Monday, January 23, 2012

School: Week 1

This will be first of many post about our school activities.  This is mainly for my records but perhaps someone will find something useful.  Most of these subjects are for Olivia (age 4.5) and not for Lucy (age  26 months).  Most if not all of these subjects are covered on a daily basis and with the exception of Upstart take very little of our day.  We do not sit down and cover everything at one time but rather do a little throughout the day.

January 14 to January 20 2012:

Great school week!

Morning Messages:  Started this week. Lucia LOVES seeing her name and recognizes it.  She even got upset one morning that I didn't have a part that said anything that dad was doing.

Book of Mormon Stories:  Olivia covered the first 4 chapters and knows the story of the Brass Plates very well.  She colored a great picture and repeatedly asks to watch the movie about the Brass Plates.

Math:  Found a great FREE website where it is quizzing Olivia on her math skills.  Even though she only uses it for 5 minutes a day, the progress report shows that she is making some improvement.  We have also been sitting down with craft sticks and using them to make addition problems.

Handwriting:  Olivia writes daily for about 15 minutes in a book that I made.  I printed off writing sheets with the basic alphabet and having her go over each page protected sheet with a dry erase marker.  I have her write her first and last name, birth date, my phone number, and a few sheets of letters and numbers.  Her handwriting has dramatically improved over the past few weeks!  I have also started to play a child's audio book during this time.  This week we listened to "Rapunzel and Other Classics of Childhood."

Spanish:  Watched episode 3 of Salsa each day.

Independent Reading:  This is a totally new concept for both girls.  I ask them to DEAR: Drop Everything and Read for a short period of time.  I honestly only expect Lucy to look at books for 5 minutes and Olivia I am hoping for 15 minutes and increasing in the future.  I want to use this time to make lunch but it is still a foreign concept to them.  I'm typically the one reading to them, not on their own.  This needs some work!

ABC:  This one is only for Lucy.  Daily while Olivia is working on a different subject, Lucy watches "Meet the Letters."  I love these shows!  Lucy knows nearly all of her alphabet upper and lowercase.  She still calls an E a F, but this is great for someone her age.

Rusty & Rosy/Upstart:  40 to 50 minutes every day covering reading, math and science.  On Friday while Olivia was at piano lessons I had Lucy do 10 minutes.  I don't figure that she will pick up much but she loves the special attention and getting to do school like sister.

Read Alouds:  We are reading Uncle Wiggily.  Olivia asks for me to read this book and thinks about it through the day.  Earlier in the week she told me that Uncle Wiggily was in the shower with her until I opened the door then he jumped back into the book.

Memorization:  We reviewed our past memorization: 1st Article of Faith, 2nd Article of Faith and my phone number.  She has these pretty well mastered with some prompts to begin. We started on the 3rd Article of Faith.

Piano:  Now that we have a real piano and not just a keyboard, Olivia has really improved with her practicing.  Her teacher said that she noticed a big difference.

Game:  This week the girls really enjoyed playing Mighty Mind.

Field Trip:  This week we went to the Bean Museum which is a Life Science Museum and the girls greatly enjoyed it.  They loved the Reptile show and came home to make a poster of Reptiles.  What makes a reptile and what is a reptile.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Many of you know that I have STRONGLY planned on homeschooling my children.  I've been researching curriculum for the past 10 years, mind you that Olivia is only 4 1/2.  I have been doing various activities with my girls for sometime to introduce them to wonderful world around us.

Olivia has been participating in a wonderful computer-based preschool called "Rusty & Rosy Learn with Me."  The best part is that we get to use it free since our state is participating in the program.  I am thoroughly impressed at the achievements that Olivia has made!  She is on level 2 of the program which is the beginning of 1st grade work.  She especially loves the science sections and will tell you all about the vertebrates around us.  Yes, she will use the word vertebrate!

Since we have many changes heading our way this summer, I've wondered if I should pursue my homeschooling plans.  After our trip I started to look into charter schools and found one that I really liked, but I still felt very uneasy about it.  After a trip to the temple I felt that I needed to put Olivia into a Spanish Immersion program.  I am happy about this for a few reasons.  First, if she succeeds she will be able to converse with her Abuelos.  Second, Spanish immersion is only part of the gifted program at this particular school district so they should give her a few more challenging things.  I do worry that she will be bored in school since she is already ahead.

After a parent meeting at the school district, Olivia is signed up to take the "gifted" test on Tuesday.  I am extremely nervous!  Not that she will do poorly but that I will be let down if she doesn't get into the program.  They said that they have some 300 children test for the 30 slots offered.  I won't find out until the end of April if she was accepted.  If not, hopefully one of the charter schools will pull through and if that doesn't work then I will homeschool her for Kindergarten.

In the meantime I will continue to work with Olivia and Lucy in hopes to provide them a great education.  To help me keep track of what we do, also to make it that I can search in the future of things we did, I plan on posting our progress here.  This is mostly for me, but who knows perhaps someone will find something inspiring.       

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Museum of Fine Art

One of my personal goals this year is to have some one-on-one time with Olivia.  The Museum of Fine Art has a family day on the 3rd Saturday each month.  Today we went and tried it out.

First the museum staff instructs us to head upstairs to the small Egypt room.  It was fascinating looking at their small collection.  Once we looked there, we headed down to the classroom where we each were given a real piece of papyrus.  Olivia greatly enjoys art and took a great deal of time on her picture.  As you can see above she made a "swirly sky."  The black are the clouds, green below is the grass and the brilliant yellow and magenta sun.

For the remainder of the day Olivia has been talking about Ancient Egypt and asking questions like if they had pianos or what kinds of instruments they played.  What kind of food did they eat and why they buried their kings in the pyramids.  I love seeing her to excited about learning!  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Silly Kind of Evening

So what started out being a calm Sunday evening turned into my girls dancing followed with some silly games.  In the end of it, I'm glad that my girls are happy.  (Please forgive me the music in the background.  It is actually me playing and I haven't played in years and I felt very nervous that it was being video taped.)  After our trip we were gifted with a much desired piano that needs some serious tuning.