Friday, October 30, 2009

Hooked on Phonics: My Feelings

Someone asked in the comments how I like Hooked on Phonics. I have only been doing it with Mary Helen (Kindergarten) for a couple of weeks, but so far I am in love. I'm resisting the urge to order 1st grade :). I think Mary Helen likes the woman on the cd telling her what to do rather than listening to me (she hears me enough in a day!).

I like the repetition. I think that's great for learning to read as well as building confidence. She has read 3 of the little books that come along with it, and I think 3 or 4 of the little books printed in the workbook. There is an adorable little chart that came in our kit where she puts a sticker for each story she reads - she LOVES that!

The workbook has the student circle words in various activity (circle all the words that rhyme with mat), but I am planning to use this program for all the kids and then pass it along (if there's any life left in it!); so we write the words on the chalkboard or paper. This is fine with her and saves the book.

Feel free to ask me again after Christmas how it's going and I'll give another update then :)

Have a great weekend everyone! I have a hot date with the Dairy King and the girls are spending the night with MeMa! Tomorrow morning some girlfriends and I are headed to yard sales! I should be ready to crash by the time we make it through Trunk-R-Treat at church tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Workboxes or No Workboxes. . . that is the question!

Well, one reason I felt like I had nothing to blog about is that we quit doing workboxes. I was after survival and basics. So, we've been doing math and reading. Nothing extra.

Lately, Mary Helen has been asking for more and more, and I've been pulling out extra activities and keeping her busy. Today I asked if she missed having workboxes, and sure enough she does! So, I'm back at it. Now I have to remember all the ideas I had for the boxes and get organized again!

The Snails Trail has a great post on sight words activities, and I'm working some of those into our boxes. I'm hoping to find more good ideas soon :)

Today I wasn't feeling all that great and the day just got worse and worse, so we were back to survival, but I hope to get on top of things and will start posting more about what's in our boxes next week.

Oh! I almost forgot - we got over a BIG hurdle last week - Mary Helen learned all the days of the week finally!! We have been struggling with it, and it finally clicked :) Proud Mommy moment!

Another praise - Anna wore big girl panties all day and only had one accident! Yay!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Welcome to our school room!

I recently turned part of our playroom into the schoolroom. We used to have the set up in the kitchen, but I really wanted my kitchen back. I already was using the closets in the playroom for school stuff, and I just really like to change things up!

When we started homeschooling last August (2008), I set up the kitchen into a nice little school corner. I wanted to paint a chalkboard on the wall, but Joel didn't think that'd be a good idea. His question was about painting over it being difficult or something. Well, hello, honey. . . we are going to homeschool forever, I don't think the need for a chalkboard will be changing. But, we did it his way and painting a thin board with chalkboard paint and nailed it up with a pretty little fram made from moulding. Well, I decided when it was time to move school that he is probably the smartest man I know! We just took that sucker down and moved it to the next room - and isn't she lovely?!

This is an overview shot of the school area. To the right is the playroom area - couch, rocking chair, tv, computer, treadmill and floor space for playing.

The table was given to us (free!!!) when some friends of ours moved and no longer needed it. Thanks to facebook, I posted on there that I was looking for a very cheap to free table, and with in 10 minutes I had this one offered to me!
This is behind where I was standing to take the first picture. I have some family pictures, a curtain rod to hang artwork, and these bins that hold everything! We store crayons, markers, stickers, coloring books, construction paper, and other art stuff. The other one has some of our learning games like the leap frog letter games, playful patterns, nuts and bolts, wipe off placemats, etc. The picnic table is for playdoh, art projects, etc.

One of the closet doors - we have our current sight word in the top red pocket chart, and ones we've learned on the wall to the left. Colors and days of the week are on the bottom.

The next picture shows the wall between the closets with our very fashionable princess clock, our schedule, and our baskets for our chore packs (I will have a whole post about those soon!). The canvas drawers have various supplies - pencils, pens, readers that we aren't ready for. . . The pocket chart has the activity that each girl does during alone play time. I separate them for 30 minutes in the afternoon to do an activity on their own. The girls really look forward to this time of day!

And, the chalkboard area - the papers on the left are each of the girls' AWANA verses. I have our cd player down there - we listen to Mary Helen's Sparks lesson on there and her Hooked on Phonics lesson. We also play praise music during other times of the day. Mary Helen loves to listen to "Mommy music about God" :)

This shelf is between the kitchen and play/schoolroom. The green baskets (from the dollar tree) are for free reading (they each have 30 minutes a day of reading time, and I rotate these baskets - the missing one is by the recliner in the living room). The purple baskets hold daily school stuff - Mary Helen's math and reading workbooks, and her finished worksheets. The bottom basket has magnetic paper dolls, a magnetic tea set princess party book, and a wooden doll book that you dress the doll (one of Anna's weekly activities during alone time).

Here is Mary Helen doing her Hooked on Phonics lesson.

And Anna doing her coloring sheet during school time.
Thanks for taking the tour! If you have pictures of your school area, please put a link in the comments, I LOVE to get good ideas for school areas!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hello, world! Remember me?

Two and a half months or so have passed since I have blogged! Shame on me!

Well, I have missed the blogging world. I have not blogged, and I have not been following blogs as closely as I like to. But, I am coming back. You may not have missed me, but dear friends, I have missed you!

So, in the next few posts, you can look to hear all about my pregnancy so far (over half way there!), our school year and the dramatic changes I've made in the last couple of months, see my new school set-up, find out why we decided to put Anna in our church's Bible Play School, how I talked Joel into a cleaning lady :), what God has been teaching me, and other stuff that's been going on around here!