I haven’t documented where we are in our various subjects and activities for a while, so here goes – the early 2012 edition of Turkeydoodles Homeschool:
The TAG reader is getting some use, and the girls are starting to work more with long vowel sounds. We are also using Starfall fairly extensively at the moment, and all three kids are doing more reading of environmental print, but still not as much as I wish they were. Buddy followed up the other week’s debut sentence with some nice “Hop on Pop” action with Daddyman, so hurray!
A few bursts of Explode the Code along the way, too, but I continue to dream of their making regular progress through it. Big D is about halfway through Book 2, Beara finished Book 1, and was completely unready for Book 2, so she’s doing Book 1 1/2. Buddy is still doing Book A, even though he is reading quite a way ahead of that at this point; I think the writing portion of Explode the Code Book 1 would just be too much for him right now, plus, he listens in when his sisters read from theirs, and learns vicariously!
I hugely wish that writing were a bigger part of what they do. Beara illustrates book after book (including her Happiness Kit), then has me write in the text. Big D is starting to pen the letters in a story, but at snail’s pace (like a few words every few days), while Buddy is starting to grasp the difference between capital and lower case letters and spelling.
Had we actually DONE Singapore Math 1A, the girls could have totally finished it by Christmas, but we didn’t, so now we’re looking at finishing by the summer, which is fine by me. I really need to pull out my stash of base ten blocks and do some ‘splaining, but Beara in particular will pull up next to me and start working on addition and subtraction sentences, so that is pretty cool. She’s even getting that the ‘=’ functions as a fulcrum for the sentences, which is pretty cool. The girls are playfully competitive with their workbooks, trying to stay ahead of each other by a page or so. Too funny.
Buddy, within *seconds* of waking up today, asked “how come there is a three in both ‘three’ and ‘three and a half’?” He got that he was older, but not why the number didn’t change! We made chocolate chip pancakes yesterday, so I related it to a measuring cup, showing that if we divided the space between 3 and 4 into two parts, he was enough days old to fill one of them! He got it, and said “oh, so I’m three and *some more*!” It was a lovely way to start our day.
Science has been very unschooly, but as this is an abiding passion, I’m not really worried. We watch NASA TV some, specials on TV or online, and read and watch Magic Schoolbus (thank you, Qubo!) when ever possible. Beara also made a first aid kid from some out of date things Daddyman had from his time in the infantry, and she’s very excited to be “learning more about how to help people.”
I’m running Lightbulb Lab again, which is fun. The girls’ best homeschool friend is the other core member, so it is nice social time for them as well as good problem solving time. They’ve been solving challenges, completing building challenges (with train tracks, Carcassonne tiles, and duplo, so far), and working on how to present information through public speaking and dramatic arts, as well as developing observational and critical discourse skills. I’m glad I’m doing it – watching their minds at work is so illuminating!
Beara is illustrating up a storm, and still directing skits of her own creation. Buddy’s imaginative play has gotten much more complex, allowing him to participate more fully in his sisters’ play, which is nice to see. Big D is the least demonstrative in her play, but they all have their alternate personae; Hola is Beara’s Spanish alter ego, Jack is Buddy’s, and Big D still likes to play D turtles. The girls are in a homeschool dance class, which they love. We are looking into getting Beara hooked up with Susuki piano materials for her birthday, since we have a keyboard, she loves composing, and already sings everything she hears by ear.
We’ve been very unschooly in this regard, learning geography from where friends go, visiting the Pompeii exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science, etc. We’ve spoken quite a bit about death, illness and aging, which has been respectful and far deeper than I thought we would go with five year olds, but they ask and wonder aloud, so we go there.
We’re really working on helping the kids build self-efficacy, esp around daily tasks, like using the toaster, opening containers, etc, and so far so good.
We’re also trying to start talking some about OE, esp about feeling overwhelmed, and how to proactively take care of ourselves (and tell others!) when we are reaching our thresholds and need breaks from the chaos of five intense folks in one smallish house. The vocabulary we’re starting to use around these concepts, as well as the observational skills the kids are starting to use for when one of us doesn’t give others a heads up that they are reaching their limits, is really starting to pay off. Hurray! (Having some extra rooms for us to be in now is a huge bonus too. Wow.)
Big D’s speech therapy is going wonderfully. She adores her therapist, Nina, and they meet at the local school district offices once a week under a Service Plan that the district was happy to offer us, and it looks like the offer extends to next year, which is just stellar. D’s ‘l’ and ‘th’ sounds are coming along VERY nicely, and they are starting to work on her troublesome ‘r’ sounds, which are semi-important when introducing some family members, so hurray!
I’m in the process of prepping the girls’ enrollment paperwork for the VT home study program, and am waiting on a phone call from the school district about when we can do their screenings. Our pediatrician could just sign off on them, but since the purpose of the screenings is to catch things I might have missed, I’m opting for testing (with the Woodcock-Johnson screening battery) that might actually have a chance of catching something! I’ll let you know how it goes as it goes!
Basically, at least one kid has an activity three, sometimes four days a week, and we are frequently away doing family or medieval stuff on weekends, but our time at home is very unstructured. Right now, Daddyman is helping the kids round up baby ducks in Wii Resort, and our bed is strewn with Tag books that got abandoned when we skyped with their courtesy grandma this afternoon. Sounds about right to me!