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:
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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???!!!