Wrapping Up Week 26 (2015-16)
Arianna (4) is at that beautiful stage where she’s just discovering the wonder of learning. In addition to continuing her lessons on Reading Eggs, we’ve been reviewing the Primer level of Math-U-See, and she’s absolutely loving it. She even begged to bring it along to our music classes on Friday so she could work through a few pages during a break. I love seeing the delight in her eyes and her smile as she figures things out.
Another product we’re currently reviewing is Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English. I don’t normally go for such formal curriculum, but this was a review I really wanted to get on. I’ve taken a pretty relaxed approach when it comes to writing and spelling with the the boys, hoping they would fall into it naturally since they’re both such a strong readers. Elijah seems to have an intuitive grasp of spelling, but it just hasn’t clicked for Ian as much as I had hoped. We’ve spent some time with Spelling You See, but never as consistently as we probably needed to in order to see results. Ian just was never enthusiastic about it and other things always took priority.
However, realizing that he’s almost through second grade and still is struggling with spelling (at least when he’s writing in context–he does great with lists in the “Skills Bank” on Reading Eggs), I found myself starting to feel some concern that he needed a more direct, analytical approach to spelling, something that would help him make sense of the crazy rules that make up the English language.
I think we’ve found that in the Logic of English program. Last week we went through all the Essentials “pre-lessons” (I bribed Ian with screen time in exchange for doing school work on our week off), and this week I dived into Lesson 1 with both boys. I can tell already that this program is going to be beneficial for us. Each day has some sort of game and hands on activities, so they have really enjoyed our time and are working hard without even realizing it. I’m looking forward to getting through the first few weeks of it and sharing my full review.
I really want to start having the boys get in the habit of having a chapter book they can read and take with us. We tried to start in on that this week, though we didn’t get as far as I would have liked. Elijah started Voyage with the Vikings from the Imagination Station series. We were just trying to kill some time waiting for Ian and he got through a couple chapters reading out loud to me.
Ian has been a reluctant reader. He is an auditory learner, amazing me with what he picks up just by listening, but that has made him prefer audio books and being read to rather than actually reading himself. I’ve often tried to encourage him but trading chapters (or pages), but I really want to start having him read independently more. This week I introduced him to Concord Cunningham the Scripture Sleuth. I intended it as a read aloud, but he was so into it he actually chose to read a chapter all on his own (which I’ve suggested with other read alouds he loves, but he has NEVER once been willing to try). If his interest holds, I’ll definitely be getting the next book in the series.
This week in Ian’s Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course he learned about Gutenberg’s printing press. We’ve talked about it a little bit before, but he enjoyed going into more depth on the subject. He’s looking forward to our field trip in a couple weeks to the Huntington Library to see an actual Gutenberg Bible. (If you want to know where to find the nearest copy to you, check out Where to see a Gutenberg Bible for copies in the USA. Wikipedia has a list of all surviving copies in the world.)
A few final thoughts
The kids and I are really enjoying A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day by Angela M. Burrin. The daily readings are just the right length to keep everyone’s attention (especially when they’re captivated by the candle burning on our wooden wreath). I especially like the “Jesus, Speak to Me” section each day, which is similar to the devotional we had been using but is tied in with the stories. The short prayers are also perfect prompts for the kids to guide them away from the generic prayers into which they tend to fall. It’s written from a Catholic perspective but is very usable for families from any Christian tradition with a few minor edits.
We’ve got a whole bunch of products we’re in the process of checking out, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:
- The Dragon and the Raven from Heirloom Audio Productions
- Math-U-See – Primer level with Digital Pack
- Essentials 2nd Edition (Multi-level reading, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary
from Logic of English)
- Owlegories: The Ant, The Fruit, The Butterfly (DVD)
- TimesTales (videos teaching the multiplication table)
- Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit
- Plug n’ Play Hub by Securly (helping provide safe wifi for kids)