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.

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