Wishing we were on Boriquen with all of our family

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

monumental milestones

Those with SID children can agree that what most consider small milestones, we consider to be monumental milestones. MY ds always seemed to be slightly disconnected from his body; one side not quite communicating well with the other. We have been working occasionally on getting enough coordination to skip. I am not sure at what age a kid should be able to skip, but I know ds is at his own pace (he's 7 now). His right side dominates so getting his left side to do the same has always been a challenge. So to my surprise, today, totally self initiated, I witnessed my ds skip around my living room. With wood floors, I heard that he was skipping before I saw it. The best part was that he knew he had accomplished something that was hard for him; he had the biggest smile on his face. You know that smile. The one that says "Yes! I did it!" And this was all before I said anything. Of course there were a couple of victory laps around the sofa before he stopped.
For those wondering how we did it, we started of using stomping rhythmically, then we moved to knee ups in place, the last step was to skip slowly. It feels funny but it worked!
Now on to jumping rope....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Form Drawing with Element Influece

This week's form drawing is strongly influenced by last week's water study. I knew that this is what would speak to ds so I went with it. Here is a great photo of what inspired us all week long. Our weekly poem was Sea Creatures by Julia Redstone. It worked well with movement and we continued with various sea creature walks. I even got ds to pretend he was scooting across a rope on a sailboat.

Here is a sample of our daily playdough work.

Of course when there is water, we must have water color painting. See, "mess"!

We also got our next level of Right Start Math (level B) which we started up again this week. I love this program.
Some books that we used are Starfish by Edith Thacher Hurd and Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Element study

For our first element week, we studied water. We started off with what floats and sinks. Ds really loved the hands on "experiments" and field trips this week.

Here is one of our art projects this week which worked well in celebrating St Patrick's day. I tortured ds the previous week by not telling him why we were painting eggshells. He was pleasantly surprised when he could finally handle the eggs. We first looked at rainbows online just to
make sure we got the right order. Then we went cracking on our own rainbow. Ds had fun at first, but then his sticky fingers really started to bother him by the time we got to yellow.

Great books we used this week:
The Snowflake; A water cycle story by Neil Waldman and The Old Woman & the Wave by Shelley Jackson. Both books have wonderful artwork and really know how to grab the reader and drag them in. The illustrations alone are inspiring. Below are a few examples of how the first inspired us:

Of course being that we are studying water, we indulged ourself in water color painting. I first wrote the months and drew on the wc paper with a white crayon. Then ds had a good time painting trying to figure out what hidden words and images would appear. We still have a few more to do to have all twelve.

With the warmer weather this week and a more relaxed topic to experience, we were outside a lot this week. We are lucky that we live close to many different bodies of water. First we visited our local falls. Despite the stinging wind, dc walked the riverewalk a pretty good ways. Then we went to the beach. The weather was definitely the best on this day. After walking a good way, ds wrote and read words in the sand. It was soooo beautiful and a great way to get vitamin D. I neglected to bring my camera, sorry.

I did manage to take a few pictures to one of our outings this past weekend. Here's one for the abuelos.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week 2 Language Arts - All cracked up

We finished another week of LA with a central theme about eggs. Our maine story took place on the Misty Mountain where Denver Dog and Gabby Goose argued about nothing. In the middle of the argument, Gabby's Egg rolled out of the nest and down the mountain and landed in Randy Rabbit's hole. Of course the story I told to ds was a lot more entertaining and fun. He always enjoys animal sounds. Here are some of the photos:

This weeks we focused on m, d, g, e and r.

Here is ds's m and d words.

Of course an e drawing by ds.

I've read that a few people were having trouble teaching ds's to knit. I knew that with all of our issues that my ds would react the same way to me teaching him to knit. So I convince dh to teach him knots. I am hoping that once he has more confidence in his hands, ds will take to knitting easier. He learns 1/week and practices it on 4 different things/day (rubber bands, demin, string, ribbon, plastic just to name a few).

Our favorite books from this week are Silly Goose by Marni McGee and An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston. I am soo going to go broke from a book addiction.

Monday, March 8, 2010

We tried, but didn't work

One of things that we tried but eventually had to drop was Kumon. I love the philosophy and our center's teacher was wonderful with ds. BUT the work was too demanding, requiring a lot of attention nor matter how we divided it up. After a year we decided that the fighting wasn't worth it and discontinued it. I told dh that I could do something similar to Kumon that ds would enjoy more. So now we do "homework". In a simple composition book, I write down a few math problems and some type of language arts activity. He definitely approaches it more positively than he ever did Kumon, especially when the "homework" is more of a game than work. The book I love to use games from is Games for Learning by Peggy Kaye. Not only does it cover a wide range of issues to address by using games and but also tells you which grade you can use the game/activity for (K-3). I might revisit Kumon once ds is older.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beautiful books; great for form drawing and language arts

I just wanted to share a few books that we read last week:
Ginkgo and Moon by Lisa Mertins
The Egg Tree by Katherine Mihous
Verdi by Janell Cannon
Best Little Wingman by Janet Allen

For LA the first 3 did really well when discussing trees for the letter T. I am so in love with Ginkgo and Moon that I want one for our own library. It would also be useful for seasonal discussions. The Egg Tree was perfect in preparing for Easter and Verdi did a great job of integrating S and T for our language arts section. Check them out of your library.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Language Arts Block

Grade 1
This is one of the two places I deviate from most waldorfinspired homeschooling and it's works for us. I am using The Reading Lesson with a waldorf twist. I chose TRL because it made sense to me. Instead of teaching the letters in alphabetical order, this programs teaches by the most common letters in the English language and sigh words along with each lesson. I also read the Write Road to Reading right before the holidays, which has some more methodology that would help with learning how to read through writing. I first mixed up the TRL with a waldorf twist. Looking back now, I should of went a little heavier on the Waldorf. We went through 12 out of the 20 lessons when I decided to back down from the old method of learning and started from the beginning of our new way. I also wished I did more block lessons and laid heavy into the form drawing. Having sensory integration disorder, my ds really needed the more holistic way of learning. My biggest issue was that I didn't feel comfortable with the waldorf curriculum that I initially purchased. Then when we hit the brick wall after the holidays I looked into the christopherus website and curriculum. Which lead me to look at other waldorf homeschool blogs and realized that what was given was more of a frame. With a little work, elbow and brain grease, we could have fun learning at home that really tends to ds's need.
So we started from square one using a mixture of all three methods:
This week we reviewed the following letters: c o s a t with trees being our center theme. H
ere are a few photos of our week:

So I started the week with the above chalk drawing with a story about an apple tree, a cat, a snake and an octopus. Not only did we cover each sound, I manage to squeeze a little morality into the story. After the story, we drew step by step the chalkboard picture into our MLB on Monday.

After morning prayer and movement, we have our playdough time. I only covered forming the letters one day this week. After that, he was very creative in forming words without being prompted.

Here is a sample of how we worked through the letters. Our drawing have the lower case letters in it. Ds picked out four words for each letter and we practiced writing them on the chalkboard before writing them in the MLB.

On our last day, we only had to cover one letter and then we went into dictation which was writing bits of the story from our main story of the week. Of course using a little humor made the writing exercise a much happier experience. Look at that smile!

One more thing to mention on a sensory note: for our writing we use broken pieces of chalk and crayons to do our writing. This is a Writing Without Tears inspiration. ds usually holds writing utensils with a death grip. The broken pieces forces him to hold them with a tripod grip.