9.04.2015

ivey league kindergarten: week in review!

This week we covered a lot of ground in our Hooked on Phonics program....Caleb seems to be mostly over his reading jitters and is a lot more confident!  We moved on to words with the short "U" sound (-un, -ut, -ug, -up, etc.) and added some more "helper words" as well, such as "see," "with," and "says."  He faltered a little bit today when we were reviewing everything; he was the one who had chosen the pace this week ("let's do some more!") but I wanted to make sure it all stuck.  After confusing a few of the word families, Caleb figured it out again.  I've found it helps to start each day reviewing a little bit of what we did before, plus he still likes reading sentences I write on our dry erase board:


I need to write down all the word families and "helper words" Caleb has learned so we can find more ways to fit them in.  One funny "real world" instance of how important the right word is:  we saw a commercial on TV where a wife was asking her husband for a MUG, but he couldn't understand her because she was calling out to him from their tiny kitchen and it was noisy in there.  He entered the kitchen and gave his wife a nice HUG, and then went into the next room again.  Caleb thought it was hilarious, and I think it helped to remind him that those words rhyme because they came from the same word family.

We finished Mr. Popper's Penguins this week too.  Caleb loves the part where Mr. Popper uses the telephone to ask about whether he needs some kind of license for his pet penguin; he ends up being misunderstood by many operators, who get his name wrong repeatedly ("Mr. Popwell?" "Mr. Topper?") and end up transferring him to someone in the automobile license department.  So Caleb drew Mr. Popper with an "exasperated face" and I helped him draw the phone.


We did several math lessons this week too.  Caleb can now write his numbers from 1 to 30, and is getting so much better with adding.



We didn't get to Bible lessons this week (oops), but we did do a little science.  Caleb saw something about the different types of clouds on Curious George, so he asked if we could learn more about it.  I found a neat online video about the four major types of clouds (Caleb has watched it at least five times in the last two days!), and then we made models of the different types using cotton balls and glue.



We also peeked outside that day to see what kind of clouds were in the sky.  They were low and covered a lot of the sky so we decided we were looking at stratus clouds right then.  Cirrus clouds happen on sunny days and are those wispy ones that are way up high, cumulus clouds are the fluffy ones you see all the shapes in, and cumulonimbus clouds are the tall, dark, "angry" clouds that are often accompanied by thunderstorms or tornadoes (Caleb drew those in, as well as the rain under the stratus clouds and the sun near the cirrus clouds).  It was a fun activity and I ended up learning right along with Caleb, since it has been many years since I learned about cloud types and have since forgotten most of it!

This was our verse for the week:


Links: (all FREE!)
I Can Listen to Stories Printable (via KinderCraze)
Cloud Types Video (via PBS Learning Media)
Cottonball Clouds Inspiration (via Pinterest; picture only)

8.28.2015

ivey league kindergarten: week(s) in review!

We had a mini-vacation over the past two weeks, partly due to tummy troubles that were ailing Caleb, and then because we had family visiting out of town.  So the first week, we did kindergarten on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then the following week we did kindergarten on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Caleb did well returning to school stuff after the break; he retained most of what he had learned and seemed excited to get back into it.

We continued to work through Hooked on Phonics.  Caleb learned a few more "helper words" such as "what" and "with," and we also started on words with the short "o" sound (-ox, -ot, -og).  I realized that our secondhand kindergarten kit is missing the "Volume 2" audio CD, but we've done fine without it so far.  I basically read the first couple of words for Caleb like the voice on the CD would, and then he reads on his own.  We've also found that making silly sentences is a fun way to mix up the words he's learned!


Caleb is also doing very well in math.  Since the workbook has started to introduce pennies and nickels, we got out a magnetic money set for further practice.




We've also gotten back into handwriting practice now that Caleb's pencil grasp has improved.  I found some fun printables online and we're just going through it one letter at a time.



For our read-aloud, we're working our way through Mr. Popper's Penguins.  We read it earlier this year but Caleb is a big fan so we decided we'd read it again.

We only got to one Bible story during the last couple of weeks.  Caleb learned a very censored version of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (basically he knows that the people who lived there were very mean and didn't want to change their ways) and Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt.  I found a fun art printable online; Caleb cut out the verse and the picture, then he used a glue stick to spread a thin layer of glue onto the picture of Lot's wife.  Then he sprinkled salt all over the glue.  Even though it's dry, I don't think it's the kind of art project you can hang up because it may still shed some salt!  Either way it was fun.




And since we were working with salt, Caleb asked if he could mix baking soda and vinegar together, so we dyed some little dishes of vinegar, got out his pipette, and he went at it for at least forty-five minutes!


Caleb was having trouble memorizing his C verse; I think since it had some unfamiliar words in it like "cast" and "sustain" he just couldn't remember it well, even after I explained what the words meant.  So I switched it out for a simpler verse:


He did much better at this one, though he probably wondered if I had ulterior motives for choosing it!  :)

Links (all free!):
Handwriting Activity Sheets (Playdough to Plato)
Lot's Wife/Pillar of Salt Craft (Sunday School Crafts)

8.14.2015

ivey league kindergarten: week in review

Today we finished up our third week of kindergarten.  :)

This week we tried a different approach to reading.  We still did a few pages in Hooked on Phonics (we learned -ip words), but Caleb seemed to get stuck once we got to the fourth little book that came with the set.  He was very overwhelmed that the sentences said things like "Pig can hit" and kept saying he couldn't do it.  Plus I noticed he often confused lowercase b and d (a common problem for his age, I've read).  So we switched gears and did a couple of activities to help him learn the difference between those pesky look-alike letters.




We also utilized the letter word-play flashcards that came with our HOP set to build words.  Sometimes I'd asked him to build a certain word (like "cat"), and then ask him what letter he should switch out to make another one (like "can" or "rat").  So this way we could work on both beginning and ending word sounds.  Caleb seemed to really like this activity so I'm going to find other hands-on kind of stuff for us to do.


Today (Friday) I really wanted Caleb to give that little book a try, but he shut down as soon as I pulled it out.  I was conflicted...I didn't want to force him (and possibly make him hate reading), but I also didn't want to give him such an easy way out.  The kid needs to learn that you don't quit just because things get challenging!  So I took out our whiteboard and started writing words.  Caleb would read them and then we'd do the thing where I ask him how to change one word to make it say something else.  He did pretty well, and he also wanted to show me he could write some of the words too.

He's Cyclops from the X-Men today.  I told him he could wear the shades as long as he did his work!
Then I started writing short, simple sentences similar to the ones in the book he was so afraid of, only I made them kind of goofy to see if Caleb was really comprehending what he read.


He thought these were hilarious.  He'd say, "Mommy, you're not a cat!  I'm not a man!"  Then I went for broke.  One by one, I'd write a sentence from that little book, making sure Caleb could tell what I was doing.  The only different thing was that for some of the words, I'd underline the word endings to help him remember what word family they'd belong to.


And the kid did amazing.  He got stuck on "did" because he tends to mix up b and d, but he read most of the words himself.  I think this helped him see that his anxiety was over the book....he had his mind made up that it was hard to read and that he couldn't do it.  So I guess our focus this week was to show Caleb that he can read better than he thinks he does.  We also read a few of his own books, and when we'd come across a word that Caleb has learned in the past few weeks, I'd stop reading and make him read it.  Luckily the books we chose were ones we haven't read in a long time (or else he'd probably just know the words by memory!).

Caleb made sure we did math every day.  That's one subject he doesn't find too daunting at all.  His numbers are getting better too.  This week the workbook delved into addition and counting by 10s, as well as some calendar work.


We finished reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle this week as well.  Caleb really liked it, and we decided to make an upside-down house as a fun project (the title character lives in one and he found the idea of it pretty amusing!).  I found the furniture and other features in an Ikea catalog, so I must say Caleb's house is pretty trendy.



For Bible time, we learned about the Tower of Babel and then God's promise to Abram.  Caleb built his own Tower of Babel out of mega-blocks (and like always, knocked it over before we took a picture), and we did a simple art project for Abram that focuses on the verse where God promises him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.


Our C verse for this week was Psalm 56:22.  Caleb's having a bit more trouble memorizing this one so we'll most likely carry it over into next week too.


Links (all free!):
Letter Discrimination Coloring and Graphing Activities (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Abram Coloring Page (Coloring Pages 7)

8.07.2015

ivey league kindergarten: week in review

We have a second week of kindergarten under our belts!

On Monday we finished up Henry Huggins so I had Caleb complete a "book report."  He drew a picture of his favorite part of the book, where Henry tries to type a letter from his mother on the typewriter (spoiler alert....Henry is a terrible typist).


Caleb selected Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as our next read-aloud so we've been enjoying that this week.

We continued to do at least one Horizons Math lesson a day.  He's getting so much better at writing his numbers, and he follows the directions pretty well when I read them for him.

We've also continued with Hooked on Phonics.  This week we read some -ag words and then moved on to -id, -ig, and -it words.  It was more difficult to find printable worksheets and word slides for some of these, so I ended up making my own.





The lessons also started delving into what they call "helper words," which are common words like "and," "the," and "is."

For Bible, we read about Cain and Abel as well as Noah's Ark.  I found worksheets online that Caleb responded well to (though we skipped the question about how long it took Noah to build the ark.  Scripture doesn't give a specific amount of years; God talked about "120 years" but most scholars agree that that number refers to the lifespan of man after the flood).



We also made homemade animal crackers to go along with the Ark story.  The recipe I found online is closer to a shortbread recipe than a crunchy cookie one, but the cookies held their shape really well and tasted good.


Our verse for this week was Ephesians 4:32.


We also did a fun "color words" activity to help Caleb know color names by sight. (I colored the boy, Caleb colored the rest!)


And finally, during some down time and rainy weather, I was able to introduce Caleb to "Reading Rainbow" on Netflix.  I can tell there's some newer episodes mixed in with the older ones I remember from my own childhood, but so far Caleb has loved all of them.


This week I tried something new...rather than write a to-do list for every day, I wrote a "did-it" list instead.  Whenever we were done with kindergarten for the day, I would simply write down what we did for each area of study.  Doing so helped me feel more productive!  :)

Links: (links with an asterisk are FREE!)
*I Can Listen to Stories Printable (KinderCraze) 
*Word Family Sliders (Make Take Teach via Teachers Pay Teachers)
*Cain and Abel/Noah's Ark Worksheets (Bible Fun for Kids)
*Animal Cracker Recipe (French Press)
*Color Words Printable (Teachers Pay Teachers)

7.31.2015

ivey league kindergarten: week in review

We started kindergarten this week!



Caleb has been more than ready for awhile now; we just had to wait for Mommy to get brave and start!  :)

For kindergarten, I wanted to make things a little more structured, but also keep some flexibility if changes in material or routine were needed.  I decided to use actual curriculum for reading and math, and then use less formal methods for handwriting and Bible lessons:

Reading: Hooked on Phonics (materials for grades K-2 found at Goodwill for under $5!!)

Math:  Horizons (found a good deal for both workbooks plus teacher's guide on Ebay; any manipulatives we didn't already own were purchased online or in Target's dollar aisle).  Also might supplement with free worksheets and printables off Pinterest to reinforce certain skills or to allow for extra practice.


Handwriting:  Various kindergarten-level workbooks found at Target and Goodwill.  We're mainly concentrating on good pencil grasp and being able to correctly write all letters and numbers, even if he's a little messy at first.

Bible:  I went back and forth on this one.  I liked the idea of finding a free schedule online or in a book, but so many I saw omitted stories (one didn't even talk about the fall in the Garden of Eden!), or else just really dumbed them down.  So I decided to be really radical and just teach out of my own Bible.  Crazy, right?  I paraphrase as I'm reading if the Scripture is long, and then we find some kind of craft or worksheet online to reinforce the lesson.

Science:  Caleb still has a great interest in science projects (he could spend hours dousing piles of baking soda with a pipette full of vinegar) but I knew at this age an actual curriculum might kill that love real fast.  So in the meantime we'll intermittently do fun, simple experiments that follow his current interests, and also watch episodes of Sid the Science Kid, The Magic Schoolbus, etc. (Thank you, Netflix!)

Social Studies/Geography:  Again, no real curriculum here.  He's just starting out.  But Caleb loves maps and can already identify a number of states just based on where they are on the map or their shapes.  I think maps are a great activity for him for now.

Read-Alouds:  We'll read out of a chapter book for around 30 minutes a day (at least).  We have a nice collection of paperbacks from Goodwill already, and there's always the local library.

This week was a learning experience for both of us.  I'm more of a learning-by-doing kind of person, so it bugged me to no end that there was really no way to plan our week without actually going through it first.  I even purchased a brand-new planner for myself, naively put in activities from each subject on each weekday, and then found myself flying by the seat of my pants.  That's the nice thing about kindergarten, though.  As long as you do some reading and math that day, you're good.  Caleb and I had fun doing different activities together, but I didn't stress if we didn't get to everything that day.  I quickly saw that quality, not quantity, was more important for both of us. So here's a rundown of our first week:

We made very good strides in math.  The lessons are pretty short (just a couple of pages each), so it's nice to have the option to either stop with one or to keep going if the student wants to (and most days, Caleb wanted to do more than one).  I like how the curriculum includes number-writing practice since Caleb doesn't know how to write most of the numbers right now.  We also worked on his pencil grasp and it improved dramatically this week:

Monday:  "Fat" pencil, fist grasp

Wednesday: Regular pencil, better grasp!!!


We also started Hooked on Phonics the very first day.  The curriculum's instruction is all on CDs, but you also pause the audio often for the child to read on their own.  We did a quick test at the beginning to make sure Caleb still remembered his letter sounds; since he did, we were able to start with reading -at words, -an words, and so on.  Each lesson builds on the last one so there's always opportunities to review, and after a few lessons, the child can read a little book that came with the kit.  Caleb has a love-hate relationship with reading.  He is anxious to learn, but he's also just....anxious.  He got discouraged quickly once the workbook mixed up -at and -an words.  We did some extra practice on the side with some free printables I got online, plus we just kept going at our own pace (I didn't want to set him up for failure by going too quickly, but I also knew we were in danger of him simply memorizing the words and what order in which they were presented, rather than sounding them out).  He is still nervous whenever we start the CD, but he works through it and his confidence is slowly growing.  Here are the free printables I found online...Caleb really enjoyed the ones that involved cutting and gluing, and he did way better than I expected with matching the picture with the word.  The word sliders have also helped him.





For our Bible lessons, we began at the beginning and dove a little deeper into Creation and the Fall.  Caleb knows these stories already, but I wanted him to better understand the implications they have on our faith and lives today.  He colored a "Days of Creation" book that tells you what God created on what day, and he also colored and cut out a coiled snake for the Adam and Eve story.





Since Caleb really likes making things in the kitchen, I also incorporated baking into our lessons....we made Earth Cookies!  These are really for Earth Day, but I figured they would work just as well with the Creation story.  Just a sugar cookie recipe where you divide the dough in half and use food coloring to make one half green and the other half blue.  To form the cookies, you just take a little dough from both colors and squish them together as you form the ball of dough.  Ours weren't quite as vibrant as some I've seen online, but then again, we only used a few drops of food coloring!  They were still yummy and a lot of fun to make.


We also worked on memorizing a verse (I want to try to do a least one verse per week).  Caleb said he wanted to try the alphabet verses again; we started this in preschool but didn't make it past B, plus he doesn't really remember the ones he used to have memorized, so we started with A again.


For reading aloud, Caleb selected Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary.  We read a chapter a day and since the book only has six chapters, we're almost done!  Caleb really likes the book, although since it was written in the fifties I had to explain things like what a typewriter is, and why Henry's ice cream cone only cost him a nickel.  One thing I like about that place and time....at one point in the book, Henry accidentally loses his friend's brand-new football and needs to replace it.  He never even considers running to his parents to ask for the money.  Instead, he earns the money on his own and is able to pay for a new football.  I want Caleb to have that same sense of responsibility!

We did a couple of pages in his handwriting workbook this week, but not as much as I thought we would.  I wanted to get his pencil grasp under control before we really got into it since it seemed counterproductive to teach him how to better write his letters if he was still fisting his pencil.  I still have books I "wrote" in kindergarten where my letters were all over the place and backwards, so I know Caleb is right where he needs to be on this.

I also let Caleb watch an episode of The Magic School Bus about space since he's been asking me questions about the planets and stars lately.  We actually have the whole series on DVD (good deal on Amazon awhile back), but since it's also currently on Netflix I just let him watch it on my tablet.

Both boys and I also enjoyed some "recess" most days this week; we played out in the backyard until the heat drove us back inside.  We also went by the library to check out books, a trip I want to keep up every week if we can.  Storytime is starting back in September, so we might try to go to the afternoon slot since that way there's a better chance of Caleb being around kids his own age.

So all in all, everyone is extremely happy with how our first week went.  Once I was able to forgive myself for not getting to everything that day, I was able to see that Caleb was still learning and enjoying it too.  And in five days' time, he can read a number of small words (as long as he doesn't answer too quickly without looking at the word first!), he can hold his pencil better, he can write numbers 1 through 4, and he can recite a Bible verse.  Each morning I was asked if we were going to do kindergarten that day, and since I was asked in an excited tone rather than a wary tone, I knew Caleb was still into it.  And maybe I am too.  :)

Links: (links with an asterisk are FREE!)
*Short Vowel Word Sort: -an and -at Printable (iHeart Literacy)
*Word Families: -an or -ag AND Picture Match Printables (Miss Giraffe via Teachers Pay Teachers)
*Word Family Sliders (Make Take Teach via Teachers Pay Teachers)
*God Created Everything Booklet Printable (Look to Him and Be Radiant)
*Snake Color and Cut Printable (First Palette)
*Earth Cookie Inspiration (Tammilee Tips)
*ABC Verses List (Homeschool Creations)
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