Saturday, December 1, 2012

What we've been up to lately...

The other day on Pinterest I came across a list of 100 Best Chapter Books for Kids. Scrolling through the list I was impressed that I've already read 7 of the books to my not quite 5 year olds. Seven out of 100 isn't that many but it is a start, and we've read chapter books that aren't on that list too. But it did get me to thinking and as bad of a memory I have, I better write down the books we have read so I don't forget!
So in no order, because I've already forgot the order, we've read....

Pippi Longstockings
Stewart Little
Charlotte's Web
Treasure Island (abridged)
The Story of Doctor Doolittle (abridged)
The Secret Garden (abridged)
The Jungle Book (abridged)
The Velveteen Rabbit (this one was on that list, although I don't recall it being a chapter book, so maybe it was also abridged)
Winnie-the-Pooh (also on the chapter book list?)
Matilda (We started this one, but abandoned it, they were not interested... we'll come back to it another day.)
Little House on the Prairie (Children's versions)
The Wizard of Oz (current book)

I was always against reading abridged versions of books until reading The Well Trained Mind. The author made a point that just made sense to me. She said read abridged books to your pre-k kids as many as you can. They'll listen and get what they get. Then when they are older and read the full version for scholastic review it is easier because the material is already familiar. They have a comfort level with the book and can tackle the full version because they have a basic understanding of the plot. That just really clicked for me. I was lucky to stumble upon a random assortment of $2 abridged books at Target a couple of weeks ago and I bought all the titles they had. We've been going through them about one chapter a night.

Right now I'm reading Wizard of Oz to them because I found all 14 of L. Baum's books on the Kindle for 95 cents. What a bargain! I read the entire series when I was a kid and I loved them. Most people don't even know that there is more than the first book, but it is an entire world and it is a fun one at that! I highly recommend them and am so excited to be re-reading them with my kids. Eventually it is a series that I'd like to have a hard copy of so we can read them again when they are older, but for 95 cents, I didn't want to pass that deal!

The other book that we continue to read is The Story of the World. We started with nomadic cave dwellers that lived in about 7000 BC and now we've read up to Ancient Egyptians that lived around 2500 BC. The cool thing about this book is that it is very basic. It just gives a very limited overview of history. I think it's great for this age to hear, again, just for background knowledge. Something to base future details on.

We are still working on our reading lessons. I bought the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons. And I have really liked this phonics book. We have probably exceeded our 100 lessons, but we are still sticking through it. We've gone over lessons 35-50 several times. Any time I get past about 55 they get stuck, so we just go back a few lessons and practice, practice, practice. I'm not worried about how fast we get to lesson 100. I see improvement each time we redo a lesson. Their confidence is going up, their speed is going up and their accuracy is going up and soon I think we'll be able to get over our lesson 55 hump!

Math lessons lately have been fun. We've been practicing counting by 10 and I even introduced place value. We were counting out poker chips and they got the concept of trading 10 red "ones" for 1 "blue" 10 pretty quickly.

In science lesson the other day we talked about simple machines. We went over how a pulley, inclined plane, wheel and levers worked. Syd the Science Kid actually helped out with these lessons! I was planning on doing some real life examples but got sick this week. We'll still work on this though. So currently we've just talked about it and watched the Syd shows. They are applying one lesson to another. When I read to them about the Egyptians building the pyramids without cranes and bulldozers. The girls said they must have used inclined planes and pulleys.

Well, I didn't realize this blog post was going to be an update on homeschooling, it just sort of evolved into that! There is so much more that we do, it can't all be captured in a few paragraphs but I guess this is sort of a highlight of some of the things we are up to. There is still also plenty of time for playing, goofing off, running, twirling, dressing up and singing. Well this momma is going to tuck in for the night and enjoy the quiet of the house before it is her bedtime.

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