming but rather about sentence length, so I wonder if that's what we will be working on from now on. If so, I think I will have to keep sprinkling rhyming in because Elanor has most definitely not mastered it. 


This week was even more of those pictures where you learn about colors and shapes. I would think we'd both be getting tired of them by now, but something amazing happened! I started laying out the handwriting page the night before and Elanor started actually doing them completely on her own without me even asking. She did that for all three last week and even did one of the ones for next week early! Go Elanor!

(She made these into people. I loved it.)


We started unit 2 this week, which is about counting things up to 5. Elanor is doing great! She was even able to count down from 5 when asked. For some reason she seems to mess up on some of the worksheets that involve drawing lines from one thing to the other, but I think that's more about fine motor skills and visual acuity than her actual ability to do to the work. She seems to have this counting thing down. Thanks, years of iPad apps. 

 Along with textbooks and activity books A and B, I also bought the number cards right from the Singapore Math website, which were very helpful and I totally recommend them.

Theme: Ants

One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility. We changed this weeks theme to ants at the last minute and it went completely fine. 

Book: ?

I honestly don't remember what the book was and who it was by. I accidentally returned it to the library without recording this fact. However, I can tell you that what I liked about it the most was that it was short and sweet. Every sentence had one short declarative sentence on it like, "Most ants are black or brown." or "Ants have 6 legs." These facts were all very helpful to talk about again while we made paper ants for our craft. 


For the craft this week we made ants out of old egg cartons and pipe cleaners. This is not something I got from Pinterest, although I'm sure it's on there somewhere. Elanor actually did it before in her Sunday School class at the Northern Virginia Ethical Society. However, she was only 2 at the time and I think she got a lot more out of it this time. 

Elanor's ant is brown because, as she reminded me, most ants are brown or black.


This week we went with the tried and true Magic School Bus series. We watched the episode entitled, "The Magic School Bus Gets Ants in the Pants," in which Keisha learns a very valuable lesson in teamwork...or something. Mostly we all learn about ants and how they live in colonies. Elanor loves Magic School Bus (mostly the one about bees) and she loved to watch this episode a few times this week. 

Next week's theme: Mail Carriers! For real this time!