Monday, November 4, 2013

Pressing On in First Grade

I guess I haven't really said anything about first grade since our first day of school.  It seems it is high time for an update, as the school year is flying by, and first grade is important, after all.  It is certainly something to record in the books. 

It is amazing the difference I see in Ada at six years old versus five years old.  She will always be my first born, so she will always be the one I learn on.  Obviously, I will learn so much with all of my children, but so much is unknown with the first--the doubts are greater, the confidence less, there is no experience to back up anything.  So, when Ada, unlike her cousins and many children around her, didn't absolutely take to reading at age five, (And she didn't.  It was a struggle last year, as you all know.) I immediately assumed the worst.  I wrung my hands, searched for answers, analyzed to death, prayed, and then worried some more.  What was I doing wrong?  Would she never read?  on and on and on the thoughts went.  But I now know, that she just wasn't there yet.  I mean, I also know that she needed more in depth instruction, and I am thankful for Saxon Phonics, as it was a HUGE answer to prayer.  But I also firmly believe that she just wasn't ready.  At six, she is taking off with reading.  This is her year.  We still faithfully do our phonics lesson, and she even still struggles at times with the vowel sounds, but on we go.  And more and more and more she is reading books and words that we haven't even gone over yet.

(reading to me while I made lunch)

Please hear me say, though, that we still have very frustrating days.  Where I want to pull my hair out.  And scream.  And I lose all patience, and I apologize, and we keep on keeping on.  But if one day John or Evie is struggling with reading, I hope that I can take a breath and know that we will get there.  And worrying won't get us there faster. 

We are also doing Saxon first grade math, which at this point in the year is very, very easy, and is more of a kindergarten level than first grade, I think.  Or so I hear from other moms.  I suspect it will get tougher as we get farther in the book.  Right now it is very nice because we never have to struggle our way through the math lesson.  We breeze through, get it done, and move on.  That is a huge blessing during these final days of this pregnancy.  Easy is a welcome thing!

We are still finding our stride when it comes to getting our CC review done.  Some weeks we are on it.  As I get larger and more uncomfortable, the weeks where we struggle to get it done definitely outweigh the weeks where we get it done.  The good news is that age six is also helping us with this.  Ada is now in her third year of CC, and memorization is becoming more second nature to her.  Even though this is a year of pregnancy and soon new born, she is still committing that timeline song to memory, which in itself is a huge accomplishment.  If that is all the history she got this year, well it would be more than I had in all of my school years.  Even little John is beginning to sing along with the timeline.  This is also her third year of the same math facts, so those are becoming more second nature.  The point, it's true, if I trust the "system" of CC, it really does work, even when I am feeling like a slacker mom.  I think our latin and English facts are suffering the most, I am ashamed to say, but the good news is, we have the same latin facts next semester, so maybe we can catch up then.  We are also behind in our bible memory work, but we have finally gotten into a good habit of starting each school day with bible verse and history sentence copy work.  So, though we are behind on the bible verse, we finally have a system, and I think we can catch up before second semester begins. 

*I started this a week or so ago, and now I am finally back to try to get something posted.  I have actually declared this week a holiday from school for us as I tackle the list of things that must be done before Evie arrives.  The countdown is on as we are looking at a little over two weeks at the most.  Luckily, we still have CC to listen to in the car, so we are reviewing even on our "holiday," and Ada continues to take off with her reading, so she eagerly reads to me each day, which is really the most important thing for us to not slack off on.  I am prepared to go way into the summer this year in order to finish, as it is the year of a new baby, after all.

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