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First Grade Week 1!

August 8, 2015

Here’s our room for this year! After our final week of kinder I snuck down and got it all cleaned up and transitioned for our first grade year.

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I can’t believe we survived kindergarten and its time to start first grade! This is their first day of school photos. You might notice Evie’s hair looks a bit different. She found a pair of scissors when I was attending a strategies for struggling readers workshop and gave herself a new look. I fixed it as much as I could.


 This is one of our new routines this year. They are calendar folders. The kids have lots of little tasks to practice different skills everyday.  Tally marks, working on writing the days of the week, number words, checking the temperature, etc.  They wipe off so we just reuse the same page everyday.

Another new task everyday is their journal.  I give them a prompt and these awesome daily journal pages I purchased from Moffatt girls on Teachers Pay Teachers have some words at the bottom they might want to use. It also has a checklist on the side that we go over everyday for the things they are working on. Starting with a capital, using finger spaces, stretching out sounds and ending with a period along with drawing their picture.

This is Evie’s first entry. The prompt was ‘What is something you could do on a safari?’ My kids didn’t really know what a safari was. Evie wrote:  I was riding in the car and I fed a lion. I hopped on that tiny lion.

Let’s hope she knows to not do that on a real safari.

This is part of our Saxon phonics curriculum. When I purchased it from someone used it had all the pages so yay. The entire thing cost me $15. What a steal. We worked on writing O’s, N’s and T’s this week.  I am using the handwriting without tears ‘Make a C and complete it’ trick for O’s. And those finger spaces!

Another part of our schedule this year is the children read a book to me daily that they chose. They pick one and reread it once a day for the week. Then they put it in their book basket for quiet reading time. Evie chose ‘Ten Ugly Monsters’

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Working hard during school time #lachlan

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The baby finds all sorts of ways to amuse himself.

We talked about following a recipe and made purple cow milkshakes to go along with our book ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’

I purchased a daily writing curriculum that has the mini lessons, language and examples to help kids become independent creative writers.  I am really loving it so far.  I was so impressed with how easily the children transitioned to writing something on their own and not copying my example! It really makes writing approachable for the littles and they are excited to write and share.  We are working on labeling our drawings so people can understand what’s going on. This is Rett the scuba diver feeding the shark some fish underwear. ‘The shark was eating fish.’ Rett loves all things ocean and I’m pretty sure they watched a magic schoolbus episode that inspired this drawing.

This week our story was ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’.  We had a few vocab words that I wrote on index cards and illustrated for them.  The kids really enjoyed the story even though the reading level is a bit difficult.

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The three year old 'reads' #homeschool

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Thaddeus has always been very interested in the chart words often going over and pretend reading. He now can point word to word and although he isn’t perfect with his memorization, he is certainly close!

We also learned about the moon and made phases with Oreo cookies. We made a KWL chart with all the things we learned this week. Did you know that only one side of the moon is ever shown to Earth because its always rotating such that we only see that side. We had never viewed the other side until space photography was possible.


Happy Birthday Evie and Lachlan!

July 27, 2015


Its kind of nice having two such close birthdays together! The only problem is since one is a boy and one is a girl, finding a theme to work for both. This year we went with a circus theme.


We had circus games, prizes and some yummy circus cupcakes with our friends.


Lachlan with his first birthday pancake. Welcome to the family tradition!


My little guy on his actual birthday.


Evie with her birthday pancake.

I got basically no photos of the party because I was so busy playing hostess. It was a great time and the kids were spoiled with all the great presents.  I asked for craft stuff for Evie this year and she spent many hours with her craft projects.  And of course puzzles.

Kindergarten Week 24

July 6, 2015


Back into action after the kids’ 3 weeks of social skills camp.


Working on counting by 5’s.


I’m loving my new white board I bought used locally.  I never bought the phonics workbook that goes with Saxon so we always do the work on our white board or I have them write it out on the back of their other worksheets.

kinder4Right before we stopped for camp, Saxon introduced long vowels. We’ve been hitting them hard and these sheets where the kids had to listen to short or long really helped.  I drew the Saxon keyword above each so they could compare.


More counting by 5 practice with nickels.

kinder6I chose another harder book for them to read this week and was pleasantly surprised that it really didn’t challenge them a whole lot.


The great thing about this month is I’m using it to finish up our Phonics program, get back into the school groove and also set up expectations for things we are doing for first grade so when August gets here, we can just start right up.  We’ve been working on learning how to use our working with words centers independently. Here Rett is stamping some of the words that Tom told me he was having trouble with. I didn’t introduce any new words this week so we were just reviewing some of the harder ones. This will be their Monday task.


Another thing we are starting is the kids read to themselves for 10 minutes (we’ll get up to 15 pretty soon). Then after they are done, they choose one book and sit together and take turns reading the story to the other child.

They each have a book box with all their old books in them. Now instead of both of them having the same book, they get to choose what book they will work on. i work on it with them while the other does another task. Once they’ve mastered the book, they get to put it in their book box. But they have to take a book out to put one in That way I can keep their book box from filling up with easy books.  They have both been doing really well with reading independently. They get more practice then taking turns and they can choose what they are interested in so their brains are more keyed into learning.

Just 3 more weeks of kinder!

Kindergarten Graduation

July 6, 2015


Well we cheated a little bit since we STILL aren’t done with kinder but I was so excited that we were given the opportunity to participate in kinder graduation.  Nicole who leads the christian put this all together at her church and I am so thankful she did.  I love these sweet little faces.  And a glimpse into the future.


I am so incredibly proud of how Rett did this year.  I optimistically set the bar high and believed that he could achieve what other kids did in kindergarten regardless of autism. But in the back of my mind I did worry that his auditory processing issues would come into play and reading may be beyond him and my expertise to overcome this challenge.  He far exceeded by expectations.  Things don’t always come easy for him but he pushed through.  At the beginning of reading when it was very hard, he would push through the tears to continue on trying.  He has grown so much this year and his love and interest in reading is continuing to grow and blossom.  I am so grateful for all the memories we made this year.


And of course Evie.  She keeps us all on our toes  But her love of learning and curiosity add something so special to the classroom.  We were all amazed at how well (and fast) she learned to read and that little voice asking me everyday if we were going to do school, well how can you say no to that.  She’s really grown into a little kid this year completely leaving behind her toddler looks and maturing into a little girl.  Sometimes I look at her and I’m caught off guard by how big she is.  She has a creative spark and endless energy that adds so much to our lives.  I am so grateful for the memories we made this year.



Miss Nicole did a fabulous job organizing everything, including the children. As she gave them verbal directions, I sat on edge ready to go and translate for them or repeat but they just did what they were told to do like all the other kids.  They have both grown up so much.


graduation9Our future graduate had to get in on the action. His favorite activity is dressing up so he couldn’t miss out.


We had a really nice reception following and I gave the kids their kinder presents, each a book filled with easy readers with a little letter on the inside from me about how proud I am of them at the end of their kinder year.

We did it (almost, just a few more weeks!)! We completed our first year of school and the kids are doing marvelously.

Beach Trip 2015

June 28, 2015


Another great year at the beach at Perdido Key.  Our little slice of sandy heaven.  Here’s the crew when we first got in.


This little cutie’s second trip


Of course we had to go out to the beach that night after we got everything unpacked and settled.

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Awww, sand!!! Thaddeus thought it was snow and asked where the sleds were.  Kid cracks me up.

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Thaddeus was pretty freaked out by the ocean from the get go. It didn’t improve much over the course of the week although he did get in a tiny bit towards the end.


This little guy spent most of the beach trips napping inside the condo with Papah. His sleep schedule seemed to perfectly coincide with our beach schedule.


Evie really got into the ocean for the first time this year.  Still not quite as brave as Rett but she was jumping the waves and having a great time in the surf.

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We hadn’t been to the beach with Gigi in so long, the kids soaked up their time with her. Building sandcastles on the shoreline.

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And of course, our favorite activity is always setting those crab traps. Cousin Emma was down this time so it was extra special to have her come along with us.


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We spent lots of time at the beach this year sometimes going out twice a day. And lots of pool time.


And of course our annual trip to Peg Leg Pete’s.

We had a little bit of rain this trip but we didn’t let it get us down.  We caught lots of crabs and actually ate them. Papah actually knew what he was doing and they were fantastic.  Hoping we can sneak down for another week before it gets too cold.

Kindergarten Week 23

May 30, 2015


We have been homeschooling on even while preparing for and leaving for the beach!  The great thing about homeschooling is you can just take it with you! For the most part.  Here’s Evie reading some Biscuit books.


And working on our super sight words.  I decided since we had added so many last week we would just do another week to really work on them.

kindergarten2I let the kids pack their own backpacks with toys and books for the beach.  They can only bring what fits in their bag. Its good practice for learning about that whole, if you leave it at home you just don’t have it.  Also having to carry around too much stuff is never fun. The boys wanted to wear their backpacks during school time. Only 24 hours to go until beach time!

kindergarten3We are still working on plus 2 in our kumon addition book.  We haven’t finished the book so it may be early to give a review but I feel like the kids are highly dependent on the number line. They also are having a hard time realizing the difference between plus one and plus two. Hopefully as we work through the book things will click.  Regardless I know this is something to be introduced through our math curriculum next year so not hugely concerned.


We are almost finished with our time book through Kumon.  It introduced how time to the hour looks on a digital clock. So the kids can now do o’clocks, half past and :00 time.  Its been a fantastic introductory book.

kindergarten5We were having a rough day. Must have been beach jitters.  So when a friend invited us to the park, I decided to drop the rest of school and just go enjoy the afternoon with friends.  It was a good decision.  We visited the ducks again and found a really cool bug.


Still haven’t identified this one yet.


Of course as soon as we got to the beach, Evie started reading a book.  Her first beach trip where she can read!


Learning to draw ladles.

kindergarten9We learned a lot about the lungs in our body book.

In Saxon we continued to work on w and also introduced combination qu.  I peaked ahead and we are about to start long vowels.  Feels like we are really getting into big kid stuff now.

We did a lot of writing at the beach and the kids did really great with it.  Evie has started to want to sound out ALL words to write even the sight words she previously knew how to write so that is a tad frustrating.  But we pushed through.  Rett is having a difficult time being motivated to write anything more than what I force him to.  With our new program next year, I’m excited to see how their writing develops.

We are gearing up for a week at vacation bible school next week so will be homeschooling a little bit in the afternoons. Trying to work in as much as I can before the big 3 weeks of Y camp that lasts all day.  Whew! We still have a lot of Saxon phonics to cover before next year!

Kindergarten Week 22

May 17, 2015


Mom bought the kids a teeter totter. One of the things pretty much all of them need to work on is getting used to be spun and not getting dizzy too fast.  It has to do with vestibular processing. You can read more about vestibular processing here:  And you can check out our amazing teeter totter on Amazon here.  I sort of wish we had sprung for the larger one as I can’t get on this one. And I’m 5’1 so not exactly tall. But it is $100 more expensive so I’m not sure I could justify it being THAT much more awesome.  The important thing is it spins.


Thaddeus did something for about five seconds that resembled school.  Then he said he was all done with it and demanded some sort of Disney game that we don’t even own.  Three year olds are fun.


Saxon has these word lists pretty frequently but I generally skip them thinking they would be easy and a waste of time. I went ahead and did one just to make sure and yah.. way easy. Back to skipping them.


We are getting really close to finishing up our Saxon math lessons so I am only doing one every other day or so.  This was their ‘test’ for copying geoboard patterns.  They are expert geoboarders now.


Up until about a month ago, Evie was having a really hard time with sounding out and rhyming.  Suddenly sounding out clicked and she can now at least identify rhymes. She still can’t come up with one on her own but baby steps.  Its frustrating when your child can do something you see as difficult but not something you see as simple but the brain processes things differently I suppose.


We are still working through our Kumon My First Book of Drawing These are Rett’s foxes.  We then had to listen to ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ We missed out when it was at its peak but its now all stuck in our head. We like to make up other versions of the song like What does the Evie Say? etc.


Instead of Biscuit, we moved onto a harder book this week. I found two copies at Goodwill on a random trip.  Its actually pretty much on target for where they are right now. Not too easy and not too hard. You can check it out on Amazon here.


We are still working through our First Human Body book.  This week we learned about blood and the heart. You can check the book out here.  We watched some youtube videos on blood.  The kids really like this workbook.


We are doing our super sight word sheets as morning work each day. Our sight words this week were please, them, day, after and before.


Here’s Rett reading the sentences for the week with our sight words in them.


Saxon is really getting into the kids taking ‘spelling tests’ a LOT now.  It is still super easy for them so they don’t mind. We are trying to work on not calling out the answer and writing it down on our own paper.  Which doesn’t work, by the way.  Rett is having a hard time remembering e vs i and also d vs g.


I started adding words to the top of our apple words so the kids haven’t ran out of steam by the time they get to the new ones. I think I’m going to do this next year too if we even have apple words.  Its amazing how quickly they learn the words and just fly through their reading everyday.


The benefit of having just two children is they can each practice counting everyday. We are practicing counting by 10’s, backward from 20 and by 5’s.


Evie’s cupcakes she drew one day.  At first I thought they were going to look crazy with how tall and skinny she drew them but they turned out super cute. She called them her Pinkalicious cupcakes.


More circulatory system learning.


Our read alouds for the week. The kids always look forward to hearing their morning stories. We usually work on retelling or reading comprehension questions and vocabulary.   We’re also working on learning the names for the parts of the book.

The kids are doing really well with their sight words.  They are up to 94, Rett can read 90 and Evie can read them all.  We’ve been working through our addition book and our telling time book which we’re working on time to the half hour.

This week we had our friends over for water play for 4.5 hours and then we went to the pool on Friday with our friends again!

We’re going to be leaving for the beach on Wednesday!

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