March 9th: Week in Review

So here we are, trying to get back into the flow of blogging our weeks.  This one was pretty good.

We are on Oak Meadow’s Week 21, but decided to take two weeks for this one because Little Guy is really taking off on the reading front, and I wanted to focus on that.  I also wanted to spend some extra time on the seasons, since we are about to move into spring.

So, this week, we made a seasons tree with fingerprints….


…read books about spring, and things that start with the letter “P”….


did lots of fine motor work, utilizing some of our new therapy tools….like this bead sequencing set…


and this under-the-sea puzzle memory game…


and our new farm sticks to use for tong transfer/pincer grasp (very cool, since we do not like metal tongs.)


We also painted…001

spent time outside…



did a lot of drawing and writing…




and a whole lot of smiling.




I even managed a couple of (easy!) projects.  Here is one of our new Waldorf-inspired ribbon wands:


and these are the peg dolls I’m making for our upcoming weather study.  (And no, I’m not cool and crafty.  I have zero craft imagination.  Anything I make is pretty much copied exactly from Waldorf books or Pinterest finds. Speaking of which, Pinterest is an amazing source for school ideas.  My boards are here .)


Anyway….we did lots more…including a LOT of reading….for both me and Little Guy!  He is actually starting to read, and read me nearly an entire new-to-us “Biscuit” book yesterday.  So exciting!!

So that was our week.  Pretty good, all in all.  How was yours?


Published in: on March 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm  Comments (2)  

Updates + a fresh start

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Christmas.

There are reasons (which I will go into in a moment), but first, here is what I am going to do.  I want to get back on track with my weeks-in-review, partly because I love sharing what we are doing; partly because I like having the visual record of our work; and partly because the encouragement I receive from all of you is a huge help to me. Part of the reason I haven’t blogged in so long is that, with each week full of schooling and activities that went by, I became more and more bogged down by the idea of having to catch up on all those posts.

So I’m not going to try to catch up.  We have been steadily working, the same as always, for the past two months; and that is a lot of weeks.  So I am just going to share a few pictures of a few of the things we have been doing.  And then I am going to move on.

In January and February, we….


played and learned new skills….


drew lots of pictures and learned to write many new letters…


spent time with our dogs…both of whom are getting a bit old and tired….


learned (with great joy and delight!!) to pedal a tricycle….


visited family in Georgia and spent time with our great-grandmother…


had fun with friends…


read lots of books….


did lots of fine motor work….


played naked…


celebrated a sixth birthday…


did more fine motor work…


baked a lot….


and made a sensory bin.

(We also all had the flu, weathered another sickness or two, endured one of the roughest sensory months we’ve had in a while, and found out that Hubby is going to Korea for a year, beginning in May.  Which means we will be on our own here for a year.  Those are some of the reasons I have not been blogging.) 

And now….this post done….I have relieved myself of my non-posting guilt, and can happily resume my weekly posts.

Love to you all.  🙂

Published in: on March 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm  Comments (4)  

Oak Meadow Week 13

Week 13 was a good one.

Our letter was “J”.  We read Beatrix Potter’s “Jemima Puddleduck,” and did lots of “J” activities.  We wrote J’s…colored J’s….made pipe cleaner J’s….learned the nursery rhyme “Jack, be Nimble,” and practiced saying it while actually jumping over a candlestick….it was all lots of fun.

Here he is working on his pipe-cleaner J.

We read tons of books, as always, including some Clifford books, Thomas Docherty’s Little Boat (my favorite of the week), Eric Carle’s Rooster’s Off to See the World, Shape Capers, and several others.  We also read Planting the Wild Garden, an absolutely beautiful picture book about seeds and their dissemination.  This one tied in nicely with our science lesson for the week, which was about seeds and trees.

We talked about how all different kinds of tiny nuts and seeds can grow into big, beautiful seeds.  We read “The Little Acorn,”  an excellent book we had from our library program back in Missouri.  It tells the story of the relationship between water and every stage of the growth of a tree.  We suspended an avocado seed in water and are waiting eagerly for it to sprout.

We placed it in a sunny spot and will keep checking it eagerly….(please ignore the obvious dust in this photo!!)

For math, we continued work with the number six.  We did different math activities, including our usual baking, but Little Guy’s favorite seemed to be this one.  We made construction paper numbers and careful counted out matching piles of marbles to place by the correct number.

One of our crafts this week was fork weaving.  Little Guy gave it a good try, but ultimate his fingers proved too clumsy for his peace of mind and he got pretty frustrated.  That’s okay.  We can try again in a couple of months.

We did lots of music and movement this week.  We sang more than usual (he is getting SO much better at singing…both in participation mode with me, and on his own…so he actually wants to sing at times other than circle time!), and we played games.  We played a catch-the-scarf game (which went much better than last time we tried it), we played ball, and we continued to add new instructions to our following directions game (in which he has to listen and respond with the correct physical motions.)

We did plenty of chalk drawing on outside days and painting on inside days….

And of course we continued with our speech therapy activities (we are hovering between levels 7 and 8 in his therapy program).  I am seeing so much progress in him in the past few weeks.   He speaks more clearly, speaks up when I ask him to, is getting better about taking turns speaking instead of constantly having to dominate the room, is doing better about responding appropriately (some of the time), and is adapting more to social cues.  YAY!

So, all in all, a nice, pleasant, productive week.  Hope yours was the same!

Published in: on November 14, 2012 at 3:16 am  Comments (2)  

Oak Meadow Week 12 and Fall Break

So the last two weeks have been a little different.  OM’s week 12 is the last week of the fall term, and I wanted to time it so that we didn’t start the winter term till after Halloween.  This meant that we came to week 12 a week early, which was okay because I wanted to take a fall break.  However, Little Guy does not do well without structure and predictability, so we decided to just do half days of school for two week instead of finishing week 12 and then taking a week off for break.  Week 12 was a review week anyway, so the plan worked out perfectly.

Instead of trying to remember everything we did for the past two weeks (impossible!), I’m just going to give you pictures of a few of our highlights.  We had a lovely two weeks…we are finally just losing our fall leaves here, but they were beautiful while they lasted.  We got to get out in the leaves as a family a  couple of times…so nice!

Here are our high points from the past two weeks.  What were yours?

Pumpkin carving.  YES, this is Little Guy handling messy pulp and seeds! Amazing!

Couldn’t help giving you another one.  I just couldn’t believe the okay-ness with messy!

He loved our finished pumpkin.  We made a little ritual out of the evening…I made almond flour brownies, and we sat on the front porch, lit the candle in the pumpkin, learned a jack o’ lantern poem, cuddled, and ate our brownies.

Little Guy reading The Folks in the Valley: A Pennsylvania Dutch ABC.  That is one gorgeous book.

Library storytime.

Just finished working on his six-sided star.

Halloween at the library!  Notice the leaves…I loved the yellow leaves and the shadows that day!

Baby V was a bumblebee.

Penny rubbings.  Learning how to do a rubbing was a bit of a challenge, but he enjoyed it.

Still working on the rubbing.  If you look closely, you can see the pennies, but he couldn’t quite figure out how to use the side of the block crayon.  There’s always next time!  Hey, he was trying!

So that’s bits and pieces of us.  I have lots more to write about, but no time at the moment. Hopefully soon I will get around to recording all of the things we have been doing, and all the thoughts floating around in my head.  I’m super excited about starting our winter term…we’re going to be starting to grow indoor plants from seed next week.  Should be fun.

In the meantime, I’m off for dinner with the family. Till next time!

Published in: on November 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Craziness, Oak Meadow Week 11, and Pumpkin Patch Photos

Well, we are still adjusting to Hubby’s new schedule.  The adjustment period is turning out to be harder than I thought it would.  It is hard because he ends up often being gone on weekends, when we are used to having him home, and home during the week, when we are used to having him gone and moving quietly through our regular school rhythm.  Add into the mix our now-weekly trips to Nashville on Tuesdays and our continued work with the GAPS diet, and things are just. plain. crazy.

I am usually pretty good with crazy. Most of our life for the past five years has been lived in uber-crazy mode.  But for some reason, I am having a hard time with it at the moment.  Maybe it is because I am so happy with how Little Guy has been learning, and I know that a lot of the reason for that (up until now) has been the predictability and rhythm I have been able to give his days. I worry that the changes in schedule are going to affect his learning.  I worry about the balance between fun time with Daddy and productive time doing school.  I worry mostly that I am not doing enough.

And then I try to take a breath.  We really are doing SO much.  Every week.  He is getting good social exposure, he is spelling non-stop and impressing even strangers with the length of words he is able to spell.  He is counting, and finally connecting the abstract to the concrete.  He gets many books read to him…daily.  He goes to library storytime and picks out books and movies…weekly.  He does his version of art every day.  He plays outside.  He is beginning to read.  He wants to know what everything says.  He doesn’t melt down any more.  He doesn’t hit.  He doesn’t scream.  He spaces out in public when he is overwhelmed, but that is okay…we can all deal with spaciness better than meltdowns.

And he is only five. 

So yes; I guess I need to calm down.

Baby V has woken up early from her nap, so my brief window of time to write is over almost before it began.  This is how our days go, lately.

Here is a very fast rundown of our week.

OM’s Week 11 focuses on the letter “I” and continued work with the number 5.  This week, we wrote I’s every day with block crayons; Little Guy got quite good at them, and was almost able to do them on his own at the end of the week.  He worked on a giant chalk “I” outside with Daddy.  We read OM’s “The White Snake,” which is a beautiful story.
We continued sight word work, including the word “is” and the construction of three-word “is”sentences.  He LOVED reading sentences that he could help put together.  We read poetry; we did speech work; we learned “Get on Board, Little Children” at circle time.  We read lots and lots of books.

For math, we arranged rocks in groups from 1 to 5, counted them, and compared the sizes of the groupings (smallest/largest.)

We did bead-stringing for fine  motor work, counting the beads as they went on the string.  We read Count Down to Fall, which I highly recommend.

We attended storytime at the library on Wednesday.  There were more kids there than usual, and while Little Guy was a bit spazzy, he was still infinitely better than he used to be when overwhelmed.  On Tuesday, he went to childcare all day while I was in Catechesis training, and (amazingly) turned out to be the easiest, best-behaved child there!  His socialization was apparently great…he shared all his favorite things, played with the other children, and held one clingy little boy in his lap.  WOW!!

On Friday, we went to playgroup.  Our original plan had been a trip to the pumpkin patch, but when we got there, it was so cold and windy that we checked off to something else after selecting our pumpkins.  We did have time to snap a few pictures though!

Published in: on October 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oak Meadow Week 10

Wow, what a week.  It didn’t get off to a particularly good start.  After having been on full GAPS for an entire two and a half months with no cheating (no cheating for Little Guy, that is), we thought it might be nice to–just once–eat out as a family.

What a mistake.

After going out for Mexican (and still avoiding anything containing gluten!), Little Guy completely spazzed out.  For forty-eight hours straight.  You don’t need all the details of said spaz-out, believe me; suffice it to say that Baby V and I had a very rough two days.

We won’t be eating out again any time soon.

However, as I said on the phone to a friend last night, there was one good thing that came out of it.  I realized yet again just how closely connected Little Guy’s neurological issues are to the foods he consumes; and I am more motivated than ever to make GAPS work (not that I wasn’t before).  No compromises, no exceptions, no ifs-and-or-buts.  In fact, I have already started my research on our GAPS-friendly holiday meals for this year.  (Before last Sunday night and its aftermath, we had planned to make some exceptions around the holidays.)

Sooooo….the first two days of school this week were a little bit rocky.  They weren’t completely terrible, just not great.  Little Guy had a really hard time focusing.  But we got through them, and through the week, and it actually ended up being a pretty good week.

Our letter for the week was “H”.  We worked every day on writing it, and he actually got pretty good at it.  We drew a house in the shape of an H, with a  haystack next to it (that was his idea!)  On Tuesday, he went out with Daddy and made a huge chalk H on the driveway, then walked it.

Our Oak Meadow story for the week was “The Tale of Two Bad Mice.”  I was surprised–Little Guy really liked this one.  We also read quite a few other books, including these.

I just have to say quickly–I love, love, love The Magic Gourd!  Wow!  The artwork is amazing, utilizing a highly stylized painted-tile technique with lots of references to African nature symbols–and the story is a wonderful one of smarts, kindness, and forgiveness.  I can’t wait to read more by this author.  Both kids loved it, too.

A Trip to the Firehouse was our nod to Fire Prevention Month.  We checked it out on Wednesday, after attending the firefighter’s storytime at the library.  Little Guy had a blast…they listened to a story, practiced how to escape, in the event of a fire, colored firemen, and got hats and goody bags.

Backing up–Monday, we went for a wonderful nature walk, and got to observe some of our local autumn plants and mini-wildlife.  We saw caterpillars, a grasshopper (who performed beautifully for us), lots of purple  flowers, orange butterflies, black butterflies…and the list goes on.  Little Guy really enjoyed it and was able to remember and relate the list of things we had seen later in the day.

For poetry this week, we continued with nursery rhymes.  We also worked with our Hands Up game, this time starting to incorporate the concept of right and left.  This is a bit hard for him, but I think he’ll get it.  We did lots of chalk on the nice days, and worked with our word boards every day.  He is learning how to spell more new words every day…it’s really amazing.   We did speech–continuing work with picture statements and speed reading (which he has made GREAT progress on. His eye moves quickly and fluidly across the page, and his voice is right in sync with his reading…no stumbling or hesitating.  It’s wonderful.)

For math, we focused on the number “5”.  We talked about our five fingers, five toes, and five points of the body (which make our bodies resemble stars.)  We counted the points on stars.  Little Guy and Daddy traced their hands (five fingers) and put stars (five points) at the end of each finger.  We made a star collage. We used the “Sink the Boat” game from Early Intervention Games, and counted the number of pebbles it took to sink the boat.  We baked brownies, and he counted the ingredients.

We had a good week.  And, as always, Baby V was learning right alongside us….

So that’s it.  As Little Guy is so fond of saying these days….all done! See ya next time!

Published in: on October 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Oak Meadow Week 9

The last two weeks have been a bit rough.  Hubby’s new schedule (referenced in my last post) is making things a bit challenging around here.  He was working all weekend, and Baby V is still in the midst of her sleepless phase, so I didn’t get around to posting last week’s week-in-review till today.  Sadly, I also didn’t get around to taking many pictures last week.

The craziness also meant that Daddy got to do school with Little Guy Tuesday while I went to Nashville for training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  They both enjoyed the extra time together.

On to summarizing our week.  I’m afraid this is going to be a brief post, because Baby V is down for one of her ever-briefer naps, and is sure to be up very soon.

Last week’s Oak Meadow focus was the letter G, and a continued focus on the number 4.  I added in some themed material on St. Francis, as we were approaching his saint day and would be attending the Blessing of the Animals Sunday night.  (It was so much fun…Little Guy loved seeing all the animals and actually sat beautifully and (mostly) quietly for the whole service!)

Please keep in mind that I can’t draw…and I know it, believe me!  But I sketched the above picture while telling Little Guy a story about St. Francis, his love of the birds (there are four of them, to tie in with our number theme for the week), and Brother Sun and Sister Moon.  Little Guy retains things SO much better if I draw them while I teach.  A Gift from St. Francis was a lovely tale of Francis’s creation of the first Nativity scene, and Tomie de Paolo’s (one of the best children’s author-illustrators ever) book about him is beautiful, although significantly above Little Guy’s level.  I used the pictures to teach and pared down the biographical information into a digestible format.

This week, we also read The Funny Little Woman (a traditional Japanese tale), Little Bear (yet again), The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, One Fine Day, Uncle Elephant, Pumpkin Day, Bread and Jam for Frances, Small Pig, and The Gingerbread Man.  Of course, those are just our school-time books…we read lots more at bedtime.  🙂

In keeping with our emphasis on “4”, we talked about the four-sidedness of squares, and Little Guy made a construction paper squares collage (this was on Tuesday/Daddy-day.  Daddy LOVED being able to teach for a day !) We made fours and squares from toothpicks.  We talked more about things that come in sets of four (our family, etc.) We modeled the numbers four through seven in wax.   And we continued with our number recognition activities for numbers 1 to 10.  He knows them all solidly now…it’s nice that he can finally visually identify what he has known otherwise for so long.

The number recognition helped him with his speech activity this week.  We continued with our speed reading of rows of letters and numbers, and for a bit of variety used a lower-level similar activity with pictures instead of letters and numbers.  We also did some social cue work.  He is doing GREAT in speech….progressing through the levels very quickly.

He worked hard on his block crayon writing this week, and by the end of the week could do decent looking G’s almost on his own.  We skipped the Oak Meadow story for G this week, as I didn’t care for the theme of the Simpleton being made fun of (it is a good story, but I think Little Guy would have found it disturbing), and instead opted to read poems and nursery rhymes featuring the letter G (some from the syllabus, some that we found on our own.)  We also read fall poems from Favorite Poems Old and New. 

For his phonics/word board time this week, we continued sight words and worked on “an” words (man, pan, can, etc.)

For crafts this week, we did the bean/toothpick building and ice sculpture activities in Oak Meadow’s craft book.  He did the bean-building with Daddy, so I didn’t get a picture…but I gather it was lots of fun and great fine motor work.  He thoroughly enjoyed the ice sculpting too.

Can I just say…I LOVE Oak Meadow’s First Book of Crafts.  I am amazed by the wealth of fine-motor-building activities provided, all with an emphasis on nature and the seasons.

For science, we read Oak Meadow’s Garden of Seasons story; cut apples open laterally to see the stars inside, then talked about how the apples protect their seeds by hiding them inside the stars; and did our nighttime sky observations.

We also baked cheese biscuits together, continued playing our favorite PE game (he’s getting better and better at following motion cues), and painted on three of the five days.  Oh…and we went to library story time again.  Here I just have to say–I LOVE our library!! The new children’s librarian is wonderful with Little Guy, and really works to include him and make sure that he is comfortable.  She even consulted with me Wednesday on how to include him in their Halloween celebration, because she wanted to make sure his special dietary  needs were accommodated!  I was so impressed by her desire to include him, especially since we’ve only gone to storytime a couple of times so far (although we are at the library all the time.)  We ended up deciding that I would come early on the 31st and give the librarians some of his allergy-friendly treats, so he could dress up and trick-or-treat along with everybody else.

Well, that’s it, and miraculously, the baby is still asleep.  So I’m off for now…maybe I can actually fit in a bit of yoga or a few pages of a book before she wakes up…(or maybe I just jinxed myself.)



After reading through for typos:  yep, I jinxed myself.  *sigh*

Published in: on October 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm  Comments (2)  

Oak Meadow Week 8 and Tractor Show

Well, it was another great week.  Every three weeks, we have a review week; so this week we reviewed the formation of all the letters up through F.  We made letters with toothpicks, drew big outside letters with chalk, and did pages and pages of hand over hand writing.  Fortunately, he really loves this work.  He wants so much to be able to make the letters on his own, so he’s  super motivated.

We read lots of books, as always.  But there were a few particularly good ones this week.  Jerry Pinkney’s Noah’s Ark is absolutely stunning.  (But then, we love anything Jerry Pinkney.)  It is gentle, respectful, and detailed in its narrative and illustrations.  Paul Zelinsky’s Hansel and Gretel is my favorite picture book rendition. It’s beautiful in every respect.  One Fine Day, by Nonny Hogrogian, is a slightly different take on the cat-who-stole-the-mouse’s-tail story.  It has great illustrations.  Vincent loved Mother Goose Picture Puzzles because of the interactiveness of it and the interesting illustrations.  And Love Is…, by Wendy Anderson Halperin, is simply AMAZING.  Hubby and I both loved it.  It is an artist’s take on the definitions of love in 1 Corinthians 13, and has simply amazing illustrations, done in a compare-and-contrast style…lovely drawings of people making either the compassionate or unkind choice in many different situations, and how it affects them and the people around them. I highly, highly recommend this book (and all of these, actually.)

The first half of this week was really beautiful, so we spent a lot of time outside playing and going on nature walks.  I got to watch my boy chase butterflies and pick flowers…my, how he is changing!  Michaelmas daisies are blooming wild on the edge of the trees, so we picked some and put them in a jar.  We also observed some interesting rocks and some berries I couldn’t identify.  I love that Little Guy is getting more engaged with nature.  🙂

Let’s see….math.  We had a breakthrough in math this week!  Up until this week, Little Guy has been able to count beautifully, but has not been able to recognize numbers visually.  That has changed!  I finally had the idea to personify his numbers….I drew large versions of all the numbers one to nine, and gave them smiles and  silly faces and dancing feet…and sure enough, he could recognize them ALL in two days!  Amazing!  So we are past that hurdle.  We also talked about “fourness” this week….four people in our family, four seasons, four elements, etc.  He now knows all his seasons well and what happens in each one.   We made groupings of four marbles, and made number collages.

Here he is working on one of his number collages…

And here are the finished products…

Let’s see, what else?  We continued doing our “hands up/hands down” game for music and movement, and added in the interactive singing of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”  (He LOVES this song!! I was really surprised!)  For circle time, we started singing “White Coral Bells.”  We used modeling wax to keep working on fine motor skills, along with all of our writing and art activities.  With his wooden letters, we continued working on “ad” words (bad, mad, lad, tad, sad, glad, etc.)  For speech, we continued our yes/no question lists, and moved on to another exercise in which I make statements about a set of pictures and he points to the correct one.  This went really well; I have seen a major increase in normal pointing out of things this week as a result.

Friday, we went to story time at the library, and I am so glad we did!  We got to see our library’s beautiful new  children’s room, which features a lovely  mural by a local artist.  And Vincent did GREAT.  He sat quietly, listened, didn’t stress at being confined in a group in a small space, didn’t interrupt, answered a question he was asked, and participated happily in the craft.  We unfortunately had to leave early, as I didn’t know they were going to be serving a snack; but it was a very good experience.  I was so proud of him…especially since the last one had stressed him out so badly I had sworn never to go back.  🙂

Saturday, we went to a local antique tractor and engine show.  We had a great time, despite the fact that the loud engine noise did overwhelm Little Guy a bit.

A nice man let him climb up and push the button on one of the VERY COOL antique farm engines.  Only the noise the horn made when he pushed the button scared him to death!

So that was our week of homeschooling.  How was your week?

Published in: on October 1, 2012 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Oak Meadow Week 7, and speech progress!

What a great week!  Little Guy was so happy not to be sick that he really seemed to thoroughly enjoy getting back to work Monday.  We had a bit of catch-up to do this week from Week 6, and then moved on to Week  7…and as the week moved on, we had a  couple of major breakthroughs!  I am so excited to see our work paying off.  🙂

Our letter this week was “F,”  so we focused on it and on “E” from last week.  We read Beatrix Potter’s “Tale of Jeremy Fisher,” which we both thoroughly enjoyed.  (This was one of my favorites as a kid.)

We also read several new library books.  Here were some of our favorites:

Stone Soup was a different version than the one from last week.  We both enjoyed it, and in fact will probably re-read it this coming week and make our own “stone soup.”  Little Guy has been enjoying helping with the cooking so much that I thought it would be a fun fairy tale activity.  The Story of Babar was entertaining…to me.  It just didn’t resonate with him, unfortunately.  Elfabet, on the other hand, he loved.  It is by Jane Yolen, who has been called by some “America’s Hans Christian Anderson.”  She is fast becoming one of my favorite children’s authors.  I Am Eyes–Ni Macho is a beautiful, simply told and illustrated African tale, in which we see the world of nature through the eyes of a young girl.  And The Little House, 1943 Caldecott winner, was actually Little Guy’s favorite.  It tells the story of a little house’s experience through the seasons and years as industry and the city encroach further and further on the countryside….truly lovely.  Not pictured but also on our list this week was Ezra Jack Keats’s The Trip.  We love Keats and are trying to read at least one of his books every week.

Every morning this week, after circle time and books, we moved on to Little Guy’s word boards.  And I am proud to say that we had a major breakthrough this week!  He is now sounding out three-letter words on his own.  He has been able to spell dozens of sight words for a while, but this week, just to see, I asked him to spell “sad.”  He carefully sounded it out, and laid it out for me: S-A-D.  I asked him to spell “mad.”  He thought for a moment, and replaced the “s” with an “m.”  And then “lad,” and so on.  He is SO almost reading!  I am so proud of him!

Here he had just spelled “Falcon,”  a word he knows by memory….

And here he is after starting work on the “ad” family of words.  He was so proud of himself!  Those wooden letters are invaluable.  He may not be able to write his letters on his own yet, but since we have these to use, the delayed writing skills don’t slow him down in other areas.

Speaking of fine motor skills, we did quite a bit of work with toothpicks this week.  We stuck them in modeling beeswax in patterns, counted them in sets of threes, and made letters and shapes with them.  They are a great fine motor activity, math manipulative, and tool for enhancing understanding of letter forms.

For science, we read the story “Quark” and talked about ducks and ducklings.  For math, as before-referenced, we focused on the number three, and talked about three-ness.  We made groupings of three items and counted them.  We made a beeswax three.  We reviewed the story of the Three Little Pigs, with pictures and counting incorporated. For our poetry time, we continued reading Pocketful of Posies, and also used Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young.

For craft time, we baked muffins one day, and painted mini-pumpkins on four days.  He really enjoyed painting his pumpkins.  I LOVE the fact that he doesn’t mind a little bit of mess any more. 

For music and movement, we alternated between spending extra time learning songs from our Wee Sing CD, and doing a follow-the-leader game, utilizing single physical movements.  Now, we had a bit of a break-through here this week…I was so excited!  Mimicking physical motions (mirroring) has always been hard for Little Guy.  But this week, he GOT it…I mean really got it!  One arm up…that arm down…other arm up…that arm down…both arms up…both arms down…it may sound incredibly simple, but for him this kind of thing has always been a frustrating chore, and this week he ENJOYED it and was even able to fall into a rhythm with it.  I was so proud of him!

For speech therapy, I had him speed-read me capital alphabet letters left-to-right in rows, seven rows per session.  That was incredibly easy for him, so we moved on to lists of yes/no questions, which moved from very simple into progressively harder formats/topics.  He did a great job on those; he was really tuned in and I could see his focus improving every day.  And here I have to mention one of the greatest triumphs of our week.  Last night, Little Guy and I went to take our neighbors some dessert, and stayed to chat for a little while.  Now, these neighbors are two kind, middle-aged ladies, and Little Guy is pretty comfortable with them, but has not previously done much talking around them.  But last night…wow!  He engaged in a wonderful, long conversation with them…asking questions (mostly if he could look at things in their china cabinet, and what those things were), answering questions (how many objects he was holding, what his favorite color is (orange), what books he likes, who the books are by (Dr. Seuss), where Baby V was (at home with Daddy), and so on and so forth.  I was amazed.  His eye contact was great, his focus was great, he was comfortable despite the fact that we were in someone else’s home, and he engaged in pleasant, relatively-normal conversation with adults other than his parents! 

That was a huge deal for us, and something we have been working towards very hard.  Our lovely  neighbors’ eyes were popping out of their heads with each response he gave and bit of information he volunteered.  Even they, after the short time they’ve known us, could see what a big deal this was for him.  And I was breathing prayers of gratitude all of the short walk home.

All the hard work really is paying off. 

Published in: on September 23, 2012 at 5:07 am  Comments (3)  

Oak Meadow Week 6. Sickness.

Well, this was not a very productive week.  We only did two school days out of the five, because most of the week Little Guy looked like this.

Well, not exactly.  Actually, most of the week he looked even worse, because he was covered in hives from a severe allergic reaction, in addition to being just plain sick half the week.  So I don’t really have a lot to report….but figured that, for consistency’s sake, I would post what I do have.

Monday, we did a bit of nature exploration, and found these two friends sitting on our front porch.

What a find!  We watched them for quite a while, and Mr. Grasshopper even deigned to do quite a bit of fascinating jumping (and ricocheting off walls) for us.   Then, we went inside and listened to our Grasshopper on the Road audiobook.  We also read the book several more times throughout the week (it arrived in the mail Monday, so he was very excited about it.)


This week, our letter was “E,” and our story was “The Flopsy Bunnies.”  Little Guy really enjoyed it (fortunately–I was hoping we’d have a good central story after the one he couldn’t stand last week.)

We also read quite a few library books, these being our favorites….

Pocketful of Posies is by far our favorite collection of nursery rhymes.  Sally Mavor created stunningly beautiful and intricate scenes composed of tiny felted people, crocheted patterns, and natural elements, and photographed them for this book.  Little Guy seriously can’t get enough (and neither can I.)  He also loved Anansi and the Magic Stick; it has great illustrations and an exciting but pleasantly rhythmic storyline.  And of course, The Gingerbread Man and Stone Soup are two classics that are hard to get wrong (although I’ve seen it done.)

However–The Story About Ping.  Hmmm.  Well, let me say first off that Little Guy loved it, so we just kept reading it to him with a bit of editing.  But I will never take the advice of a trusted kindergarten booklist for granted again.  I mean…a duck who is so scared of being spanked that he runs away and nearly gets killed in the process? and then still gets spanked in the end when he is brave enough to come back?? I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t fit into our family’s framework.  Little Guy doesn’t even know what a “spank” is, let alone that he should be scared of it.  *sigh*  I guess I still need to preview books before reading them aloud.  By the time we got to the objectionable parts, he was already so excited about the book I hated to stop.

Let’s see…what else?  Not much.  For speech therapy, we worked on a pointing game outlined in Straight Talk for his development level, and focused a LOT on making eye contact when he is listening to someone speak to him.  It really improves his focus.

We sang”The More We Get Together” at circle time.  We learned  a little about squirrels.  We made construction paper pumpkins and drew faces on them.  And we painted with watercolors (focusing on using two colors and cleaning our brush between colors.)

As you can probably tell, he was already sick in this picture.  We really did try, but that’s about it for us this week.  Hopefully by  Monday, he and Baby V will both be all better and we can start afresh!

Published in: on September 16, 2012 at 2:25 am  Comments (2)  
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