Thursday, March 29, 2012

Making Progress

My sixth child, Jackson, has been a little bit more of a challenge academically for me than my other children have.  Granted, Jackson is only seven years old, but he has had a few learning delays that my older children did not have.  This child loves to work outside and developed control of his large motor skills early.  He was riding a bike without training wheels before the age of 4 and was cutting down small saplings with a hack saw at age four.  Give him a job to do outdoors and he'll get it done.

However, his fine motor skills have been slower to develop and he has some speech delays that I think caused him some delays in reading.  I did have his speech tested just before he turned five years old and the therapist felt that I should be able to handle his therapy at home.  We even found a speech therapy program developed by a homeschooling mother who just happens to be a speech therapist.  We used Super Star Speech for a while and had great results.

I think, though, what has made the biggest difference for Jackson is working to make our school time more focused.  Instead of making daily lesson plans for Jackson, I put all of his school activities in plastic drawers according to subject matter.  I made a list of daily activities that we do together and placed it in his "meeting book" in a page protector.  As we complete one task, I mark it off with a dry erase marker.  Caedmon joins us on much of the work that is oral and has learned much himself.  I don't necessarily follow the order that I typed things up, but we are getting much more done just by having this one checklist handy.  This saves me much frustration and even though I am not making out daily lesson plans we are seeing great progress.  I thought I would share my list with some explanations for you today.

1.  Bible reading-we are reading from The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos.  We read this on the couch with Caedmon.

2.  We read a book together either from our home library or from the public library.  This may or may not be related to our history, science or geography topics.  Caedmon joins us for this time as well.

3.  Scripture review-we haven't been as focused on this as I have in the past with the older children.  I need to get working on this area with him.

4.  We head to the school area and work on some oral drills incorporating songs.  We go over the days of the week and the months of the year.  I have these written on cards and Jackson puts them in order.  We do not do this every day.  We also go over our address, phone number and how to spell our names through song.  Again, we don't do all of this every day, but it helps to review and Caedmon is picking up on all of this as well.

5.  We work on money and time.  We have been using the appropriate levels of the KUMON workbooks for this and he is doing great!  After buying several of these workbooks for Jackson, Caedmon and the grandchildren, I finally decided to have the spines cut off and put them in page protectors so they can be used many times.  These pages are put into Jackson's "meeting book" so they are easily accesible.

6.  Weather chart--we set up a bulletin board using some ideas from

7.  Sight word game--I take all of Jackson's sight word cards and make up fun things to do with them for review.  Sometimes we spread them neatly on the floor into equal rows and columns....I call out a word and he finds it.  We may spread out some large alphabet cards and then place the words under the letter they start with (introducing alphabetical order) or I may just have him read each word from the card.  We do not do this every day, though.

8.  Math review--We picked up a fun dot-to-dot book that has each page with dots 1-100.  This has been a huge help for Jackson.  He is almost finished with it and I will be getting him another one with higher numbers.  He also does a facts sheet review page from Math U See and a critical thinking skills page.

9.  We work on a Math U See lesson.

10.  We work on a phonics/reading lesson from Learning Language Arts Through Literature.  

11.  We do one lesson from Life of Fred.

12.  We do two pages in Explode the Code.

13.  We do a handwriting page from Italic Handwriting.

14.  We practice skip counting by 2, 3, 5, 6, and 10.  We count backwards as well.

15.  We look at his calendar in his "meeting book".  We count the days using ordinal numbers.  We count how many days Daddy will be out of town this month and how many days he will be home.  We look at events on the calendar.

Jackson also listen in to the history tapes, read alouds and geograpy lessons that I do with the older children a couple of times a week.  It looks like a lot of work, but with everything organized it only takes a minute to set things out for him to work on.  Some he can do independently while I work on laundry or activities with Caedmon.  Finally, we are making great strides and we are all so excited to see him learning so much.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Menu Plan March 26-April 1

Wow!!  We've been having unseasonably warm weather here in the Deep South and have been busily getting our garden in order.  The last couple of days, I have been sore from pulling weeds and transplanting some mint into a new bed.  Thankful I am for young men who can do the really heavy work around here!!  Jordan's been building new raised beds and filling them in with compost and planting lots of seeds.  Aaron has already cranked up the lawn mower, weedeater and leaf blower and our place is looking a little neater.  We have lots of blossoms bringing some color to our little hilltop homestead.  Dogwoods, azaleas, Carolina jessamine and daffodils brighten things up in the yard and, I am told, there are lots of the beautiful redbuds to be found across the creek.  Everything is green and the vehicles are coated with yellow from all of the pine pollen.  Hopeful that the rains from last week have washed most of it away and our long bout of seasonal allergies will be relieved.

Here is our menu plan for the week.  We have very little beef left from the 1/4 Angus we got in the late fall and, while we do have an abundance of sliced ham, we only have one pork roast and one package of sausage from our hog that was slaughtered last fall.  Yes, we definitely need to have two slaughtered this year!!  I am trying to convince the menfolk that it is necessary...and it really was so much cheaper doing that than buying from the grocery.  We have used all the chickens from the freezer and I am hesitant to buy more from the grocery after seeing so many documentaries like Food Inc. Again, we have two chicken tractors awaiting a flock of meat birds, but still trying to convince the head man that we can do it!  Thankfully, we do have a full Angus coming in the next month, so I will only need to buy white meat.  And eggs!!  Yes, we have eggs...thirty was the count from this mornings gathering.  However, with two of the boys being deathly allergic to eggs, I have to limit what egg dishes we make.

b-apple crisp
l-popcorn, fruit and raw veggies
d-purple hull peas, squash and onions, cabbage, brussel sprouts, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, corn bread

b-blueberry muffins, eggs
l-baked potatoes, green beans
d-beef and bean tostadas, Spanish rice, salad

b-biscuits, sausage, eggs
d-pasta salad, sandwiches, fruit

b-baked oatmeal with apples
l-popcorn, fruit and raw veggies
d-pork roast with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions

b-pancakes, ham and eggs
d-calzones and pizza, salad

b-biscuits, sausage, eggs and grits
d-grilled burgers, roasted potatoes and onions, salad

b-cinnamon rolls
l-finger foods at church
d-vegetable soup, French onion soup, salad and sandwiches

Monday, March 5, 2012

Goals for this Week: How Did We Do?

*keep current with laundry-  we do have several loads to take care of today, but no one had to go naked!
*maintain all other areas-- today is our big clean, dust, mop day
*can milk   -got a dozen pints done last night!!
*can beans-- got 7 quarts done on Monday
*make soap--there's always next week!

*pull out spinach, turnip greens and lettuces to feed to chickens
*prepare other beds for planting -Jordan's been working on both of these and even got some planting done
*wash cars- maybe today
*pick up trash and fallen limbs...add to burn pile-maybe today

*begin and stay on top of lessons in Diana Waring's Ancient Civilizations and the Bible
*make sure older children complete all assignments and extra reading for history
*finish making copies--Easy Grammar for Kaelan and Aaron, Daily Grams for Aaron and more of the printable packs for preschoolers from ---hope to get to the copying today

Books we will be reading from this week include:  (I should have written that we would be reading from these books for the next four weeks!!)

-Understanding the Times
-Darwin on Trial
-Creation:  Facts of Life
-Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
-Adam and His Kin
-The Hidden Art of Homemaking
-The Epic of Gilgamesh
-The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible
-Dry Bones and Other Fossils
-Peter Spier's Noah's Ark
-The True Story of Noah's Ark
-Dry Bones and Other Fossils

DVDs we will be watching:
-Noah's Ark:  Thinking Outside the Box, The New Answers Book and The New Answers Books II


I'm pretty pleased with our success.  Today's list includes the following:

-Sam's run
-produce market
-making applesauce muffins, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon roll cake
-finish lesson plans for the next four weeks.  I got a great start last night!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Menu Plan for March 5-11

b-applesauce muffins, ham, scrambled eggs
l-turkey or tuna sandwiches, fruit, chips and salsa
d-venison stew, salad, biscuits

b-baked oatmeal, strawberry yogurt smoothies
d-beef and bean nachos with sauteed peppers and onions, chips, salsa, cheese, sour cream and olives

b-pancakes, sausage, eggs
d-chicken wraps, salad, baked potatoes

b-bagels with cream cheese and/or jelly, bacon, eggs and grits
l-turkey/cheese sandwiches, strawberry yogurt smoothies
d-ham, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, stewed potatoes, green beans

b-blueberry muffins, eggs, granola
d-pizza, salad and cookies

b-biscuits, sausage, grits and eggs
l-leftovers, fruit, salad
d-Irish stew and/or shrimp gumbo, rolls, salad

b-cinnamon rolls
l- roast with potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, English peas and rolls
d-dinner with church small group
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