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.