January 2, 2012

School is Back in Session!!

Today was our first day of school after a great Christmas Vacation. It took us a little longer than usual (mostly because I talked a lot more) but we got it all done! I made a few (minor) tweaks to our schedule and added to our language arts program.

Ooh! Language Arts! This year I took everything (!) I had done last year, all my ideas on how L.A. should be taught and TOSSED THEM! Last year was miserable! Why would I want to repeat it? *Side Note* We actually found out in May that Regan is dyslexic. This helped explain why we were having so many struggles (not just in reading) and gave us some ideas on what we could do to work around them.

So this year I worked to make our learning as hands on and FUN as I could. With Language Arts that meant doing a lot of things like 'Mailbox', having a 'Picture Journal', using apps on the ipad, using Poetry Magnets and using WriteShop 'World of Animals' cards.

Mailbox is probably Ryans' favorite thing to do. I have a big box of stationary cards that the kids can choose from and they each write letters/notes to each other. We made a mailbox out of an old cardboard box (we painted and decorated it, of course!) and fill it up during the week. Every Monday we pass out every one's 'mail' and have fun reading them!

Picture Journal is pretty self explanatory. I made a few 5x7 journals out of cardstock, put a photo on one page and have them write a few sentences telling me about the picture. They can either tell whats really happening OR they can make up a crazy story. Here's what Ryan did last week:

The picture I gave him. (We were at a wedding.)

What he wrote.
Since the first part of the year went so well, I decided to add a little bit more to our writing and see how it went. Today went great and I hope it continues that way. One of Regan's favorite things to do is the 'Animals of the World' cards so I went back to their publisher to see what else they offered. I found Writeshop Primary and after reading reviews/looking at samples, I decided to try it out.

WriteShop Primary Book B
I love how it gives you the option of doing a 1,2 or 3 week schedule. (We chose 2) It also has a lot of parent involvement and hands on projects used to reinforce each lesson. Our goal is to complete book B this year and take all of next year to work through Book C.

Other than adding WriteShop, the only other changes I made were little things like seating and how we could make everyone was completing ALL of their assignments.

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