Homeschool

Looking Back at the First Nine Weeks

It’s hard to believe we just wrapped up our ninth week of homeschooling.  Princess Castle Kindergarten is in full swing!  It’s been a wild and crazy ride so I thought I’d share some thoughts about what we’ve done so far.

We just finished week 9 of our Sonlight curriculum which is behind what I was planning.  We were undecided between their cores P4/5 and A for kindergarten.  It sounded like P4/5 might be too easy and A too difficult.  After nine weeks I think that’s about right.  She really enjoys the longer stories especially from Uncle Wiggily.  This has been a great way to introduce books without pictures.  There’s not nearly as much reading as I expected. We easily finish a week’s worth of reading in one evening.  From what I understand Core A is a big jump in the amount of reading and the complexity of the stories.  Each core also has optional activities for some of the stories.  The P4/5 activities have been pretty easy for her.  We’ve actually skipped more than I’d like to admit.  Our plan at this point is to move through this core at an accelerated pace and finish early.  My goal is to fit two weeks into one week.  It should be very easy since we finish the reading so quickly but it reality that hasn’t happened at all.  Once we finish this core we’ll move right into Core A.

Math was review for Storyteller until about week 7 when we started addition.  We chose Horizons Math K mainly because of the focus on manipulatives.  However, now that we’re doing the lessons it doesn’t seem to be as hands on as I expected.  It relies a lot on flash cards and worksheets.  I really didn’t want to go down those roads as I thought there had to be more interactive and original ways to teach math.  However, Storyteller really enjoys math and is retaining the new material so I guess it’s working well.  This is the first time she’s been introduced to writing numbers.  There’s actually a lot of writing.  It was really tiring for her especially in the beginning.  Some lessons have an entire worksheet of just number writing in addition to the other activities.  Instead of trying to do all of it in one day we’ve been spreading it out over the week and skipping some of it.  A friend suggested looking into math games so that is something I’d like to incorporate in the coming weeks.

Handwriting has been kind of a mess at this point.  We choose the preschool/kindergarten level of Peterson Directed Handwriting.  The first six weeks are only gross and fine motor skill activities to help the kids develop rhythm and spatial awareness.  This style of handwriting achieves fluency by tying verbal rhythm to the letter formation.  Each stroke has a word which describes the motion.   The child says these words as they make the letter.  When speed picks up the words are switched out for counting the strokes.  Storyteller was really bored with these motor skills activities and soon begun to protest when I suggested doing them. We’ve been using the words when writing numbers in math.  We’ve also been using the words during our calendar activity which involves writing the days of the week and months of the year.  Outside of that we haven’t done much with handwriting.  There’s not much instruction past the first six weeks of motor skill activities.  I’ve been looking around the internet and found two suggestions to try out.  We will begin working on lowercase letters grouped by family type.  If there’s time (and interest) we’ll also work on writing the letters as they appear in our All About Reading lessons.

We’re on lesson 17 with All About Reading level 1.  Most lessons take more than one day and many take several days.  Every other lesson has a fluency sheet with review words, new words and sentences.  Starting with lesson 8 these fluency sheets are actually quite long.  The instructions suggest skipping some words when working with a beginning reader but Storyteller was really upset when she noticed me doing that so we do the whole sheet.  Last week we were almost at the end of a fluency sheet when we stopped for the day.  There was just a bit too much to push through and finish it.  When I was putting the little one down for a nap I heard Storyteller working on the sheet all by herself.  What a huge milestone!  She picked up her reading lesson on her own and finished it all by herself!  It was definitely a proud mama moment 🙂

Aside from the academic portion of her school work we’ve done many extra activities.  This has been a big transition time for us and especially the girls.  We’ve been trying to show her that homeschooling can be a lot of fun.  During these nine weeks we’ve been on three field trips, started attending a weekly drama class, went to an ice cream social, went to California to visit friends, continued with swimming lessons and planted our fall garden.  Whew!  It’s definitely been a busy time and now we’re getting into the holiday season so I’m sure there will be much more fun down the road.

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