Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Week 3 Report

This will be short and sweet since Week 3 actually ended almost two weeks ago! A trip to Dallas and the fact that we are almost through Week 4 means I cannot remember much - even after looking over Thatcher's papers. You know what? It sure is a good thing I am doing these reports! Not only can I keep grandparents and friends in the know, I myself can remember what we did week to week. :)

Spanish - I want to start here because it was such a huge hit! Earlier this summer I had been eying some fun Spanish materials but couldn't justify the cost. Just before school started I found the entire section of Spanish learning games on clearance half-off at Target. This week we started using Learning Resources Spanish Color Bean Bags and the color song from the Twin Sister Spanish CD. Thatcher has known his Spanish colors for awhile now but he needed a quick review. I also wanted to start with something non-threatening that he could breeze through and say, "Spanish is Easy!"
Here's an example of the bean bags. They also make shape and number bean bags as well; I got those 50% off too! We have made up 50 different games to play using these bags and the boys and I have had a ball. Our favorites so far...after they correctly give the answer to a question (i.e., What's blue in Spanish?) they get to "shoot" the beanbag into a big bowl to score! I don't even keep track of the points, and they still think it's a hoot. They also adore using the bags to play leapfrog but they can't leap until they correctly state the color they are jumping over (the color name is only printed on one side so we turn them over for this activity).

We played Candy Land in Spanish, as well. It was a great start to what I hope will be a great year in Spanish.

Math - is rolling along as well. Thatcher is still struggling to learn to count by 4's. He just can't seem to grasp it. We are doing a quick review each day and leaving it at that. My hunch is that if I just leave it alone for a few weeks, he'll be ready next time I try! Flash cards are going very well and he is breezing through all his lessons. I should mention that Horizons is still all review
at this point. Hopefully he will continue to do well when new concepts are introduced.

Reading - I am so pleased here. For anyone new to my blog, we have four parts to our reading program:
  1. Independent Reading Time - Thatcher takes a book of my choosing and after a short introduction, reads it in a different room. Then he comes and we talk about the book. These books are a little below his level b/c he is reading independently and struggles to maintain focus. I cannot say enough good things about this time. I give him a "goal" each day and send him away to "discover" the answer. When we make it a game - akin to a treasure hunt - he excitedly runs off ready to dive in, whereas if I simply give him a list of questions he has to answer for me, he'll mope off unwilling and grumpy. For example in Week 3 he read Arthur's Baby by Marc Brown. I asked him to go discover what changed Arthur's mind about Baby Kate. Ten minutes later he bursts through the door ready to tell me how Arthur found out that he could take great care of Kate - even better than DW!
  2. Read together time - We are reading (holding up a shield as I type this for all the mommies who'll be throwing tomatoes at me!) Magic Tree House books for this time. We already owned many of these books before I was challenged to consider (on the WTM boards) what is true "quality literature" for young minds. I know these are not, but they are the first chapter books he's been excited about reading so far. I plan on sticking with these a little longer to build confidence and then move to some different titles. What we are doing right now is each day I read one chapter to him and he reads a chapter to me. It's been so fun!
  3. Presentation Book - Thatcher really wanted to read the first ten pages of The Cat in the Hat to Daddy for his Presentation Book this week. We worked on it and got it ready but in the craziness of getting ready to leave town forgot to "present" it! Oops. Thatcher chose to stick with it this week and add ten more pages.
  4. Bedtime Read-a-loud - I love the Narnia books. I really, really do, and Thatcher does as well. We are already eagerly awaiting Prince Caspian, the second Narnia movie to be released next summer. We are currently working out way through The Silver Chair.
Bible - continues to go wonderfully and it's the first thing Thatcher begs to do every day! In addition to reading and discussing a chapter a day from Wisdom and the Millers, he's been working all summer to memorize the books of the Old Testament. He only has five to go, and he is so excited. He attends AWANA on Wednesday nights and an older friend of his encouraged us to start learning them early so he would be able to get ahead in his first grade book.

Grammar - First Language Lessons is going well. I started ten lessons back from where we left off so we are finishing up our review. I was worried he wouldn't remember much but have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly it's coming back. Our whiteboard is coming in really handy for these lessons. He is a visual learner and this book is very auditory. We are writing definitions and examples on the board intead of just orally discussing them and he does so much better than if I present the material with no visual clues.

That's all folks! Someone remind me what I was saying about short and sweet at the start of this post???!!!


Anonymous said...

No tomatoes here! We have Magic Tree House also and my dd likes to read these. These were the first books that she would read all on her own and liked to read. Now she is reading other good books. So for me it helped get her into chapter books.

Your week 3 report looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
Rhonda in WA

Margie said...

I loved the review. I bought those same bean bags when they were marked down and still have not used them. That is a great idea! I speak Spanish (I minored in college) and I am ashamed to say, I have not taught it to my children yet. I recently did a review and it was long too. I think I lost people. I enjoyed reading your report. It helps me to do that sometimes. Thanks. I know it takes time to do that!

LisaWA said...

Hi Jennifer! Cool bean bags!

It sounds like a great week..

Ours has been TOG, bible and math only. No science and nothing else added yet! Can you believe it?

Next week is another week! Here is to hopping right... I keep reading and reading that article on my blog!

Your kindred spirit friend....


Homeschool Dad said...

My dd6 loves the Magic Tree House books. I know they are not "great literature", but it teaches her a few historical things and most importantly helps instill a love of reading.


my5wolfcubs said...

Everything sounds great -- Spanish especially! Colors are what I want to teach next in Latin...I got the idea of playing Uno from Sea Star Academy -- that will cover colors & counting (but we haven't played yet).

Just last night my 7yob was reading some funny Garfield comics (no tomatoes for your Magic Treehouse from me!) to dh -- dh kept telling him to slow down and not speak so high and not slur the words together. 7yob does all those things when he is excited about something and then he really is hard to understand. Over course *I* understood because he's read me all the funny ones repeatedly!! I need to come up with a reading plan like yours to address these things. And send him off on a quest to find something in a book is a great idea!

Hope you have a great week 5 (and get a chance to post about week 4 soon!).