Little Bug has never really enjoyed reading out loud to me. I have not pushed it, being satisfied with her reading out loud to me the stories from her All About Reading readers. One day she came up to me and asked me to listen. She had just finished reading The BFG by Roald Dahl and she wanted me to hear the very last part. She fluently read through a page and a half, laughing at the words, clearly comprehending the text and appreciating the words written in the story. She will sporadically come up to me and want to tell me all about a book she is reading or has just finished. I feel at this time, I don’t need to push a “reading curriculum” on her. She loves to read and right now I feel continuing to foster that love of reading is what is most important for her. I am thinking about what we will use next year to dive deeper into literature study, but for now, she is devouring book after book to the point she has read through our home library of chapter books most of which I had in my 4th grade classroom when I taught public school! She has been checking out books at the library and to date she has read 126 chapter books since June 2016!
There is big news this month about Copywork! Little Bug has started doing true Copywork where she has a text and copies it onto her own paper. She was not ready for this until just this month. She even surprised me and told me she wanted to write on notebook paper (instead of the big lined paper). I am so proud of her progress!
There are many opinions about whether a child in CC needs grammar instruction before reaching the age of the Essentials program at age 9. Many say just knowing the Foundations English grammar is enough. Others say it is helpful to have some grammar instruction before Essentials. I have been on the fence about this. I want to trust the CC system, but I can see both sides. I don’t think a hardcore Language Arts program like CLE’s is necessary, but I didn’t necessarily want to do no English grammar with Little Big either.
I had heard about First Language Lessons a few years ago. I found it on Amazon for $12.99 and decided to take the plunge and order it. I am so glad I did!! We are only 7 lessons in (out of 100) of Level 1, but so far this seems to be a good fit for Little Bug and our homeschool for several reasons. The lessons literally take 10 minutes to do! There is no required writing for Little Bug. There are “enrichment activities” that I can opt for her to do if I want, but the majority of the lessons are done orally in 10 minutes or less! FLL includes Copywork which comes at the perfect time since Little Bug is just beginning true Copywork. I feel very good about FFL and feel it is a good balance between doing a hardcore LA program and doing nothing before Essentials.
Sweet Pea finished COA 4/5 Kindergarten! Towards the end she called her work “baby work” and she was ready for something more challenging, especially in math. We have continued to work through CLE’s Kindergarten II. I think I will begin having her skip things in there that are too easy so we can get through those books before next year when I plan to start her with All About Reading Level 1! I have really tried to focus on having her practice handwriting so she can be ready to start formal academics next year.
CLE Math is amazing and I am so thankful we made the switch. I don’t know if Little Bug is just developmentally ready to learn time and money now or if CLE’s way of teaching it finally clicked with her, but she is finally grasping the concepts of time and money. CLE’s systematic, spiral approaching to learning is a perfect fit for Little Bug. We are on LightUnit 104. We will keep plugging along through LU 110 and then move on to Level 2 from there. There is a Counting Book where the student writes all the numbers from 1 to 1,000. They write 10 numbers per lesson (some lessons skip the Counting Book). This is such a good exercise for Little Bug as she is still grasping number sense.
Sweet Pea is loving her big girl math book…Horizons K! I already had this on the shelf for Sweet Pea although I plan to start her with CLE Math next year. In the meantime, she will probably work through the first book of Horizons K at the rate she is going! She loves her math work and does about 2 lessons a day. We pull out manipulatives to play with and then she enjoys doing the worksheets as well.
We only have 3 more weeks of Cycle 2. We continue to spend about 20-30 minutes reviewing the Memory Work. We used to do this right after Bible time and before we would start Language Arts, but I found that Sarge enjoys CC Review and with him sitting at the table I can review with the girls. He loves the history songs and doodles on a map while we review our Geography Memory Work. The CC app is so helpful during review time. It helps the girls get the memory work to stick in their minds. The girls also love the Timeline Cards and we have several games we play during review time. I mix the cards up and they have to put them back in order. I let them draw a card from the stack and then we say the timeline and they have to remember the missing card. The girls continue to randomly trace maps and draw blob maps. We don’t really have a set routine or schedule for this. They just do it whenever they feel the desire! Sarge had to go with us to Community Day one time this month and he did a great job not being a huge distraction (like he was last time I had to take him!). The girls always love to show off their baby brother at CC. Normally, both boys stay with my mom but my parents were out of town that week so Sarge came with us and Beau stayed with Dave (who was working from home) to take his nap.
We are still working our way through reading Genesis! We are on the story of Joseph, which is one of my most favorite stories of the Bible. There are big lessons about trusting God when things don’t seem to be going the “right” way and about forgiveness that I am looking forward to teaching my children. We also continue to work on memorizing our monthly Bible verses. I find memorizing a Bible verse per month (instead of a weekly verse) is more impactful because while they are memorizing less verses, more time spent on each verse plants it deeper into their hearts so it sticks down the road!
One morning as we were starting our school time, the girls saw a squirrel out the window who was being quite entertaining! So much so that Daddy heard the commotion and came out from working to see what was going on! We watched him for a good bit. The girls wondered what squirrels eat so we looked it up and read about it. Then, later that day they put cheerios on yarn to hang outside for the squirrels.
We don’t do any formal “nature study” because I find my kids naturally observing nature just like this all the time! We often see squirrels and lizards all over our property and the children love to watch them!
Managing the Littles while Homeschooling
A friend of mine was telling me she didn’t know how I homeschool and manage 4 kids. I told her it is like a puzzle and I just fit everything together so that everyone’s schedule and routine melts together to make organized chaos every single day!! I need to write a post about our current schedule, but I will briefly explain here how I homeschool and manage a toddler and baby at the same time.
The girls do their handwriting and copywork first thing while I am getting the boys down for nap (Beau) and in room time (Sarge). I read to Sarge before he plays in his room for 1 hour. This gives me a good chunk of time to get the majority of the girls’ school work completed for that day. We read the Bible, do Language Arts and Math with Little Bug and Kindergarten with Sweet Pea. When Sarge’s hour of room time is up, we still have about half an hour of school left to do so Sarge has “table time” where he plays at the table with puzzles, manipulatives and basically anything I know will hold his attention! Sometimes, Little Bug will play with him if she is done with her work, but most often she is still working and he sits with us at the table. We do CC Review last because Sarge enjoys it. Little Bug does have some independent work she does in the afternoon but we are able to finish school this way nearly every day!
Right now, Beau is sleeping all during school time, but I have started the process of teaching him to play independently during room time. He plays happily for 15-20 minutes during his first wake time of the day (so before his morning nap) and we will gradually increase that time to 30 minutes while he still takes a morning nap. Once the morning nap is dropped, his room time will increase to 45 minutes and by age 2 he will be doing 60 minutes of room time! Room Time is a lifesaver to our homeschool. I could not do it properly without the littles in room time for at least part of our homeschool time!
We only have 7 weeks left of this school year before we take the last part of May through June off so I can attend the Homeschool Convention, purchase any curriculum we will need for next year and prepare us for another year of learning! I enjoy this time of year as we are closing out another year and beginning to prepare for a new year. I have already started thinking about plans for next year as I do every year about this time!