Saturday, September 6, 2014

What are We Reading?

I'm still working out a number of kinks in our school schedule. Last year, the kids had a lot of independence in their school day. I gave them their assignments, if they didn't already know them, and their only criteria was to finish before they could have their screen time after 3:00. We still did some subjects together, and experiments and such, but I didn't regulate their time strictly. 

This worked very well last year. It freed me to focus on Kit's therapy and sensory diet, and was flexible enough for the crazy hours that I was juggling constantly. The kids rarely ever had more than 3 hours worth of work, but had all day to complete it, with plenty of opportunities to ask for help when needed. Zak especially responded very well to it as it allowed him to have a lot of control over his own daily schedule. He knew exactly what to do, but had ample freedom to choose when to do it.

Grace still needed more help, but she did well too. She is not as much of an independent worker as Zak though, and I felt bad that sometimes we had to skim by with just the basics last year. 

So now that Kit is able to feel more organized, more often, we can have a schedule that is a little less centered on her, but more on blocks of shared time. But most of us do not learn to juggle in a day, so I have dropped a fair amount of balls these first few weeks attempting our new schedule. 

I am trying to block off sections of the day for certain activities. This works pretty well. If everyone gets a decent nights sleep and wakes in a timely manner in the morning. Which we seemed to be doing really well, until we started our new schedule. Now it seems that we are all having sleep issues again!

One major change that the kids are not that happy about this year is no more morning movie. Last year, when nights were horrible and I was getting very little sleep, their morning movie allowed me to sleep just a little longer. But it is no longer helping us attain the schedule that we need, so it is no longer a daily staple. 

I'm not sure the main schedule that works well with Kit and Grace is going to work as well with Zak. I'm thinking he will do better with similar autonomy as last year, while joining us for the group activities when the schedule calls for it. So that will be my approach for next week.

One of the activities that we do throughout the day and week is read together. The big kids usually have a book or two (or five) that they are working through independently, but they still love it when we read together also. So here are some of the things we've been reading around here for the last two weeks.

I've Lost My Hippopotamus  by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

With great pictures and silly wordplay, this is one of our favorite ways to set the tone for transitioning from one activity to another. My goal is to read at least one poem to get minds and bodies ready for the next task, but they love it so much, we usually end up reading several!

On the Banks of Plum Creek   by Laura Ingalls Wilder

We only have a few chapters left in this. I think we will finish early next week. The Little House books have always been some of our favorites. We started reading them together when Zak was five, and read through the entire series. It took us about three years. Then we started over, at their request, when Grace turned five. But it has been much slower going this time through, and when we finish this one, we've decided to start on some new things that we haven't read yet, so that will be fun. Who knows, we may start over again when Kit turns five!

This beautiful book discusses the lives and examples of faithful ones such as Abel, Abraham, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Peter and many more. The pictures are vibrant, and their experiences and trials come to life by helping the reader to really imagine the setting and events.

We started on chapter one on Thursday, about Abel. We are going nice and slow, just a subheading or two, maybe three times a week. We aren't going over the questions this time through, though it has corresponding questions for most paragraphs designed as a Bible Study aid. But we will be reading the cited Bible accounts as we go through it since they are the base for the entire book and it is designed for study together.

Our library books for the past two weeks included:

My "l" Sound Box by Jane Belk Moncure
Illustrated by Rebecca Thornburgh

I ran across the Sound Box series a while back at the library, and thought it was a cute way to highlight the letter sounds. I'm not making any big push for Kit to learn them, but it's a really fun way to expose her to the sounds, and they are good review for Grace who is diving deeper into writing and spelling this year. The pictures are simple, but bright and adorable, and with pictures over the words, Kit can even "read along".

Sometimes a good book only has a few words. And that was the case with this one! 
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli

This little girl's high swinging adventure takes her where only imagination can! And her high five surprise makes the whole trip worth it! 

After hearing it only one time, Kit was already an expert and read it to herself many more times!  

How Do You Hug a Porcupine?   by Laurie Isop
Illustrated by Gwen Millward

Most definitely a new favorite!! The story in rhyme is so so cute! And the pictures are fantastic! What a great quandary!  

My favorite page! I didn't get a picture of Kit's favorite of the kid having to climb a ladder in order to hug the giraffe. My photo shoot was interrupted by a little girl who wanted her books back!

The big kids had already finished all of their books before Daddy made the weekly drop off last week, and since they couldn't go that time, they didn't get any new ones. So they spent the last week re-reading our Calvin and Hobbes collection and other random books off their own shelves.

Well, that is our basic reading structure lately, though there is always a lot more than I could even list.

What have you been reading lately!?

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  1. Fun, fun, fun! Books and reading are so much fun!

  2. We love to read, I think we have a little copy of the porcupine book somewhere, I recall it being cute.

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

    1. Thanks for coming by! I've been enjoying meeting so many others through the blog hop.