Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Homeschooling: What We've Been Doing
As I've gone through exploring the option of public school, we've continued to homeschool, of course. I'm sure a lot better at it now than when we first started and now that the girls speak and understand English, it's easier for all of us, though I sure miss hearing Mandarin as much as I used to.
Each girl has a laptop. They do IXL math and language arts and CTC Math online. They've learned keyboarding online and also read and answer quizzes using Razkids. We have several workbooks that re-enforce math, grammar, spelling, and phonics, and workbooks to help teach social studies. I've subscribed to some church, family and kid magazines to teach a variety of subjects including nature and geography. After all, those people and animals live somewhere and we can look it up and learn about where in the world they are! For several months now, they begin their day rolling 12 dice with letters on them. They use the letters that come up to make words, check that the words exist in the dictionary and then write a sentence using each word. This has been the single best activity for improving their writing and spelling skills that I've come up with so far. We've even reached the point where all words have to be at least 4 letters long.
Today, much to their delights, I started to teach them to write in cursive. During the summer, they also memorized The Articles of Faith and will continue memorizing scriptures, which has also improved their English. The Pledge of Allegiance is next for memorization and we'll be starting basic American History this year, hence going to the Civil War Re-enactment last month.
I've focused heavily on reading and writing and it's paid off. Their writing skills have improved ten-fold! It has also revealed that Blossom thinks in huge amounts of data, which helps explain why she talks SOOOOO much and how she processes what she sees and experiences. I think that she will enjoy expressing herself through writing and will develop very strong writing skills in the future. Sissy's composition skills need a lot of work, but her spelling is coming along very well and she's zipping through the grade levels on the math programs with 90% or higher in all areas. Jie Jie's strength is in seeing the relevance of her school work to real life. She can learn something, draw it and write clearly about it. She is having speech and language processing issues that are slowing her down, but with continuing and additional therapy that's been approved by our insurance, she will make rapid progress.
Apple is about to graduate from her early intervention program. She's developing at a rapid rate and will catch up to her peers. Her weakness is her inability to speak, but she's making great strides every day. She is starting to watch specially designed videos to help her and it's working well. She feels like such a big girl when she gets to do "school" with her sisters! She's learned to climb into the car and into her carseat and booster seat at the dinner table. These are great feats due to the limits of her fingers, hands and arms. Her fingers are short and do not bend so she cannot grasp to pull herself up. Her upper arm bones are also shorter than normal so she doesn't have the leverage most kids have. Yesterday, she opened the drawer and handed me her bowl by herself. I didn't even realize she knew where her bowl was. She's definitely ready to be a "big" little girl now and she's doing so in super smart and appropriate ways.