Friday, February 29, 2008

More Review

Delta seems to have gotten his interest back in puzzles - he has done several (over and over) the last couple of days.    Echo isn't wrecking them as much on him either.... although she sometimes does. 


Did the blocks game - for Delta just gave him the letters  A, T, and C to do.  (he didn't want to play - didn't want to yesterday either because he "doesn't know it") - he was more interested when it was just the letters - I think it was a good review.


We then did the ledge game......  and I'd ask Delta for one of his words, and most of the time Echo would point to it!   But when I'd ask Echo for one of her words, she'd say "where is it?" before picking it out.  LOL.     They both definitely find that game easier.


The author of the book I got this all from does mention that children this age will sometimes go from seeming to know something really well, and then suddenly won't seem to know it at all - that it is normal because they learn differently than adults do - but it still seems wierd.


Anyway, we all had a good time with the short games again - so hopefully we will be getting back on track.   The whole concept of "blending" definitely takes a while for them to get!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Hm - didn't get to playing the games until near bedtime - and Delta just wouldn't sit still.   He also was doing worse at blending to make the word - and seems to have forgotten the sound "T" makes, even with repetition.    Then Echo was getting upset because she couldn't sit where she wanted (in the way) - although she was doing good with her words....   So I ended up stopping it early as I was getting frustrated.


I've notice that the blocks game seems to make them have to figure out the word a bit more  (ie, they have the card, and have to read it and say what it says...) where-as the ledges game has them more pick out the word from the various words after I say it....   We haven't played blocks for a while, and that might have been more the problem.


Will have to play blocks with them seperately, and backtrack a bit for Delta to get the T sound in really good.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Another really busy day - but did do violin practice with the kids - and I also played the ledge game with them before bedtime.  Reviewed all the words so far with Delta - we have run out of cards that I've printed so far!!!  I need to print some more to continue with him!    He still sometimes has problems figuring out the blending - but is doing great.  His interest in what writing says is really high too (he was drinking a box of chocolate milk today, and was asking what each of the letter says....)  And is finding the words he knows around a lot more....


Tomorrow should be a lot quieter, so will be able to spend more time.


Echo seems to have U, P, and UP down - so to finish off, I showed her PUP.  I'll review that tomorrow with her, and see if she gets confused by it or not.



Today Delta noticed the word CUP in a book too - as well as UP.


Tonight we played the ledge game...  Echo did mostly ok with U, P, and UP.  Delta did well with his words, including CUP and CAP, and A....    He was eager to get to the next letter - which is "T" - so I showed him the T, and taught him the "tuh" sound.  (no uh exactly after it - you know......)  and pointed out that Charlie (his sister's name) starts with the t sound....


It was getting a bit late - I had meant to count the pennies, and show him how to figure out tithing - will have to do that in the morning....

What is our Program?

[Asked if we have a program picked out for when our children are school aged....]

Actually, what we are planning on doing was the main topic of discussion Mike and I had last night during date night. (we did talk about other stuff too of course...)

We haven't really got that figured out yet - but we have a year or two to get it straightened out.... we want to be pretty sure by the time Delta is 6 - although you don't have to send your kids to school here legally until they are 7. I am planning on registering him as homeschooling Kindergarten, as we get discounts at some stores for schooling type stuff if we are registered.

The curriculum our province has that you can buy and use, from my understanding from a few sources is expensive, and in a word - sucks. I'd consider using Alberta's correspondance school - but it is expensive, and even more-so as we are out-of-that-province.... And really, we aren't that convinced we want to use a "school-at-home" type of system where we have no control again.

Mike and I seem to have similar thoughts. Although he is all for homeschooling - he is worried about "experimental" approaches. His brother (and me, as it happens) both experienced the "open school" experiment of the 70's - with schools that had no walls between the rooms. Although I had thought about "unschooling" - we both agree that it doesn't sound like us - it is too unfocused.

So - Mike and I agree on stuff like....

a) - we want our children to be able to think for themselves.... Mike has lots of examples where he has come up with a simple improvement, and co-workers have a problem because "that isn't how you do it"..... even if they agree it is better.

b) - we want our children to be able to work at their own pace - we don't want them bored because they got the concept 10 minutes ago - but have to do an hour's more work on it.

c) - although repetition can be helpful for some specific types of things to learn - that it isn't a good method for a lot of stuff. For example - why do 100 problems of the same type in math? If you can't figure out how to do the first 1 or 2, doing 98 more incorrectly isn't going to help. If you CAN figure it out - why should you do more 98 more? 4 or 5 should be plenty.

d) - a part of c above - understanding how something works, or why it is the way it is is far more important than just memorizing the fact. Not to say there isn't stuff that shouldn't be memorized - but the understanding is necessary for it to be useful

e) - we need a plan - not just be all over the place

f) - there is a lot of learning that can take place in life. (ie, baking a cake.... lots of math stuff, and lots of science. what if you put just flour in the oven? what if you put in just flour and water? What if you put all the ingredients in seperate containers in the oven? why does mixing the ingredients work to make a cake?)

g) - we want our kids to be able to persue post-secondary education if they choose - or a trade, or whatever they decide....

What we haven't figured out for sure - is how to determine exactly what to teach, and exactly how to go about it. I've been researching common methods, and right now, I'm leaning towards the "Charlotte Mason" method. It encourages learning through "living books" (books that grab the attention of the child, and has good stuff in it), nature study, narration and copy-work, music and art appreciation, meaningful crafts (not throw-away stuff), and time to follow good hobbies and interests. Oh, and scripture study (it is a christian based idea).

The problem, is it is pretty much impossible to find un-biased info!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another Puzzle

Well, Delta did another puzzle this evening - it was one I'd forgotten about (no box anymore) - it has to be more than 24 pieces....   He did it all by himself with no problems, although it was a bigger challenge then his other ones....


Delta did the blocks game tonight, and we introduced A and CAP.    Echo wanted to play blocks, and we were going to do U, P and UP - but then she didn't play.  Delta has earned 48 cents so far....


Didn't do much so far today - I had a dr. apt. that took all afternoon.   But in the morning, Echo washed the table (her idea) - and Delta, with some help from me, did a 100 piece puzzle that is pretty hard.  (I wasn't thinking when I bought it - it is a fire truck, but there is a reflection of it - so it makes it even harder!)


Delta has been able to do 24 piece puzzles for a year - but there is nothing really that I have seen between the 24 piece and the 100 piece.  There is a real gap there.


Anyway, I showed him how to find the edge pieces, and start with the edges.  That was a new concept to him.   Then we completed the sky (there wasn't much sky - so all the sky pieces would attach to the edge sky pieces....)  - and then we slowly worked through it.


So anyway - I think that counts for something anyway!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Found "UP"

Well, didn't have an official session earlier in the day (had errands, etc to run....) - but Delta was sitting "reading" a book - and saw the word UP in it, and was pretty excited because he saw it and knew it.   He found it in some other ones too.


He had no problem remembering "C" (kuh) - played 1/2 of the blocks game to earn 6 more pennies, and then (after I played it with Echo) - I showed him "CUP" - and we played the ledge game.


With Echo, I kept it still to just U and P - she did the whole blocks game, and didn't have a big problem with the ledge game even though there were all those extra cards for Delta.   If I can get some time with just her tomorrow, I may work with UP again with her....  It just seemed to confuse her before.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The letter "C"

Delta did great with everything.  Echo also did great, although each time she would ask "where is it?" - but I wouldn't tell her, and she would pick the right ones.   It was more of a challenge, as it had all of the cards for Delta....


I introduced "C" to Delta just briefly at the end of the lesson - and will do more tomorrow.   If it goes good tomorrow, he might have CAP added to his list....


Not sure how this will go as the difference between them grows, but I couldn't hold Delta back either....  (that is something I don't like about school!)

Busy Day

Tuesday is a busy day - we had the baby circle this morning (apparently one of the things Delta and Echo did in the babysitting is do some puzzles - they have me a picture)....

Tuesday afternoon of course is Violin lesson.


Before we left for Violin lesson (with Echo already in quiet time) - Delta wanted to play the "Money Game" - (the block game, with pennies as the reward....).   So I taught him "PUP" and off we went.   He didn't have any real problems - and noted that PUP was like PUPPET (I told him PUP was short for PUPPY, as I wasn't sure he knew that....)   So far he has 30 cents.


So tonight, I'll play the ledge game with both of them - with all 4 cards - and only ask the words from Delta - and see if Echo still has U and P worked out.  Tomorrow I might re-introduce UP with her - and add C for Delta.... 

Monday, February 18, 2008

"A House by Pooh Corner"

Been a hectic day, so I didn't do much this evening - just read about 1/2 a chapter to them from "A House by Pooh Corner" - the original book.  It doesn't have many pictures.  Delta enjoyed it, but not sure if he got what was going on that much...

Seperate Lessons

Had a session right this morning (kids wanted to play) - and it went pretty good - but I definitely will have to start teaching them separately I think.   We played the Blocks game ok - but Echo wasn't able to handle "UP".....  She was tending to want to say UP for all of the cards instead of reading what was on each card.  If I took out "UP", after a couple of tries she was doing good with just "U" and "P".   Delta was having no problems reading the cards - just having a problem with which card to start with (ie, what direction to go....)  - so I think I need to stick with just "U" and "P" with Echo for a while, but can probably add "PUP" for Delta.....


Not sure how much more we can do today - turns out that with no notice at all, I'm babysitting Zulu too....   I hate how the fact that I'm home all day makes it prone to being asked to babysit - but at least I wasn't the first person she tried to get a hold of....   (It is a holiday here, so her daycare is closed.... and she got a call asking if she could come in to work - and it would be worth time-and-a-half....)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another Lesson

Well, today went ok (yes, I taught them on a Sunday....)  - I did the blocks game - they were fascinated by it, and Delta was thrilled that he can be earning money!   We added in "UP" - and there was a touch of confusion.   I also only went through it the once with them (we sit on the floor, which is hard work for me....) - but they were getting it.  So they each have 6 cents to their name!   I figure on Saturdays, we can count up the money they have earned, and figure out Tithing, and leave a note in it of the previous weeks total, so that we are only paying Tithing on the increase each week...  so we get some math in too!


While Echo was in Quiet time, Delta wanted something to do, so from a suggestion of my mom's, I got out a deck of cards - and I showed him how to sort it into the 4 suits.  That was great because he sat down and did it, and I just checked when he was done - and he had them all right.  Great math!.    Another time I'll have him sort them into the values, and he can later sort them into suits - and then into increasing value.....

This evening's session went pretty good too.  It is funny - Echo seems to remember a touch more between lessons - but gets a little confused during the lesson - and Delta needs reminders at the beginning of the lesson - but then generally doesn't get confused....


Taking it slow still - just working with "U", "P", and "UP".....  not sure if I'll introduce "PUP" tomorrow or not.....      And I suspect at some time I'm going to have to deal with them being at different stages.....

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I have to admit that this bit of effort I'm doing so far hasn't been that bad at all.... The kids have been all for it, and although it is slow going (which this program says to take it slow) - I can see progress in just 2 days.

Evening game - well, let me first say that I wasn't sure I was in the mood to do it at all - the kids had been driving me crazy since about 4pm (too much pent-up energy I think) - and I'm a bit upset over something else.... but I took a big breath and asked who wanted to play the Reading game. Delta wasn't too keen on it, but I mentioned that it was really bedtime, and he decided he wanted to play, with the understanding that it was bedtime afterwards.

Anyway, a bit of review over the 2 sounds - still a touch of confusion, but not bad - and off we went. Echo almost always got the card right - just got to remind her to say what it says..... she a couple of times missed which character wanted the Delta made a few mistakes too - but not too many.

Once again, I didn't do the blocks game yet - I want to discuss with Mike about the "reward" in that game....

I honestly don't think that school would be a good idea for Delta. He really didn't like preschool this year before we pulled him - I don't think he likes that many kids around. He is bright, and he is a sensitive young man. Although he can play energetically and CAN get rough, it just isn't his basic nature.

2nd Day, Learning to Read

Day 2 is going pretty good so far.   Had to review what "U" says (Delta had forgotten) - and introduced "P" sound.    They both picked up on in right away.   (Delta did a search for "P" in a wordsearch - didn't bother with Echo was she was still eating (it was a time filler sort-of for Delta too) - and I was pleased to hear him saying the sound each time he found it.  ) 


Played the ledge game with the 2 letters.  As I expected, it created a bit of confusion, especially for Echo.   Other than a couple of mistakes at the beginning, Delta got it right each time.   Echo made more mistakes, but seemed to be getting it.  I think she'll have it a bit better by this evening - although I may try the blocks game with them to "mix-it-up" a bit to keep things fun....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Second Homeschool Lesson

Well, the after-supper session went just as well....  Delta was disappointed we were doing the same letter, but was ok with a promise of a new letter sound tomorrow.  Delta has the game down pat (ie, the structure of it) - Echo has to be reminded to say the letter sound instead of just moving the card.   Again, they wanted to continue longer than I did - but I think it is important to quit while they still want to play - it keeps them interested for the next time.


I decided to hold off on the blocks game until they have 2 letters to do....  and I'm still deciding on the "incentive" with it.   The blocks game can have them do a LOT more repetitions of the sounds - especially later as they will have to do multiple words for each turn....   But you need something to "pay" them for as they play it....   I'm thinking of getting them piggy banks, and letting them earn pennies.    Little snacks are suggested in the book - but when I had tried that with Delta, it was too hard to get his attention away from the food!



Oh, and Delta is 4 and a half.  This program is designed for 2 years old all the way up to school aged kids having problems with their reading.  Most kids will be reading at more than a grade 1 level doing it about 10 min a day - within about 60 days.....    The older children do learn faster.  (ie, I'm sure if I was just doing Delta, I could have done both U and P today....  with tomorrow working on "UP")

Started Homeschool

have started our homeschool program!!!  (well, of course my children were learning at home all along - but now I'm working more at it....)

We are doing  Swimming Lessons and just playing for Phys-ed..... (been doing for a while....   btw - Delta earned his "floater" level and is doing great on "glider" level....)

We are doing Violin Lessons for Music (been doing for a while....   btw - Delta is starting to get to play on 1 string on the violin now....   Echo (not in lessons) can name many parts of the violin, can do a bow, and can sing "A" pretty much in pitch...

Math is just being done through play - They have Mega-Blocks, and Lego.  Delta can count to 10 very accurately, and knows the relationship between the items he is counting and the numbers.  He can sometimes do to 20, but sometimes misses numbers.   Echo can count to 10 consistantly, but almost always misses "4".  I suspect it is just a sequence of sounds to her though.

And - here is the new stuff.   I have started working on Teaching them to read (using Teach your child to read in 10 minutes a day).  Last night, I printed up 14 "business" cards with the letters/words for the first 8 or 9 "steps" of the program for playing the block game.  On the other 6 cards, I did pictures of cartoon caracters they like for a small variation of the "ledge" game.   This morning, I printed of 2 word searches with a lot of words with "U" in it.  They won't be searching for the words, just the "U"'s.


So after lunch, I announced that we were going to play school!   Mommy (and Daddy) are the principal, so we decide what will be taught.  Delta is the teacher, and Echo is the student.   I told Delta that although he knows the names to all the letters, that right now, we are learning what they SAY.    I then taught him U  (soft uhhhh sound) and showed him that he can teach it by having his student trace the letter with her finger while saying Uhhhh.   He tried it a few times himself, then helped Echo do it.


Then I had them sit at the table with the word searches, to circle all the U's they find.  Delta found most of them.   Echo was mostly just scribling over the paper, even though I helped her circle some.  (not sure how they do it with 2 year olds!!!!)


Then we played the modified Ledge game.   I put the character cards down, and put the U down.  Mommy says "Mickey Mouse would like uhhhh" - and then ask Delta.  Delta then underlines the U with his finger, while saying uh, and moves it to Mickey Mouse.    We did that with both of them for a while, then I announced that we were out of time.  They didn't want to stop - so I've promised we can play it again later.


I'll also introduce the block game later.....


The big problem is going to be the fact that Delta can learn this faster than Echo, and I'm not sure how long the teacher role will have him not worry about it.    We'll see....


Oh, and I printed a Sudoku puzzle for Delta to try later....