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.

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