Friday, July 18, 2014

What Didn’t Work For Us–A Look Back At First Grade Curriculum

I have been working hard on plans for Sammy’s 2nd grade year (our third year homeschooling).  While I have been working things out for next year, I did a lot of reflecting on what did and didn’t work last year.  You can see our curriculum choices from last year here

I wanted to share a list of things that didn’t work for us and why.  This is not meant to be a bad review.  Everything that we tried has wonderful reviews online.  It just didn’t work for either Sammy, or I!

  • A Reason For Handwriting AI LOVE this program!! I stuck with it for two years because I love that while the student is practicing handwriting they are memorizing scripture.  What an awesome way to hid scripture in a child’s heart.  So with that glowing review you might wonder why it didn’t work for us.  Sammy is left-handed and while the pages are perforated and can be easily removed from the book the setup didn’t work.  The word the child is suppose to be writing is on the left side of the page right under where a left-handed child’s hand is located.  So Sammy would either be lifting his hand up every letter to see which letter comes next or he was copying the word from the line above.  The line above would have been in his own handwriting and thus if he messed up a letter it would progressively get worse the further down the page he went.  So this program just didn’t work well for my left-handed child even though we both loved it!

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  • Song School SpanishSammy just doesn’t love to memorize things by singing.  I thought the songs were cute and the workbook did a good job of attempting to concrete the information, but it wasn’t a good fit for Sammy!
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  • Horizons Math Grade 1I almost hate putting this on the list.  Sammy learned a ton this past year.  He didn’t hate math or this program (neither did I).  The problem was strictly his retention.  He was not able to memorize his addition (or subtraction) facts by simply doing flashcards or worksheets.  He can do addition and subtraction quickly but not without counting.  I noticed when we played games he would remember facts that came up more frequently.  So we are going to give another program a shot (you will have to wait to see what that is)!
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  • Explode the CodeThese just became busy work.  We love All About Reading and will continue with that next year.  The explode the code books became busy work that Sammy didn’t need in order to retain the phonics rules.  I don’t want to become bogged down with extra work when he already understands a concept.  These books are wonderful and Sammy loved doing them but they were unnecessary. 
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  • Mystery of History Volume 1I love this program!! However, for Sammy it has just been WAY above his head.  He wasn’t remembering any of the information after the lesson.  He would sigh deeply when the history book came out and had a hard time sitting and listening.  We tried coloring during the lessons, we tried building, we tried more hands on activities, we tried a different time of day and still it just didn’t interest him.  I still love this program and will be holding onto it when Sammy gets older.  But for next year we are trying something different.

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I hope this was helpful to those considering their plans for next year.  If nothing else, I hope this is helpful for people to realize that you can love a program but it not be a good fit for you and your family!  I will be sharing our plans for next year later this month!  But I am really looking forward to the year!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Afternoon (and Evening) at the Lake

Sammy and I headed over to my parents house for an afternoon.  It turned into an evening trip too *winks*! 

My parents bough some training water skis and opened up GiGi and Pop Pop’s water ski school!  Sammy was the first one to get a lesson.  But I know my nephew and nieces will give them a shot too!

The first lesson was on dry land.  Sammy practiced putting the skis on, holding the rope with straight arms and standing up:

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A little later we put the skis on in the water and practiced being pulled (by Pop Pop):

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After that we played in the lake, ate dinner, and went into the basement.  Sammy tried on GiGi’s visor and gave it two thumbs up!

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We found Frozen to watch on TV:

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Since it was so late (and dark) we took out the telescope to look at a few stars.  We hoped to look at the moon but it was behind the trees.  Maybe next time!!

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We had fun GiGi and Pop Pop!! We can’t wait to come visit again soon!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tim’s Surprise 40th Birthday Party

For Tim’s 40th birthday some friends from church and I decided to throw him a surprise party!  I took him out to dinner while everyone gathered at our friend’s house.  Tim and I hit one of his favorite places Taste of Thai:

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We were done with dinner a little early so we hit a local coffee shop:

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Then we were off to our friends house for the surprise:

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There was cake and ice cream and lots of hanging out.

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Nicia (Tim’s sister), Greg (Tim’s brother) and his girlfriend Nikki

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Tim and my Mom with his new set of in ear monitors my parents got him:

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It poured right after we got there.. but then it cleared up and we all went outside to play:

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Me and my Dad:

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Tim’s parents:

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The next day was Tim’s actual birthday so we celebrated by giving him the rest of his presents.  Sammy got him coffee:

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Tim’s family got him a direct box for sound recording stuff:

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I got him a new pedal board for his bass setup!  It was a very musical birthday for Tim!  Happy Birthday Tim!  I love you!

 

(3 months later is better than not at all… right?)

Monday, July 7, 2014

1,000+ Thankful List–Fourth of July, Swimming, and Summer

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261. Cool July days

262. Night swims to help conquer a fear

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263. Hard floors and the ease of cleaning them!

264. Fun prizes at the library summer reading program!

265. A boy that loves a good stack of books

266. Beautiful 4th of July weekend

267. 4th of July skiers doing a pyramid at my parents house:

268. A wonderful first swim meet for Sammy (ever).  Sammy is in the 2nd lane.  He won his heat and ranked 18 out of 23 in the 25 m freestyle for the 8 & under group.  Not to shabby for just learning how to make it all the way across the pool!

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269. Lazy summer days

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270. Snow cones, cotton candy, pool open late, and fireworks from a local ski resort… picture perfect:

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271. Time to do some homeschool planning

272. Friends that encourage you in your exercise journey (Hi, Katie!)

273. The freedom to homeschool

274. Iced coffee

275. A little boy that loves to do lists and who does chores quickly in this fashion

276. My Grandmother’s egg slicer and the memories it brings back each time I use it

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277. Multiple rainbows in one day after a series of thunderstorms

278. That Sammy’s love for the water is equal to mine:

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279. Parents that open their house to watch the world cup and take a dip in the lake

280. Clean dishes in the cabinet (yes, that is simple but I am thankful for it)