Thursday, March 4, 2010

Decision Made!

Most of you probably remember our stressful decision making process this past summer! It was a difficult time and I really did not want to go through that again!....

Well, I am thrilled to say that I have already come to a decision as to what to do next year for schooling! Like last year, I went back and forth a bit about whether we should homeschool or send Kendyl to public. Thankfully, this decision process didn't take as long, and wasn't as stressful and rushed as last year!

We will be homeschooling Kendyl again next year, using both 1st and 2nd grade curriculums. Aden will be going to the Fremont Christian School Preschool program with Mrs. Breuker. We were extremely happy we sent Kendyl there, as it put her in a 'school' mode for homeschooling this year.

Kendyl's curriculum programs are pretty much decided upon (and in my possession or purchased).

Math: Switching from Saxon 1 to Math-U-See Alpha (still a first grade curriculum, but I'm just seeking to solidify all the things she learned in Saxon 1 this year by doing 1st grade again). This is a FUN program and we are very excited for it! If need-be, we will order the next level up. :)

Reading: Kendyl will have completed the 5 levels of Hooked on Phonics for Reading. She will be reading easy chapter books by this time. I am still looking into different reading curriculums, but have a bunch of different resources for making my own (or just using them).

We hope to start a homeschool kids' book club next year. In the club, we would encourage the kids to bring their favorite books, share about it, do projects related to the book, read aloud to each other, etc.

We will of course be taking MANY trips to the library to get some great literature that David and I will read to her, that she will understand and respond to, but may not be able to read on her own.

Writing: Continuing with the Hand Writing Without Tears program for hand-writing.

Will be doing many more writing assignments: writing books, poems, jokes, etc. We will also be doing more word processing on the computer.

We will continue using a journal.

Spelling: Using Dolch list of words, as well as others we notice she spells incorrectly in her writing assignments.

Phonics workbooks will be used to help with spelling practice as well.

Vocabulary: Working on making her own 'dictionary' of words we come across in our reading in all subjects. Practicing ABC order, using a dictionary, etc.

For the other subjects, I have many resources (thanks to my good friend Molli), that I am going through to find the best fit for us.

I also plan to do more unit studies next year (I will design these).

SOOOOO.... I am so thankful that this decision has been made! Hoping to get most of the real planning done before this summer, so that we can truly have a GREAT summer vacation!! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

100th Day of School!!!

February 26, 2010: Our 100th Day of School!!!

Kendyl was thrilled to reach this day (had been counting down for about 20 days!) We had a somewhat 'party' day to celebrate. We did many things with the number 100.

Breakfast: The kids ate a mini sausage link & 2 mini pancakes (looked like the #100).

Math: We counted to 100 by 2's, 5's, and 10's.
We worked on place value and how to read & write 100.
Kendyl made 100 tally marks (in the reg. groups of 5).

Reading: Kendyl cut out (the day before, with my help) 100 words that she can read. She glued them onto a piece of paper. (she can read many more than 100, but for the sake of the 100th day, that's what we did)... I was picking words like, 'me', 'you', 'to', etc.... Kendyl cut out words like, 'school', 'mother', 'homemade', etc. :)

Reading/Gym/Group work: I made a list of 100 different things to do in groups of 10. (ex. jump 10 times, spin 10 times, etc.) Kendyl brought the list to the Tree House day care at Tamarac and led the other kids in this activity.

Music: We sang, "100 days of school" (100 bottle of beer) and counted backwards from 100!!

Art: We made & wore glasses with the number 100 on them.
Kendyl used 100 misc. art supplies (buttons, pompoms, etc.) to decorate a large #100.

Science/math: Kendyl observed 5 bags with 100 items in each bag (each bag a different item). Kendyl made a hypothesis of which bag would be the heaviest, etc. She weighed the bags on a balance scale with polly pockets on the other side! :) Then she made a chart of her results.

It was a fun day!! We are over half-way through the school year and I am so pleased with how well it has gone overall! Looking forward to the weeks ahead!!! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Wow! Can't believe it's been so long since I've updated this!! We have been BUSY, like most people this time of year, but have been having a terrific time learning! :)

This December we combined our writing, music, and art with a Christmas unit, using all 5 senses. It was called our 'Sensational Christmas unit'... we finished it yesterday, and it was GREAT! Kendyl wrote & illustrated a book, using the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, as a model. It is called, Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus. It goes through the 5 senses, asking what he sees, hears, tastes, feels, & smells while in the stable :) It is very cute.

Math: Kendyl now has her double addition facts memorized through 9+9 and is getting much quicker at adding any single digit problem. She can now count to 110 by 1's & 10's, 30 by 5's, 20 by 2's, backwards from 20 by 1's, and backward by 10's from 100 to 10.

We have been working on counting money. She can now count pennies and dimes both separately and together :)

She can tell time to the hour and sets her little clock throughout the day and rings a bell saying, "it's 9:00 and all is well" as she sets her clock to match our digital one :)

She has also learned whole & half, complex patterns, ordinal numbers through 10th and more things I can't think of right now. :)

Reading: She is getting more fluent in her reading all the time. It is fun to listen to her read...she really tries to put emotion into it and read it as if it was really happening. :) She is learning many new ending sounds (ly, lk, nk, ed, ing, etc.) and really expanding the books that she can read by herself! It was so exciting the first time she read Green Eggs and Ham all by herself! :)

Spelling: We continue to work on spelling...but usually in the form of a game :) She's starting to remember some of the complex word spellings :)

Writing: Her writing is probably what she struggles with the most... So, we try not to stress about this and not do too much writing. The writing that we do, is in the form of fun things, like writing books, cards, notes, etc. I'll play games with her, like pictionary...she'll have to write the word that I draw, etc. ...for practicing writing numbers, we'll play 'store' and she'll make fake money, in which she needs to write the value on the money, ect. We do use some 'worksheet' writing too, but not much, as this REALLY frustrates her. Looking back to the begining of the year, she has REALLY come a long way on her writing though. Instead of quantity, we really focus on quality of the writing and I have her correct the mistakes she's made in the letters... keeping it positive of course :)

Social Studies/Geography, etc.: We have only recieved 1 flat kendyl back so far...but we learned about her journey, made a scrapbook page, and had fun with it... looking forward to learning about more places as the flat kendyl's come back home! :)

Music: She LOVES to sing and I've been trying to work with her on really staying in tune lately. She is terrific at staying on beat :) We have used water flutes and some other instruments too :)

DANCE: Kendyl had her first dance recital this week. WOW, that was fun! She LOVED it and as soon as she found her teacher after the performance, she asked if she could have a solo for the next recital! :)

SNOW: We've all had fun in the snow already this winter... so much fun! :) Kids are looking forward to many more times outside in the winter wonderland! :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

random updates...

It's been awhile since I've updated this blog... sorry, things have been productive and crazy at times! :) Much learning has happened and we are gaining daily! :)

some fun things...
...we visited Lewis Farm Market: rode the apple express, picked our own apples to take home, heard a story in the teepee, ate donuts and cider, pet & fed the animals :) fun time!

...we have been going almost every friday to the kids' 'time out' program at the NCCS... it is a 'gym/craft program' for homeschooled children... there is usually about 10-20 kids there! FUN! they play tag, hockey, dodge ball, etc...and even did the presidential fitness test! plus there is almost always a craft for them to do! :) lots of fun! Kendyl LOVES it and has made some new friends! so has mommy! :)

...we had to go to the UP because David's grandpa Dahlstrom passed away. It was an emotional and wonderful trip. We visited family, friends, and the church we got married in! I even got to sing with Jacy again! awesome!

...we have played in the leaves, done picture scavenger hunts, fall art projects, and more! :)

...yesterday, we carved pumpkins to look like carriages...then attached a horse to one and a dino to the other--the kids LOVED it!!! :)

...Kingdom Kids started up at church again...she loves that so much! The kids in her class were impressed because their verse in the class was Gen. 1:1...kendyl said it right away, because we had learned that one at home! :)

...Every tuesday, Kendyl has dance class... so cute! Recital in December! They really do some difficult routines in her class...she loves it! we just got the written steps and will be getting the music for her routines next week, so that we can practice at home! :) FUN! :)

Some things Kendyl has been working hard on...
...counting by 2's and 5's... can count to 14 by 2's and to 110 by 5's (with a chart) and to 30 by 5's without a chart! :) We made a fun counting chart with hand prints to practice counting by 5's :) great way to bring in art!

...working on counting far, we are just doing pennies and using money vocabulary to get her familiar with it (cents, coins, etc.)... we will introduce nickels and dimes soon! :)

... she now knows 42 sight words! She is getting better at them and reading in general EVERY DAY!! WE continue to work on the 'art' of reading (chunking words together to make it sound like talking and not broken words)... she is gaining... can sound out anything that follows any of the rules she has learned (including some complex words).

...continue working on spelling...this is less formal...we play spelling games, etc. to keep it fun! :)

...she has her doubles facts memorized through 6 + 6 and is working on the ones through 9 + 9... she can 'figure out' any one digit + one digit math equation :)... since she is doing a 1st grade curriculum, her book is going into subtraction, we are not doing the lessons from that book right now...instead we are playing addition games, playing with dice and dominoes and toys to 'add', etc... working on her mastery of addition and place value, before we get too into subtraction :) We do continue doing all her calendar/weather/counting everyday though :)

...We are patiently awaiting our "flat Kendyl's" and will be studying those locations as she returns! :) Then they will be sent out to new destinations! :)

We are having fun and trying to be creative! Really loving all of it and cannot imagine sending her to school next year yet! :)
*tried posting pics & it didn't work :(

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pleasantly Surprised...

While researching and talking to people about homeschooling, I had heard many times how parents loved the fact that homeschooling allowed them to grow closer to their children.

Hearing and reading this, I was a little skeptical, mostly because it seemed to me that I would get frustrated with my children the more time I had to spend with them in a day. So the thought of having to 'raise' as well as 'educate' my children, was not something that I thought was conducive to gaining a stronger relationship with them. In fact, I half expected there to be resentment from me and Kendyl towards each other because of all the time we would be spending together.

Well... I am pleasantly surprised that this has not been the case! I am now joining the ranks of those that claim 'homeschooling my child has brought us closer together'! Mind you, we have only been doing this for about 6 weeks... however, I honestly feel so much closer to Kendyl and she is acting so much more loving and obedient toward me. I'm amazed! I understand her more deeply. I know how to help her through frustrating things. She is reaching out to me more for physical attention (she was never much of a hugger--but even David has noticed how much more she wants to hug us lately!) :)

Not to mention that her relationship with Aden is growing daily as well! They are even more loving to each other than before! :)
Love it!!! <3

Monday, October 12, 2009

25 days down... So much progress and learning!! :)

Today is our 25th day of Dahlstrom School of Discovery and Faith!! WOW! Awesome!!

Everyday we have done this 'routine for math...
We 'read' the calendar, point out and say the day of the week, month, date, and year and then Kendyl writes it out.

She then records the weather on a bar graph (and makes observations--there were a lot of sunny days in september and no snow days!).

Then we use a hundreds chart to count to 100 by ones and 10's. Today we started learning to count by 5's and will now do this every day as well. :) I am AMAZED--25 days ago, she couldn't count by herself past 29... now she can count on her own to 100 and by 10's to 100 as well! :) and by 2's to 10. sooo proud of her! Aden can count by 10's also, and count to 20 by ones, since he listens to us practice! :)

Then we add another number to our number line of how many days of school we've had... today we got to write 25 on the number line... then we go to the board and 'count' it while learning place values (we've had 2 sets of 10 days + 5 ones (days))... so, she is learning place value as we go through the school year. On the 100'th day of school, we will have a party! Kendyl is quite excited about that!!!

Then we play a 'right and left' game... she stands up, I call out something like, "put your right hand on your hip and your left hand on your nose" or "put your right foot up and your right hand on your head"...

There is a 'lesson' each day... addition or subtraction stories, shapes (geometry), ordinal number review, learning fractions (whole/half), etc... we do the lesson with many different materials (crayons, toys, dice, balance, blocks, apples, etc.)

Then there is a written practice sheet. She does one side at the time of the lesson and one later in the day, to make sure she has retained the info. :)

Because of this daily repitition and review, she truly understands what she is learning and really KNOWs it! I am amazed and proud of her and so excited for the next days, weeks, months of school! :)

Things Kendyl KNOWS well (that she's learned since the begining of school)...

* count by 10's to 100
*count by 2's to 10
*count by 1's to 100
*count to 10th place in ordinal numbers
*can distinguish between right and left very well (finally!)
*graphing and charting...can make her own and read other ones well
*understands and can write and read addition sentences with single digit numbers
*knows 35 sight words (knew about 30 at the start of school)
*has learned complex sounds and blends (st, sp, sn, sl, sm, ch, sh, wh, th, -all, -ook, -ike, and a few more i can't think of right now)
*is getting much more fluent in her reading (learning to 'chunk' and read as she speaks) :)
*can spell and write her last name :)
*can name and tell at least one thing about each of the 7 continents
*can say and write her phone number and address (not zip code yet)
* has memorized 7 Bible verses.
*can draw 'maps' of different locations and understands North & South (well, on a map, not the whole concept yet)

things we're working on right now...
*more sight words and blended sounds
*counting by 5's to 100
*counting to 200
*zip code
*sentence punctuation
*subtraction sentences
*place value
*whole & half
*memorizing poems and songs to 'perform' for family & friends
*reading and drawing maps, directions East and West
*other random things and more in depth into others :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Party Math! :)

(this is for you, Stephanie, aka Sazzle!)....

Today during math, we were doing Kendyl's practice sheet after her lesson... one of the story problems went like this...

There were 4 ants on the table. Then 3 more ants climbed onto the table. Draw a picture to show what happened. Write the number of ants that are now on the table.

Kendyl proceeds to draw a table with 4 girls on top of it, then 3 more girls. She writes the number 7 and let's me know she's finished. I asked her if she had listened to the story problem and she said, "yes, I drew 4 aunts on the table, then 3 more aunts."

I smiled and asked her if she could think of another kind of 'ant'... she said, 'yeah, the bugs'. I asked her why the 'Aunts' that she drew were on the table... she said, "They're having a party!" :)

Sounds like Aunt Steph's type of party!! :) LOL! It was the highlight of my day! :)