19 January 2016

Simply Classical Level B

I did of review of Level A last year when working through it with Samuel and we liked it so much we went on to doing Level B this year (also by Memoria Press) while he attends preschool at our Church.  He's love preschool and continues to enjoy our homeschool lessons.  At the end I'll give a brief update on how Ruth is doing with her lessons.

There is a similar flow to Level A, but more to it in Level B.  Level B is laid out to start with a prayer, do the calendar & weather, do recitation, then an alphabet lesson, numbers lesson, literature/language lesson (usually a read aloud book), poetry/music lesson, manners or a game, Bible literacy and then end with a prayer.  So as you can tell from that list, there is a little more to it than there was in Level B.  It all still goes by pretty fast, depending on the focus of your child that day.

The calendar adds on what month and season to what day.  This is also a good time to do calendar recitation (days of the week, months of the year and seasons).  All in all this portion is pretty similar to Level A.

Recitation has some longer recitations than the year before, but nothing too crazy.  I think the Lord's Prayer is the longest recitation, but they hear that a lot if they are in Church regularly and it was also on Level A, so it shouldn't be too challenging for them.  This year Samuel has been a lot more engaged in the recitation last year, which is just proof that his verbal skills have improved.  He still has room for improvement, but its progress.

The alphabet lesson takes you through all the letters of the alphabet in order over the course of the year, with review weeks throughout.  The alphabet lesson includes reading the current letter out of Big Thoughts for Little People, doing some coloring pages or a craft related the the letter and looking at the letter and pictures of things starting with the letter from an alphabet board book.  This lesson usually goes by pretty quickly and, because my son goes to preschool as well, he knows the alphabet fairly well.  So we don't spend too much time here.  If you buy the curriculum bundle it comes with alphabet flashcards, which I laminated, that we used to play games with on review weeks.  Usually that means I lay out some cards (usually either all the letters we have done so far or just a segment of the alphabet) and have him put them in order.  This often involves him pouncing on the letter on the floor and lots of laughs.

The numbers lesson started a little slow with a numbers coloring book.  I say that just because my son hated coloring when we first started.  He would simply trace the letter or number and call it done.  No amount of coaxing from me could get him to do more than just trace it.  As the year has gone on, he has become more interested in actually coloring.  I think that is from doing coloring stuff at preschool.  Now we are in a different book, that is more of a workbook.  In it he practices writing the numbers.  Each number came with a little rhyme we say while tracing the number in the air (for example: one line down and then you're done, that is how to write a one - or something like that, I may have some of the wording off, but that's the gist) and he loves those little rhymes.  When he is thinking about how to write a number he often thinks of it or prompts me to sing it for him.  He especially loves the rhyme for number 7 and he just likes the number 8 too.  I think the 8 is more because it has an s shape in it, like his name.  So lately we have been doing a lot of number writing, but soon we'll be finished with the current workbook and onto the next one.  I don't expect a lot of perfection from him here yet and treat it more as a writing practice.  We just count over and over and over while doing it and he writes numbers.  There are some cutting and pasting activities in there too, which he enjoys (really if there are scissors, he's excited about it).  I think the next workbook also has some cut and paste things and also some more writing practice.

Literature/Language usually involves reading a book, which he is normally pretty pumped about reading a book, so it isn't too hard to get him to sit down for this normally.  If you want to see the collection of books used, follow the links in the first paragraph to Memoria Press, they have a list of the read alouds for all their levels.

Poetry/Music starts based around Robert Louis Stevenson's poems out of A Child's Garden of Verses (and 2 CDs that put Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry to music), but eventually you finish all of the ones in the board book with some of the poems and move onto typical songs you would hear in a preschool or a daycare.  Samuel, however, has really enjoyed the poetry from A Child's Garden of Verses, so I got the complete book of those poems and we going through the rest of the poems from the CDs.  He just really likes them, so ok!  If he wants more poetry, I won't stop him!  We still sing the songs listed in the manual and just do the poetry in addition to what is already listed for the day.

Finally we have Bible literacy.  This is primarily reading a Bible Story out of A Child's Garden of Bible Stories and doing some coloring pages.  We'll soon be done with that book and then there is another short book we'll read and work on memorizing the names of the 4 Gospels.  Later on you can add learning the 23rd Psalm (which is already part of his recitation).

Ruth has been working through Level A and has been enjoying it.  Twice a week we get to do it while Samuel is at preschool, so that helps being able to focus solely on her during it.  She has been much more into the recitation than her brother, but that is no surprise as her verbal skills are better than his were when we started with him.

All in all, I am glad we have been doing these lessons with them.  They have provided some special bonding time between all of us that I appreciate.  Some days the lessons do not go smoothly.  A kid does not want to say the recitation or maybe Samuel does not want to work on the workbook.  I have been working hard at making sure that I give them lots of breaks between things and run around if they are acting up.  Usually a good run around the house for a few minutes helps them refocus onto the task.  If I don't, we both end up frustrated with each other, which is no fun.  So lots of breaks on harder days and taking advantage that it is a 4 day a week curriculum for both of them and taking a day off on days when a day off would be helpful (like sickness, or needing to run a lot of errands out of the house).

I have enjoyed doing all these lessons so much that I just ordered Memoria Press's Junior Kindergarten curriculum for Samuel to use next year.

I will say, I haven't ordered the read aloud sets from Memoria Press, instead I put them on wishlists for the children, borrow from the library and order them off of Thriftbooks.  We may often not get new books, but it has worked well for us (and it helps spread out the new books more throughout the year, bringing more excitement to it, granted I could just store them out of site and pull them out as needed, but hey, you find what works for you!).

10 January 2016

2016 Starts with a Bang (or ill Kids)

Life continues to go and I keep thinking that maybe I should post something and then I just don't.  So here is an update.  A fly by update of the last year and half or so since I posted last.

Isaiah joined our family last year and we will be celebrating his first birthday shortly after Samuel's fourth.  He is just a joy.  Isaiah is the baby that makes everyone fall in love with babies and brings a sharp contrast to our experiences with Samuel and Ruth.  Unlike Samuel he has not had too many physical needs requiring much attention.  He was born on his due date, so that eliminates the need for all the monitoring that tends to happen with 27 weekers and has also been a pretty healthy baby over all (though lately he can't seem to shake this bug he has, but he'll get there).  And unlike Ruth, he's a pretty calm smiley baby. There has been no pulling the hair out due to never ending crying fits with Isaiah, something I quite appreciate.  At almost 11 months he is wanting so bad to be walking, but isn't quite yet.  To do that he'll need to work a little bit on his balance, but I'm sure he'll be walking soon enough.

Ruth is now 2.5 years old and is such a hoot these days!  A sharp contrast to in infancy she is becoming just a lovable person.  She is our daring child and our loud child.  One of her favorite things to do on car rides is to serenade us with her loud singing.  Another fun preoccupation of hers is climbing in and out of Isaiah's exersaucer.  Whenever we are at the preschool for Samuel she seems to yearn to be there.  She just loves being around people and getting into trouble around the house.  We were not sure how she'd be around Isaiah when he came along, but she has done great.  For quite a while she mostly ignored him and played with Samuel, but has also tried to be helpful.  Bringing him things like his pacifier, a toy, or when he was younger, a burp cloth.  Just the other day, while I was putting Isaiah down for a nap, she insisted on putting about 10 toys in his crib for him to play with.  I think we have her trained on not giving Isaiah food, but that was a common occurrence for a time.  Brownies for a 7 month old are totally legit right?  She thought so...  She also is currently working on the curriculum I did with Samuel last year and loving to read the books.

Samuel will be 4 soon and is getting into playing games.  He got Richard Scarry's Eye Found It game and loves playing it, always wants to take it out and play.  Samuel remains fascinated by all things on wheels, but is starting to get quite interested in superheroes.  He has some Spider Man jammies and likes to tell us he is Spider Man Boy and then he shoots his webs.  He got some Batman jammies for Christmas (as did Isaiah and Ruth got a bat girl shirt) that he very much enjoys as well.  He is also in preschool and doing some homeschool.  For Christmas he got a write and wipe ABC 123 book and has enjoyed tracing letters and numbers in there.  Some days I am just struck at how big and grown up he's gotten.  It often feels like just yesterday when he was in the NICU.

Ben and I are doing the same basic things we have been doing.  I continue to teach for Wittenberg Academy and he does his DCE stuff at Church.  I have recently gotten into Suzanne Bowen Fitness (she has a streaming workout membership that I do) and I am loving it!  I have gotten off it with the holidays and kids being sick, but they are just wonderful workouts and fit my schedule as a stay at home mom beautifully.  So this was a short and sweet post, but hopefully if you have been wondering what we have been up to this answers some of your questions.  Below I have included some photos from over the past year.

And I say that this year starts with ill kids because with the New Year came Isaiah with a fever and "fun" diapers, Ruth throwing up and Samuel getting a double ear infection.  Hopefully now that the weather has gotten quite cold out we'll see a little less sickness.

Here are some pictures from throughout the last year and a half for you to enjoy: