The past couple of months were hectic as we prepared some new products for Journal in a Box and prepared a new presentation for our workshop at the Arizona Families for Home Education convention in Phoenix, AZ. We were very blessed by our experiences there at the convention and look forward to exhibiting again next year. In the meantime, we are in the process of setting up quite a few more venues in the 12 months between now and then.
I’ve also been having fun the last few weeks looking at ideas for curriculum for Nicole. She is finally showing an interest in putting the symbols/letters she sees together into coherent words. Just the other day we picked up an Usborne First Dictionary for her and she was able to read quite a few of the words out of there no problem. She is such a perfectionist (I cannot imagine why…) and so she struggles whenever you present something to her as a ‘testing’ situation. If I put the book in front of her and say, “Here, sound out this particular word,” she absolutely freezes. On the other hand, if I just hand her the book and say, “Look at this fun book!” she will start reading all the words she can. Similarly if I pick up two pencils and say to her, “Okay, one plus one is…” she answers with an immediate, “Two!” She is confident in her ability to answer that question. But, if I show her our fun Disney Princess math flaschards with a 1 + 1 = problem on it, she freaks out. She is always so worried that she will get the ‘wrong’ answer that her brain just does a complete shut down. In this way, we are such complete opposites! I LOVE tests. Yep. Call me crazy. While I was still in high school, I had an employer who was interested in promoting me and so she called me into her office and asked me to take an impromptu typing test without even telling me why. After I took it she offered me the promotion. When I came home and told my mom the news, she was shocked. She couldn’t believe that the idea of a spontaneous test didn’t freak me out. Once again, Thank God for his wisdom in having my parents homeschool me so that the idea would already be a part of my understanding of the world. I am able to see the areas where Nicole struggles. I can help her learn the material in the way she best learns, help her improve on her own timetable in the areas where she struggles and have the great help of having my mom right here and benefit from being able to pull out of our unique and shared experiences to find better ways of teaching both the kids!
I am looking for a great phonics program to take Nicole past where she is. She understands all the letters and their basic sounds, but now she needs to begin to understand combining letters and things like long versus short vowels. Joe and I have looked at some great products and it is hard to decide on exactly what we need. We are also looking into Math Made Meaningful which incorporates around the house items into everyday math lessons and sounds like it would be right up our alley! If you have any ideas or suggestions for us for phonics or math I’d love to hear them!