Beatrix’s Turn

Beatrix has been anxious to begin (what is in her mind) “official” school for some time, mainly because she wants to learn to read.  I worked through the All About Reading Pre-Reading program with her over the past year, but what she really wanted was to move into “the blue books,” or All About Reading Level 1.  She’s known for a long time that this is her year.

I first started used All About Reading with Larkspur two years ago.  It was my first time to use a scripted program to teach reading, and I haven’t looked back.  Heading into my third year using All About Learning’s programs for both reading, and now spelling, I thought I would give another update.  This year Larkspur will continue working through All About Reading level 2 and hopefully move into level 3.  Beatrix is finally (her word) getting to use level 1.  It is very easy to customize your pace with this program to meet the needs of your child.  Beatrix seems to be catching on really quickly, and for that I am very grateful.  If you have a struggling reader, you know how difficult it can be to help your child learn, and to do so patiently.  This program has really helped me.  I don’t doubt myself, or worry that I am missing something as long as I am working through the lessons.

Larkspur is also beginning All About Spelling level 2 now.  I waited to begin level 1 of the spelling program until after she had finished level 1 of the reading program.  This staggering has worked very well for us, as I find that the spelling lessons reinforce the reading lessons she has already had.

I look forward to teaching reading now, and find that I am able to knit while my girls read to me.  The knitting helps me to be patient, and not to correct too quickly.  I truly think I have found a rhythm in the teaching reading department, and for that I am very grateful!  Hopefully I’ll be back next summer to report more success and Silas’ turn to start the pre-reading program!

(I previously shared my thoughts about the All About Learning programs here and here.)

This post contains affiliate links!  So if you decide to try All About Reading and make a purchase through one of my links, I will earn a small percentage, which is so appreciated!

First Day

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Yesterday was our first day of school.  But, I guess you could tell that from the photos.  Ha, not really.  Well, maybe the messy laundry folding photos.  Homeschooling six out of seven children to some extent ultimately results in a mess.  We got through everything I hoped and I feel good about this new year, my eighth homeschooling year.

Last year was pretty terrible.  With a new baby and postpartum depression, I didn’t have the energy to do more than the bare minimum.  That’s okay.  It happens sometimes.

This year, I’m determined that it will be different.  In fact, our school year is going to be really different.  A few days after Sarah died, I made the crazy decision to join the small homeschooling co op that Sarah and many of my other friends are a part of.  I’ve never joined anything like this before.  I guess I have a major fear of commitments.  Somehow I knew though, that I need more time with my friends this year, and maybe even more than that, my kids need something new as well.  Being part of a co op means that your children benefit from being taught by others, and that each parent must contribute.  I kind of assumed they would ask me to teach chemistry.  (My degree is in plant pathology so I guess you could say I am a bit of a science geek.)  But, they didn’t.

Sarah taught the preschoolers, and no one envied her.  From what I’ve heard she did an amazing job creating a little Montessori style preschool for the little ones.

About a week ago, my friend Eve mentioned to me that there was a need (obviously) for someone to take over the preschool and that others in the group wanted to know if she had someone in mind.  In complete innocence I asked, “Well do you?”

“Um, yeah.  You.”

And it immediately made sense and was perfect and just what I wanted to do.  Eve made me cry when she said something along the lines of, “There’s no one who could do a better job, and no one whom Sarah would want more to carry on for her.”  It’s possible that she was just trying to butter me up so I would agree.  Whatever, it worked.

I love three and four year olds.  LOVE them.  I find three to be the most challenging age ever, but at the same time the absolute funniest and cutest.  My Silas is such an extreme example.  He always has been extremely cute and funny–while also being EXTREMELY challenging.  He makes me insane.  He is “Bull in a china shop” defined.  I totally adore him though he slays me.  Anyway, he’s going to be doing one day of preschool each week this year, and I’ll be his lucky teacher.  I’m ridiculously excited, probably a little too excited, but that’s okay.  I’ll also be teaching all of my friends’ adorable 3s and 4s, and it’s going to be so great.  This gives me added purpose, motivation, and accountability this year, and also gives me something tangible to do for Sarah.  What a gift.

(Preschool inspiration: Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven: A Catholic Preschool Curriculum, Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child,Don’t Move the Muffin Tins: A Hands-Off Guide to Art for the Young Child, Before Five in a Row, and I Can Do It! I Can Do It!: 135 Sucessful Independent Learning Activities.)