Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mini Milestones: Asking Why?

Gwyneth picks up a lot of new words or phrases from the people around her by mimicking the words and the way that person's voice sounds. One of her biggest models is younger brother Ryker and this has been both good and bad for the things he has taught her in the last year.

Here's a good one: this summer Gwyneth has started asking the question "Why?" in response to me when I tell her something (usually something that she has to do or stop doing). She says it in his same tone of voice: a little bit annoyed and defiant sounding. But despite that, I see this as a nice milestone accomplishment that she is engaging a little further in conversations!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Homeschooling Journal Friday 7-18-14

Fri 7-18-14
We continued with talking about words with the "ch" sound. 
In the morning Gwyneth and I talked about how we "change" clothes and "choose" an outfit. I used a sing-songy voice to keep her attention on repeating the words and the "ch" sound. She is a visual learner, so when there is no visual to keep her attention, singing really helps.
We read a book that mentioned making binoculars (which was a craft project we did last week) and watching birds. So we said that we "watch" birds and emphasized the "ch" sound at the end of the word.

For our physical activity the kids joined me to "watch" a yoga DVD. It is prenatal yoga so it is modified to be very easy. Gwyneth followed many of the movements during the first 20 minutes of the 45 minute video and participated sporadically for the remainder. I was impressed that she stayed in the room with me the whole time. We talked about how in yoga, we "stretch" our arms and legs and emphasized the "ch" sound.
Then the kids were allowed to "watch" Sesame Street on the "couch" but before it started, we wrote our new "ch" vocabulary on the library/TV room white board, reviewed the activities we had done that morning and Gwyn helped spell out each word and pointed to the letters as she said them: change, choose, watch, stretch, couch.

At lunchtime, we used the kitchen white board again to spell out new "ch" words: we go to the "kitchen" for "lunch." Lunch was a turkey, cheese and lettuce tortilla wrap (we wrote the word "crunch" to describe how the lettuce sounded), an applesauce "pouch" and a special dessert of "chocolate chips." I was happy that it didn't seem too difficult for Gwyneth to hear the "ch" sound in the middle or at the end of words. We also discussed how "lunch" rhymes with "crunch" and "pouch" rhymes with "couch," but I'm not sure how well this sank in for Gwyneth. Little brother Ryker is very interested in rhyming words right now so he enjoyed talking about the rhymes more than listening to Gwyn spelling out the words. Gwyneth has known all of her alphabet letters for a long time, so spelling out words is easy for her, but Ryker is just starting to recognize the letters. I think it helps them both to hear the other talk about the letters and the concept of letter/word sounds and rhyming.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Homeschooling

This summer, I have started adding in some "school" activities into our daily lives to continue Gwyneth's kindergarten education. The kids and I have created a reading nook with an alphabet caterpillar (more on that later) and we have visited the library many times to exchange our books. We've done some other small craft projects, but I've been too busy to take pictures and blog about each one!

I'm trying to use more of an "unschooling" philosophy and just follow Gwyn's lead by watching for what she shows interest in and then creating teachable moments. I've decided to keep a "homeschooling journal" to keep track of what we work on and monitor any progress Gwyn makes. I've already noticed that Gwyneth responds much better to the unschooling method than when I used to try to get into "teacher mom" or "therapy mom" mode. Her cooperation and engagement are improving.

Here's my first journal entry from Wednesday:
Wed 7-16-14

During the morning routine, Gwyneth was very uncooperative. She declared "NO" many times when I tried to get her ready for the day. I had to get silly with answering "Yes" and giving tickles to keep the interaction from escalating. She was more cooperative with this response and eventually answered "Yes" spontaneously and began to help. I thought it would be good to put in place some accommodations for Gwyneth to be taught self-help skills at home. A visual schedule on the bedroom wall that shows the morning and night time routines: Wake Up, Go Potty, Get Dressed, Do Hair, Eat Breakfast; and for night: Brush Teeth, Go Potty, Get PJs On, Read Story, Sleep in Bed.

We went to McKenna Farms for Speech Therapy: 30 min with Nicole
and Occupational Therapy: 1 hour with Kacie and Carmel
Nicole worked on reminding Gwyneth to use "smooth" speech instead of "bumpy" and I will use these terms at home when she does a stuttering or repetitive speech pattern.

At lunchtime, Gwyneth asked to eat "cheese" so I took the opportunity to work on "ch" words during the meal. While she ate, I wrote on our kitchen white board the lunch-related words "cheese," "chair," and "chips" and talked about the "ch" sound as well as asking her to spell each word. Gwyn only had trouble skipping the "i" in "chair" the first time. She spelled the other words well and said "that spells ____" after each one. She was very engaged and attentive to the idea of the "ch" sound.

In the afternoon, we watched some short phonics singing videos from YouTube:
A-Z letter sounds ("A is for Apple, aa, aa, apple" etc)
A-Z phonics songs with hand actions
Vowel phonics songs with hand actions
Letter blend sounds with songs and hand actions
In the blends video, the song for "ch" was about a train that was "chugging" and saying "choo-choo." This gave me the idea to plan a train project to practice the "ch" sound.