Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An Annoying Commercial That Didn't Lie

Do you guys remember the Hooked on Phonics commercals that ended with the "Hooked on Phonics worked for me!"?

Those annoyed me.

But I found a good deal on Hooked on Phonics at Walmart (the K and 1st grade set) and it looked like something M would like, so being the good Mom I am I set my hangups aside and bought it.

He does like it.

We started the program last week and he's reading (with effort and concentration) three letter words.

I can see great improvement in his skills in just 1 week. And it's completely removed the frustration factor for me (as much as I love reading, I do not love teaching reading), because the nice lady on the CD tells him what to read. When he starts losing focus, we just turn the nice lady off and put the book away, and restart the nice lady at the same place the next day.

I also bought Hooked on Phonics Master Reader for J, and am so impressed with the skills it's teaching J I'm going to have L and Z go through it (the lessons are all computer based and then the child reads a short story aloud) to cement some skills (like dividing words into syllables).

So there's my piece of humble pie. Hooked on Phonics works for me!


I know, it comes as a big surprise that things are changing around here. This fall was very unproductive when it came to school. For every interruption, there is a 1-2 day period on either side where there are things to do to get ready for or unwind from an interruption. Then it takes 3-5 days to convince the boys that we do, indeed, need to do some schooling around here. The interruptions are worthwhile (seeing family and celebrating holidays), but they are interruptions nonetheless. In August & September we lost a week each, in November we lost a week, and in December we lost two weeks. That's 5 weeks lost, plus the prep & decompression time and then the getting into routine time. Add to this 12 Fridays we lost to a co-op (again, it was worthwhile, but those are days lost). That's another 2 weeks we lost. We never really did gain momentum.

So we're behind.

This means the Loop has been tossed out the window, and we're schooling for as long as it takes every day (so far it's been 4-5 hours) and doing any catch-up on Saturdays. The boys understand and are willing students (you know it's been an easy fall when boys who are 9 and under agree and are willing to work harder). But we'll finish all I want to finish for the year by the end of May, we'll do testing in June, and July we'll start fresh.

We're set to start a new history rotation for the 09-10 school year and L will be making the transition from grammar stage to logic stage. After a few days of panic, I think I now have a good idea of where we're headed and how to get there (and how I need to help Z, J, M, and N get ready for the transition when it's their time). Of course, I still need to re-read The Well-Trained Mind, but I'm kind of holding out for the revised version that's coming out next month. I have the original 1999 version, and a lot of recommendations have changed since then (I know the basic principles will be the same, but I still think I'll wait).

I'm dropping Classical Writing. I loved it when I was able to do it with L, but it's just too teacher and time intensive. I've got L, Z, and J working through Writing With Ease Level 1, and plan to switch L and Z to Imitations in Writing's Aesop's Fables next month. I also plan to add in Imitations in Writing's Poetry Primer in the next few months and work through it slowly.

I really need to update the curriculum in my sidebar, because a lot has changed. I'm tired and busy, but I feel confident and happy now that I've got a plan.

Friday, January 09, 2009


After changing N's diaper, I picked him up to carry him down the stairs.

Me (giving him a hug): "You're getting big. You're growing up too fast."
N: "Yes. I are."

(I know. I need to potty train him. Soon. I will soon.)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We're Still Here

I know, I need to blog. The boys are as funny and entertaining as ever, but they are also keeping me busier than ever.

Since I've blogged, N has turned 3, my parents visited for Thanksgiving, and Christmas has come and gone. All were fabulous events, but I haven't had time to sit down and write about them.

Oh, do I look different? My Christmas present was a new laptop. It's red and fast. In my youth, when I thought of red and fast I thought of a Corvette. Now in my not-so-youth, I'm probably more pleased with a red and fast computer than I would be with a Corvette. Don't get me wrong, a Corvette would be fun, but it's just not practical.

Anyway, I just wanted to let my 5 faithful readers know that we're still alive.