When it is time to switch…

Homeschool Reading

All 3 of my children learn differently.  Homeschooling gives me a unique advantage to tap into this and really learn how each one of them learns best.  It is a challenge for me, but one that I gladly accept!

Recently I noticed Krash begin to struggle and not pick up on some literacy skills presented in his Calvert 1st grade curriculum.  I used this same program with PacMan and he flew right through it all, still does for the most part.  Krash is a different story.  He is a smart child who is very able to learn, just needs to be taught a bit differently.  He is very active and doesn’t enjoy sitting for long, which wasn’t usually a big problem for Pac, nor is it for Ladybug.

We hit a lesson in Calvert that I dislike, as it introduces some phonics skills too early, too quickly, and unclearly.  I remembered the lesson with PacMan and although he struggled a bit too, he moved right on.  Krash hit a wall and began to get super frustrated and negative, so did I.  Instead of dragging it out, we made a change.  Since we are under a cyber school, I emailed and got permission to do it my way for awhile and then come back to Calvert when I felt he was ready.  We are blessed with an unbelievable support system, so it was totally fine with them.

I stopped ALL Calvert literacy the very next day, and only kept the math {which he flies through}.  I decided to use ONLY All About Reading Level 1 and Spelling Level 1. The first 2 days, he fought me, then things began to click.  He slowly stopped complaining about “board school” and seemed more and more eager to learn.

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What did we do exactly?

I did one lesson from All About Spelling 1 and All About Reading 1 every single day {5 days a week}.  Other than his math from Calvert, that’s all we did, for 3 weeks! When we started this blitz, he was on lesson 9 with spelling and lesson 32 in reading.  Prior to this we had been using these lessons about once a week as a supplement to his Calvert.

When did the change in attitude occur?

After a few days, he became more accepting of the idea and wasn’t giving me as much attitude. After about 2 weeks, I really began to notice the confidence boost, which is what I was aiming for!  Then one day, he said it, the words that I was praying to hear!

“Mom, I like reading now!”

My mouth dropped, as he has never expressed a positive feeling towards reading!  He does it, but has never liked it. 

Why do I think All About Reading/Spelling helped?

It is by far the most comprehensive program I have seen. It honestly teaches ME things I didn’t realize were spelling or phonics rules! The hands-on approach helps so much; the little games included, the letter tiles, the stories, and how it all ties together is just wonderful.

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What has happened since?

We do love Calvert, and are sticking with it as our main program and since it is a box curriculum, we use their literacy portions too.  I do love a lot about Calvert’s literacy, just the sequence of certain spelling and phonics rules rub me the wrong way! After the 3 weeks, we got right back into our Calvert and it was a totally different experience.  He felt so much more confident and was able to understand better because his attitude was better.

No, it hasn’t solved all of our problems, I still struggle with a few aspects of Calvert’s literacy program and feel it moves a bit too fast in 1st grade overall.  We will stick it out this year and then I will revaluate for next year, as I always do.  We are a one year at a time, one child at a time kind of family.  Calvert works beautifully for PacMan and seems to be a perfect fit for him.  Will it be for Krash in the long run? I am not sure!

What about All About Reading/Spelling now?

We are still using it, just not as frequently.  I am back on the once or twice a week format.  He completed AAS Level 1 and is up to lesson 46 with AAR 1, which is only 4 lessons from the end.  We have All About Reading Level 2 already and will begin using that soon!

Why both Calvert and All About Spelling/Reading?

Because I like portions of both.  I like the stories in Calvert, the sight word emphasis, the comprehension portions and a lot more.  I love the sequence and speed of All About Spelling/Reading much better than Calvert’s spelling or phonics.  I use both because they reinforce each other in totally different ways.  Krash needs reminders and using both allows this overlap a lot.  I initially added in All About Reading Level 1 so I could review it and provide feedback on my blog.  I continue to use it because I love it and it works.  You can see more about that in the FAQ portion of this post.

Home Art Studio Weaving

Home Art Studio

We are reviewing a fabulous home art curriculum, Home Art Studio! We were using just the third grade level, but recently got the 1st grade kit to review also. I am blogging through our art projects to help keep me {the non-art lover} accountable, and also so I can prove to my kids that we DID do art!

Our latest project was Weaving, which I was excited about, although it did involve paint {which I normally dislike}. This is the second project on the 1st grade DVD, and is broken into 2 lessons. We watched the DVD before beginning, and then referred to the printed lesson plan while working.

On day 1, we painted…

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Ladybug joined us on painting day and really got into it, she loves paint!Home Art Studio Weaving-8550

On Day 2, we watched the 2nd part of the lesson on the DVD and did our weaving together…Home Art Studio Weaving-8714

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Ladybug was resting, so I cut her strips for her and did it with her later, but the boys both finished theirs and LOVED them!  This was a really fun lesson!Home Art Studio Weaving-8728


Helpful Home Art Studio Links:

Skylanders Giants 1st Grade Printables

My son loves Skylanders, last year I made him a set of Skylanders Kindergarten printables and we had a special Skylanders theme week!

Skylanders K Printables

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This year we added in the Skylanders Giants thanks to Christmas time, and he was struggling with a few specific 1st grade skills so I made some simple printables for him to use. Specific skills addressed: tally marks, digraphs {sh, ch, th, tch, wh}, _ight words, syllables, addition}.  I chose the skills addressed based on his current needs, I hope some of you who have Skylanders fans might be able to use them also!

There is a Roll and Record set, which also include a simple 1-5 recording sheet since Ladybug got jealous.

Skylanders Roll and Record

He LOVED these and within one day his tally mark skills were amazing!  His struggles with tally marks inspired me to create these!

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The Dot Fun set is less appealing to Krash, he enjoys the game aspect of the set above!

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Here’s a couple of videos of us working on the Roll and Record. I have been asked to make more in-action video clips, so I am going to try to do that more often!

 

 

We use the Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center with the Roll and Record, and use Dot Paint with the Dot Fun set!

Dry Erase Center   dot paint 

 

~> Download the Skylanders Giants Printables here! <~

Weekly Wrap-Up for a Few Weeks

Homeschool-Class

Our Christmas homeschool schedule is in full swing.  For us that means I am doing a LOT with Pac to get ahead before the break, nothing planned with Krash {he’s already ahead on his curriculum}, and nothing planned with Ladybug.  I have Christmas school for the little 2 and the big guy joins in periodically.

Lately I have been asked quite a few times about the un-chaotic look of our schoolroom, people wondering if it is always so neat and orderly.  I literally laugh every time I get asked this, as the framing of a photo does a lot of cover up!  I put on my wider angle lens and snapped a typical view for those of you wondering.  This was about 2 hours into a school day.  You can see the Christmas sensory bin everywhere, Christmas stickers galore {the little guys were making cards for their gymnastics coaches}, and various other messes-I think I spy a train track in the background.

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For comparison, this shot was taken just minutes after a school day began, major difference, huh?Christmas Sensory Bin-5022

Our schoolroom is messy and energetic for most of the day and we clean it up together in the end.  Usually once after school, or before lunch if I am on top of my game.  Then the kids often play in here in the evenings and they clean it up before bed.  I have things organized for self-clean up, they all know where things go and how to clean it up.  Labels and bins save the day!

On another note, to let you know that I am indeed a typical mom and not some supermom, we are officially Truth in the Tinsel drop-outs this year. We made it strong until about day 10 and then sickness and busy-ness set in and we just fell too far behind. I should have known to just pick one thing this year, but I loved Truth in the Tinsel so much I wanted to do it again.  Oh well, live and learn.Christmas Homeschool-5017

We have kept up with our Jesse Tree Calendar Connections, these are simple and the kids have enjoyed using the eBook even on their own.  The best thing that we have kept up with is The Sparkle Box, the kids have been browsing the catalogs and talking about the money in the box almost daily.  They are all 3 super excited to open it on Christmas Day.

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Krash is really moving along with his spelling and reading. He is mastering all of his weekly Calvert spelling tests. We always practice his words on the iPad with the Word Wizard app before his test.

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He is a very typical early reader.  He struggles just enough that I wouldn’t say it comes easy for him, nor would I say he is a struggling reader.  He does enjoy reading, but does get frustrated sometimes when he can’t read it with the ease he desires!  We talk about building up his brain muscle with practice the same way he works on his ab muscles with his V-ups!

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My favorite is that Ladybug LOVES to come over when he is reading and listen to him.

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He is struggling a bit with digraphs, remembering which is which.  I printed out this helpful digraph chart, and also this penguin digraph sorting game.  I let him earn Sparkle Box coins for every word he got right!Christmas Homeschool -5147

Which also turned into a math lesson as he counted his money as we went along!

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This is where I pin all of my reading finds, in case you want to peek or follow!image

He about fell out of his chair when I announced that we were playing this game for school time AND eating the M&Ms on the tree when complete!Christmas HomeSchool-5203


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My oldest guy is moving right along with 5th grade, honestly he is a joy to teach most of the time. I am so thankful for him and the way he has matured over the last year or so.

Having pets to snuggle with during reading time makes it a bit hard to want to do any other subjects!Homeschool -5179

He is such a servant hearted boy, makes my momma-heart melt.  He was absolutely THRILLED about the Sparkle Box idea and has been browsing and thinking about what we will do with the money the most. He is such a good example to the younger two.Homeschool -5047


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

Weekly Wrap-Up

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It’s been a week of sitting back and really taking notice of the season of life we are in.  We are growing out of the toddler phase and more into the preschooler phase with Ladybug, and the boys are way more used to this “school thing” nowadays. I used to find myself isolating 2 kids to focus on 1, but the need for that is slowly disappearing.  It still helps a lot, mostly when I need to sit and read science or history with Pac, but the need for separation is less.  My view these days often looks like this…

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Ladybug loves to be right in the action, and will often ask to sit with me at my desk while I work with the boys.  We often spend her Tot School time on the floor playing with her in the morning, but she will request to join in throughout the day too.  I always have something ready for her to do.

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Thankfully the boys are used to her drama, and her many potty breaks, they have learned to go with the flow of homeschooling. If she has a fit, or screams because she has to go POTTY,  we just pause for a break, and get right back to our work.  I am the one struggling with the frustration of the interruptions these days, but I too am getting better.


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Krash is really moving along with his spelling and reading.  He is mastering all of his weekly Calvert spelling tests.  We always practice his words on the iPad with the Word Wizard app before his test.Homeschool-4266

The sight word printables I made for his Calvert sight words are really helping him.  After working with them in 3 different ways, seeing them throughout the Calvert stories he reads during the week, plus on his reading work pages, he has mastered almost all of the new words with ease!Homeschool -4112

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He is flying through math also, and plays several of our favorite math apps to keep his math facts sharp in his mind.  Our favorite math facts apps are Math BINGO {below}, Math Drills, and Operation Math.Homeschool -4265


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We are moving along in 5th grade, and I even snapped a picture of the biggest boy this week!  This is a great one because I caught his desk CLEAN, something he struggles with! Every now and then I have to get him to do a clean sweep of the desk and get it back in order.  He always loves it after he does this {so do I}. 

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That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…