Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hawaii is a paradise, right? The bad, part 3

3. Ants

These buggers are EVERYWHERE. I have to admit that I haven't been doing a great job of using ant killing products because the idea of spraying poison in my kitchen near all of my food is not very pleasant. And honestly they don't bother me that much, but it is pretty annoying to clean my kitchen and then come back an hour later to find ants crawling all over the counter...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peter Pan in Hawaii

My girls and I had the privilege of being part of the local elementary school's spring break production of Peter Pan. We were really grateful that the moms in charge let us be a part of it, being homeschoolers and all. It has really been challenging since moving to this tiny town with no homeschool group. I am glad that so far we have found this community to be very welcoming.

Sierra had a blast playing Wendy.

...and singing with the Lost Boys.

Arwen enjoyed being a mermaid

There were pirates

and Haka Warriors (instead of Indians since we're in Hawaii)

...and of course, Hula Dancers (Kali is in the second row on the far left)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Homeschool Giveaway

My good friend, Ann has launched a cool website about homeschooling. She's got a great giveaway going with over $1500 worth of stuff. There are two parts. One for Colorado homeschoolers and a second for homeschool and parenting bloggers or Facebook users. To get entered, you just need to post about it to your blog and send her a link to your post. Here's her site to get all the details.

Do it.

You know you want to.

I am totally eyeballing the Teaching Science Skills at Home without being a Rocket Scientist.

...and the $100 Amazon gift card

Go here

Tell her Michelle sent you. It won't help me win the prizes, but it will give me friendship brownie points.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hawaii is a paradise, right? The good, part 3


It is so much fun living on the same island where LOST is filmed. It has been great to be able to check out the sets and see the actors and watch the first hour of the season premiere on the beach.

Survivor's Camp

The stadium where Jack met Desmond

The Banyan Tree

It is one BIG tree

Another picture of the survivor's camp (including part of the plane)

The day we spotted them filming at the banyan tree

The night shoot at the banyan tree

Sunset on the Beach premiere

The red carpet at Sunset on the Beach. (Can you spot Hurley and Ben?)

And... and... getting to meet Sawyer (aka Josh Holloway)If you have been watching the show you will notice that he has been wearing this same shirt in the recent episodes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

How I have used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons

Our well-worn copy

I am just about to finish using this book for the third and final time. I have taught all three of my girls to read using this book. I thought it might be useful to other homeschooler to explain how I used this book. I used it differently each time. Yeah for homeschooling where we can adapt the curriculum to fit the child.

The first time I used this book was back in 2003. (I pointed out to my hubby that I have been teaching a child to read for the past 7 years and am looking forward to being done with this stage.) Sierra was almost 5. We went through the lessons and I started out reading the teacher's script word for word. I skipped the writing parts. I think I was using another book for writing. At some point before we got half way through Sierra got bored with the stories at the ends of the lessons, so I let her read books from the Now I'm Reading Series instead. Around lesson 50, she was reading pretty well, but didn't like the lessons at all, so I let her just read easy readers for a while. When She was about 7 and half, I began to worry because she hadn't made the leap to chapter books, yet. I went back to 100 lessons and had her go over the sounds from lessons 50 - 100 that we had a skipped. I wanted her to read the stories, too, but she convinced me that if she could read the story from lesson 100 she could skip the other stories. Finally about a month before her 8th birthday, Sierra discovered the fairy books and started reading chapter books. I used an informal reading assessment with her the other day at age 11 and a half she is reading at an 8th grade level.

When I went through the book with Kali, I was less exact with the script. I introduced her to the sounds and had her read the stories. Once again I skipped the writing parts. I pushed her a bit to get her to lessons 75. At this point she just started reading books. I don't think I ever went back to finish the rest of the lessons. I remember being worried that I needed to work with her on sight words, but eventually it all clicked. She started reading chapter books at about age 7. I dont' think her comprehension was great, but she was motivated since she wanted to read the books her sister was reading. She turned 9 in October and tested at 6th grade reading level on the assessment.

Finally, I started teaching Arwen to read. She has been my most challenging kid to get to focus and sit still. We started working through the lessons. She, like Sierra, didn't want to read the stories from the lessons and so she read Bob books and the Now I am Reading Series books. I think we made to about lesson 60 before we took a break. We moved twice while in the 2 years that I have been teaching her to read. At the beginning of this school year I was worried that she was behind. We used the K12 phonics program in the fall and came back to 100 lessons in January. Arwen decide that if she read the rest of the stories through lesson 100 that she should be rewarded with ice cream when she finished. I thought that sounded like a fine idea and she is now on lesson 99. I also had her do the reading assessment and she tested half way through 1st grade which she technically is (turned 7 in November). We definitely still need to work on fluency and I will continue to have her read to me until she becomes more proficient reading on her own. I am confident that eventually it will "click" and she will become an independent reader. The thing that makes me the most happy is that she is now excited about reading and is looking forward to being able to read the fairy books and Magic Tree House books.

The thing I like the most about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons is how simple it is. You pick up the book and use it. No flashcards, no workbook pages, no complicated games. And it works. The only thing I wish now is that I had done the writing lessons. I noticed as I was looking through the book while writing this post that the writing parts connect the sounds to the written letters. I was so focused on the reading and thought that the writing was just handwriting (we used Handwriting without Tears), but I see now that it ties the phonics with the written letters. I bet doing that would make spelling easier. I highly recommend this book. It is easy to use, can be adapted to fit your child, and it works.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hawaii is a paradise, right? The bad, part 2

2. Roosters

I find this aspect of Hawaii to be both good and bad. I think it is pretty cool and funny that chickens and roosters roam freely around the town, but... I really don't like it when the roosters wake me up at 5am.