Language Arts

The language Arts curriculum was an easy choice. About a year ago, I came across a Facebook post in a homeschool group about a curriculum called Sing Spell Read & Write. I did a little research and quickly decided this would be a good fit for Snowflake. It is a multi-sensory reading program using music and games as it’s primary instruction methods. The main song Snowflake will be learning to start is the ABC Phonics Song

Sing spell read & write teaches letter sounds alongside letter names and puts everything to music, increasing the child’s ability to remember. This will be especially good for Snowflake who can sing a song back after hearing it only one time. The first half of the school year will focus on letter names and sounds. The second half will focus on letter sounds, rhyming words, and reading 3 letter words. 

The second part of our language Arts curriculum will focus on handwriting. While sing spell read & write has a handwriting component, due to Snowflake’s weakness in this area, I felt he needed a more hands-on and direct approach. Rather than just practicing tracing the letters as the sing spell read and write curriculum uses, we are going to take a multi-dimensional approach using the handwriting without tears curriculum. Instead of just tracing letters, HWOT uses much more hands-on instruction practices to teach handwriting. Each day we will be working with letter pieces to build letters, chalk and sponges for wet dry try, and playdoh or a salt tray for tactile practice. The tracing and actual writing are almost considered secondary in this curriculum.  

Choosing these language Arts programs was easy; keeping it in our budget was the difficult part. Thankfully my deal finding and diy skills came in handy. The SSRW curriculum is normally $275 for kindergarten and 1st. I got the instructional portion used for $100. I purchased the workbooks (for this year and next year) new for $50. So, buying used, I was able to save about $125 and the cost per year is about $75. The HWOT curriculum is about $400 for a complete, new curriculum. This was WAY out of reach as our budget for handwriting was closer to $40-50! I purchased the instruction manual and student work books for $30. My handy husband made the wood pieces, I made the mat out of a piece of balsa wood and foam sheet, I found the little chalkboard and sponges in my stash, and finally I created the letter formation cards and bought a pencil box and salt to create a salt tray. We will make playdoh as part of our science next week. This saved us over $100 and I decided the other parts of the curriculum were not necessary for one on one instruction. 

I am excited to see how Snowflake takes to these programs, hand-picked for his learning strengths. 


Spring Time Update 

We are chipping away at the materials for preschool. Some days I don’t think he’s learning anything (today was one of those days), then all of a sudden he amazes me with what he knows (this happened yesterday). We will be continuing our 2+ morning a week school schedule through the summer. He lost a lot during our 2 week vacation and it took him almost a month to catch back up. He doesn’t know any different and it adds structure to our week, while still being flexible, so we will continue on. 

I’ve decided on the curriculum for the fall and I’m excited to dig in and start planning. I’m taking on a bit more of that planning role this coming year vs the mostly pre-planned curriculum we used this year. Soon I’ll give a tour of our new stuff but for now, here’s a look at some of the things we are currently doing. 

As I said above, yesterday he surprised me. After doing a letter identification activity, I decided to try a phonics activity. I put 5 letters in front of him and asked him to point to the one that made the “p-p-p sound as in pig”. He got it correct! I took the p out and replaced it with another letter. We did this for 10 letters (p, c, a, b, j, l, m, t, s, & x). He got 9/10 right!! (The only one he got wrong was x, which is a hard one. He pointed to s…so in a way he got that one right, too.) I’m now even more confident the reading curriculum I chose for next year is going to be the right fit. 

Here are some other things we are working on: 

Easter Egg upper/lower case letter match.

Day & Night Thinking puzzle (our first outside school time in 2017)

Wedgits Thinking puzzle (I following ‘structions!)

Learn and draw animals using finger tip crayons

Lowercase Alphabet search with do a dot markers

Do a dot letters

Kumon cutting skills (for as hard as it is for him to write, his cutting skills are not lacking!)

We also have a new addition to our homeschool room for the next 3ish weeks. Stay tuned for our butterfly adventures! 

Language Arts

This year we used timberdoodle as the foundation for preschool. It’s been an amazing program and we’ve had fun. Next year I plan to use bits and pieces from timberdoodle; however, I’m completely changing up our language arts curriculum. That said, we’ve had fun and Snowflake has learned a ton with the timberdoodle curriculum. (I just found another curriculum that fits his leaning style a little better.) At the beginning of the year, Snoefkake knew about 6 letters, no sounds, and had little interest in reading books. Now, he knows 22/26 uppercase letters, about 10/26 lowercase letters, several sounds and loves to read and be read to. Following are the activities we do to help him learn and have fun in the process: 

Foam Alphabet Dice: we do several activities with these. Pinterest has a ton of ideas. 

Alphabet Cookies: there are several things we could do with these. So far we’ve mostly worked on identification and alphabetical order. 

Books, books and more books: I’m not ashamed to admit we have a children’s book library of over 400 books. We read a lot! 

Bananagrams: (timberdoodle) similar to the alphabet dice. We use these for uppercase identification and building familiar words. 

Montessori Letter Work and Alphabet Puzzle: (timberdoodle) again these help with letter identification. We are currently working on the lowercase letters. 

See and Spell: works on letter identification, phonics, and word building. 

Letter and Picture Pairs: we use this to work on beginning sounds. 

Alphabet Cookie Cutters: similar to math, we use these for letter identification and building familiar words. 

Do-a-Dot Alphabet: he loves these. From Pinterest….

Alphabet Stamps: letter identification. 

As you can see, most of our language arts material focuses on the same skills. However, having variety keeps it interesting and promotes retention of the information. We definitely have our favorites but the variety is much appreciated. 😊