Our Adventures Over the Last Year

I’ve been absent for the last year. We’ve been busy and had a lot of changes.

We bought a house:

outside before

Renovated, painted and fixed it up

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Curious Monkey was quite the handyman with his Dad. He worked hard to help take this wall down to open up our kitchen.

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Caught some waves:

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Dad taught all the kids to skateboard:

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The Gymnast Competed:

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Chess tournaments and Soccer games were played.

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We had a baby:

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And everyone got one year older.

All About Reading Level 2 –A Review

I am a huge fan of All About Reading and All About Spelling. I just finished All About Reading Pre-1 Level with the little boys. I’ve been using All About Spelling for 5 years now and also love it. Last year I was on the fence about whether to order All About Reading Level 2 (AAR 2) for the Little Gymnast (age 10) and the Karate Kid (age 9). Both of them were reading better, but still needed practice for fluency. The Karate Kid was struggling more than the Gymnast. They were both still struggling to read multi-syllable words, compound words and silent-e words.

A friend of mind let me borrow her Level 2 to look over. After looking through it at her house and more that night, I ordered it. I got started right away with the kids with her books while I waited for mine.

This program is a dream. It is everything you could hope for and the price is right. Over the last 5 years I’ve tried 10 different reading programs or supplements with these two children. Because of the Gymnast’s dyslexia and the Karate Kids Asperger’s and ADHD, I’ve had a hard time finding the perfect match. I need something that has lots of practice, but in new ways so they don’t get bored reading the same passages 20 times (and besides they won’t read them more than two times). I need something that’s engaging, has quick lessons, with reading pages that aren’t cluttered and distracting. All About Reading is all this and more. You can download sample lessons to try yourself.

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AAR is the first of many reading programs (including computer programs) that the Karate Kid doesn’t fight with me about. He really enjoyed it, even though he was 9 when we started. He loves the games, they are just what he needs to make him read without making it feel like work. Now I’ve tried games before; Happy Phonics, file folder games, bingo. But AAR games are perfect.

 

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Here are a few things that I like about All About Reading:

  • The lessons are scripted. I don’t have to come up with my own words unless I want to.
  • Almost every lesson has a different game to play, and they aren’t elaborate. From chopping compound word logs to rescuing kittens from a tree the kids get plenty of practice reading the new words.
  • Fluency practice sheets for every lesson. The sheets start with new words, then move on to phrases and then sentences. These sheets practice the new words and old words to build reading confidence.
  • The kids will never be asked to read a word they haven’t been taught in a lesson.
  • My kids think it’s fun and don’t fight with me to practice their reading.
  • Approximately every other lesson the kids get to read a story from the beautiful and engaging readers. These are some of their favorite stories.

I haven’t found any negatives about this program. It works for me as a teacher as well as the kids.

Both of my children have completed this level now and are reading more and with more fluency than before. We have moved on to level 3.

Moments to Remember ~ Snow Day

For two weeks we’ve been hearing it might snow. And it finally did. The house was a buzz yesterday and nothing was getting done besides waiting for the snow to arrive. As soon as it started falling the kids bundled themselves up and headed out to play in it.

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They were all giggles as the “skated” on the trampoline and pushed each other down.

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After all the fun they were freezing and came in for our ceremonial post-snow hot chocolate.

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We all get so tickled when it snows here. It’s exciting that we get a little snow every winter. But this Momma raised in the Deep South is happy it only sticks for a day or two.

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Organizing our Right Start Math Manipulatives

 

We have been using Right Start for 2 years now. I love all the manipulatives and game cards. Organizing all the goodies can be a bit overwhelming. At first I put all the cards into envelopes and kept everything in a shoe box. It was a bit cumbersome. I read about how someone used a fishing tackle box to organize and I loved the idea. So I headed to Wal-Mart to look at the tackle boxes. I didn’t like the big boxes. I decided to pick up a few separate boxes. I have two boxes that have counters in them. We used a few other programs before Right Start and they required other manipulatives.

 

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I have one box for abacus cards, place value cards, triangles, and a few other things.

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I found craft boxes worked great for the bigger stack of cards that come with the game kit. The tangrams, geared clock and abacus fit nicely in the craft boxes as well.

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I love my boxes. I keep them in a cabinet in our school room and just grab the one that we need each day. Getting them out and cleaning out are easy.

Homeschool Dad Park Day ~ Moments to Remember

 

This summer has been so busy. I’ve not had time to blog. We’ve swapped our living room with our schoolroom giving us more room for school and rearranged things quite a lot. More to come on that. I’ve been deciding on and ordering our curriculum for the fall and have been trying to get our plans all in order to get it all done. To give me a few hours of quiet time, Daddy took the kids to the park. He met a couple of other homeschool Dads who were also granting their wives a moment of silence to plan.

Here they are dressed and equipped for the park.

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Our oldest spent the night at a friends and was getting dropped off at the park so she’s absent from the photo. I am so thankful and blessed to have a husband who is willing to take the kids by himself. He’s an awesome man!

While gone I spent the hours planning the new chore systems. Every year in July I pass chores down to the next smallest kid that is able. Then the big kids get to take over some of my chores to help the house get clean and stay clean. I’m a little late this year. But better late than never.

 

This week I’m linking up to Moments to Remember at Homeschool Creations.

Field Trip to the Zoo ~ Moments to Remember

After 2 years of living here we finally made it to the Virginia Zoo here. This was a really special trip, it was the first time the Littlest Man has been to the zoo. And the Curious Monkey hasn’t been since he was really little so I don’t know if he remembers it. He was so excited. It was a good thing I brought the camera. He kept running over to me, “Momma, you have to take a picture of this animal. And Momma take a picture of this one. And Momma hurry come here, take a picture.”

Curious Monkey grabbed me by the arm, telling me to come and take a picture, and ran me over to the termite mound, then made his brother pose with him.

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The Little Sidekick loved watching the elephant. I think he could have sat all day and watched this one. It had an amazing calming effect on him.

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My girls wanted to take this little fennec fox home. They thought it was so cute. In case you didn’t know a fennec fox is a small nocturnal fox that weighs about 1.5–3.5 lb and is between 9–16 in long. It is the smallest species of canid in the world.

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The Karate Kid almost missed the field trip. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to go and refused to get out of the car leaving me in quite a bind. But he finally came around and decided he would give the zoo a try. And much to his surprise he love it.

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Even though there is no evidence the Gymnast was with us on the trip but kept hiding from the camera. Don’t think she’ll get so lucky next time. We can’t wait to go back to the zoo again.

 

This week I’m linking up to Moments to Remember on Homeschool Creations.

Nature Study ~ Moments to Remember

This week the big kids found some of these creepy crawly caterpillars in the front yard. They decided to make them pets and put them in their butterfly habitat. They caught three so that each of them had one. They fed the fresh leaves every day.

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And they made sure they got out to play.

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They would rather play with their nature study than draw it. Maybe when the weather is cold and there are no bugs to play with they will want to make a nice watercolor of their pet caterpillars.

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I guess there isn’t a better way to lean about nature than to feed it and play with it.

While the girls and Karate Kid were intrigued by caterpillars this week. The boys were excited to learn about magnets. Here they are repeating Karate Kid’s experiment of pulling paper clips with a magnet through different medium. 

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The Sidekick wandered around the house filled with wonder and joy as he find things that the magnets would stick to.

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His little face just lit up and he got giddy when he found something that the magnet stuck onto.

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Little Man took this experiment very serious. He watched all the magnet experiments on the Discover and Do video, did many of the experiments himself and made sure to take good “notes” just like his older brother.

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Notice the very serious face….

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Ta dah!! I made them stick!

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Little Man has shown a real interest in school topics the last few weeks. He has been begging to do school and he is having a blast. I love to have them beg for school instead of dread it.

If I had planned our science this week, it would not have looked like this. I love that the kids can get engrossed in their study when they are interested in the topic. And with a house full of little sizzlers you never know what is going to strike their fancy. (Not familiar with the term sizzler, head over to Sizzle Bop and read her story.)

 

This week I’m linking up to Moments to Remember on Homeschool Creations.

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