Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sonnets, Mat and Sam

I have finally reached a break through with Emily and Julia and their "reading". We have been working on the sounds of letters for well over a year and it's been challenging to say the least. We have not been as rigorous as we could have been, they don't have a wide attention span and part of the privilege of homeschooling is being able to have a custom fit education and move at their pace. It's much more fun to work math problems and play learning games than it is to drill them on sounds. They learn better when they don't think they are having to sit and learn; games and cards have been their favorites. I have tried several different approaches to teaching them to read and each time it seems frustrating for them, and eventually me too. I was feeling quite defeated and inept to teach my children to read. 

Sometime around Christmas, a family we know gave us several boxes of homeschool curriculum they were no longer using. Oh, this is where it gets better and we discovered BOB Books inside our new lot of goodies.

These books start with a few simple words and slowly progress adding more words as you go. In the first book  "Mat" it's as simple as Mat sat. Mat sat on Sam. Sam sat. etc 

We have already been working on learning sight words so am, on and at were already words they knew. To make a long story shorter, using these books they quickly began to understand blending sounds to read the words. When they each read that first book themselves it was a moment of sheer joy; I swear I heard trumpets sounding in the sky. *grin* They were so proud, I was so proud. Who would have thought hearing your child read, "Mat sat on Sam." would bring tears to your eyes? We are progressing with this system as it seems to be working wonderfully for us. 

Kiley and August are half-way through their last year as middle schoolers. Next year is High School. I wont lie, this scares me almost as much as teaching Emily and Julia to read. They are flying through this grade, they have finished more than half of their Pre-Algebra lessons. Their Physical Science has been a blast. We bought a curriculum that came full of different experiments and projects. It has been a challenge for them and I think that is fantastic. So far they have built, motorcars, steam boats, and wood gliders. With each project they have several lessons or experiments that go with it. It has definitely provoked their brains to step outside of their comfort zone. 

 Most recently they have been studying Sonnets, and had to write their own. They followed the   Shakespearean format with three quatrains and one couplet at the end. Like this: 


If you're an English expert please be easy on us, we're still learning. I'm not sure how well they followed the iambic pentameter, any nice advise or tips would be helpful. They are hoping to enter their Sonnets in the county fair poem contest. 

Escaping the Zoo
by August

The animals are escaping the Zoo,
Over there I saw a big, hairy bear
Oh no, oh no, what ever shall I do?
A hairy beast gave us all quite a scare
Next to get out, was the slippery seal
Slithering down was a serious snake
The child walking by gave a loud squeal
All of the creatures are making a break
They are all leaving except for the fish 
Swinging form tree to tree is that brown chimp
For this to go away, that is my wish
At lunch they decided to eat the shrimp
All of the animals have left the Zoo
Oh no, oh no, what ever shall I do?!


Summer Walk
by Kiley

A nice walk is something you all should do
Just take  a breath and go outside to walk
You don't have to go someplace that is new
If you get tired just sit on a rock
When you're walking, take a look at the trees
Or take off your shoes to feel the soft grass
Go by the bay to feel the windy breeze
or the big city is a place to pass
And look up at the blue and cloudy skies
Get a better look and walk up a hill
When you reach the top just sit there and stare
And don't move a muscle be very still
But by then your eyes are heavy and deep
So just close your eyes and go right to sleep

I suppose that's enough for now. Yawn. Goodnight. I will post more soon and include some pictures from our Christmas. 

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