These past couple of weeks have definitely had it’s ups and downs, but we also have made huge breakthroughs too!
We started off with achieving a huge milestone. Peanut, out of the blue, was able to cut paper with scissors! He cut straight lines! This was HUGE! This means that the muscles in his fingers are getting stronger, and he’s able to co-ordinate both his hands to do what his brain is asking! I was so happy to have a front row seat to this milestone, and being the softy I am, I cried tears of joy most of the rest of the day whenever I thought about it. I wanted to throw a party, and shout it out far and wide that our son could now use scissors! I wanted a marching band and fireworks, hahaha!
We also began using Reading A-Z’s high frequency words lessons. There are 24 lessons, and they recommend doing one lesson per day. This seems a bit fast for Peanut, so we are doing one lesson for a whole week. So far this is working out wonderfully. He’s learned the words I, a, the, it, is, can, see, go, to, we, at, look! Not bad for two short weeks! They also seem to be staying in his memory much better than the technique that Moving Beyond the Page uses.
We switched our science curriculum to Easy Peasy science year 2 – Zoology level L. It seems to be working much better than Elemental Science. We switched because so many of Elemental Science’s experiments were “over time” instead of almost instant results. Both Peanut and I were getting very frustrated about waiting days or weeks to finish one experiment, and we had 6 on the go! It was just too much! Easy Peasy is much more user-friendly for families that don’t have the time or patience to do long range experiments.
Some warnings about the Zoology level:
It has a minimum of 12 lapbooks to do over the course of the year.
It also has 180 days of lessons. If you’re like me and do less days a year than this though, it’s really easy to condense it. I use a 144 day year, and I had no problem dropping a few things, and condensing others.
It also is written from a christian religious ‘new earth’ perspective. This has been a tough one for me. I am religious, but I take more of a “big bang” view of the world. Yes, I believe that God(s) created the universe, but I also believe it was by God creating a “big bang”. I also believe the scientific theory of evolution. So when Easy Peasy’s unit on dinosaurs comes up, I will have to do some creative editing. It is my belief, as well as most scientists (many whom are Catholic) that dinosaurs became extinct before the appearance of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve did not ride dinosaurs! Noah’s ark did not have dinosaur eggs in it. Dinosaurs were not all herbivores until the fall of man (quote: Genesis 1:30, ‘And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth, which has life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.) I’ll definitely be changing this a lot!
Still, this is only 1 week of editing, so it’s not that much to worry about. We can easily get information about dinosaurs from the library or other websites online.
We also are in the final stretch of our Moving Beyond the Page 4-5 curriculum. After today we’ll only have 7 more units to do. This means we’ll be done in mid July.
This week our book was Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan
I thought we’d be learning stuff like the life cycle of frogs, or a pond ecosystem. Nope. This week’s lessons are all about trying to remember the order of the story, counting to ten, adding to ten, and sorting. We spend only one part of one day doing a frog life cycle. That’s fine though, since I’ve pretty much decided that come July we’ll be doing Moving Beyond the Page level 5-7, and that covers this in more depth.
Which brings me to another problem we’ve been having. Read alouds! We have been struggling with Story of the World Volume 1. Peanut just won’t sit still for non-picture books. His attention span drifts away fast if he can’t see any pictures of what we’re reading. I was beginning to dread reading Story of the World to Peanut. I was even thinking of switching to another kind of social studies curriculum. Then I got a brainstorm.
Story of the World is a great history curriculum, but what was wrong? Peanut hated to sit still long enough to hear the 3-4 pages of reading. What could I do? Easy! Condense it! Reader’s Digest it (for those of you old enough to remember the Reader’s Digest Condensed books, hahaha). I read through the pages we were supposed to do this week about the first Sumerian Dictator, and used a highlighter to mark only the really relevant things. Once that was done, I had turned a 5 minute read aloud into a 2 minute read aloud. Short and to the point. Peanut actually loved it! He even remembered the names of King Narmer and Sargon the Great! It worked!!!
The only problem was that I now realize that I can’t use Bookshark for our curriculum yet. There is no way Peanut will sit through books like My Father’s Dragon, The Boxcar Children, and Big House in the Little Woods. I wanted to cry. I really, really love Bookshark and desperately want to use it. But it isn’t a good fit for Peanut. Not yet.
So what to do? Stay with what works! Moving Beyond the Page has been a really good fit this past school year. So when the time comes, we’ll be ordering level 5-7 for Peanut.
One other big change we’ve made is in handwriting. Peanut is a lefty, and we are having a lot of trouble with the formation of letters because he just can’t see them as he makes them. We’re ditching the standard block letters and we’re going to start using a combination of Getty Dubay’s Italics and also D’Nealian style writing. They both use minimal strokes and it’s much more adaptable for a lefty. The added benefit to these two fonts is that cursive writing will be so much easier to learn!
and Getty Dubay Sample:
So that’s how our past couple of weeks have been. Next week is our week off, so there will be a lot of lazing around and being couch potatoes on our schedule!