Thursday, September 30, 2010

"I Love You Mommy Teacher"

These are the words that tell me Annaliese is where she needs to be right now. :) She loves our time of homeschooling and begs me to do it. I love that. She loves to tell people what she's learning and is eager to share her skills....most of the time. We have been doing lot's of review in HWT (Handwriting Without Tears) of the first 8 or 9 letters and she's really getting good at forming those letters. She likes to tape little "Keep Out" signs on the door for Maggie, and now instead of little scribbles she uses the letters that she has learned how to write. haha! It's so cute, though.

In RightStart Math we are learning so much. It amazes me how much her little mind can soak up....and remember! The program does a lot of looping so you are reviewing constantly. Here she is showing me what a parallel line and a perpendicular line look like.

She then was able to draw me a full page of different colored quadrilaterals without me reminding her of what they were. She's learning how to add quantities to 10. Here she is playing a memory/matching game. The cards have pictures of the abacus beads and she had to match the numbers.

Reading is my favorite time with her. I don't think there is anything more joyous than being able to teach your own child how to read and see their little face light up when they sound out a word! She is still reading little books that focus on the short A and short E sound.

Here's a little picture of her latest creation. She takes care of this garden and is so proud when she gets some little veggies! We were especially excited to see this little pepper because this plant has been having some struggles. Good job Annie!

Today we're headed to the Arboretum for some fun in the sun and to see the pumpkin patch! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On a roll

Annaliese is doing great with her lessons. In math we have been learning how to use tally marks and the beads on the abacus. She has learned all about parallel and perpendicular lines and can identify them in the real world. She can pick out a quadrilateral and is working on ordering. We have even begun skip counting, which she loves because it has the word "skip" in it. ha!

She is loving reading. Now that she knows her vowels she is having a great time figuring out 3-4 letter words. Her handwriting is coming along pretty slowly. She does pretty well in the lesson, but applying it in real life is taking a bit longer. She still writes her name with backward Ns even though we have learned how to properly form them. It just takes practice I guess! She is also writing her name backwards, but I've read that this is fairly common with left-handed children. She loves read-aloud time and we do a ton of it. She's reading The Tale of Despereaux with her daddy and really gets into that story.

Here is a picture of her working on her ordering skills using tally mark cards.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reading her first book

Here's a short clip of Annaliese reading her first book all by herself. We were focusing on the short A sound here. The BOB books are a wonderful resource.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Learning by observation

It is no secret that homeschooling is sometimes difficult with a toddler running around. But, is she really just running around or is she actually soaking up much of the information being taught? My little Maggie can usually be found at the kitchen sink playing in the water, passing water from cup to cup, or painting at her little table while Annie and I are doing a lesson. She's also usually singing or talking to herself during these activities. Although I've always known it to be true, it never really hit me until a couple of days ago. Children learn by observation. I mean, really learn. Watching and listening to what others do is an important way for them to gain knowledge. Children learn from watching and imitating their parents and siblings especially. Observation is a strong force in gaining knowledge. The reason I bring this up is because of what happened a couple of evenings ago. My husband, was asking Annie about the different vowel sounds we have been learning. He asked her what the short vowel A says, and before she could answer Maggie immediately told him, "a, a, a, a, a". The same thing happened with the short vowel O sound that we reviewed yesterday. It blew my mind that my 24 month old sweetie was really listening and soaking in the information that I was focusing on with Annie.

Observation is a powerful way to gain knowledge. It is also very subtle, as you pick things up you may not even think about.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


We started the Handwriting Without Tears program last week and Annaliese is loving it so far. We work on the slate chalkboard, with the wooden pieces as well as the workbook. I love these multisensory techniques that help teach consistent habits for letter formation. It seems to be a good fit so far. I am keen on any instructional methods that use fun, entertaining, and educationally sound principles. :)

I love seeing the joy it brings to her when she learns a new letter. Here she is practicing with the wooden pieces and slate chalkboard to create the letter E.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Science/Nature School

Annaliese attends a once-a-week science class that is a wonderful supplement to what we teach at home. At this class they become nature explorers and learn about habitats and ecosystems. From forests to prairies to wetlands, they explore the world around them. They learn songs, finger plays, and stories and discover how animals and plants make up a habitat, and how they adapt to that habitat. They learn how animals that are awake at night cope with living in the dark. They dig into dinosaurs and fossils.They watch the season as it changes into fall and heads toward winter. They talk about our responsibility to nature, and what we can do to help the plants and animals around us. They explore the many different habitats on the sanctuary, and get up close to living animal visitors.

We just love this program. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A is for Art

Art is fun. Art is messy....period. As a daughter of a very artistic father I have a strong belief that art is so beneficial...especially in young children and I will make it a huge component of our homeschooling program. Through art, children learn to identify colors, cause-and-effect, shapes, problem solving, sharing and cooperation among many other skills. Although I don't typically love a big mess I always have to remember that by allowing my children to experience art in their own way, I am letting them show me how they think and feel and how they see the world around them.

When Annie and I are busy doing lessons, I let almost two-year old little Maggie put her sweet little hand (although she starts with a paint brush) in a tub of finger paint and she happily smears all of the colors together on the paper (or table, or herself)....and she is creating her own little masterpiece.

Art is important for young children because of the way it makes them feel about themselves. When my children finish an art project and they are so excited to show me their masterpiece with a beaming smile it makes us all feel so good. When I watch my girls doing an art project I see they are not only learning to think and illustrate the world around them in their own interpretations and thoughts, but they are learning to take great pride in their accomplishments.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Patterns, Ordinal Numbers and the First 3 Vowels

Annie has really done well this week. She has been learning the short vowel sounds for A, E and I and really digs reading. She seems to really like Math, since it is very hands-on. We've learned about ordinal numbers and we have been working on counting/displaying numbers with tally sticks, which is preparing her for the use of the AL Abacus next week. She totally gets patterns when we are practicing with colored tiles. I can start any type of pattern and she will finish it; however, when I showed her patterns using the tally sticks it was really difficult for her. I made the pattern going from left to right and when it was her turn to continue the pattern she tried to put the next tally stick under or over another one, which is her creative side coming out. She was visualizing something completely different than what I was trying to teach her. She wanted to put things that she didn't understand into a different context, which made sense to her. That's our Annie, though. She is a visual learner who has a gift working with shapes and color. Things that require imagination are a strength for her. However, the closer to analytical thinking (Mommy likes this way!) we get, the closer to creative reasoning she gets.

Throughout the day we'll often talk about what we've been learning. By last night she was grasping the concept much easier.