Ready for Christmas Break 2014

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To say I am ready for Christmas break is an understatement.  Being your child’s teacher is challenging. If your child is learning disabled it can be especially challenging.  This Friday will be our last day of class until 2015.  Homeschooling this past month has often felt like an uphill battle; planning, organizing and staying on track.  We had several interruptions including travel for medical (routine follow-ups) and Thanksgiving holiday, which really threw off a lot of my plans to work on a few fun projects.

Struggling along in Reading

I had hoped to finish All About Reading Level I before the end of the year, but it’s not going to happen.  Those darn fluency sheets take her such a long time to complete.  It’s the most challenging part of the program for her (and me).   Not all lessons have fluency practice, but it’s basically 2-4 sheets of practice that includes new words, mixed review and sentences that the students are supposed to read (in addition to flash cards).  It requires Kate to read left to right and except for the sentences, the words do not have any relation to each other.   It’s strictly to practice sounding out words and consonant blends.  Each time she sees the lists she is resistant, but I know this is exactly what she needs to develop her reading stamina.  For example the word, shrank, she has to first sound out the sh, add the r, remember the short a sound, blend all of that and then add the nk.  That is very challenging for a struggling reader.  Once she reads that word the next word will be completely different, say the word, stomp. We certainly take breaks, which is why it takes a while to get through these practice sheets.

I compare this to when I would see a personal trainer, on the days we were doing upper body.  It was not something I looked forward to, in fact I hated it, but I’m glad he made me do it.  It makes you feel totally inadequate, but you are making progress by keeping at working at those areas of weakness.  I remember when I couldn’t do 10 girl push-ups, but I got stronger.  It’s hard to see her struggle, but we will get there in time.  So we are now 8 lessons away from completing this level, but I won’t rush the process.  I’d rather we spend all year on it, but knowing that when we move on, she has mastered it and is feeling super confident.  When we complete Lesson 49, the final lesson I think I’ll throw a party.

One big breakthrough for Kate was in science.  She and her dad finally got a few good lessons and some hands-on-learning.  They created a great video, which hopefully is the first of many fun science videos.  She much prefers speaking about what she is learning as opposed to writing about it.  Thankful, we finally found a way to get science in the mix.

Another area that is going really well is physical education.  She has been enjoying the golf lessons on Saturdays where she is learning a lot about this sport.   I finally had the chance to meet her coaches at SAINTS last week.  She loves this once a week PE program because the staff is out of this world.  We are so blessed to have this program available to us.

Our garden is growing and we’re starting to harvest some kale and lettuce.  But sadly, the  squash and cucumbers did not make it :(.   Hopefully, the tomatoes and carrots may still come through.

Holiday Reading

For the holidays we’re reading Molly’s Surprise from American Girl, it’s the third book in the series and it’s a Christmas story.  We still love Kaya and will continue to revisit this series next year to read the last two books.  Our other holiday book for read aloud is Boxes for Katje, which I had hoped to do a literature unit on, but ran out of time.  No worries. We have a lot of plans for reading next year, including starting a subscription with Learning Ally, which we’re hoping helps her to have more independence with reading.

I can’t believe we’ve been homeschooling for a little over 4 months.   It’s been a learning experience for both of us.  I hope the break gives us both the chance to recharge and start fresh in 2015.

Thank you for taking the time to keep up with us and our adventure of homeschooling.