Now that the bustle surrounding Eric’s party has given way to the calm flow of daily life, and now that his thank you notes are almost finished, and now that I have finished a bit of editing on a children’s book project by a former student and current UCLA Bruin, we are finding our footing with our consistent schooling once again.

Katie and I are really starting to get into a good groove together. She works best with her initial burst of energy when she wakes up in the morning (we usually read or do something lower key so that I, too, can finish waking up with my tea); and then she has another burst of focus after she has been fed, watered, and exercised. It has been a bit warm this week for morning walks, although we’ve tried nonetheless, water and spray water bottles in hand. We had a beautiful afternoon walk today. Eric’s naptime is also a golden time of learning for us. Katie and I can focus and get  much done in a relatively short period of time. One huge advantage of home school? Efficiency.

This week we finished up our first lessons on telling time. She can now tell/name/read the hour: 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, etc. She knows that the minute and hour hand both pointing to the “12” indicates three different names: “Twelve o’clock,” “noon,” or “midnight.” She can identify the minute and hour hand, and she can arrange them on our practice clock to point to the hours. This week (and beginning today), we are working on reading the half-past position of the clock: “7:30, 8:30, 9:30, etc). It is trickier, of course, because of the fact that the hour hand is positioned between two numbers when it is half-past.

Math has also been going well this week, as we continue our studies of addition. I have finally found a set of best practices with my daughter, and she loves math. We make good use of our mini white board and our counters. She knows how to read an addition equation, how to read the “+” as “plus” and the “=” as “equals.” I also have her make sums for me. She is still learning how to write all of her numerals, but she is almost there, and she can write little sums on the white board. Teaching math is extremely exciting. I always intended, if I stayed on at  a school, to get my math credential someday (I adore mathematics) and my Master’s in…well, in something. Math, like anything else, is just another language, with both literal and abstract properties that we can learn to work in and think in. It is fun, fun, fun to teach it. Such a pure and beautiful language.

We’ve also been working out of our reading comp workbook, practicing our listening to passages, inferring, and reasoning skills. I love watching her mind infer. We do this workbook in between more challenging activities, because she has so much fun with this. Her reading comp and reasoning ability is truly fierce. My biggest concern is to keep challenging her, one of the reasons why we are reading the Harry Potter series together (we are still on the 5th book).

We are finishing up several of our Kindergarten level and pre-K level activity books. We work on a few pages almost every day. Things like matching, pattern recognition, spotting differences, identifying initial letter sounds, circling the rhyming words, counting… We’re coming to a conclusion on these books. They build her confidence, and she often pulls them out and asks to work on them. So cool to watch the love of learning and self-drive bubbling in her! A big objective for this coming year is to keep working on the dexterity part of her writing of numbers and letters.

She also has a “sight words” workbook that we do, about  page a day, as well as a phonics workbook. She is starting to read a few sight words on her own, as well as words like “cat” and “dog” which we have practiced and sounded out oodles of times. I get so excited when she reads a word on her own. I know we are in striking distance of gaining momentum on our reading. That is our most important objective for this next school year.

Art this week was to make bracelets using my bead stash (from when I used to make jewelry). She has been asking to do this, and I have wondered whether her little fingers could grasp those teeny tiny beads. I finally agreed, and she made two bracelets in about half an hour, stringing them all herself. I used my jewelry tools to affix the clasps, jump rings, and such. She had a great time and has been asking to make more bracelets for herself.

Can’t say we’ve hit science too well this week… Oh wait, wait! We went on a field trip to the Wild Animal (Safari) Park. That counts, right? Ah well, I need to figure out our next science units.

Cooking is also science, and we did much of that together today:

Katie adds ingredients to our red spaghetti sauce (I made ours vegetarian, and bulked it up with minced carrots, golden carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower to be the consistency of a bolognese). We love homemade sauce, and it is never too early to teach the base of the family recipe!

Katie picks fresh basil from our garden to use in our sauce. We also put in some rosemary from our garden this time (don’t usually, but I’ve been craving it). Our basil is really small this year, and last year it was huge. Not sure why…it is in the same spot, with the same gardeners (us). Oh well, it was enough for the sauce!

She also helped me to make (while Eric napped) the dough for a yeast-risen oatmeal molasses bread. We love talking about the yeast and proofing it and watching it rise under the right conditions of warmth. Katie loves to cook, and it always connects us. It is one of our great bonding activity, always putting us in harmony with each other. It fills her heart up, and often when we’re cooking together, she talks about how happy she is. We put the dough in the loaf pan on the windowsill to rise, and then the three of us (Katie, Eric, and I) went for a delicious afternoon walk, picking up fallen crepe myrtle blossoms from the sidewalk.

And finally, here is a picture Mr. Eric took of Katie a few days ago. I steadied the camera and helped him get the click all the way down, but otherwise, this was his own work. 🙂 What a pretty sister he has!

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