Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 2 down...

Yeah, the joy of the first week was gone. The acceptance of the Barton system was GONE. There were tears and melt downs, and no they weren't mine.(pththtth) At one point The Boy cried that he just wanted to be NORMAL and be able to read without the 'stupid' Barton system. Sigh. I wish I could find the magic wand that would make it all easier.

We finished up the papyrus this week and I'll post pictures of it next week. I think he has figured out what he wants to write on it. The names of each of us and our last name in hieroglyphs.  That should be really fun.

We finished up Level one of Barton in 2 weeks (4 lessons), and now I have to study up to start Level 2. We'll start up next Monday and it may be just about the only lessons we do next week. We have a lot of things coming up next week and I'm think school is going to be pretty light. I want to get something knit for my sister in that time also.

I guess that means next week there will be actual knitting content on my knitting blog. Who would have thought.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The First Week is done...

and we survived.

Actually, we more than survived we soared. It was so much fun. Also, so much harder.

The Barton System is great, and I can see exactly where he is having problems processing sounds. It is interesting to see it broken down. (the following explanation will make more sense if you know now that C is consonants and V is vowel, I only mention it because I didn't get it at first) He can easily hear CV or VC combos, also VCC or CCV. Where he can't seem to decode is VCV, that middle vowel sound loses him every time. It is interesting to watch because we will fly through some lessons and then once we hit that it takes forever. He makes up the most interesting stories about the non-sense words and they get more and more detailed the more VCV words I make him try to compare or decode. Tomorrow I will be giving Barton a call and see if they can give me an idea of more VCV practice for him.

I also received The Dyslexia Advantage yesterday, so now I have a new book to read. It is fascinating reading. Helps keep me balanced on what I'm seeing in him.  There is an advantage to this challenge and I really want to help him see it. Our hardest moment this week was during the second Barton lesson when he broke down crying that he is dyslexic and he CAN'T read, and will never be able to. It broke my heart, but I know it is partly because he has never had to work this hard before. I have tried to teach him reading before but it felt like flailing about for both of us where this I can see clearly where he is having problems and we can work on building his ear up to hear the sounds and breaking them down slowly.

Something I never noticed that both F & I do and I know The Boy's previous teachers did was add the 'uhhh' sound to the end of the B, D, V sounds, actually and short hard consonant sound. It really impedes the ability to sound out a word if you are trying to sound out bit and you are saying buh-i-t. It also makes it hard to spell a word like 'but' if you sound it out and you hear buh and t sound, after all the word should then be spelled bt right? He HATES being corrected on the letter sounds. We are working through our issues though. ;)

Science was a JOY this week. We went to the stinky, dirty, trashy pond by our house and took samples of the water. Saw frogs, minnows, dragonflies, duckweed, algae, and so many other things. We also came home and looked under the microscope at the samples. So much fun.
Gathering samples of duckweed, algae, tadpoles, and snails.

We have decided that Fridays will be our field trip days and this week we went to Barr Lake with my lovely sister. It was so nice to spend the day with her. We were eaten by mosquitoes, saw a bunny, lots of insects, tracks of many animals and had so much fun. We will be going back to the Fall Birding Festival out there. I took my Canon Rebel film camera, need to get the pics developed, gave Sis my digi camera and The Boy had his own. It is fun to see the different pictures taken from different perspectives.
Very nice gentleman asked if we wanted him to take our picture so we did. 

Bunny picture taken by The Boy

Picture of me I don't hate, also by The Boy.

Another bunny picture by The Boy.

Oriole nest by The Boy.

Grasshopper by The Boy

The Boy, by Mama.

Milkweed seed pod, by The Boy.

So apparently I don't have any pictures taken by my Sis loaded up. I'll have to put them in another post.

We are studying Egypt again this year. He choose Egypt and Rome to study this year, I think mainly because we have been reading the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan and he wants to study the history of the stories we are seeing in that. Hey whatever it takes. He is a little annoyed that he already knows much of the Egyptian history since we studied it 2 years ago but he is liking some of the extra stuff I've added in. We are making papyrus paper this year, it is a multi-day process but he isn't annoyed with it and still wants to work on it.
It has to soak, then be pressed, then soaked again, then pressed again, then soaked again, etc...
I think he will be happier with the history portion once we move on to Roman history. I want to try to make an arch when we get to that point. We'll see.  We still need to make a mummified chicken for the Egypt portion this year. Dreading/excited about it. I'm thinking the shed is going to be a very good mummification chamber. Also have 3 sarcophagi to make.

Math is fine, it is the easy portion of our day. I keep trying to find ways to get him to memorize his times tables but I'm just not sure how much I'm going to press it. It is one of the weaknesses that come hand in hand with dyslexia and I really do see the benefit of learning them by rote but I'm not sure that this is the year to fight that battle. I will have him work on Rocket Math on the iPad and Timez Attack on the PC each day but I think I want the hard mental work to go towards reading this year and maybe next year we will work on times tables. I also want to see if I can find a narrative way to introduce them so he will have a personal memory to tie to the numbers. See, using a strength of dyslexia to overcome a weakness. Still I need to find the time to locate such a thing or try to create it myself.

I find it really satisfying to pull his curriculum from lots of sources but I will say it is a lot of work. This year I'm trying to get a bit more focused on what we are doing, I think in part because this is the year we will be giving him the standardized test for the state. Plus he is getting older and is now in 'upper elementary' he is no where near ready to 'read to learn' as opposed to 'learn to read' that is suppose to take place in this year of school but we are working on it and we will get there, I know it.

My dream right now is to get the loft area of our house pulled together to hold our school stuff. All the books, a special place for the library books we borrow. A desk for me to work on my lesson plans as well as the work I do for a friend. I don't see us actually doing school work in the space often but I see it being a place for me to plan for the week and a place to store all the 'stuff' that comes with school that right now resides on the dining room table and the living room couch. It is making me antsy and plus I'm certain I'm going to forget some FABULOUS resource I've found at some point and forgotten about because it is buried.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Winner announced

So I ended up getting distracted by first the insurance adjuster on Friday then IKEA on Saturday. Luckily Sunday seems to be for relaxing, while The Boy makes pancakes for the 'whole family' this means he made special pancakes for Honey, the dog. ;)

Anyway I did get around to having the Boy pick the winner and that would be V.S. I'm glad it will help with the kiddos schooling this year.

Tomorrow starts school and this weekend I started knitting The Boy wooly socks for this winter/camping, meaning I should have more fodder for the blog and actually won't be whining about 'female issues' anymore. Yippee. (I do however have one more blog post about that in me so don't feel safe yet David.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting ready for school plus a Music Giveaway

The give away info is at the end and has nothing to do with the homeschool portion of the post.

I spent most of the day getting our extensive book collection into my tracking program. I use the free version of Homeschool Tracker to keep the records I need for the State of Colorado. It offers much more than I need right now but we can grow into it and there is a paid version if we ever out grow it. It is simple to use and while I wish it would let me have a bit more flexibility in bulk entry it works great for the price. ;)

Now the iPad apps that I have download so far. I'll start with the ones that The Boy is willing to play with before we even 'start school' they are all created by Dan Russell-Pinson and he LOVES them.
  1. Rocket Math It covers everything from counting, money, time, patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But in doing that you get to build rockets and use the 'money' you earn to buy different parts. He loves experimenting with his rockets and building new ones. I'm going to use this to help him get his basic math facts into his head.
  2. Stack the States I downloaded this tonight and The Boy and DH are playing it right now as I type this up. He is learning interesting things about the states and it will tie in with my geography lessons for this year. I'm so happy he is engaged with it enough to learn the facts as well as trying to stack the states up high enough to cross the 'finish line' 
  3. Presidents vs Aliens You take out the Aliens with the Presidents. How freaking cool is that! Really cool that is how much. He was not as interested in the President facts, but he did love shooting aliens with the president heads. ;) 
The great thing about all 3 of those is they have a free version to try it out and even if you want to buy the full version they are less than $2. I can't beat that with anything else I can get my hands on right now.

In the productivity category I have loaded Evernote on my laptop, my Android phone and the iPad. Right now I'm using it to put my lesson plans in including websites I want to use during specific lessons. It doesn't matter what platform I'm on I can access all of it and I can update it from any of them as well. I will say that it is easiest to update lots of type.

Science I have found an app called Science 360 it has many videos on lots of different science subjects. Good content and even better it is free.

That's enough of that, I need to wrap this up now, so now on to the giveaway.

I love music, it lifts my soul up and makes me happy. I can't play it, I can't discuss it technically, and I certainly can't sing but I love listening to it. That said one of my favorite artists is Suzy Bogguss. We saw her in concert last fall with some friends and I bought her CD called Wildwood Flower that is her singing traditional American Folk songs. I love it, I knew she was going to try to get it sold in Cracker Barrel  restaurants. I forgot I bought it, it is called something else now, and well I bought it again. So I have a brand new never opened copyt of Suzy Bogguss American Folk Songbook to give away.
The cover with bonus cleavage.

To get it leave a comment by noon on Friday August 12 and I'll pick a random person to get it.

Also, trust me none of this is sponsored by anyone, well the iPad was sponsored by my Parents but the apps and the CD are all me.