Stories From The Tolbert Home

Saturday, December 27, 2014

School with Ava…1st Grade

        This year has been very fun so far with Ava. I love how much she truly loves to learn and loves a challenge. She has a lot more patience, and is more relaxed. Which has it's ups and downs. Her relaxed attitude can also bring an unfocused mind to the table. She may be doing math and all of a sudden decide she would rather bake some cookies. Have you read If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? That is how I would explain my day with sweet Ava.

This year Ava's curriculum is…

Phonics and EnglishBob Jones Phonics and English 1
We were using Abeka like we did with Dana, but we enjoy the approach to phonics with this company, we feel their text is more colorful and for Ava..that matters. Both companies have a very strong phonics program! So it really came down to design. They also do units, which makes it very interesting for Ava. So the first 30 lessons were unit 1, which was all about colors. So each day a color was explored and it went further into things that were that color such as purple for grapes…which then discussed a vineyard. The current unit is God's creatures and she is learning about different animals and their habitat. It always goes with the blend we are working on for that day. "ST in nest." So we learned about nests, what they are made of, and the different kinds that are made. Ava finds school so much more interesting when I take the time to elaborate on a sound by doing activities that correlate to her work.
We made nests out of paper bags, and she collected things in the yard like a bird would for their nest, and glued it on.

This area has honestly been a slow process for 3 reasons.

1. Her attention span is similar to a squirrel. I love her for it, and it has kept me on my toes. We talk about endurance, and how with swimming (something she is VERY advanced at) you have to work up your endurance. I told her each day we have to do more and more. It will get easier. She tells me "Mom, my brain is getting HOT, it is FRIED!" I giggle, and tell her ok, lets stretch it out just a bit more before taking a break. She usually does well with that. We take breaks, we change locations (couch, her desk, DANA'S desk lol, the floor…) wherever she needs we just keep going.

2. Her speech. We had her in speech therapy for a year, and have decided she is done. Her speech is not perfect yet, but the speech therapist went over every sound she was struggling with and there is not a lot more we can do, and I can work with her the rest of the way at home. This has hindered her ability to read right away. She is now moving along quickly that we have learned how to work with her speech.

3. I got her glasses. I felt like a horrible parent the day it finally clicked how hard she was squinting, sure enough I put her sister's glasses on her and she clearly started reading. I had thought she was just being choppy because she was struggling, no it was her vision and she is moving along much better.

Writing-  This is an area that bores Ava, and I found that she copies the work without realizing what she is even doing. So to make it more fun, I bought a Primary Journal and until she is able to write more on her own, I just write a sentence, she copies it and then she has fun drawing a picture on the top that goes with what she wrote. My goal for her is that towards Janurary, she will use this as her writing journal as we do our daily reading, she can do copy work directly from the material we are reading for the day.
I thought this was so cute, because it was the first time I said write about anything you want, and although her sentence is short, I love the artwork she chose with the flippers in the front of her and the person behind her in the lap lane. 

We enjoy these journal pages because after doing some writing she gets to feel creative in drawing a picture to go with it.

Same company, because I LOVE their visuals/manipulatives packet and so does Ava. She is very hands on. She learns so much better when we are stacking our blocks of 10 and learning about math families rather than just staring at them on paper.

Literature, history, geography, and bible are all slowly being worked on through the company Sonlight.  For those of you who do not know companies let me explain that there are traditionally a few types of learning with homeschooling. One being textbook learning, and the other being what Sonlight would call "living textbook learning." To be real with you, I would prefer to do a program like Sonlight all day with all of my children, but I find they still need balance and I am not at the place where I am ready to fully go to the "living textbooks" only. Sonlight uses classic literature to teach geography, vocabulary, spelling, copy work…you name it. The first book we read this year was Charlotte's Web. The vocabulary is so rich in that book! So they have a 4 and 5 day schedule to follow. We chose the 4 day. The teachers book has vocabulary with definitions for you to go over before beginning that days reading. They also have a book that your child will read to you. For the geography portion I just love that we read fun books from around the world and she gets to locate where we were on a map that they include, and for the history portion they include a huge timeline with little timeline stickers that as your child "visits" that time era they color their sticker person and place them on the timeline. If they do this program all the way through high school their time line will completely be filled.

I cannot say enough good about this company as we are big readers and love classic literature. I love sitting down reading out loud to my children.

This post is long enough but I will include Ava's extra classes she takes this year at her Monday co-op for eager grandparents who care :)

1st Period- Math skills and drills
2nd Period-Five in a Row-another living textbook literature class that reads a book and does activities that go with the book!
3rd Period- Art- not your classic glue and glitter art….this is learning about artists and their history as well as their style, and then they get to copy their style!

She takes swim and pe on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Piano on Wednesday. I am enjoying doing first grade with this fun girl of mine! I hope you've enjoyed a peek inside of our day!

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