Thursday, November 3, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up #3 {the week the van doors fell off and Peter threw up his Halloween candy}

That title is a bit loaded.  Last Sunday after attending 7:30 a.m. Mass, I planned out our homeschool week.  Reading, handwriting, math, art, history, chemistry - all the details were planned out and ready to go.

Then the duck hunters came home and the van door wouldn't close.  Back track 18 months, the other sliding door broke and was Duck taped - good enough.  The remaining sliding door has been giving us grief for 6 months or more, and sadly, Sunday, it wouldn't latch shut.  Warren made a few calls, got some pointers, and tackled the job of fixing it.

Well you know the phrase, drive it till the doors fall off.  That's exactly what happened, because when he tried fixing the door, it actually fell off the track.  Our favorite body shop man is on vacation until just before deer season so we're down a vehicle for a few weeks.  We've vowed to attempt creative carpooling.

That was the start of a week of phone calls.  Life really took a crazy turn, despite my perfect homeschool plan.  Calling the body shop, chiropractor, pulmonary specialist, plumber, and college admissions office took up a lot of time.  Every call required messages and call backs and scheduling appointments.  It was crazy.

Now it's time for my weekly wrap-up.  I like to focus on our homeschool week, but let's face it homeschooling is just a snippet of our life, so the wrap-up includes it all.

Chemistry Chapter 4 lab - the classic cabbage juice indicator lab.  We're working through Focus on High School Chemistry.  It's very thorough and broken down into bite size pieces.

With real lab equipment the fun never stops.  Here are two sets with similar equipment to ours.

It wouldn't be a Halloween week weekly wrap-up without a few costume pics.  Here we have Little Bo Peep.

Hans and Franz with a mini Incredible Hulk

Ariel the Mermaid, Giraffe, French Spy, Super Girl and baseball player.

The costumes lead to candy.  There was a lot of this this week.  Rummaging, trading, eating.

Even a little hiding with candy.

Poor Peter ate so much candy that after all the craziness of costumes and trick-or-treating were done, he hopped into bed and promptly threw up.  Happy Halloween!

Are you familiar with Snap Circuits?  They've been on the dining table all week keeping Peter and Sam occupied.  Playing with electricity is like magic to a 4 year old.  Every time he completes a circuit his eyes light up in amazement.  If I didn't have so many phone calls to make, I'd probably sit there and just watch him.

Snap Circuits are on sale at Amazon for $14.39.

We're setting up for a beautiful weekend.  Most likely one of the last warm and sunny weekends of the year.  I wish you all the best and thanks for visiting my weekly wrap-up.

Linking up with

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Rhyming Isn't Necessary to Begin Reading Instruction

Most pre-reading programs include rhyming activities.  It almost seems that mastering the skill of rhyming is necessary to begin the actual reading program.  When I first started the All About Reading Pre-reading program with Joseph last year, I believed he needed to master each lesson before moving on.  Quickly, I realized that rhyming was his nemesis.  We were never going to move on because unprompted rhyming simply was not going to happen.  I have to admit that for a moment I felt despair.  He's never going to read.  This is it.  He's reached the top with his ABC's.  

No rhyming = No reading

And more WRONG.

Eventually, I tightened my belt (loosened my belt)...anyway I decided to do the rhyming activities, but not require mastery.  We would just keep moving on, despite the fact that bat rhymed with ball and hat rhymed with head.  I've talked with other parents of children with Down syndrome and this is a common complaint.  Rhyming is not a favorite activity.  Joseph is proof that a child with Down syndrome can learn to read even if they can't rhyme.  

However, and this is a huge however, rhyming shouldn't be thrown in the trash all together.  It's totally ok to learn things outside of the normal order.  So, I'll share a little game I play with Joseph to practice rhyming.  I call it Nursery Rhyming.  Nursery rhymes are a part of our cultural literacy.  Cultural literacy is having basic background knowledge of one's culture.  Why not incorporate a little cultural literacy and rhyming in one fun game.  

Here's what I do.  I read a few nursery rhymes aloud a couple of times through.  Then I repeat, but I leave out the rhyming word at the end of a stanza.  Here's an example:

The Mouse and the Clock

Hickory, dickory, dock!
The mouse ran up the ________;
The clock struck one,
And down he _____,
Hickory, dickory, dock!

The Cat and the Fiddle

Hey, diddle, diddle!
The cat and the _______,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the ______.

Joseph fills in the blank with the right word and then I praise him for rhyming.  Here's a video clip example.

At the end I always review the rhyming words:  dock rhymes with clock, one rhymes with run, diddle rhymes with fiddle, and moon rhymes with spoon.  As Joseph improves, I choose more difficult nursery rhymes.  Here's a video clip of us reviewing the rhyming words.  It's a short clip - certain kids didn't get the message to stay out of the filming area.

For beginners the board book is a good place to start.  It has the most popular rhymes for children.

 Once all these are memorized, then the full length Mother Goose is best - there are so many rhymes to choose from.

And this adorable board book from Tomie de Paola might just show up in Maria's something to read box on Christmas.

Need more fun ways to teach reading skills?
Here's a link to All About Reading's free activity book.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Library Haul

My library account currently reads "61 items checked out".  We've been visiting the library quite frequently again, and it shows.  Our library shelf seems to have shrunk, and now the books are spilling out all over the place.

We tried to shrink the pile a bit today by taking back a few items, and I want to share a couple of our favorites.

Amber has been reading The Selection series.  They must be good; she reads one in a day.

Berry Big Help is your typical character style DVD - characters with high-pitched voices, big heads, big eyes.  After watching it a few times, it needs to go back to the library.

Sesame Street board books are, again a fine library checkout, but not books I'd like to own.

Horses - Trotting!  Prancing!  Racing! is a sweet book about all the actions horses make.  If there's a horse lover or three in your home this is a must read.

Here are the winners!
  We're actually a little sad we had to take them back.

Winter Is Coming is a beautifully illustrated book; the perfect pick for November.  A young girl enjoys observing and drawing nature from her tree platform.  As the days march on, the weather cools, the animals search for food, and her clothing changes from a sweater to hat and mittens.  The kids asked for this book over and over which was fine because it was a joy to read.

I'm not as thrilled with Little Burro as I am with Winter is Coming, but Peter loved this book.  Little burro follows his band of burros away from his favorite spot - home - to a secret place, which turns out to be a beautiful watering hole.  Nice story, Peter's favorite.

What are others checking out from their libraries?  Follow along with the Library Haul link-up.