Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up: Family Visit

This week went by in a blur!  We've been trying to catch up with family, since Patrick's brother, Lee, is in town with his wife, Miyu, and their daughter (our niece), Emma.  Emma is just short of 2 years old and is adorable!  Since this part of the family lives in Japan, we don't see them in person that often, so it's been a really special time.  We have a lot planned for the time that they are here, so the boys have been (and will be) very busy while our family is visiting. Surprisingly, we actually did get some school work done, though, and some new milestones are being met by the boys!

Hanging out with cousin Emma!
Eli is definitely in the learning groove, and is rapidly picking up new skills. We really didn't touch his spelling book this week, and his interest has waned slightly on this (probably temporarily). However, he's done a ton of reading this week. He finished his Curious George reader, which was a combination of 12 books. He also read a couple of short picture books, and was able to read a new Paw Patrol book to W.  He's almost ready to transition to some simple chapter books (like Magic TreeHouse, Junie B Jones or Billy & Blaze), but I don't know if he's quite there yet.  We have several picture books that I want him to read at home, especially since one of my generous friends at work gave us a couple of boxes of very gently used books, but I may grab a Junie B Jones book at the library to see how he does with it.

Eli has also made some excellent strides in math this week. I knew that, at some point, I'd have to teach him to carry (when adding) and borrow (when subtracting), but it happened sooner than I thought. I'd once casually shown him what carrying was, but he wasn't quite ready to take on the process, so I left it alone. However, he's really been practicing addition within 100, and it came up naturally when he created some problems that required carrying forward.  After explaining it once or twice, he caught on quickly. He's got the idea - but will need to practice a bit.  I showed him how to borrow the next afternoon, using base 10 blocks, and he took this in stride as well. As he's practicing the addition/subtraction problems, I am definitely noticing that he has memorized some of his simpler addition facts.  He is also very efficient at using his fingers as a tool, which I encourage.  I'm hoping to get several "Life of Fred" lessons in this week, as he's ready again to move forward in the book (Cats).

A rare moment that Eli stood still...!
 W is learning and is hitting some new milestones. He is beginning to realize that writing/written words have meaning and is definitely starting to recognize that words are made of ABCs.  He was surprised this week when he opened a book and, upon looking at the words on the page, started saying, "Hey! Hey look! ABCs!!"  He is really enjoying being read to more and more.  We read several books with W this week, including "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and a new Paw Patrol book. W has been doing a lot of practice writing (mostly in the form of tracing shapes, lines, or letters) and coloring, while practicing how to properly hold a pencil/crayon. He is frequently asking to 'work on ABCs', and does not want to stop when he gets started.  His speech is beginning to really develop and he's speaking in more complex 4-5 word sentences. He is beginning to use a few adjectives, like big/small, and hot/cold correctly, too - which is HUGE for him. He's still not accurate with colors, but we DID work on recognizing the color green this week.  He is definitely in a sensitive period for language, and we are trying to give him as much as we can while he's this receptive.

In other news, W is becoming more adventurous in what he's willing to eat and taste, which is also HUGE. He even tried palak paneer (an Indian dish with spinach and paneer cheese) and seemed to enjoy it. He almost drew the line this week, though, when I ordered him a "cup of dirt with worms" at a restaurant....but got excited when he saw this:

W wasn't expecting pudding, cookies and gummy worms!
Itty Bitty is growing, eating, and sleeping well. I think he's in what some have called a "wonder week", though. He's been rather clingy this week and has wanted to be held during all waking hours. I actually wore him in the baby carrier for a couple days, to spare my arms. At the same time, though, I've not minded - because at night he's been SLEEPING.  As in 8-9 hours straight.  Our entire household is very happy about this, and I pray that he continues to sleep well.  Itty Bitty is now smiling at everyone and laughing all of the time. He still does not like tummy time during the day, and, when placed on his tummy, automatically rolls to his back for playtime.  I'm enjoying each day with him!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up...Back to School!

Patrick and I are adjusting to being back at school with students, as public school in our area started two weeks ago.  This time of year is one of the few where we get little to no home schooling done, simply because we are too busy. W is still enjoying preschool, and we've begun doing a little 'after schooling' with him since he has so much to catch up on.  At this point, he's mostly coloring, completing very simple mazes and tracing to develop his fine motor skills, though we are trying to teach him his letters.  This week, his claim to fame is that...for the very first time...he completed a jigsaw puzzle!

Puzzle in progress!
I know the pic's a bit blurry...I took it with the phone and it doesn't compensate as well for motion as my regular camera does!  Seriously, though...I am ridiculously proud of W. He has tried to do small puzzles before (12 piece), but just couldn't get the hang of them - he would get frustrated and quit. Today, though, I bought Eli a new puzzle (1000 pieces), and W just really wanted one of his own. I found him a set of 24 and 48 piece jigsaw puzzles of one of his favorite TV shows. The one he completed was 24 pieces, and he was begging to do another (though I am making him wait until tomorrow). Hopefully, he'll begin to enjoy these as he gets the hang of doing them.  Next week, I may have him start to try dot-to-dot puzzles (with 5-10 dots). In the meantime, he has begun 'pretend reading' stories/books and saying "THE END" when he's done turning pages. It's really cute...! He has also begun to show signs of a slightly longer attention span and is beginning to really enjoy being read to.

The baby, Itty Bitty, is doing quite well, and is growing and smiling.  He's into more of his 3-6 month size clothes, and is a little over 11 pounds (he'll be 3 months old next week!). He is doing well in daycare and has begun sleeping at least 6-8 hours per night on most nights....which is wonderful for two working adults!

Eli has started back to preschool...again.  We will DEFINITELY use a similar, blended preschool/homeschool model again this year. His new teacher gave him a preschool assessment, and was surprised that he never missed a question...and he never hesitated with an answer. She then gave him some additional, harder questions...and was surprised that he knew the answers to those, too.  She tried to read a 'math story' to the class...but Eli so quickly gave the answer to each problem (things like 2 +2 and 3+ 4) that the other kids didn't have a chance to figure them out....and he sometimes shouted the answers before she finished reading the questions. His teacher has been asking what level he's working on...and understood when I said I would provide reading, language arts, and math materials that come from second grade curriculum in our state.  I may also be providing some science lessons - in the form of experiments for his entire class to do : )

This week, we didn't accomplish much in the area of science and social studies - although he found a katydid to play with on the porch this afternoon! We plan to continue our study of biology and our study of early American history (including some map skills) throughout the fall.

Powers of Observation!

 We often don't do as much when things get hectic around here - like they have been in the last couple of weeks. And since we are expecting some special family visitors next week, we may stay at a slower pace for a while. However, Eli did read three new "Curious George" stories, and has begun to enjoy his new "Reading Rainbow" app. We recently purchased a year's subscription for the app, and are hoping to get some good use from it.  I also downloaded a few new math games for Eli to try...and with one of them he taught himself to multiply this afternoon.  It was fun to listen to him figuring out problems like 3 x 5 and 3 x 2.  I'm not sure if he's yet generalized that a number times 1 is itself, but it was funny to listen to him reason out the correct answer to 3 x 1. He's been on the verge of discovering multiplication for several weeks now...but it was fun to watch him put it all together. He is also currently on the verge of discovering carrying in addition. In the last week, we've only had time for one "Life of Fred" lesson, but we will probably pick the book up a lot more this coming week.  Sadly, we didn't get time to swim this week; I am hoping to get him in the pool twice this week so that he can practice for swim team tryouts in's to hoping I can!

Weekly Wrap-Up