Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week in Review: August 18-22

Phew! Week one down and many, many, many more to go. It was a great week, incredibly hectic, but great. I'm so proud of myself! I struggle immensely with keeping organized and especially keeping up with grading. Because I work from home for 2 1/2 hours every day I had to come up with a way to keep all this under control and I think I have found what works for me. I've tried several things including weekly grading (disastrous!), as soon as an assignment was finished (distracting!), and grading the following morning (Do I even need to say how horrible this was?). This past week I chose to do grading while my girls were having their alone quiet time and it is perfect. Grading was done promptly, I went any issues with my girls the following day before our lessons, and I am under less stress.

The Homeschool Helper App has been my best friend this week! I used it a lot last year, but I didn't really utilize it to the maximum of it's potential. I'm thrilled with how well it is working for me this year. I've also fallen in love with Motivated Moms all over again. My housework is getting done (mostly!) and there is a calm and peacefulness surround us because of it. If this is an area you need some help with, don't hesitate to give both of these apps a try! You can click on these links (Homeschool Helper and Motivated Moms) to see my full reviews from last year. Yes, that is a cup of hot cocoa...I like to reward myself for a job well done!

Now, on to my girls' week!

Grace: Preschool and Awaiting the Next Heart of Dakota Guide
Grace has just blossomed with her reading. I first want to say I have not pushed my daughter into reading early; she wanted to...begged me to. I think it is imperative for parents to only teach reading when their children are fully ready whether 3-years-old, 8-years-old, or even later. Homeschooling provides such wonderful room for learning at correct pacing and I hope you embrace this as you walk your own journey.

Grace is reading through her big sisters Abeka readers from her year at Christian school and is doing great. She almost always forgets what the silent e does on her own, but as soon as I remind her to think about this rule she gets it. My only issue with her right now is she doesn't see a need to read with me. She wants to do it all on her own, which clearly doesn't work out well sometimes.

We are using Fundanoodle for handwriting this year. I reviewed it last year and fell in love with its structure and format. We will also be using some Handwriting Without Tears workbooks. I'm not quite as big of a fan of this one, but a dear friend gave us the entire set which she no longer wanted. I'm all about utilizing free! It is good and goes well with Fundanoodle's structure.

For math we are using the old books from Singapore which are out of print. We do not have the ones used in the HOD guide and I'm not sure what I'll use for K5 math when she is done. I'm considering Fundanoodle for this as well.

All three of my girls loved the Rod and Staff ABC series. Grace finished up Book C and is soooooo excited to be on Book D now!

For Bible we are using Rod and Staff's Bible story book and coloring book. Grace loves this as well. There isn't anything flashy or enticing in and of themselves, but this series does its job and definitely engages my daughters.

Beth: Bigger Hearts for His Glory Unit 1 (1st half)

Let me assure you Beth is not as miserable as she appears! She is actually quite focused. I have seen many recent conversations in the facebook group about kids having a hard time with the history readings in this guide. This was only our first week, but we completed all the history readings and so far she has been fine. I remember the same struggle expressed with my oldest until about half-way through, but so far Beth seems to be doing great. My advice is to keep at it. I like my girls reading older history readings for several reasons. I do like that it was written closer to the historical source, but I also think it helps kids develop their reading skills.

Contrary to what I expected, Beth actually loved looking words up in the dictionary for her history vocabulary. Let's hope this continues all year!

I have another die-hard fan of Life of Fred in the house! She thinks he is so funny and I find it a great addition to our regular curriculum.

Of all my kids, Beth is the most apt to learn anywhere but her own seat. Sometimes on the floor beside me, sometimes on the porch swing, sometimes in her bed, sometimes in the living room...I even found her under the table in the kitchen a few times last year! Here she's working on math. My only rule is she has to sit at the table for formal handwriting. She's a little wiggle waggle and I try to give her the freedom to move as she needs.

I've introduced dictation in addition to our All About Spelling work. She's half-way through AAS level 2 and doing great. Dictation will be a learning process, so I'll let you know how it is going later.

Ahhhh grammar! This is one of the subject Beth asks to do right away. My girls love it and I love that they love it! Rod and Staff grammar is incredibly solid which I'm seeing even more now with my oldest. Rose fixed a writing assignment on her own to make the verbs match tenses without my saying anything about it! This is huge in my estimation.
I like giving my girls something a little extra for vocabulary every day to help them in preparation for required standardized tests at the end of the year. In addition to grammar and vocabulary she is also reading The Littles and loving it!

Rose: Preparing Hearts for His Glory Unit 18

Starting back in Preparing with Rose was easy peasy! She had been asking for a while to read Grandpa's Box this summer and was thrilled when I pulled it off the shelf on Monday. She loves history and this guide has been such a joy to teach. We're going full-speed and I hope to be finished in December or January. Right now history is focusing on the Roman occupation of, well, everywhere within the context of the life of Christ. We'll be quickly moving on though.

I love the timeline cards she is making on her own. A lot of people print pictures or buy cards, but this has been a fun experience for her in each guide.
Math is getting a little easier. Thanks to some wonderful advice from my sister-in-law who also homeschools we are breaking her math assignments into two parts each day. She likes this idea and is able to handle the assignment better than when we try to do it all at once. We are continuing on with Math Mammoth and I am very happy with the scope and sequence of this program.

Rose is into All About Spelling level 4 and doing fabulous! I love this program as well and it is helping me become a better speller in addition to my girls! We've moved onto the next level of dictation and she is showing great maturity.

Learning Together

We learn all together. Sometimes on the same subject, sometimes not, but all together. Here are some pictures of what it looks like practically. 

All About Spelling Levels 2 and 4

Grace and our neighbor's daughter reading together.
Grace and I doing Bible while her sister finish math. 

This year I'm doing something a little different and giving you a chance to see what my daughter's had to say about their week as well! This is a great way for them to participate, practice typing (except Grace who isn't ready yet), practice editing, and actively participate in this blog. I hope it lasts, but we shall see. You can click on each name below to see what they had to say about this week on their very own Grace-Filled Kids Blog!

Did you have a good week? Did you have a rough week? Either way, I'd love to hear about it!

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