Friday, February 26, 2010

K's Completed Reading List

This list only contains readers that K read by herself, not ones we read to her (which would be too many to list anyway lol).  Here is what she has read aloud to us so far:

Bob Books Set 1 (12 readers)
Bob Books Set 2 (12 readers)

Abeka Little Owl Books 1 & 2

Modern Curriculum Press, Phonics Practice Readers
Series A, Set 1 (10 readers)
Series B, Set 1 (10 readers)
Series C, Set 1 (10 readers)

She has also read the sentences/paragraphs daily in the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading, which is our phonics instruction curriculum and THE BEST in my honest opinion! I actually went back over the lessons we have finished and added up the sentences she has read 365 sentences in the OPGTR!  365 sentences would amount to a lot of readers.  Not to mention all the many, many words in each lesson!  The way OPGTR is set up, the child doesn't need additional readers because they get enough already in each lesson but I wanted K to love reading and she has and wants to read more than just the lesson requires.  The OPGTR provided a list of additional readers and when the child would be able to read them after what lesson - it was a great help.  Email me for a copy if you would like as it is no longer online.

So to date, she has read 56 books and 365 sentences from OPGTR!  So excited that her reading finally took off when we switched from Hooked on Phonics to Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading.  It is the most complete phonics/reading curriculum that I know of and at the end of the book, she will be on a 4th grade reading level!!  We have slated completion of the course for October!  She is currently mid-1st grade level in reading and will reach 2nd grade reading level in a few weeks!! 

I will update this post in September to show her complete Kindergarten reading list.  I was just so excited about this and wanted to show others that the OPGTR works!  I highly recommend it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Arrival of All About Spelling

We were so excited to get All About Spelling last week and today we started to put it all together. 

What I really likes is that it comes with tab dividers so you don't have to make your own.  Also all the cards were perforated for easy removal - no cutting required on those!  I have to get a new (bigger) index card box because the lid wouldn't close.  That's ok though because this one was only 44 cents and I can use it for something else.

You do have to cut the tiles out (they are thick and laminated) and then put the magnets on them (magnets come with it).  K was so excited about the letter tiles she started playing with them and later making words on her own for fun.  We plan to use the letter tiles along with OPGTR lessons as well.

Level 1 comes with a chart that we can put stickers on for each step K finishes - she loves sticker charts! There is also a certificate she gets awarded when she finishes Level 1.  I read the introduction on how to teach the lessons and skimmed over the book - it really looks awesome and I feel I made a great choice!  The lessons are easy to understand and teach and here is sample one:

Most people go through Level 1 quickly and I can tell we will probably be done with it by Summer and continue on to Level 2, which gets harder.

It is also a great review for the phonics K has learned so far in the OPGTR and that also goes along with the way I teach - we don't move on till we have mastered something OR we continue to review it daily until we do master it eventually.  Our math program, Saxon, also has this philosophy and I believe it is one that works and leaves NO GAPS later on.

Mr. Meerkat is Here!

*Update - read this post to see why we stopped cursive until 2nd/3rd grade

K was so very happy to find out that Mr. Meerkat arrived on Saturday!  You may be saying "Who is Mr. Meerkat!?"  He is the cute character that teaches Memoria Press' New American Cursive program.

We did the first lesson today with the introduction and the letter a and K was having so much fun that she begged to do b as well, so we did.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


How cool is this game!?  I'm thinking of buying this game.  You can read how the game works and see more pics here:

If you purchase it now, they have it on sale for $27.99 with free shipping and $10 of that goes towards donations for Haiti.  My daughter would love this and I know we would have a blast playing it.  I like how it has the age requirements: "2 to 6 Players—Ages *8 to Adult *Homeschoolers tend to be advanced, so ages may vary."

The Grace and Mercy cards are awesome and some hilarious, for instance one Grace card reads: 
"Mom talks to herself but that's ok, she calls it a "Meeting with the PTA" - Go to Home, Sweet Homeschool and collect $500." 

Monday, February 15, 2010

All About Spelling

I wanted to start a spelling program before fall but Spelling Workout A covers some phonics that K hasn't had yet in OPGTR (Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading). I also wanted to have some sort of phonics review.

Instead of buying 2 different programs, I came across All About Spelling.  Not only is it a wonderful, THOROUGH spelling program that is easy and fun - it is a phonics review as well!  Level 1 covers things K will be able to do so we ordered it and starting it next week.  She is enthused about using the color-coded letter tiles and we did a sample lesson already and K is so excited!

If you click through any of my links on this post or here and purchase the program, I will receive compensation for referring you.  ;-)

I plan on doing reviews of the program as we go along but from what others have said that have used it - its awesome!!

Memoria Press New American Cursive

*Update to this post - read our experience with starting cursive early and why we put it back on the shelf for later.

I was going to wait till the middle of 2nd grade or start of 3rd grade to teach K cursive handwriting but she kept insisting and I had read many articles on the benefits of starting it early (some research even says its better to do it before manuscript).  Since K's manuscript is very neat and well practiced, I decided to give into her desires and order Memoria Press' New American Cursive program.  Mr. Meerkat was K's motivation to choose this program lol.  I got the complete package - Books 1&2, desktop strip and the StartWrite NAC software to make my own copywork for her in cursive!

The reasons I chose the New American cursive are:
  • Modern, clean look 
  • Not so loopy as other cursive
  • Lightly slanted - which is easier for a left hander
  • It starts on 1st grade paper
  • The StartWrite software is exceptional and will allow me to make NAC copywork with KJV scripture 
  • Memoria Press is one of my favorite publishers 
Here is the NAC alphabet so you can see the lovely cleanness of the style!

In the meantime, I got out a dry erase cursive board I had purchased a few years ago and saved.  You may remember we used the same boards for manuscript in my post here.  Without my instruction or help, K did the entire alphabet last night and I thought it was pretty good for her first time!

Note: These below are not New American cursive style

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Our 12-year Grammar Snapshot

Our approach is slightly different from the recommendations in the WTM. Below is our 12 year grammar snapshot:

Key - FLL = First Language Lessons; R&S = Rod and Staff 

Kindergarten - FLL 1
1st Grade - R&S 2,  FLL 2
2nd Grade - R&S 3
3rd Grade - FLL 3,  R&S 4
4th Grade - FLL 4
5th Grade through 10th Grade - R&S English 5-10
11th and 12th Grade - R&S English Handbook or Stewart English

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ancient Egypt; Mummies

K couldn't wait to do a mummy, it got delayed because I didn't get around to cutting out the coffin until today. I traced it from a book and then cut out each section and glued it all together.

K wrapped up her doll in toilet paper and put amulets (stickers) on it.

Then she decorated the sarcophagus/coffin and wrote some hieroglyphics on the lid.  Then we placed the mummy in the coffin and closed it up!

Organization and Shopping Finds

I stopped by the dollar store to get something to organize our homeschool shelf a bit more.  I found sets of baskets that worked great!  They come in 2 or 3 packs for just a dollar and as you can see they worked well - one is a catch all for whatever, the other is for her art pencils, watercolor crayons, etc, then one for my scissors, pens, etc.  I also wanted a basket for Math because I was tired of trying to find each and every item we needed - now all I have to do is pull out the math basket that has the flash cards, meeting strips, clock and coin cup in the same spot.

Then I stopped by Value Village to check out what books they might have.  I was so happy to find Abeka 1979 readers!  The whole set 1-20!  :-)  Aren't they cute?  K loves them and can't wait to read them.  They were just $1.99 for the whole set.

Other finds included some charts about the solar system and grammar, 2 Dr. Seuss books and 2 history elementary textbooks for us to use as an extra study guide.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ancient Egypt Party

We had an "Ancient Egypt" party last week and my daughter invited 2 other homeschool girls her age.  I made her a costume of sorts lol - it was basically some costume fabric, with a hole cut out for the neck and tied at the waist.  Then I took some black felt and hot glued it on for a collar and used shiny pipe cleaners as the decor on the collar.

For food, we chose items that they ate in AE times: flat bread, hummus, carrots and fruit.

My daughter had already made her hieroglyphics clay tablet so she watched as the other girls wrote their names in hieroglyphics on clay.

Then all of the girls made pyramids with sugar cubes and they loved it!

We had a blast and hope to do more ancient civilization parties in the future! :-)

KJV Independent Copywork

My last post I showed you how to make your own copywork by writing verses from the Bible on the child's handwriting paper for them to copy.  K has been writing for a while and I didn't want to have to write the verses out for her everyday so I wondered if she was ready to do copywork straight from the Bible.  She was!  I used my large print Bible and opened up to John 1:1 and told her to write it and she did!  She even capitalized IN at the beginning because it was capitalized in the Bible lol.  She only made one mistake and I'm excited that now all I have to do is give her a verse to write and she does it herself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Do-it-Yourself Copywork

I never bought my daughter an actual penmanship curriculum, I simply taught her how to write her letters and then sentences.  She does get some copywork in with "Writing with Ease 1" but that is not a penmanship course but rather a preparation for composition writing later on.  One day is copywork, the next narration, etc.

For penmanship copywork daily, I simply write (in pen) KJV Bible verses on the special lined paper you can get at Wal-mart or download for free online, and then I write a verse and she copies it.  I've seen some free copywork online but haven't found KJV Bible verses yet - so I do it myself.  You can also write sentences from the classics or other good literature.

Here is an example of mine in case you choose to do your own.