Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our first break and getting back into it again; AAR thoughts, RightStart etc.

We had our first break since we started kindergarten due to us catching a cold. Blah! One Saturday, we went to the Children's Museum and I'm pretty sure that's where we picked it up. It was nice to just pause where we were at, have our colds and not have the stress of J missing school and all that. So, we played a little, watched some DVDs, read, and took a break from our routine.

We did some reading and math lessons but it was low-key. Still learning, but not my goal.

This week, we were back at it and I was worried that our break would derail us. I took advantage of the fact my husband had Labor Day off to help ease back into it. I had him be a part of our math and reading lesson and I think that was really helpful for all parties. Yay!

Reading is going well and I'm going to place an order for All About Reading level 2 soon. At one point during AAR level 1, I wasn't sure if we'd go for level 2 or not. I wondered if we could just use other (cheaper!) materials and have the same success.

Then I decided to just forget that plan. Johnny really, really enjoys his reading lessons through AAR. He likes the readers, he likes the worksheets and activities, and the pacing and progression are just so spot-on. We got to a point where I suspected we'd need to spend a few days getting comfortable with a new phonogram, and I flipped ahead and saw the author was doing exactly that with the lessons.

This is a rock-solid program and I am seeing great results. Also? Johnny is reading words that I have no idea how he knows. Like when he's reading to himself, he'll read words (with no picture clues!) and I'm just!

I do want to keep going with AAR because there are a lot of phonograms that we haven't covered. And, he needs a lot more practice with fluency. He is not at the point of reading short novels to himself, by any means. Lots of words on a page still do intimidate him. Plenty more work to do. But this is fun work.

Rather than mess up a good thing by switching to our Phonics Pathways book, I'm just going to plow forward. I'll be able to use most of it (minus the workbook) with the girls. It's fine. I already have level 3 anyway that I got on sale.

I also plan to buy All About Spelling level 1 while I'm at it. Johnny has a strong interest in being able to spell words correctly, so we're just going to run with it. I briefly looked at other programs to see how they do it, but AAR has made a believer in me, in that the author knows exactly what she's doing and I trust her. I appreciate that AAS will teach encoding using phonics rules, rather than memorizing word lists by rote and doing worksheets that don't actually enhance learning and retention.


I like RightStart math. A lot. We have completed lesson 19 of 130 and I think it's going well. I'm surprised that 3.5yo Viv is joining us and understanding a lot of it, but hey I'll take what I can get.

Mr. Johnny on the other hand is starting to get a little fussy about math. I know he knows how to do it. I know it's not too hard, and the lessons certainly aren't taking very long. So I'm a little puzzled as to why he's showing some resistance.

I probed a little and he said he wanted to practice writing numbers (and lowercase letters, he said). Oh. Because math involves writing numbers, in his mind I guess? I'm wondering if he'd actually enjoy some math worksheets?! Gah.

I have Math Mammoth which is a worksheet-based program, with some manipulatives perhaps. My plan with MM was to use perhaps as reinforcement or a break when we hit walls with RS. Perhaps we're hitting a wall now? I have no idea.

I do want to keep moving forward with RightStart for now, and I'll just try to tune in to Johnny some more to see if I can't resolve his issues with it.

One other possibility is I could back off with math for a few weeks. Though I'm intending to keep school time fun and not stressful, maybe the amount of things we're doing is stressing him out somewhat.

OOH. In re-reading this post (I vaguely edit these things) I'm wondering if Johnny's resistance to our math stuff is because he doesn't like his sister joining us? Maybe he feels that if she can do it, it might be babyish? Or too easy to be worth his time? Hmm. I'm pretty sure that it won't take long for the program to be past Viv's capabilities. Maybe a wait n' see could help.

No need to stress out a kindergartner. It is EARLY SEPTEMBER. Don't need a burnout already.

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