Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Progress Report

We are half way through Levi's Kindergarten year, so I thought I would post an update on how far we've come and where we hope to go in the second half of the year. I could spend hours on one really long post, but we have life to live so I'll spread this out over a few days.

I am so pleased with the progress we've made after starting our year part way through February. Levi and I have had a special time learning together, and 'lesson time' is one of my favorite times of the day. Usually we do our main lessons (math, reading, and writing) while both of the younger boys take a nap in the afternoon. Some days we get a lot accomplished. Some days we get nothing accomplished (particularly when nap time goes awry). We often do school on Saturdays or Sundays to keep our rhythm.

The extras (anything other than math, reading, and writing) happen whenever we can fit them in. Sometimes that means reviewing memory work, Spanish, or math while driving in the car. Sometimes it means staying up later at night and reading together. Often, Levi listens to CDs (music, stories, lessons) while playing or eating or resting. The boys watch educational shows such as Between the Lions or Magic School bus.

My main goal at this stage is to create an atmosphere of learning in our lives. The more structured routine will come in time. That will be one of my priorities in the fall, after our summer chaos has settled. We will continue with our loose lesson schedule throughout the summer so that we don't lose valuable progress and spend too much time reviewing in the fall. Levi wouldn't have entered public school until September as he didn't turn five until this past January, so I have felt confident in our relaxed approach thus far.

Math: We have been steadily progressing through RightStart Math level A, a couple lessons each week (often doing half of a lesson each day). Levi is gaining a terrific foundation in math. I am thrilled with the RightStart program. It uses several different ways to look, feel, and even hear numbers. It is hands-on, interactive, and solid. We are on lesson #50 of 77. We will have no problem finishing by November with time for games and review. Levi recently wrote his own 100s chart, can add single digit numbers and add ten (or a multiple of ten) to single digit numbers in his head. He knows odd and even numbers. He is learning money values.

Phonics: Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading is a basic, complete, and easy to use phonics program. (We also love the Nora Gaydos phonics readers and sight words flash cards.) Levi's reading is coming along nicely. I try to have him do 2-3 lessons a week. We are currently working on section 11, common spellings for the long-o sound. He has finished common spellings for the long-a, long-i, and long-e sounds. Following is a sample paragraph from a recent reading lesson:

The kind man will take the string off the bag of limes.
He will wind the string on his hand so it will not fly off in the wind.
The kind man will take a lime to the shy child.
The child will peel the rind off the lime.
The lime tastes quite mild.

Writing: I started Levi last year with Handwriting Without Tears. It was an excellent curriculum choice for him. He has finished the kindergarten book, Letters and Numbers for Me. Currently he copies a short sentence from a poem, a short Bible verse, or another selection onto the Handwriting Without Tears paper daily. We will continue this for some time, helping him develop control and speed.

I'll continue the progress report for Bible, history, science, memory work, and other subjects later in the week. I hope to list specific plans for September some time in the next month.

Previous posts regarding homeschooling can be found here. (More links at the end of that post.)

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