Friday, July 27, 2012

Rainbows and Watermelons, Collage Friday

We still continue with informal school as desired. The girls ask for school most days.

1. Holly's big accomplishment was writing all her numbers. She has continued to practice this week, although her preferred form of practice is to write the numbers as answers to equations. She definitely loves math.

2. I couldn't resist and added a phonics app to my iPad. The girls have both been enjoying playing with it. It includes both letter formation and phonics. I am hoping it will help our more formal lessons go more smoothly. I am also hoping it doesn't spoil them for book work.

3. As a general rule I am not into messy crafty stuff. But we have so many crayons. I decided to be a fun mom and we made muffin tin crayons. The girls really enjoyed peeling the papers, sorting, and seeing them melt. It wasn't all that messy either.

We have spent a lot of time at the farm garden this week. The severe drought means our vegetables require frequent watering. Sadly our pumpkins have all died, and the zucchini is almost all withered away. The other fall plants aren't looking great. The green beans look nice but aren't producing well. It has just been too hot. But:

1. The watermelons are doing remarkably well.

2. The tomatoes are producing, much to Holly's delight.

3. It is fun to play in the water spraying out of the little hole in the hose.

4. We didn't get much rain, but we did get a beautiful rainbow. This was hard. That storm behind the rainbow looked like it was coming toward us, but it went south. I almost wanted to cry as I watched the rain bypass our parched crops. But God did send us this beautiful rainbow, and the girls started shouting "God promised never to flood the whole earth again!". I was reminded that God promises to care for us. Even if we don't get rain God will provide in his plan.

Thanks to Homegrown Learners for hosting collage Friday.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Letters & numbers, and learning about learning

Today Holly wanted to "do school". I suggested she practice writing "3's". She tried, became frustrated after her first attempt, and decided to show me how she could write her name in lower case. She has avoided writing lower case letters for some time, so when she wrote a perfect little "h". I was surprised and delighted. I quelled my desire to focus on the fact that names start with capital letters. Instead I focused on how lovely her little h was, and showed her that if she can write a little "h", then she could write an "n" and "m". Then she ran and grabbed her Getty-Dubay handwriting book (which she has adamantly protested in the past) and did the "h" page. She became frustrated with the "m" & "n" pages and decided she wanted to do something else. I decided that mastery of one lowercase letter was good for 1 day. Especially a Saturday.

However, somehow the conversation returned to writing numbers. Holly said she could write some of her numbers, so I asked her to show me. With a little verbal guidance and encouragement she wrote all the numbers 1 through 13! This is the first time she has written all of the numbers correctly.
I thought we were done with school. Holly decided to play with our letter puzzles, Since Heather was still sleeping, she wanted me to play with her. So as she found the letters and built the words I started talking about phonics with her - blends, silent vowels, the "sh" sound, etc...

Now Heather is up and they are "reading" their library books to each other, actually they are narrating to each other. So, it is now 10am on a Saturday morning. If we had followed my plan Holly would have written some "3's". But since I was willing to drop my plan we have started on lower case letters, we have covered some phonics and reading comprehension, and Holly wrote every number, including "3"!

I am learning so much about learning through observing my girls. Handwriting curricula never starts with lower case h. Phonics curricula doesn't teach "sh" before you master cvc words. But this is how Holly is learning. And how I am learning that curriculum needs to be a tool not a taskmaster, and that my plan for teaching needs to adjust as interests are expressed. The fabulous thing is that we still get there. We still got a beautiful "3", but we also got so much more!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Collage Friday with Homegrownlearners, RAIN

There is a homeschool blog I really like - Homegrown Learners. In fact I enjoyed it so much, I read the entire blog like a book. The author is in her 3rd year of homeschooling and follows a interest-led/classical approach. Just the type of style I have envisioned after all my research. They even used Horizons math!

Homegrown Learners hosts collage Friday, an opportunity to document your week with photo collages. This is my first week to participate. I had fun making collages with my new iPad.  So here is my first installment:

  • It is summer and we haven't officially started school.  But Holly asks to do school several days a week.  She was working on writing letters and alphabetical order.  I think she is finally getting the idea that "elemeno" is not a word in the alphabet song.  she still occasionally gets stuck on "L, M, N, O," though. 
  •  Holly was very proud after she practiced writing her 2's.  She preferred to write them as the answer to an equation though. May have to try that for other numbers. She would like to move on in math, her favorite subject, but it is hard when the only number you can write is "1". 
  • On Tuesday the girls went to 4H with us.  They impromptu posed on a rock outside the community building.  We are still deciding what to do about 4H next year.  Holly will be old enough for cloverbuds.  We need to decide if we will change to a club closer to home, or continue in the one hubby grew up in.

  • RAIN!!!!! Thank you God!!!
  • We had rain on Saturday. A half inch!!  Really except for helping our garden it doesn't make a dent in our severe drought.  But it was so wonderful to have rain. It was also very special as Holly prayed Friday night for God to send rain so we could have tomatoes. 
  • The girls danced in the rain.  I ran around filling buckets from the downspouts putting extra water on the garden. (We ate our first tomato yesterday!) We were soaked!

You can check out other bloggers collages for this week here.