9/11/20 Our first week of the new school year went surprisingly well! I was so proud of Samuel for participating the way that he did. Even though we had Labor Day on Monday and his birthday on Tuesday, we still got so much done!

We had a pretty good routine each day, where we started school around his morning snack time and ended around lunch. We also did more non-academic activities in the afternoon together.

I decided to try a five-in-a-row approach this week and do basically the same thing each day in each subject to hopefully encourage mastery. He is severely dyslexic and it takes a lot of repetition for things to sink in.

So, to make it easier for me (and to give him a visual of what school subjects we still had to do before finishing), I made a little list. Next week, I’ll make another one with new activities and assignments. It (five in a row) went fairly well. He was fine with most of the subjects but he did not like having to read the same book each day because he didn’t end up liking the story (it was new so I didn’t know). He DID improve on the reading part as the week went on, though! He read faster and missed less words.

He had great success with remembering the information that was about him (his birthday, city, country, my phone number, etc.) from doing a simple “all about me” page I made for him to complete each day.

He used a new math workbook this week that I recently found at Five Below. It’s second grade and he isn’t having any trouble at all with it. I may go back and pick up the third and fourth grade ones to have on hand for the future. I’m surprised by how well it’s put together and how the information is presented. It also has what most math books do not: the right number of practice problems. I hate when companies overdo the number of available problems because it always feels incomplete when you skip a ton! (Why does it bother me so?! lol) Anyway, I’m happy.

His spelling activities went well but his spelling test showed that he is still only able to spell words that follow phonetic rules. He has a very hard time with silent letters (except the silent ending e, he has learned that one), letters that makes multiple sounds (like c in city), and when vowels don’t make their short OR long sound (like the o in other). Ugh, poor guy! The same thing happens when he reads. English is not an easy language to learn with dyslexia.

The biggest success of the week was in finding that he loves the Goosebumps books! I read two or three chapters each day from Welcome to Camp Nightmare until yesterday when we were both dying to find out how it ended so we read six or seven chapters until we were done with the book! lol We weren’t disappointed. Today, we started Ghost Beach.

The Goosebumps books and the new Jack Black movies (which he watched last week and this) have really inspired him. He has a fantastic imagination and he’s decided he wants to write his own scary books! He can’t actually write them because he struggles way too much with reading and writing, but he can dictate to me and work with me on plot and story ideas. We started today with his first book and it went so, so well. We wrote the first two chapters. He was super happy as we went through the process of discovering who and what was destined to be in the story. I helped with grammar and wording the sentences interestingly so it sounds like a real book, which makes him VERY happy. 😀

09/18/20 Our second week went fine even with Hurricane Sally hitting us! We started each school day later this week than in week one (around 11/11:30am instead of 10am) but everything still worked out. He was a little less interested in doing school because he’s found a Minecraft game on Roblox that he likes and, of course, it’s what he’d rather be doing than lessons, but once each day of school started, he let it go.

I made another list for us to follow as it seems key to getting everything done that I set out to do. We’re still using the five-in-a-row approach, doing very similar things in each subject each day, but changing them weekly.

He was much happier reading five stories than repeating the single book I chose last week (I’d had him read the same story each day and that didn’t fly). I’m noticing how well he’s doing with reading this week! His fluency is on the rise and his speed is increasing. He didn’t ask me to re-read any sentences this week, which he always does because when it takes him a long time to get through a sentence, he loses the meaning of the sentence and wants to know what it says! But he didn’t need that this week because he was moving at a good speed!!

Along with reading practice, we used the sight word sticks to review each day. He likes doing them. I am going to be adding some words that I’ve noticed he needs help learning. I’m also going to ditch ones that he knows really well now.

His coloring has improved this week, too! Normally, he just puts in the bare amount of effort but this week the things he colored actually looked nice. I hadn’t been sure if he was capable of coloring, lol. Now I know. 😉 Maybe it’s because he was coloring as I read…

We finished the world map on Wednesday and spent the next two days reviewing.

We read another Goosebumps book but we took somewhat of a break from writing his scary book (because I needed a break, lol).

It was a good week and I’m excited for next week because I feel like we are on a roll this school year. 🙂

09/26/20 The weather changed this week and we were able to spend a lot of time outside! It didn’t affect school but my appointment with the ENT on Thursday did so it was a four day school week.

Having a list to follow with Samuel is working so well! Seriously, I don’t know why I never thought of doing it before. It allows me to change things up weekly with ease. And it gives him a great visual to follow. Lesson planning is super easy this way, and the actual teaching is more enjoyable. 🙂

So, I dropped spelling this week because there was zero change or learning happening, just going through the motions of doing activities, which is why we’re going to leave it alone for awhile and focus on other things. I guess you could call Word Ladders a spelling workbook, actually, and I introduced that to him this week. He really seemed like it, which surprised me.

He’s advancing with his understanding of grammar and he’s remembering/retaining what he’s learning. We’re over halfway through the Scholastic Success with Grammar workbook we have so I should probably be looking for the next grade up.

We switched to word problems in math this week and he did very well with it. I’m not sure he knows how to set up the math problems but he’s able to do mental math easily so he likes it, lol.

I focused on opposites in speech and I found that it’s definitely an area that he needs work. He understands the difference between things well enough but being able to explain what any of the words mean is too difficult, in almost all cases. This week we just talked about each set so I could get an idea of where he’s at, next week we’ll do some activities.

He read a story each day from his Frog and Toad book and he did fantastic!! I am so proud of him. 😀 It’s not easy being dyslexic and he has to work hard every time he reads!!

I read another Goosebumps book to him this week but neither of us really ended up liking it. Oh well, next week will be Attack of the Mutant, I think, which just sounds like a winner, doesn’t it? haha

10/03/20 Wow, another week done! And now we’re in October. This week, we did school at pretty random times in the day because of some different things going on. We missed Thursday because of his doctor appointment and some work stress that his dad was dealing with that I had to help with. But we did a little extra yesterday.

We’re sticking with our list of ten subjects/activities and it’s still working well. He often looks ahead to see how many more things we have to do before we get to read Goosebumps. 🙂 This week, we read the first half of How to Kill a Monster which takes place in a swamp in Georgia, lol. It’s funny how, in the suburbs of Atlanta, we have no swamps…or monsters. 😉

He’s gaining a lot of confidence in grammar and math. His handwriting suffers when he’s confident because he writes so quickly but the work is getting done so I don’t care (usually), lol.

He has gotten very good at doing Word Ladders and I think it’s going to help him a lot with spelling as he sees how words are connected and have “families.”

He’s got the continents down (it took using mnemonic devices to learn Europe and Asia) and I think we’ll be moving on to learning countries within the continents in the coming weeks.

His speed and accuracy have improved while reading the Frog & Toad stories this week! He’s reading SO well and his confidence is through the roof! His comprehension is on point and it’s incredible to hear him laugh at funny parts (because he actually understands what he just read!) I love it.

We worked on opposites some more this week and while he isn’t making a ton of obvious progress, he is trying.

10/9/20 This week has basically been unschooling for us. We did a little bit of classroom work (and a fair amount of reading) but mostly we did real world work, play, and activities. And you know what, that’s okay!

He had a stye in his right eye early in the week which sent us to the doctor; Elizabeth came along and it was a great experience.

The next afternoon, we went to a playground near us that we hadn’t visited since last winter. The kids played and then we walked around the lake, watching geese and seeing the sights.

Later in the week, he had a dental appointment that led to a visit to the park afterward where he made a friend who is JUST LIKE HIM. Thank you, Father!!

They exchanged numbers and the boy called Samuel a few hours later so they could play Roblox. What a blessing. :’) He has a hard time finding kids as sweet and friendly as he is.

We finished another Goosebumps book. We both liked it. 🙂