Thursday, January 10, 2013

School Update

Well, with the new year, it's inevitable that I begin to make some new goals for life.  I won't say that I am making resolutions, exactly (though I suppose it's the same thing), rather it's a great time to look at the past year, think about what isn't working so well, and then make a better plan.  Or at least a different one.

So, we'll start with...homeschooling.

Reading isn't going the way that I thought it would.  The perfect picture I painted in my head, of Ada reading everything she could get her hands on by Christmas--ha ;)--is not happening.  We are, even, struggling a bit.  So, I have let go of a reading by this certain time deadline, and I am just focusing on what I can do.  I can't control when Ada takes off with her reading, I can only look at the problem areas, and work on those.  And pray.  A LOT. 

I think I've blogged about this several times, but Ada mostly struggles with her vowels.  She sees c-a-t, and she reads cat, and then she sees h-o-t and she reads hat.  She seems to mostly use the /a/ sound for all vowels.  She knows all of her vowel sounds if I show her individual flash cards, but as soon as it's in a word, she says it wrong.  Sooo...our main goal, right now, is to not move on until she has mastered the vowels.  I have been in such a rush to meet my own deadlines, and I am forcing myself to forget deadlines and focus on whether or not Ada has mastered something.  And, even more importantly, I DO NOT want Ada to hate reading.  Which is the road I think we were headed down last semester.  I am preaching to myself to calm down, and encourage, encourage, encourage.  This week is our first official week back, and so far, so good.  We are focusing only on short /a/ this week.  I am making my own lists, using word families, for her to read, and then I am making short little three and four sentence stories using those words.  So far, so good.  Next week, we'll work on /o/.  We'll see if this works.  If not, I don't know.  That's the hardest part for me.  I feel a bit stumped.  The curriculum doesn't tell me what to do if she isn't catching on.  It's humbling and reminding me that I am not in control of this.  Once again, it comes down to trusting the Lord. 

The part that stumps me, is that if I give her words to spell, following the CVC pattern, she can always spell them.  In fact, today we started some very simple dictation exercises, and she loved it.  She was so happy and telling me how much fun it was.  I keep racking my brain, trying to figure this out.  Her brain hears the vowels when I say them, but her brain doesn't trigger the sound when she sees it.  I feel really out of my element.  And it bugs me, because I feel like there is something I am missing.  Like, there is a better way to teach her to read that would trigger something for her, but I don't know it...I think I am about to start lots of googling/research/finding some books to read about the situation...

Here she is after dictating "The cat sat."  Seriously, she loved it. 

(well, I was going to post a picture, but blogger is being so very difficult, so never mind).

Okay, obviously, reading is what I am putting so much thought into, but I have set some other goals...easier ones than figuring out the reading situation!!

Math--it's simple, just finish the Saxon K book.  No problem.  And this is what Ada says is her favorite subject.  By far.  She told me it's fun, not like learning ;)
Handwriting--just focusing on neatness and correctness, because she says a lot, "but this is just how I like to write the letter."  I keep having to enforce that there is, in fact, a right and wrong way. ;)  We are also focusing on using an uppercase letter to start a sentence and periods at the end.  Keeping it simple.  We'll probably talk about other end punctuation as well.  So, handwriting and language arts, I guess?  We'll really start language arts next year.
And, there's CC--which to keep myself from becoming so overwhelmed, I have set some specific goals. Most importantly, I want us to learn (and I do mean us) the timeline song and all of the history songs.  That is my main, main, main goal.  Oh, and the Bible passage for this year and a review of the president song (which she really still knows from last year).  We will, of course, go over the other stuff, but if she can commit the timeline, history sentences, and bible passage to memory, I will be satisfied with what we have done this year. 

So, there you go.  A look at where we are halfway through Ada's kindergarten year.  We are also doing lots and lots and lots of read alouds.  Again, I want her to love to read, and I really have to remind myself of that fact when I am heading towards frustration during our reading lessons. 

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