Friday, April 11, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 4/11/14

Jake (8), Alyssa (6), Zac (4), Tyler (2)



Happy Friday! We spent some time this week reading through old blog posts and watching old home movies. The kids loved seeing how cute their younger selves were, and I enjoyed hearing their laughter. There was an abundance of Smiling this week. 


1. Zac: "Can I have some honeydude?" (honeydew)

2. Alyssa, as she was leaving, because Tyler was sick and staying home from church: "Don't forget to give Tyler vitamin C."

3. Zac: "Do you want the good news or the bad news first?"
Me: "The good news."
Zac: "The good news is that I love you. "
Me: "Aw, I love you."
Zac: "And the bad news is the Devil."

4. Watching Tyler sit on the couch and browse through a LEGO catalog.

5. Zac, holding the phone to my ear: "Now you have love in your ear!"
Me: "I do? Why?"
Zac: "'Cause I kissed the phone!"

6. Jake: "I want to play professional Uno."

7. I looked over and found that Tyler had pulled half the wet wipes from the container. He saw me and started pulling faster, of course. As I walked over to stop him, I said a bit sarcastically, "Oh, Ty, that looks like so much fun." He replied, "Yep."

8. Zac: "If I kiss you and you kiss me, we're married."

9. Zac: "We have so many Legos, we could make a whole entire world!"

10.Tyler dumped out all the toys, just so he could play in the box.

11. Zac: Mom, it's sweating in here!"

12. Jake, proudly: "Mom, I can fit a whole golf ball in my mouth! Wanna see?" 

13. Zac: "May I have a napkin, please?"
Jake: "You have pants for a reason."
14. Alyssa, after hearing a commercial about infertility: "We don't want another baby, right?"
Me: "Right . . . Unless God wants us to, then we will."
Alyssa: "Well, I don't think God wants us to."
Me: "Oh, yeah, and why's that?"
Alyssa: "'Cause he sees how much trouble Tyler is."
What made you Smile this week?
 
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 4/4/14

Jake (8), Alyssa (6), Zac (4), Tyler (2)


Happy Weekend! I am officially caught up with my Smiles! This week the kids raced pinewood derby cars at church (and brought home 3 trophies!), we had a double birthday party for Alyssa and Tyler, and Smiled lots.


1. Alyssa, about Tyler: "Sometimes he's just pretending to be good. He has a trouble smile."

2. Zac: "I have an idea. Today is today and later is the day before this day and tomorrow is tomorrow."

3. Zac: "The sun dries up the rain."
Me: "You're right; it does."
Zac: "Yeah, I just knowed it. Nobody told me . . . Uh, I mean, I knew it."

4.

5. Jake, looking at a picture of dinner someone posted on Facebook: "Ooh, did you make that?"
Me: "No."
Jake: "Oh. Now it doesn't look appetizing."

6. I bought a new Magic Tree House book this week. Even though he still claims he doesn't really like reading, he took off to the other room with it and hid in a corner. Every time I'd walk by, he'd hide the book behind his back and try to look innocent, because he didn't want me to know that he was reading. He eventually came and sat next to me as he finished the book. He sat and read it from beginning to end, just because he wanted to.

7. Zac, while I was making dinner: "Thank you for making the so best smell in here!"

8. Jake and Alyssa made chocolate chip Heath cookies for Leighton, all by themselves. They learned a few lessons along the way, made a huge mess, and baked delicious cookies.

9. Celebrating April Fools with the kids. My favorite part was giving them chocolate milk, but switching Jake's with chilled coffee. The look on his face was hilarious.

10. Jake, sitting with his face in the open window: "Mmm, I love the smell of fresh, spring air!"

11. Zac: "Is crap a word?"
Me: "Yes, but that's not a word you should say."
Alyssa, innocently: "What does crap mean?"
Me: "It's not a nice word. I don't want you to say it."
Alyssa: "Well, they (iPad) showed us a picture of a corn field for it."
Me: "Ah, crop." The joys of new readers.


What made you Smile this week?

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 3/28/14

Jake (8), Alyssa (6), Zac (4), Tyler (2)


Happy Friday! I am still trying to play catch-up, so this is last week's list. Our "baby" celebrated his second birthday, I cleaned up lots of messes, and we all had many reasons to Smile.


1. Jake: "{Girl from church} asked me to marry her."
Me: "And what did you say?"
Jake: "I told her 'Not if God doesn't want me to.'"

2. Tyler sitting and playing with a car and randomly saying colors, "Yewo. Geen. Purpo. Boo."

3.
 
4. Jake: "Hi."
Me: "Hi. You look guilty."
Jake: "I was trying to remember where I put my gum. Then I remembered that I spit it out."

5. Jake: "I could make dinner."
Alyssa: "You don't know how. All you could make is eggs."
Jake: "Yes, I can. I can make corned beef and pasta fagioli. "

6. Zac: "I think hiccups are scared of water."

7. Tyler helping me "wash" the windows.

8. Zac: {Achoo} Mom, I almost got you!
Me, teasing: "Oh, no, don't sneeze on me."
Zac: "Yeah, 'cause you're pretty. Why would I sneeze on you when you're pretty?"

9. Zac: "Tyler's playing with the confuser!" (diffuser)


What made you Smile this week?

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spelling You See Review

Have you ever s-p-e-l-l-e-d w-o-r-d-s because you had little ears listening and you didn't want them to understand what you were saying? My husband and I can get away with that less and less since our kids are getting older and especially now that we've been using  Spelling You See: Listen and Write (Level A). More and more, I find them spelling out words and sounding out the letters they see and hear. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're doing so well, but how can we talk about i-c-e c-r-e-a-m and still keep it a secret!

Spelling You See (part of the Math-U-See family) claims to be "a natural, easy way to teach and learn spelling" and I couldn't agree more. The program focuses on short daily activities that combine listening, speaking, reading, and copying. By repeatedly reading and writing, the student naturally imprints the proper spellings of words in their minds. The program currently offers 5 levels of learning, starting with the students just beginning to learn letter names and sounds. That's the level we've been using. 
I've had both Alyssa (6) and Zac (4) working through this book. Even though Alyssa has been reading for quite a while now, I felt that she could benefit from the early spelling lessons and the handwriting review. Zac had learned his letter sounds and could read simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, but not consistently. Also, he had little formal experience with proper letter formations.

I printed off the lessons (we received a PDF version, though it is not available to purchase) and handed them each lesson 1. They excitedly flew through the page and asked for number 2. The directions recommend 10-minute lessons, but my kids never want to stop after just 10 minutes. 


The 36 lessons are divided into 5 parts, A through E. The top of each page is letter formation practice. The bottom portion is filled with letter boxes. These boxes help the brain learn sound-to-letter correspondence. The lessons start three-letter words to copy and gradually increase to 5-letter words to spell.

Alyssa and Zac start by writing the letters and making their sounds. They try to have a race to see who can get done first, but I remind them that writing properly is more important winning. That works. Sometimes, ha. Then I pick out which one of each letter is written the best and draw a smiley face above it. The so look forward to seeing which letter gets the smile! After that, we work on the letter boxes together. 

I am amazed at how well this program is working for us! The format seems so simple, there is nothing exciting, the pages are plain, yet I have seen vast improvements in my little ones and their abilities. Alyssa, for sure, is doing better with both handwriting and spelling, but Zac is the one who has benefited the most. In the beginning, he struggled, understandably, with some letter formations, but usually by the second or third day with the letter, he was writing it beautifully. Another thing is that before, he would write in capital letters sporadically, but is now writing in lower case. Also, I can say a word, and he spells it. But the biggest, most exciting part? He is reading now! And not just slowly sounding out words, but reading simple books. I am beyond thrilled, as is he. 


I do have one negative though. I do not like the font that is used. For instance, certain letters, like l and t are have a curved end instead of a straight line. The curve is harder to write. Alyssa, especially, would write the letters properly before with just a straight line for the l and so on. When they started this program though, I found their writing getting worse. As you can see in the picture above, her ls were getting sloppy. Instead of having them practice those letters to match the ones on the paper, I had them write like they had done before, with the straight lines. Not a big deal, but one to note.   


Other than the font issue, I have nothing but good to say about the Listen and Write program. The kids and I all enjoy it and are seeing improvements. We will definitely continue with this program. I am interested in researching the higher levels for Jake (8) as he has struggled with his spelling. If this is working so well for the other two, I expect it to work well for him, as well.

The instructor's handbook costs $14 and the student pack (workbook, sticker pack, and the Guide to Handwriting) costs $20.


You can find Spelling You See on Facebook and Twitter.

If you'd like to read more reviews of Level A or would like to see some of the other levels, please check the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 3/21/14

Jake (8), Alyssa (6), Zac (4), Tyler (1½)


Happy Weekend! Things have been busier than normal around here, giving us many reasons to Smile.


1. Alyssa, confidently: "I know what 10 plus 100 is: ten hundred."

2. Zac: "If I went to space, I would sleep all the time. Space is dark and you sleep when it's dark."

3. Jake, while reading: "It says they found 9 pieces of eight. How can that be?"

4. Finding Jake reading to his siblings just because.

5. Tyler sweetly saying "Gank gou, Mommy" every time I give him something. 

6. Zac, pointing to a picture of Batman: "Look how cutesy he is!"

7. Jake: "Tyler Joseph!"
Me: "What's he doing now?"
Jake: "He's getting in the garbage can, like a raccoon."

8. Jake: "Mom, are you going to be ready for a 5th one this year?"
Me: "A 5th one what?"
Jake: "A 5th child."

9. Zac choosing his socks for the day by which power he wants: Lightening McQueen for super speed, Mr. Incredible for super strength, etc..

10. Tyler watching a video of Zac reading his first book a few weeks ago.

11. Alyssa, not seeing the snow flakes falling: "It's spring! Can we go out in summer clothes now?"

12. Zac, to Alyssa: "I wish God didn't give you feet to kick me in the head."

13. Spending the day alone with Alyssa for her 6th birthday.

14. Jake, making up his own joke: "Why was the necklace sad?"
Me: "I don't know. Why?"
Jake: "Because it was neck-less!"


What made you Smile this week?

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